Some time ago I decided I felt like making a PINHOLE camera: it takes pictures with no need for a lens!!... You don't need pretty much anything at all, actually!!
Now, these are the two tutorials I drew my inspiration from:
Matchboxpinhole, a very popular and useful tutorial and Juice box pinhole camera, a video which is way more fun and well done.
I'm talking about inspiration as the "model" I've built is somekind of a blend of both, that is to say: the juice box camera uses as its lens cover just a simple piece of adhesive tape. I made the camera following these directions step by step, but then I've added a cardboard strip to use as a lens cover for the pinhole, as in the matchbox camera :)
(I know this might sound a bit vague if you've never seen the two tutorials before, but I felt compelled to mention them and explain my modifications, though in a not so clear way)
But let's move on!
What you need: juice box, scissors, utility knife, permanent marker, hair clip (or key), adhesive tape, tin can, new film roll, old film roll (i.e. used but still having the last bit of film sticking out of the slit), cardboard, needle.
Once you’ve drunk the juice, lift the two upper winglets and cut the tips off; after this, wash very carefully what is going to be the body of your camera, filling it with water and emptying it several times.
then proceed as follows:
pull some of the film out of the new roll and measure it on the juice box, marking its edges with the pen. If you want photos in the common format, the resulting rectangle will have to be smaller than the actual height of the film; if on the other hand you want to have sprocket holes in your pictures, you should cut a rectangle bigger than the film, so that the latter will be impressed entirely.
now, cut off with the utility knife the rectangle you have drawn, creating a window in the juice box (also take the chance to dry the interior of the box with a paper towel, as it’ll still be wet from the previous rinsing).
once the window has been cut, draw an X on the inside of the box, so as to approximately find its centre
and cut a small window in that place
now take the can and cut a small square off it with the knife
pierce a hole with the needle in the aforementioned square. Be very careful not to make too big a hole, as it needs to be really tiny!
now we can attach the pierced tin-can square to the smaller window in the juice box, using some adhesive tape.
The result will look something like this. From now on, we’ll make an extensive use of adhesive tape, so make sure you have enough of it or you’ll risk ending up like me: last time I ran out of it half way through the construction!
Also cover with tape the edges of the bigger window
Now take the new film roll and cut off the narrow, initial portion of the film
Simply using some adhesive tape, join the new film (just made even with your scissors) to the bit of film sticking out of the used roll.
draw some of the film out of the roll, enough to be able to place it at the centre of the bigger window, and so that the two rolls can rest to the sides of the box.
now you need to cut a piece of cardboard big enough to entirely cover the bigger window. In its turn and
wrap this piece of cardboard with adhesive tape.
attach the cardboard to the camera body so that it can perfectly shield the film from the light.
Take extra care in sealing the spots where the rolls meet the box
making sure that light cannot possibly filter in any way.
now take another rectangular piece of cardboard, big enough to cover the part of the box on which you have attached the lens (that is, the tin-can square). Wrap this piece of cardboard in adhesive tape as well.
cut in its centre a little window, of the same size as the smaller one previously cut in the juice box.
Now cut a strip of cardboard almost as long as the height of the juice box and a few inches wide. This too has to be covered with tape.
Again with the adhesive tape, attach the piece of cardboard with the little window in its centre to the front of the camera. Make sure that the little window matches the spot where you attached the tin-can lens.
seal everything hermetically once again, just leaving an open slit at the top, where the long and narrow strip of cardboard will be inserted. This will work as a shutter, opening...
…and shutting the little window with the tiny hole, from which the film will receive the light.
And there you go: your pinhole is ready!
Now all you have to do is have fun customising it!
I bought some coloured adhesive tapes and attached some labels made with a Dymo labeller. I think the final effect is very nice and lo-fi!
As for the exposure times, it’s really a matter of trial. Anyways, the most reliable sites offer the following table:
with 100 or 200 iso films:
outdoors, sunny: 1 second (2 at most)
outdoors, cloudy: 5 seconds
indoors, normal light: from 5 to 10 minutes
use the hair clip to rewind the film in the receiving roll (the used one) each time a picture is taken!
Let it make at least 2 or 3 full turns between one shot and the next.
Of course you can replace the clip with a key or anything else that allows you to swivel the film.
I hope everything is clear, and most of all that somebody, reading this post, will feel encouraged to build his or her own home-made camera. A magic camera: I assure you that it is!
So for now that’s all!