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Pinhole camera lens for compact digital camera? Answered

Is it possible to make a pinhole lens for a compact digital camera?
I mean an add-on; nothing that requires dismantling the camera.
I've looked around on the internet and realise that it is easy to make a pinhole lens with a DSLR; I tried the same technique with my compact but the result is as shown.
I don't mind experimenting further but I just thought that I would check if it is possible and worth pursuing ; and if not, why not?

Thank you.


Build a complete camera obscura in FRONT of your lens.

All you'll need for the camera obscura is a piece of cardboard tube (loo roll, paper towel roll), some waxed paper (or some other semi-transparent material), and a piece of tinfoil for the pinhole.  I'm not going to take the time to detail the process, so think back to grade-school science or google it.  Assemble that and test it with your eyes.

Then get yourself a dark towel and wrap it around your camera and the camera obscura, leaving the pinhole-end exposed.  You then take a photo of the image shown on the camera obscura with your camera.

Best of luck!

This Instructable gives you a good method, and a way of testing the pinhole for circularity.  Here's one of my pictures using it.

IMG_0229 (Medium).JPG

8 years ago

You've already discovered the answer yourself--with the lens still in place, it's not a "pinhole camera."

Lenses and pinholes do similar things, but they do them differently. Lenses bend light to create a coherent image. Pinholes create coherence by giving light rays only a narrow path to each part (or pixel) on the target plane (film or ccd.)

However, you've created a second aperture similar the one inside the lens. It doesn't work as well because the new aperture isn't very close to the nodal point of the lens.

 Ah, that's more like it.
The problem with the first images was that they were too small.
It may seem very, very obvious but I had not thought to use full zoom until just now.
It's interesting enough to experiment further with.... um ........


Based on the photo, it looks like the regular lens is still on the camera, right? So instead of using the pinhole to function as a lens, you're taking a picture of the pinhole with the real lens. If you can get the lens off of the digital camera, it'll probably work, but that would mean dismantling the camera.
That said, the image you have now is still pretty interesting.

 I tried by placing tin foil over the lens, with a pinhole in it; and you are right it, has just taken a photograph of the hole rather than acting as a pinhole camera.
I don't want to take my camera apart; it was just something I woke up this morning wanting to try.
I'm not hopeful that it can be done but I just thought that someone may have figured out a way using a toilet roll and some Duck tape or something.

If I ever come across a compact digital camera with a broken lens, I will try what you suggested.




Still, it's a good idea and could lead to some very interesting photos. Like Re-design said, if you can find a cheap camera that you don't mind taking apart, it's totally worth a try. Good luck, and if you proceed with the project at some point, I look forward to seeing the instructable (and the photos).

Buy yourself a cheap digital camera.  Lots of them on ebay for less than 10 bucks.  Most of them have the lens stuck but otherwise work great. 

Google "digital pinhole camera" to get ideas of what you want and then carefully take off your lens.  if there are any wires connected to the lens you'll have to figure out how to leave them connected.  Those are are the sensor wires that tell the camera brain that the lens is extended or not.   Make your pinhole lens and install it.  then start taking pictures.