DIY Pinhole Rangefinder Mod!!


Camera + bottlecap + hole = sweet, sweet goodness!

OK, so here’s an easy way to make a sweet pinhole camera – without destroying anything or having an ugly hulk of a boxy mess pinhole camera like most we see done as DIY…

Anyway, here’s a list of what I used, and how I used it:

1. 1 x Old Braun Paxette rangefinder – This can be any rangefinder or SLR with a removable lens and a B setting on the shutter I guess, however a screw mount lens is preferable for ease of fitting your new pinhole lens. The shutter vanes cant be in the lens either…
2. 1 x bottlecap – scrounge around your recylcing pile to find one sized to fit inside the lens mounting hole on your camera (or over it, just so it sits there securely without letting light in and looking ugly) For the paxette I found a cap on a small bottle of ‘liquid pencil’ in my wifes art supplies – roughly 35-37mm in diameter (the closest fitting the better)

3. 1 x aluminium softdrink can
4. scissors
5. 1 x sewing Needle
6. PVC electrical tape or something equally as sticky such as duct tape
7. Drill & drillbit – approx 6-7mm is good
8. matte black spray paint and/or a black sharpie
9. superfine steel wool or 1200 grit wet/dry sandpaper etc
10. optional additional extras of a tripod and shutter release cable would help too

Step1: drill a hole in the centre of the bottlecap and sand smooth on both sides (especially the inside, as this is where your pinhole gets put)

Step 2: cut a small square out of the aluminium can, so it can fit inside the bottlecap (mine was about 12mm square) but cover the hole you drilled completely

Step 3: carefully prick a hole into the aluminium square – drill with the needle as if you are trying to start a mini fire in the movies – the hole wants to be around 0.18mm wide – but a bit of guesstimation is always good

Step 4: rub down the aluminium with the steel wool to smooth out the hole on both sides – you should go between needle and steel wool until you can look through the pinhole at a lightbulb and see a nice round, smooth edged hole.

Step 5: cut a small hole in a square of duct tape for the pinhole, and stick the aluminium ‘lens’ into the centre of the bottlecap (on what will be the ‘inside’ of your lens)

Step 6: spray the whole assembly with matte black spray paint, leave to dry and then make sure the hole isn’t gummed up with paint – a bit more needlework might be needed to get it clean.

Step 7: fit your new lens into the lens socket on your camera – this could require a bit of tape around the outside edge of the bottlecap, or Teflon thread tape etc – just something to stop it falling out and that wont let light leak in

Step 8: load up some film and start shooting! – a tripod would make your pics clearer than if you just held the camera, but I haven’t got one yet…

I suggest googling recommended exposure times for how long to leave the shutter open – ive been roughly using 2 seconds in good light on 200 asa film – this is where your own experimentation can help out too.
Anyway – this mod is great as it doesn’t require a darkroom to load or unload the film from your camera – film travel is as normal, and you can even do multiple exposures
And…you can still pop out you new lens and screw in the original one to take regular pics too – Easy As!!!
ps, sorry theres no ‘in progress pics’ i was on a roll and wanted to shoot!

written by mkd on 2010-12-22 #gear #tutorials #diy #pinhole #35mm #rangefinder #tipster #braun #paxette


  1. coldkennels
    coldkennels ·

    Best pinhole ever? Possibly.

  2. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Nice idea, but where can we see the pictures you shot with it??

  3. stouf
    stouf ·

    Yeah, where are the results ? Nice mod though : )

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