Through An Improved Pinhole

Between my last post and this morning, I’ve done some research into the science behind pinhole cameras and I’ve come up with a new and improved setup.  My first two pinhole attempts were made off the cuff with little consideration put into making the correct size hole based on my particular camera.  This morning’s attempt was undertaken with more care given to creating the optimum size hole.  I won’t get into the nitty gritty here as there are plenty of web resources that offer this information but I will tell you what I came up with for the Sony e-mount camera.

Focal length (including up to the back of the body cap) = 23.5mm.  I tuned for green and yellow wavelengths (510nm – 570nm) and used a constant of 1.9.  This worked out to a pinhole size of ~ 0.10 mm.

Something else I did different this time was wet sand the entire piece of cut-out from my aluminum can.  This reduced the overall thickness of 0.11mm to 0.10mm.  After dimpling the metal with a thin sewing needle, I continued to wet sand the metal until a tiny hole had formed.  Using calipers, I located the point in the taper of the needle where I measured 0.10mm and used that as my hole gauge to waller out the hole to a perfect 0.10mm.  After my hole size was established, I used a fine polishing compound to clean up the metal.  A good washing and a few final gentle twists of my needle in the pinhole and I had a clean, round hole of the correct size.  The last thing I did was blacken the metal on both sides using a permanent marker (not ideal).

First, I want to share some photos with you from my second, wing-it pinhole setup.  I shot these yesterday while out with the family at a local public garden.  After these, I’ll show you the results from the new pinhole.

All photos are uncropped.  I did apply some light post-processing in Photoshop (curves, color grading, and vignette).

This shot here was at ISO 102,400!  Yes it’s grainy but come on!  That ain’t bad for such a crazy high ISO and a pinhole lens.

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)

 

The kids aren’t sad here 🙂  They were just taking a break from the hot sun.   Still made for a neat looking composition.

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (old setup: 0.14mm)

 

On to the new pinhole!  I only completed this a few hours ago so I’ve only got a few photos to show but you’ll get the idea.

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (newest: 0.10mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (newest: 0.10mm)

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (newest: 0.10mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (newest: 0.10mm)

This shot here was done to see how the new pinhole handled being pointed directly at the sun.  It doesn’t flare near as bad as the first two versions.  I actually really like the way the light rays look through this one.

Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (newest: 0.10mm)
Sony A7RmkII w/ homemade pinhole body cap (newest: 0.10mm)

 

So, do you see any difference between the two?  I think the new one has a little more detail and contrast and certainly handles bright light better.  I also think it looks a little more detailed when the subject is closer to the camera.  This, I suspect, is due to the difference in aperture size.  The previous pinhole calculates out to f/167 and the new one works out to f/235.

I hope you enjoyed the latest “Worst Photos” and are inspired to take a stab at making a pinhole cap for your own camera.

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3 thoughts on “Through An Improved Pinhole

  1. There’s definitely more detail to the new pinhole! Love it! But, I do still love the “old” pinhole photos, too.

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  2. Very interesting concept… a very expensive camera- with a lens made out of a tin can.
    Gotta’ love it ! *grin*

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  3. Ha! I thought the very same thing.

    I got some strange looks yesterday walking around taking pictures with not but a body cap attached. Got some looks like, “poor chap doesn’t realize he forgot to put a lens on his camera.” The hole in the cap is so small that unless you’re really looking for it, it appears to just be a capped up body. Lots of fun, no matter.

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