The first cameras ever made were pinhole cameras, and were no more than a dark box with a small hole to let in light. In this intractable we'll be creating our own pinhole camera, but this one will be one we can walk inside!
Pinhole cameras are very simple, but there are a few things to know to build one. The first is the diameter of the pinhole. Larger holes will let in more light, but the image will be less sharp. Smaller pinholes will have darker images but they will have a higher sharpness. In addition to that, the distance from the pinhole (window) to the back of the camera (wall) determines the focal length, or how wide the image will be. The closer the pinhole is the the wall, the wider the image will be.
Step 1: Find a Suitable Room
The first step is to find a room suitable for making the camera. The only requirements are that the room needs to have a window with an opposing wall, and it needs to be possible to block off all light coming in.
The upstairs room in my apartment was perfect for this experiment since it has one small window and a white wall on the other side to view the image.
Step 2: Cover Up the Window, Make the Pinhole
Once you choose the room to build the pinhole camera, the next step is to block off all light except once small source. The small source of light or "pinhole" in this case is a cardboard tube with a 1" opening. Feel free to experiment with different size holes to get different results!
I blocked off the light from the window by simply draping a couple blankets over it, and making sure to wrap it around the corners so there are no light leaks. Then, I set up a wooden crate and put the cardboard tube on that. I wrapped the tube with the blanket such that the tube was the only source of light in the room.
Once the pinhole is set up, turn off the lights and seal any remaining light leaks with blankets. This is where a one window room helps!
Step 3: View the Image!
It may take a while for your eyes to get adjusted, but you should be able to see an image on the wall opposing the window. This image will be inverted by the pinhole.
As you can see in the photo I posted, there is some light penetrating the blanket, which will degrade the image slightly. The could be fixed by using a more opaque material like black plastic, but all I had were blankets and I wanted to make this Instructable accessible to everybody. There is some light reflecting off of the white floor as well, which could wash out the image. You could fix this by placing black materials on the floor to absorb the light.There is also some stray light from my computer and charger, but that's pretty minor.
The image created by this pinhole is very dim, so I had to use a long exposure with my camera set up on a tripod to capture it. For all the photographers here, the camera settings are f/1.8, 25 seconds, ISO 800.
Thanks for reading this have fun with your new camera!