Suppose you want a pinhole camera …

… but all you have is a DSLR?

This may be the goofiest experiment I’ve done yet!



If you want to do this yourself here are some notes about it:

1). After trying various camera colour modes I decided “natural” with the sharpness at maximum looked the best. It does well in B&W too if you want that total “printing paper negative” effect. It doesn’t make much difference if shot at 18MP or less; the clarity just isn’t there.

2). Bright sunshine lets you use 1/60 shutter speed for steadiness @ ISO 1600. Some shots may still be a little under and require tweaking, or you could push the ISO up further.

3). The smaller and rounder you can make the pinhole the sharper the images will be, but they will never be “lens sharp”. You can experiment with aluminium foil but it’s not very sturdy and may flex too much. Brass sheet is ideal, but pretty hard to find. I used a bit of aluminium roof flashing cut to a rough circle painted black and taped over the #1 Pentax extension tube screwed into the EF adapter. A jeweler’s deburring tool would have been nice, but alas …

4). You could use a body cap to make a “direct fit” version of this. Remember that focus is pretty much the same at all distances and moving the pinhole further from the ‘film plane’ gives a telephoto effect.

5). These images will always lack detail, therefor intricate subject matter like branches or hair aren’t going to look like much or even be recognizable. “Blocky” subjects like buildings and vehicles come across better in my opinion. Unless you want undefined blurs.

6). This would no doubt work better with a full-frame sensor, which would be even sillier as well as much more expensive if you haven’t already got the camera.

7). Dust got on the sensor again. This type of experiment would be murder for a mirrorless camera.

Once again not a very practical way to take pictures. But the results are similar to buying one of those el cheapo lenses – and for a lot less money. It is always easier to make pictures “soft” than it is to get them “sharp”, and there’s no need to spend a lot to do it!

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