What is the difference between a pinhole camera and a camera obscura?

A camera obscura is any darkened box, tent, or room where an exterior image can be projected inside its confinement through the use of a lens or a hole. A pinhole camera also falls under the category of camera obscura, but as its name suggests, it uses a pinhole as the opening. Because of the tiny pinhole, there is no lens distortion and there is an infinite depth of field. This is different from other types of camera obscura that use lenses and allow for larger apertures to be used.

photo by @ivanvano

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More Courses

  • How to make my own pinhole camera

    How to make my own pinhole camera

    There are many ways to make pinhole cameras, from cardboard boxes to beer cans! Here’s a quick and basic guide for you.

  • How long should I expose the frame for pinhole photography?

    How long should I expose the frame for pinhole photography?

    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.

  • What is the optimal pinhole size?

    A pinhole size ranging from somewhere between 0.2 – 1.00 mm should be good for creating your own pinhole camera.

  • Do pinhole cameras need to focus?

    Do pinhole cameras need to focus?

    Pinhole cameras do not need to focus. Their tiny aperture means the camera has a nearly infinite depth of field.

  • Which Lomography cameras can be used for pinhole photography?

    A few Lomography cameras have pinhole photography function, namely the Diana F+, Diana Instant Square, LomoMod No. 1, and the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator.

  • What is pinhole photography?

    What is pinhole photography?

    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.