Step 9: Finished Results, Taking Pictures, and the Future

Using the camera is difficult because it doesn't take conventional photographs.  When it comes time to compose an image all you can do is aim the pinhole at the scene and hope for the best.  The images always come out interesting.

Using the camera:

Loading the camera isn't too difficult, the paper starter can be slid in from the top and hooked to the take-up spool.  The film is advanced using the two knobs.  The knob for the supply spool is turned to loosen the film and the knob for the take-up spool is turned to advance the film.  Used together the film will make its way along the pathway.  The film has to be wound to #2, then #5, #8, #11 and #14, of 16 total.  These are the frame numbers for a 4.5x6cm framing, but each shot from this camera uses 3 of those so the numbers must be advanced by three.

Calculating exposure can be done with any light meter or most digital cameras.  Determine the shutter speed for the scene with an aperture of f16 and use the included PDF chart attached to this step to extrapolate the time required for the pinhole's aperture of f116.  Add a little extra time if the required shutter speed exceeds 120 seconds.  Refer to your film's datasheet for "reciprocity failure compensation" for long exposure times.


After shooting my first roll I have found some interesting issues with this camera that could benefit from some improvements. I will update this Instructable as I explore some ways to correct the issues, but for right now it does work.  Composing the images with any degree of accuracy is nearly impossible and I don't see a way that a viewfinder of sorts could even be created.  The large surface area of the acrylic puts a lot of friction on the film, which was something I wasn't expecting to be an issue initially.  Testing with 120 paper backing worked fine but the film (which is emulsion side down) has so much friction that it was very difficult to wind.  I don't think there was any danger of ripping the film so larger knobs would help give a mechanical advantage.  Also, using an exposure chart that I created for one of my previous cameras caused all the images to be greatly overexposed.  I have included a new exposure chart PDF which is more accurate.

Tips for shooting:

It seems that scenes with a very high natural contrast works best.  Scenes with lots of straight lines look particularly interesting too.  Large multi-pane windows, tall buildings, etc.
I'm having a hard time printing out the exact ratio for the wood box portion. Do you have the measurements for the box frame?
Can you be more specific? The overall dimensions are in the images on Step 2, you can also make all the measurements you want from the DWG file supplied on the same step, using AutoCAD or a free DWG viewer like http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?id=6703438&amp;siteID=123112. <br><br>Hope this helps.
so very nifty! simple (as it were) and elegant!
wow man roll another fattie! <br>seriously <br>very cool
It appears that the acrylic added some reflections to the image that may or may not be wanted. Would it be possible to replace the cylinder with a geared disc, in line with the film edges? Also, the full surface contact between the film and the acrylic will lead to scratches. <br> <br>If the cutting is done with anything but a laser, the precision involved in this project would require a good deal of sanding for alignments.
You are right about the reflections, and I'm not positive about what you are saying about a geared disc. I have since made some changes which I will add to the Instructable once I have confirmed them to actually be better. I am no longer using an acrylic tube not because of scratches or reflections, but due to the immense friction it created making it difficult to advance the film. <br> <br>Also, finger joints aren't exactly necessary, the camera could be built with the wood edges glued simply. My first pinhole was like that and it worked fine.
Totally awesome project! Although I am fairly certain digital photography has already taken over ;) <br>
I'm fairly certain I like film better ;)
Beautiful work! <br> I LOVE all you folks who share about making and using Pinhole cameras. <br> <br>I personally believe they are an underutilized tool in education, useful across fields of art, science, engineering, reasoning, and naturally fascinating for children - to engage them across all these areas, getting their hands on stuff, even in poorest material environs. I have it on my long-term list to assemble such camera-making info + natural photo-reactive media for eco-friendly picture-making-recording - albumen, citric acid, tin (eco?) photo reactive. <br> <br>Greg
Thanks, I agree, people need to be taught about pinhole cameras because of the educational value. Its a great way to study optics and light.
What is a anamorphic images!?
An anamorphic image is any image which is optically distorted. In this case, the distortions are caused by the film being wrapped in a cylinder instead of laid flat like normal.
Design and execution is absolutely brilliant. But I can't help thinking that if you'd put a bit more into the external finish, you'd have a camera that looked like a fine instrument. A few coats of sanding sealer and some time with sandpaper before you put on the varnish would have really paid off.
Very nice work! Love both the camera and the shown result!
Instead of having the acrylic cylinder fixed in place, you could have it so that it rotates along with the film when you advance it. Ok, it's a lot of fiddle to do, but it should overcome the friction problem.
You're right, but the mechanics of that kind of solution would be difficult, especially since at one end the pinhole cannot be obstructed in any way.
nice one.love the wonkee pics. plastic tube a supprise. could you tell me a little more about the lazer cutter?
The laser cutter I used is a Trotec Speedy 300, and is about 45 watts. Cuts this material at 100 power 0.9 speed and 6 passes, -0.05&quot; Z-offset per pass. With another machine experimentation will be required but many passes and Z-offset on each pass helps prevent the wood from heating up too much and charring.
Cool,Cool,Cool,Cool,Cool, project! Excellent instructable!
Glad you liked it!
Magnific work, Matt.
As always, thank you!

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