Modular Shutter

Finally!  I’ve extracted the simple and reliable shutter from Flyer and Clipper, added a mount, and now Tim Page of Eastern Camera and Optical Supply in Massachusetts has made it available for anyone who wants to make a pinhole camera from any box, container, or can.  Sure, you can use tape to stick on a pinhole and another piece of tape for a shutter, but this just makes your camera look more professional and it’s easier and slicker to operate.

Modular Shutter for Pinhole Cameras

Modular Shutter for Pinhole Cameras

This assembly has the same simple flip shutter and o-ring pinhole disc retainer, with mounting ears to screw or glue onto whatever you’d like to turn into a pinhole camera. With an extremely wide 140 degree horizontal field of view and 130 degree wide vertical field of view, all you need is an appropriate size pinhole for the focal length of the camera back.

Make a 5×7, 8×10, or larger large format view camera with a simple box or can, using photographic paper.  Project the image onto a curved or slanted back for unusual photographs and effects.

The mount can be screwed on with 2-56 or M2 screws or bolts, using a piece of black felt, cloth, or sealant to seal the gap between the mount and the camera back, or simply stuck on with some black epoxy or sealant.

The pinhole disc is 20mm and can be popped out after removing the o-ring, and replaced with a zone plate, mega pinhole, slit, or neutral density filters can be added on top of the pinhole disc for long duration suntrack (solargraph) photography.  3/4″ or 19mm pinhole discs can be used as well.

What can you do with a modular shutter?  Post photos of your creations (and photographs taken) to the Pinhole Printed Flickr group!  Need a lot for a science class or special project?  Get in touch!


Pinhole Printed cameras have been in the news! If you have any other links or news to share, please let me know.


March 2017 / National Science + Media Museum, Bradford UK – “Poetics of Light” is exhibiting for the first time outside the USA, through June 24th, 2017
August 2014 / New Mexico History Museum – Flyer and Clipper added to the permanent collection and on display in the “Poetics of Light” exhibition in Santa Fe, through January 10, 2016.
[Flyer 6×6, Clipper 6×18 Win Honors!]
(c) 2014, Brian Richman, used by permission


August 2014 / Brian Richman – image from first roll of film wins 1st Place in 2014 North Texas Business Council for the Arts annual arts contest “On My Own Time” [Pinholes & Tripods]
(c) 2014, Brian Richman, used by permission



19 Aug 2015 / – Featured on Home Page!
17 Aug 2015 / Adafruit Blog – 3D Print a Pinhole Camera
14 Aug 2015 / The Large Format Blog – Print your own pinhole camera
11 Aug 2015 / Minifabrikam – Kendi fotoğraf makinanızı yapabilirsiniz: Pinhole Camera (in Turkish)
10 Aug 2015 / ePHOTOzine – Free 3D Printed Pinhole Camera Design
10 Aug 2015 / – Easy 35 Released: A new 3d Printed Pinhole
11 Aug 2015 / Minifabrikam – Kendi fotoğraf makinanızı yapabilirsiniz: Pinhole Camera (in Turkish)
10 Aug 2015 / – Easy 35 Released: A new 3d Printed Pinhole Camera
10 Aug 2015 / Foto Magazine – Proiectul Pinhole Easy 35 (in Romanian)
8 Aug 2015 / – The Stories We Didn’t Cover This Week — August 8, 2015
6 Aug 2015 / Featured on Pinshape’s Staff Picks!Check out these 3D printer designs
6 Aug 2015 / 3D Printing Industry – “Easy 35″ Pinhole Camera 3D Printed with Ease
6 Aug 2015 / – Now you can make your own 3D printed pinhole camera Easy 35 in just 3.5 hours
4 Aug 2015 / – Easy 35 Pinhole Camera



21 Nov 2013 / Lomography – Pinhole Printed: 3D Printed Pinhole Cameras by Clint O’Connor
11 Nov 2013 / DamnGeeky – 3D printed pinhole camera amalgamated old aesthetics with modern technology
08 Nov 2013 / – Pinhole printed: la cámara pinhole hecha con impresora 3D (Spanish)
06 Nov 2013 / – Pinhole, Printed – a 3D printed pinhole camera
05 Nov 2013 / The Register – Inventor whips lenscap off 3D-printed pinhole camera
04 Nov 2013 / Softpedia – 3D-Printed Pinhole Camera Funded on Kickstarter
01 Nov 2013 / Austin Chronicle – Kickstart Your Weekend With Pinhole Photography
28 Oct 2013 / Film’s Not Dead – A 3D PRINTED PINHOLE CAMERA – CLINT O’CONNOR
27 Oct 2013 / Solidoodle – Solidoodler Shares Magic of Pinhole Photography
26 Oct 2013 / Funded Friday – Kickstarted’s “Funded Friday: Clint O’Connor of Pinhole, Printed – A 3D printed pinhole camera”
23 Oct 2013 / The Grunge (Wabash) – Clint O’Connor ’78 and the 3-D Pinhole Camera
21 Oct 2013 / The New Aesthetic – Pinhole, Printed – a 3D printed pinhole camera by Clint O’Connor — Kickstarter
20 Oct 2013 / Trendy Graphic – Pinhole, A 3D Printed Camera
18 Oct 2013 / Top 4 3D Printing – THE HOT THREE: Top 3D print creations of the week
17 Oct 2013 / Pdexposure – Pinhole, Printed – A 3D Printed Pinhole Camera
17 Oct 2013 / Fichier3D – Pinhole, un appareil photo imprimé en 3D (French)
17 Oct 2013 / DIY 3D Printing – Pinhole – DIY 3d printable camera
17 Oct 2013 / 3D Printing Industry – Pinhole, 3D Printed Camera Technology Made Simple
16 Oct 2013 / Pinholista – Pinhole Printed
15 Oct 2013 / TCT – A 3D printed pinhole camera
15 Oct 2013 / Pinhole Camera – 3D Printing & Creatively Recreating Classic Film Fun
14 Oct 2013 / Photocritic – Pinhole, Printed – a 3D printed pinhole camera on Kickstarter
14 Oct 2013 / ePhotoZine – 3D Printed Pinhole Camera Created
13 Oct 2013 / 3Ders – Pinhole: a 3D printed pinhole camera on Kickstarter

Funded with Kickstarter!

kickstarter-badge-funded   Pinhole Printed ended with 351 backers and 1175% overfunded – a runaway success!

