HANDMADE DIY 35mm MATCHBOX PINHOLE CAMERA

Posted in DIY, HANDMADE, PINHOLE by Nicole Gelinas on March 4, 2012

Here are my first photos using a matchbox pinhole camera. These cameras are very inexpensive and really easy to build. You probably already have the materials you need in your junk drawer!

These images might not be the best reproductions as I did not have a film scanner when I developed these. I used a light tracing box and a macro lens on my digital camera to take pictures of the negatives and then inverted the digital image in Photoshop. I still love the results though! The white streaks you are seeing are from a light leak in the camera that I built. I actually don’t mind them as they sort of give the images character and a ghostly spirit affect. As far as the really dark edges, I am not exactly sure why it did not expose the whole negative, other than I might need to make my pinhole a tiny bit larger to expose more of the film area.

Just like with any camera the aperture size does matter in terms of what will be in focus or not. The cool thing about pinhole photography is you can get your foreground and background to infinity into focus if you keep the pinhole very small. Remember the smaller the pinhole, the sharper the images will be!

There is no viewfinder, you literally just point the camera in the direction of your subject and expose the film. You won’t really know what to expect until you see the images!

There are ways to actually calculate how long to expose your film based on the measurements of your pinhole, but it is quite a process, and if you are not very good at math can be kind of confusing. For the images above I just used my “educated guessing skills” and stuck with these guidelines: outside with sun 1-2 seconds, outside and overcast about 5 seconds. Be sure and keep your camera steady as you are exposing the film to get a clear photo.

As far as film, I prefer black and white for pinhole photography, but color film can also be used. For film speeds, I would keep it at iso 100, 200, or 400 to keep some clarity and detail in the photos and it helps to keep the grain low. These photos were shot at iso 400 on Kodak Professional BW400CN film.

If you would like to make your own, here is a stop motion video on how to build a matchbox pinhole camera! If you have any further questions there is a TON of information all over the web that is really helpful! There are also a bunch of different versions of pinhole cameras, but this seems to be the most basic and straightforward design.

 

Don’t forget that there is an annual worldwide pinhole photography day, on the last Sunday in April. This years is on April 29, 2012. Thats only 55 days away! On this day there are a bunch of websites that will allow you to upload your pinhole photography to their sites and celebrate the magic of this simple art form!!