Taking pictures with a pinhole camera is fun! And just imagine that you’re letting the tiny pinhole to do all the work for you. The DIY experience with this camera just beats everything, if you ask me!
This DIY pinhole camera is very compact and easy to make. For the film transport, I used a readily available and reasonably priced film roll holder. Here I used a “Rada” (Plaubel) film holder. There are similar products like that from Rollex and are also easy to obtain. You can also use that from a used film plate camera.
Here are the things that you will need:
- A light proof box (in this case I used a wooden box that I painted matte black)
- A film holder
- Some plywood
- A thin metal sheet
- Tools to cut wood and punch the pinhole into the metal sheet
Do things one at a time. At the beginning, I already asked myself how to get the box with of the pinhole camera to fit real tight with the film holder. I used this fairly workable method: instead of using the closure plate, you cut a metal sheet of the same size and in the middle you must cut a square frame also of the same size; or in this case, 6×9 cm. This metal sheet must be screwed to the end of the wooden box. These two parts must be connected firmly or loosely, it depends if you want to separate them again.
Ok, preparing this metal sheet is probably the most difficult part of all. I took 0.5 mm thin sheet which can be sawed manually with a hacksaw.
The wooden box is made of 1.4-inch plywood and has the external dimensions of 4 × 5.3 inches. The front side is made up of 0.2 inch plywood. In the middle is the a razor-thin sheet with a super narrow hole punched in it. The size of the pinhole should be much smaller to create sharper images. In Germany you can get is as a “Lochblende pinhole” which is very precisely manufactured and costs just about few Euros per piece.
The depth of the box defines the focal distance. With a 1.4 inch width, you already get a pretty wide-angle effect. All parts of the box must be solidly screwed and sealed with glue to make sure that you don’t get light leaks. The slider for controlling the exposure time I constructed is similar to the Zero Image 35. It should always be in direct contact, again to avoid light leaks. Lastly, to avoid reflections inside, I painted the inside of the box matte black.
Of course you may find a lot of tutorials for DIY pinholes which are much easier and faster to do but this one has proven itself in practice for years. I use it quite often and it has gone with me on my travels. I have yet to encounter problems with it. Try it for yourself! Sometimes it’s easier than how I described it to be in this tipster. This DIY pinhole camera is a fun project, satisfaction guaranteed!