Building A Pinhole Camera

This week, I decided to try and make the worlds simplest camera. Anybody can make one of these with a little bit of time and some patience. For the cost, it is actually a very practical camera, and you can get all kinds of neat pictures with it. If you would like to make one, there are many tutorials out on the internet, so I won't write one here, but all you really need is some black electrical tape, a small square of aluminum cut from a tin can, a used 35mm film canister, and a new roll of 35mm film and the box it came in.

This camera was made with the box from a roll of 35mm film. The film is about as wide as the box is tall, so  it is easy to feed your roll through it. In this picture, I removed the rolls from the sides, but I had taped the fresh canister on one side, and the take up canister on the other side to allow for multiple exposures without having to go into a dark environment to switch it out for each frame. the metal plate in the middle is where the pin hole is, which is how the light passes through the box and onto the film.

Camera with film rolls attached. Part of a binder clip works as the film advance knob.


All in all, you can make one of these for as little as $10, but it is essentially free to make if you already have the supplies floating around like I did.

Here are the most notable shots I got at my first attempt. It is a bit difficult to determine the exposure the first few times, since the exact aperture is not known.






These were all digitally enhanced, since contrast was a bit dull from over or under exposure. I have noticed that the scanner tends to decrease the contrast on most negatives as well.

With 400 ISO film, I determined that exposures probably take around 2 or 3 seconds in full daylight.

Amazing results for something made out of cardboard. Give it a try! If you can't develop the film yourself, find a lab that has a knowledgeable staff (or at least looks like they will follow directions) and tell them that the spacing may be off (since it was not put in a traditional 35mm camera), and that extra care should be taken to make sure any frames are not cut in half.

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