WWPD Project #2: 35mm Pinhole Camera Out Of An Empty Film Box Tutorial

Most of us film enthusiast tend to stack up empty film boxes everywhere wishing to recycle them in a clever way. Here's just one of the many cool things you can do with them - pinhole cameras! For my second project for this year's Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day I decided to make a pinhole camera for 35mm film with one of these boxes and a few basic things you can easily find at home.

This is what you will need:

• An empty box of Lomography 35mm film or any other pack of three rolls [or a box approx 11x5cm]
• A fresh roll of 35mm film • An empty roll of 35mm film with a tiny piece of film at the end coming out of the canister • One paper clip

• Adhesive tape [and also masking tape, if you feel like adding a little color to your pinhole camera]
• A thick piece of aluminum foil [you can cut it out of an empty soda can] • A needle • Scissors and a cutter • Black vynil electrical tape • Pencil & ruler • Stapler

First of all, you'll need an empty box of film. I'm using one of Lomography's tri-pack boxes as I have loads laying around in many drawers in my bedroom. Carefully open your box and lay it flat, then remove any traces of glue from it.

Copy this design on the back of your box [click on picture to see it bigger]. You can see the measurements marked here in the bigger picture, or you can figure them out yourself using a film roll to see how to fit it perfectly in your box.

Draw the diagonals [see the green lines in the picture] to find where to put your pinhole [it will replace the red square in the centre] and where to cut the two holes for the top of the two film canisters.

Cut along the red lines and cut out the parts colored in red.

Fold along the black lines. You can use a ruler to fold the cardboard straight.

You can cut out the external parts covered by the ruler in these two pictures, or you can fold them and glue them to the sides of your box as you like.

You will now need a piece of aluminum foil thick enough to pierce a sharp, tiny hole in it, and a needle. You can cut a piece of aluminum out of an empty soda can [be careful!]. The window I cut out for the pinhole was 1x1cm, so if you follow my design and measurements you could cut a piece of aluminum a little bigger than it [mine is approx 1,2x1,5cm, but this really is up to you].

The pinhole, as the name suggests, has to be really tiny: you will only have to push the tip of your needle through the foil.

Remember this simple rule in pinhole photography: the smaller the pinhole, the sharper the picture.

Using black vynil elecrtical tape, tape the aluminum foil to the box [the central diagonals will show you where to place the pinhole].

As some of the original folding lines are now in the middle of the sides of your box, you may want to use some tape to prevent them from bending.

You can now properly build your camera. I started folding the upper side of my box and then I used both staples and tape to keep everything in place [pay attention not to tape the two holes for the top of the canisters!].

When your box looks somewhat like this one below, it's time to get your rolls out.

First, take a fresh roll of film.

Cut the leader off.

Tape the new film [the 100 ISO roll in my picture] to the end of the old one [the 200 ISO roll in my picture]. The new film must be placed with the top of its canister on the bottom, unless you wish to take redscale pictures. In case, you will have to place the new film with its top facing the upper side of your box, and you will have to pierce a hole on the upper left side of the box [instead of the lower left side as marked in my design].

You can now load the film into your soon-to-be pinhole camera so that the two tops of the canisters come out of the two holes we cut out in the box.

Close the back door using black vynil tape.

Now you will have to tape any possible hole or slit on your camera to make it light-tight [use black vynil tape first, then you can add masking tape, stickers, anything you like to customize your camera].

You can now fit the paper clip in the top of the empty canister to use it as your own advance wheel. After each shot you will have to turn the paper clip counter-clockwise twice to move to the next frame

Every camera needs a shutter, and so does your brand new pinhole camera! You can use a piece of black tape that you can remove whenever you want to expose your film and than put back in place before moving to the next shot, or you can try to add a sort of slide shutter to your camera like I did. The best thing about sliding-shutters is that you can use them as color filter holders!

So here's how my camera looks when the shutter is closed...

...And here's how it looks when the shutter is open!

Now you're ready to take your camera out and take some cool pictures, just remember that you will have to turn the paper clip counter-clockwise twice each time you take a picture to advance to the next frame. You will also need to hold your pinhole camera still when you take a photo [you can put it on something steady like a table, a stack of books...].

nce again, take a look at this Exposure Guide which comes with the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator and keep your shutter open according to the amount of time stated in this useful guide [I definitely need to print this out and stick it to the back of each of the pinhole cameras I've built].

Now you really are ready to shoot - Have fun with your new pinhole camera!

Article on Lomography.com | LomoHome | Flickr

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WWPD Project #1: Instant Pinhole Camera Tutorial

Last year I built my very first pinhole camera less than a week after Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day. This time I want to make sure to celebrate it properly. I will build three pinhole cameras, one for each of the film formats I'm familiar with: 35mm, 120 and instant film.

The first of my three projects for this year's Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day was building a pinhole camera that works with instant film. I wanted to turn one of my SX-70s into a pinhole camera, but being the Impossible Project film so expensive, I decided to try this easier and cheaper version first. I am aware that the Diana F+ has a pinhole function, and I know there is a Diana Multi Pinhole Operator camera too, but lately I'm feeling crafty [well, sort of].

