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How to Build Your Own Medium-Format Pinhole Camera

It's April and soon, Pinhole Day will come. Everybody's gotta try and shoot with a pinhole camera and here's how to build one. Enough said!

Photo by pvalyk

Now, there are plenty of books and articles on how to build your very own pinhole. And also a lot of videos on YouTube talking about it. Here’s a quick, easy and safe method to build one.

You need:

  • an empty spool
  • a box
  • electrical tape – to cover the light leaks
  • a piece of aluminum to build the pinhole
  • some parts of old toys (that’s what I used anyway) to create the winder

Step by Step Instructions:

1. Poke a tiny hole in the brass shim with a needle and sand it smooth. Trim the shim so there is a little space around the hole.

2. The box must be light proof. When the lid is on and the shutter is closed the inside is completely dark. The only light comes through the pinhole. Make sure there are no holes or openings in the box. Seal it and paint it flat black. Cut a small square opening in the box for the pinhole to go in.

3. Tape the pinhole behind the square opening. I used electrical tape. Center the pinhole in the square. Then make the shutter which is just a flap that covers the pinhole from the outside. It can be made from some more tape.

4. Put lid on and make sure the shutter is closed. Also, make sure you cut a straight hole in the back of the camera so you can see how much winding the film needs, till the next exposure. Now you can load it with film and start shooting.

Personally, I don’t think you, the reader, are interested about the camera or other stuff like winders. All you have to know is how to build the pinhole. The camera box can be built of pretty much everything that can hold a film and can be lightproof.

The pinhole can be made from a piece of aluminum can, and as the name says, you have to punch it with a pinhole, straight up and you’re set. Make sure to have a proper light meter. It’s that simple.

Below are some of my previous articles about this pinhole camera and a couple of pictures taken with it.

Read Square Format Tips Using a Pinhole Camera and Thoughts on Shooting with a Homemade Pinhole Camera.

written by pvalyk

1 comment

  1. teq

    photos: nothing extraordinary, both technically and aesthetically. also, the box looks as if it could leak light and the photo scans as if were only just confirming such conclusion. as a tutorial, it was a nice read.
    about 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Nederlands.