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Pin Hole Camera

Updated on September 9, 2014

Discovering Pinhole Cameras and Pinhole Photography

I love pinhole cameras because they're so cheap and easy to make but so much fun. They take pictures with an extreme depth of field - essentially everything is in focus - but the focus is kind of soft so the pictures have a dreamy, old time look. Pinhole cameras are also the cheapest and simplest cameras - in fact you can easily design and build one yourself. If you don't want to build your own from scratch, you can find many pinhole designs on the web you can build, you can get a pinhole kit, and you can even buy a ready to use pinhole camera. If you have an old 35mm SLR laying around you can easily convert it into a pinhole. Whichever way you decide to go, pinhole photography is easy to get into and fun, so give it a try...

(Photo Credit: Clemson via Flickr under the Creative Commons license)

Getting Started with Pinhole Photography

First you'll need a pinhole camera...

Finding (or making) your own pinhole camera is easy. In order of difficulty, you can buy a ready to use pinhole camera, convert an existing camera to use a pin hole aperture, build a simple pinhole camera that uses photographic paper instead of film, build a 35mm pinhole camera from plans or a kit, or design your own pinhole camera. Whichever way you decide to go, pinhole photography is a lot of fun so lets get started...

Photo Credit: cibomahto via Flickr under the Creative Commons license)

The easiest way to get started in pinhole photography is with a ready to use camera like the Holga 135 pinhole camera. It's cheap, easy to use (don't forget to wind the film between shots), and takes 35mm film. If 35mm isn't your thing, the Holga 120PC takes 120 film. Besides these "standard" pinhole cameras, Holga also offers a couple other interesting pinholes (both take 120 film): the Holga 120 Wide Pinhole Camera takes panoramic shots and the 120PC-3D Stereo Pinhole Camera takes stereo 3D slides (you'll need a 3D Slide Viewer to view them). If you do get one of the Holga pinhole cameras, don't forget to get the Holga Shutter Release Kit - it will make it much easier to take pictures without photographer induced blur...

Holga Pinhole Cameras and Accessories - Great prices from Amazon...

Convert an Existing Camera

Convert a 35mm SLR into a pinhole camera...

If buying a ready to use pinhole camera sounds too boring but you don't quite feel up to the task of building one yourself, converting a 35mm SLR film camera is an easy way to go. You can find them all day long on eBay for $50 or so, and besides the camera all you need is an extension tube that fits whatever camera you have. The camera has to have manual shutter control (sorry, an OM-10 won't work), so if you're buying one for this project make sure it does. The best part about this conversion is you can still use the camera as a "regular" 35mm camera when you're not using it as a pinhole...

Build Your Own Pinhole Camera

Building a pin hole camera from scratch...

Pin hole cameras are easy to build from scratch because they're so simple. The easiest ones to build use photographic paper instead of film. Since paper is loaded 1 sheet at a time, you don't need to worry about advancing the film between shots. Paper is also much less sensitive to light than film, so black and white paper can be loaded into your camera under a safe light while cut film sheets require complete darkness.

Paper or Plastic? - Film or Paper for your Pin Hole Camera?

If you're making your own pin hole camera, you can choose a design that uses film or you can choose a design that uses photographic paper. Film pinhole cameras are more convenient because you can shoot a whole role of pictures before reloading the camera, and you can get the film developed just about anywhere. On the other hand, you may need to load and/or unload in complete darkness depending on the design of the camera. Pinhole cameras that use photographic paper must be loaded for each shot (under a safe light is OK for black and white), but they allow you to do your own developing which can help save money. Paper pinhole cameras can also be used for interesting special effects like solargraphy.

Photographic Paper or Film?

Build a Pinhole Camera Kit

Making your own pin hole camera from a kit is easy and fun...

Pinhole Camera Kit - This kit gets greeat reviews and really IS easy to build...

Design Your Own Pinhole Camera

Putting the 'D' in DIY pinhole...

Please Sign My Guestbook - Ask questions or share your pinhole tips...

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I had not heard of pinhole cameras before. I learn something new everyday on Squidoo. :)

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 

      6 years ago

      Building a pinhole camera sounds like a fun project! A photographer friend of mine showed me some photos she took with hers and they are very unusual and interesting.


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