This project only takes about one hour and you don't really need to be a crafty person to make your own instant pinhole camera, you only need an Instant Back+ and a few items you can surely find at home:

You will need:
1. An Instant Back+ [I used the Diana F+ Instant Back]
2. A box fitting your Instant Back+ [approx 12 x 9,5 cm, you can also make one using cardboard]
3. Cardboard [to make sure the box is thick enough to be light-tight and to build the shutter]
4. A small piece of thick aluminum foil [you can cut one out of an empty can, or you can use a jar lid just like I did]
5. A needle [you could use a hammer to make the pinhole, especially if you're using a jar lid, and a clothespin]
6. Black vynil electrical tape
7. Masking tape or just normal tape
8. Scissors and a cutter
9. Permanent marker
10. Black paint and a brush
11. A sound-track
12. Instant film

First of all, take a look at your box. In my case, it was't thick enough, so I decided to add a piece of cardboard inside to make sure the light would not leak in from the front of my soon-to-be pinhole camera. Cut a 12 x 9.5 piece of cardboard and draw a line at 2.5cm from the bottom. Mark the two diagonals on your piece of cardboard in order to find its centre. 

You need to exclude the 2.5cm margin at the bottom as this area in the Instant Back+ does not correspond to the place where the film is, so if you mark the two diagonals without taking the margin into account, you will not find the exact place to put your pinhole. 
You will have to mark this margin and the diagonals on the back of the box as well.

Now you will have to cut out a small window around the point where the two diagonals meet both on the piece of carboard and the box. Place your cardboard sheet inside the box and stick it to it. Use your black vynil electrical tape to cover the edges of the window.
I decided to add another piece of cardboard right on the 2.5cm margin in order to hold the Instant Back+ steady into the box, but I guess you can skip this part.

Check if there is any place the light might leak through. In case, cover it with vynil tape. Now you can paint the box all black inside.

While you're waiting for the paint to dry, you can make the actual pinhole. You will need a piece of thick aluminum foil: just cut a tiny piece of aluminum out of an empty soda can or use a jar lid. The pinhole has to be teeny-weeny [the smaller the pinhole, the sharper the image] and its border must be as sharp as possible. If you're using a piece of can, simply lay it down on the table [make sure the table is somehow safe from accidental punching] and punch it with the tip of the needle. You may want to hold the needle with a clothespin [like a wooden one] if you have very sensitive fingers. If you're using a jar lid like I did, I suggest you use a hammer, so that the hole's edges are clear. Again, you only have to punch it with the tip of the needle, you don't have to hammer like crazy. If you're feeling a little frustrated you can always have a break and go wave your hammer around somewhere else [just kidding].

Once the paint is completely dried, check again both the inside and the outside of the box and tape any corner, hole or crack on it.

Tape the pinhole to the box making sure it is virtually placed exactly where the two diagonals meet [you can do this looking at the box and pinhole against the light].

Your camera will now need a shutter. You can use a piece of black tape that you can remove when you want to expose the film and put back in place when you're done, or you can make something a little more crafty. Due to very limited skills, I made this slide shutter cutting two pieces of cardboard about the same size as my jar lid, then I stuck them together cutting out a part big enough not to cover my pinhole and to slide a piece of cardboard through to use as the actual shutter. Once again, I painted both of these pieces of cardboard black. I didn't take a picture of it, but you'll get the idea in the final photo.

Now you can put the Instant Back+ in place. You will load the film later, but now make sure you put some fresh batteries in it!
You will need lots of tape to hold it down to the box, so I suggest you use normal tape or masking tape first and only then black vynil tape to make sure your camera really is light-tight. Just make sure not to tape the pinhole itself, the film ejection slit of the Instant Back+, the Instant Back+'s back, and the tripod thread mount on the bottom of it... it will definitely come in handy, as we're talking about pinhole photography!

Finally, here's your pinhole instant camera. I know, it looks much like an ugly duckling, but you can add stickers, draw something cute on it, glue stuff to it... but most of all, you can take great, tiny pictures with it!

All you have to do now is load some film and go take a picture. Being Fuji Instant Mini a 800 ISO film I couldn't find an accurate exposure guide, so while I'm trying to figure out the proper exposure time I'm currently exposing my pictures for about half the time recommended for 400 ISO film in the guide that comes with the Diana Multi Pinhole Operator. Also, you can put a color filter on the pinhole, but then you will have to keep the shutter open a bit longer.

Here you can see some test shots taken indoor at noon; the exposure time was 3, 4 and 5 minutes respectively [pictures are 100% unedited].

Let me know if you try this very easy project, I'd love to see your results!

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Diana Mini: Yet Another Pub Night

Lomography Diana Mini + Lomo Xpro Slide 200

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Diana Mini: The Raging Puppy

Some time ago Dru and I were playing the raging puppies in my bedroom, which is something we do on a daily basis. The roll in the Mini was yet to finish, so I gave it a try.

 I actually thought nothing would turn out as she was shaking like crazy.

She really was indeed.

And she was also making the funniest growls.

I also happened to shoot an accidental double exposure, but her white fur is just too white to see it.

Then all of a sudden she calmed down. And grew quite serious. 

And so I thought to take a couple of silly self portraits.

I told you they were silly. 

Overall, I'm quite pleased with this film, and I guess this camera  is pretty growing on me as well.

[Album in my LomoHome][Set on Flickr, click on each pic for the direct link]

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