Well done and a big thank-you to everybody who has been involved in this project and most importantly a huge thank you to the people who supported and backed the project from the outset!  I really appreciate it.  Though it’s over, you can still visit my official Kickstarter page here or read the captured version below.  All of the Kickstarter cameras have been printed and delivered on schedule.

[button href=”” title=”Order a 3D Printed Pinhole Camera” shape=”square” size=”large” block=”false” circle=”false” icon_only=”true” info=”tooltip”]Order a 3D Printed Pinhole Camera [/button]





Where Old School Meets New Technology

One characteristic of all my previous pinhole cameras is that they were either handmade from cardboard or wood or metal cans, or they involved considerable modification to existing film cameras.  In other words, they were difficult to reproduce and not easily shared.  As well, many could not be left out in the weather as they would fall apart or rust.

Since I got my first Solidoodle 3 printer, I have been designing and printing pinhole cameras.  There’s something really cool about using the latest technology to produce such a simple no-technology camera.  3D printing enables single-part complex structures that cannot be manufactured by normal injection molding techniques.  I am not interested in making the next cheap Holga or Diana – I’m interested in what can be accomplished with 3D printing and CAD design.

Now that I can share my experiences with a reproducible camera, I’d like to introduce you to your Flyer camera and to the magic of pinhole photography.

slide_1Flyer is my first 3D printed pinhole camera.  It is printed in ABS (the same plastic used in LEGO blocks) and designed to be robust and light.  It takes a 6cm x 6cm square image, 12 exposures to a roll of 120 film, just like a Hasselblad.  It can be mounted to a tripod and it has a flip shutter that is really easy to use. The field of view is 70 degrees with an f/stop of 160.

The camera is incredibly simple to use.  It can be loaded and used in less than 30 seconds out of the box, as you can see from the following no-text instruction diagram.

Flyer Instruction Card

  1. Prep
  2. Load
  3. Cover
  4. Wind to number 1
  5. Open shutter to take picture, wind to number 2, and repeat
  6. After 12, wind and wind until all film is on spool



Pinhole cameras are the embodiment of the simplest form of photography – they are nothing more than a box with a small hole on one end and film at the other, yet they are capable of amazing images.

To understand how they work, imagine you are standing outside the box with the film in it and shining a flashlight on the pinhole. Only a small portion of the beam will get in and illuminate the film in a straight line through the pinhole (you can understand from this diagram why images through a lens are upside down).


Imaging through a Pinhole

Imaging through a Pinhole

Now imagine walking all around the box, turning the light off and on, until you have “painted” an image onto the film.  This is how a pinhole camera works – the light reflected off the scene you are photographing is like the flashlight, only all angles at the same time, and you have the full image of the scene on the film.


Imaging through a Pinhole

Imaging through a Pinhole

But the light coming through a very small pinhole must be dim!  What if we made the pinhole bigger so we could get more light and not have to wait so long for the film to capture the image?  Excellent idea – only…


Imaging through a Large Hole

Imaging through a Large Hole

Well, no, you can see why it won’t work well.  The image will be a lot fuzzier and larger, overlapping with adjacent “beams” of light.

As it turns out, there is an “optimal” size for a pinhole, that will result in the sharpest possible image.  Too large, and you get what I described above.  Too small, and you start getting diffraction effects, plus it takes forever.  There’s some math that goes into all this, but you have the basic idea now.

Lenses were developed to sharpen the focus and bring more light in, enabling very fast picture taking.  Then digital photography came along and swept out film, being vastly more convenient and instantaneous – expressing the impatient nature of the Internet age.

Slowing Time

Think about it – when was the last time you remember thinking about the picture you were going to take and examining the scene and angles before you took the picture?  Do you remember when and where and how you composed that picture?  Or did you just hold your finger on the button – bam bam bam ?

With pinhole photography and film, you are slowing time down and re-experiencing the magic and wonder of taking a picture and wondering what would come of it.  Very often, particularly with pinhole photography, you get the unexpected.


Professional photographers worry a lot about bokeh, which is the blur, or the aesthetic qualities of the blur, in the out of focus areas in a photograph.  With a pinhole, you don’t have bokeh.  Essentially everything in front of the camera is equally focused because of the very small aperture of a pinhole.  You have to think about the scene and what is immediately in front of the pinhole, as well as what is way back in the background.  This image, taken with a Flyer 6×6, illustrates the point.  At the same time, you could argue the whole picture has a bit of bokeh – a pinhole is not perfectly focused.  There is a pleasing softness to pinhole photographs.


Looking along a fence

Looking along a fence


One thing is for sure.  In coming back to film and pinhole photography, you are returning to basic photography, where you need to think about the picture you are going to take and how it will look on the film, because there is no bam-bam-bam button.  In fact, you will often be waiting minutes to complete your photograph, and you may be surprised by the result.  It’s magic.