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.