How to make my own pinhole camera
There are many ways to make pinhole cameras, from cardboard boxes to beer cans! For starters, you will be needing the following:
- Any tightly-sealed container such as a shoebox or an empty can.
- Photographic paper or film.
- A pin or a paper clip to create a small hole in your container.
- Aluminum foil.
- Tape & Scissors.
Here are the basic steps to turn these materials into a fully-functioning pinhole camera:
- Paint the chosen container inside and out fully in black and let it dry.
- Place the photographic paper or film inside the container. You can also use electric tape to cover up the edges of your container and avoid unnecessary light from coming in from other areas, other than the pinhole.
- Cut a square in your container and cover it with an aluminum foil, then make a tiny hole in the foil using a pin or paper clip, opposite the light-sensitive material you’re using.
- Create a shutter with a material such as a tape, cover your pinhole lightly so the foil doesn’t come off when you’re taking images.
- To capture images with your pinhole camera, open the shutter and point your camera at a subject. Since pinhole cameras take in less light, exposure time is usually longer compared to typical cameras, especially depending on how much light there is in your set-up. On a typical sunny day, you can expose for about 30 seconds. Stay still (or put your pinhole camera on a tripod or a stand) in order to prevent too much motion blur.
- Once done, the next step in the process is development. Remember to keep your film or photographic paper away from light in order not to erase the image you’ve captured.
If you’re up for challenges and exciting projects, or simply want to get a feel of how pinhole photography works in various formats and scenarios, you can also check out a few of our tutorials on making various pinhole cameras:
- 3D Pinhole Fun! Making the Stereoscopic Film Box Pinhole Camera
- Pinhole Passion: Instant Pinhole Camera in a Cigarette Pack
- DIY: Make a Pinhole Camera Out of a Matchbox
- Playing with Pinholes: Turn an Empty Film Box into a Pinhole Camera
- How to Build Your Own Medium-Format Pinhole Camera
Here are also some creative do-it-yourself pinhole cameras from our community members to get you inspired:
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The answer, simply, is that it depends on many factors, including the image you want to create, the type of light-sensitive material you will be using, and the amount of light. Because of the small size of pinhole cameras' opening, these cameras take in less light so exposure usually takes longer.
A pinhole size ranging from somewhere between 0.2 – 1.00 mm should be good for creating your own pinhole camera.
Pinhole cameras do not need to focus. Their tiny aperture means the camera has a nearly infinite depth of field.
A pinhole camera is a type of camera obscura that follows its namesake and uses a tiny pinhole as its lens.
A few Lomography cameras have pinhole photography function, namely the Diana F+, Diana Instant Square, LomoMod No. 1, and the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator.
Pinhole photography is the stripped down version of photography. Instead of an actual lens and a sophisticated system, pinhole photography makes use of a tightly-sealed box and a pinhole (aperture) to capture light and create images.