Beyond the simple pinhole camera

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by ed_farmer, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. I have some interest in shooting 8x10 film. While a simple pinhole camera would be an easy solution, I'm looking for something a little more versatile. I'm think of a "zoom" 8x10 box. Two boxes really one that would slide inside of the other adjusting the angle of view (and the exposure, although that could be somewhat addressed by swapping out different pinholes.

    It seems to me that this is just a view camera without the bellows and movement. There could even be a lens board to mount lenses instead of a pin hole.

    Has anybody seen anything like this? I'm always amazed at the amount of knowledge that shows up on this site.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  2. I thought about doing that myself and possibly using a focusing lens mount from Fotoman. I'm not sure if anyone else made/makes those.
    ed_farmer likes this.
  3. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

  4. Oh . . . My interest would definitely require film holders. I'm not interested in going out and changing film in a bag between each shot. I'll take a look at your link. Thanks . . .
  5. If you do build this, please post pictures!
  6. Your best bet is a 8x10 view camera. The film holder scheme makes this project more feasible. As to the pin-hole -- you don't need to mount a lens on the lens board. You can tape aluminum foil over the hole in the board and pierce the foil with a sewing needle. Even better, tape aluminum foil over the lens, or mount in a filter holder. Now pierce this foil. The pin-hole negates the fact that a lens is present.
  7. Thanks Alan . . . I do understand the difference between a pinhole and a lens . . . My idea was to have the option of installing a lens if I build a sliding box for the pinhole version. I would, within limits, be able to focus by sliding the boxes. There are any number of pinhole boxes that have methods for retaining a film holder.

    I'm actually trying to stay away from the idea of buying an 8x10 body. They are expensive and I really do not want the movements. I have a 4x5 field camera for that. I'm not sold on building the entire project. I may buy an 8x10 pinhole camera and then add the sliding function to it.
  8. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    I have done a little pinholing with my Century Graphic. I like most working with a short extension, to get a wide view, even at the cost of some darkening toward the corners. It strikes me that it would be awkward to make a sliding box that works at less than half its maximum length. The inner box section would have to be shorter than the outer, and slide right into it. So having the zooming facility might limit how short you can go. On the other hand, if you make both box parts short, you get a short box and wide view, but the parts may not slide so neatly.
    Instead, you could have front and back boards, and an open box section that clamps between them; then if you want more extension, you just use a longer middle piece.
    ed_farmer likes this.
  9. I understand your point about the length limitations but I think that I would prefer the idea of just making different cameras. To shoot wide, a dedicated camera would be best but the longer style that I am considering would be better for the portrait and still life images that I am considering.
  10. You can "pinhole" on any size format.

    Here are multiple pinholes in aluminum foil on a Nikkormat FTn body:
    Glenn McCreery and ed_farmer like this.
  11. Thanks . . . I'm looking at this as a foray into 8x10 and plan to make contact prints . . . I have shot with a pinhole lens on both film SLRs and DSLRs.
  12. Martha Casanave with her large pinhole camera. Lots of examples on her website.
    Fisherman's Wharf 13c_1.jpg
  13. Check this guy out, his Manhattan photos are amazing. I have actually been thinking about getting an antique lens and making a box camera like his i can shoot straight onto photo paper like he does. Except I do t see me building one big enough to have to carry on a truck bed!


    John Chiara’s Uncanny City
  14. Wow! Thanks for posting Rico. Had not been aware of John Chiara. Best I've seen in years.
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  15. I first heard of John Chiara watching a local PBS TV show called "Spark". I loved the part where he's developing his image in the big drum, rolling it on the floor.

    KQED Spark episode
    Ricochetrider likes this.
  16. Just looking at the Zero Image site and saw that they have a really nice 8x10 camera that they build. It has two focal lengths available by adding a second section. A ground glass is also available, which is apparently useful when using the Zone Plate instead of the pinhole, which allows for more light.
  17. Somebody gave me a massive old lens, a Nippon Kogaku, No. 4201, Nikkor-Q, 1:10, f10.5
    a while ago.

    I'd very much love to make a box to mount the lens in and shoot onto direct positive photo paper, in like 8X10 or something. (similar to what John Chiara is doing)
  18. I was in New York visiting some friends and actually saw an exhibition of John Chiara's Manhattan images, a couple years ago on its last day in some small gallery on maybe the upper west side. The images were 3 feet by 4 feet and bigger! Really amazing, we found this just by chance, searching "photo exhibits, NYC" at the time and date we were there! We called the gallery- they were open, it was the final day. We rushed up there and reveled in these amazing images!

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