Pinhole Project Start

This is the post I meant to put on my blog first. Instead I started with Pinholes and Ice Monsters which is actually the third installment. But now—I take you to the start of my mad pinhole experiments.

I’ve been interested in pinhole photography for a while. I have some great cameras and I love them. They are my spendy pencils. They can take amazingly sharp and beautiful photos. But I also love low-fi and DIY styles of photography so I’m quite keen on pinhole photography.

One thing I like about pinhole is that you really need to know how to manipulate the basics of aperture, time and ISO. It’s a good way to hone photographic thinking. I love the point and shoot of my iPhone and digital functions and algorithms are great. But there is also something about an analog image where I can look at the photo and honestly say to myself, “I figured out how to get that image.” Maybe it’s more of an artisan approach?

Detail of Hasuki. Canon Eos DSLR Pinhole

Detail of Hasuki.

My first foray into pinhole photography was in 2007 with my Canon Eos Kiss (Rebel in N. America) and Kenko Pinhole Body Cap 02 with a Canon mount adapter. The image looked really dirty like someone had a party on the sensor and forgot to sweep. It had little of the pinhole charm so I was unimpressed. Mostly I freaked that I was ruining my sensor. But I think the actual pinhole is covered with glass so I don’t know where this dirt came from. I let the body cap sit in a drawer, this exercise to be forgotten.

But this DIY concept won’t leave me alone so this pinhole thing has reemerged in my brain. This time I have more lo-fi standards. I don’t expect digital quality. I’m going to try making my pinhole cameras or at least cobbling things together.

Step One: Research
Getting the exposure guide times for pinhole was my first start. I like this site. Second is to review the whole thing. I bought this book: Pinhole Cameras by Chris Keeney. His site is super inspiring. I’m looking forward to building according to his directions.

Step Two: Cobble something together.
I found a Minolta SR-7 at Ozawa Camera in Ebisu (minutes from the station) for 500 yen.  The shutter worked, the bulb function worked and the film seemed to wind. No lens but perfect for my needs. I was planning on using the Kenko body-cap pinhole I had lying around from last time.The metering doesn’t work but I wasn’t planning on doing TTL (through the lens) metering. I’m going to use my lightmeter and make calculations. Yay, math! Joking. I’m using a chart so I will use someone else’s calculations. So yay sharing!

I looked on the internet and found some body caps for Minolta but I will have to order them. I want to try now. If I use that old canon body cap pinhole I can stash-bust (yay yarn terms crossovers!) not buy more stuff. So old body cap and tons of black-tape it is!

minolta_pinhole_setupHere’s a photo of the adaptation I made to the Minolta. Only I didn’t have any black gaffer tape. I suppose I could have used tinfoil to block light. Also used a cable release to reduce shake.

Step Three: Try it
Film used is Fuji Natura 1600. Meter reading was so according to the chart my exposure time is

Step Four: Evaluate Results 

Step Five: Review
The film has a really greenish cast. I will put that down to using film that expired two years ago. Now I know a lot about actinic radiation. Future post perhaps. Maybe it’s a waste of money to develop that old film, but I honestly didn’t think I would get any images. The color and the grain, plus the softness give the images a romantic feel. The next day test was to check the DOF. I read that there is no DOF to speak of so I wanted to see how close I could get. Meh. I need a grander scale.

I have to admit, I’m fascinated by this camera. Though I’m tempted by the idea of a 500 yen dedicated pinhole, I feel this need to let the camera be it’s true self and get it a real lens. I found a lens for 3000 yen in Nakano. I might take it to National Photo and ask them if they have any opinions.

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