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!

New Production

I’m happy to announce new Flyer 6×6 cameras made by Tim Page in Massachusetts. I have been working with Tim to get new production online with the same or better quality as the existing Flyers. They are also available at a lower price without the starter roll of film for users buying extra Flyers for carrying different film or customized for multi-day exposures or other pinholes (zone plates and mega pinholes).

My seasonal absences meant that I kept running out of cameras and disappointing new purchasers.

I will be working with Tim to make Clippers as well, as those run out even faster. Photographers who have Clippers rave over the extreme wide angles with no distortion and nearly zero light falloff at the edges. The 6×18 images are enormous negatives – the equivalent of 80 megapixel and larger sensors in medium format digital cameras.

I’d like to showcase two beautiful pinhole photos here, one of the 2017 total eclipse by Becky Ramotowski of New Mexico using a Flyer, and one of two horsemen by Zbyszek Ładygin of Poland using a Clipper.

Total Eclipse

Total Eclipse and Jet Contrail, Flyer 6×6, (c) 2017, Becky Ramotowski

Two Horsemen, Lake Como, near Colico in northern Italy, Autumn 2016 (c) 2016, Zbyszek Ładygin

One 35

Announcing the One 35

I’m proud to announce the Pinhole Printed One 35 – a one piece 3D printed pinhole camera! Printed in one monolithic block, the One 35 is a complete one-shot camera for 35mm film. Add a pinhole and you’re good to shoot.

Simplicity, Printed

Designed to be quick and easy to print and load, the One 35 opens a world of creativity. Leaving off the shutter not only makes the camera simpler, but expands the possibilities of sequential or simultaneous exposure. Think of new applications where you can use such a small camera or multiple cameras. For instance, past imaginative examples include:

Loading this camera could not be easier. The film passes completely through the One 35, making it simple to load all your cameras in one pass. Following loading, you can cut the film flush to the camera bodies for single exposures. Alternatively, you can leave them in a string for sequential or simultaneous exposure. A changing bag is sufficient if you do not have the convenience of a darkroom at hand.

The One 35 is 40mm x 40mm x 18mm and takes less than an hour to print. As a result of the low cost, you can buy or print many of these cameras. Load them all, take them out of the changing bag as needed and return them after exposure. At the end of the day, develop your bag of cameras.

Exposing the film requires a “shutter” of some sort. Use black tape across the front, pulled off and replaced. Alternatively, a cover over multiple cameras, or a sequential sliding/rotating shutter enable more complex configurations. Your creativity and imagination come into play here. The One 35 provides the canvas on which your vision is painted.

The very low cost of these cameras also make them perfect educational tools for teaching basic pinhole photography.

Easy loading of 35mm film in One 35String of 6 One 35 cameras loaded with 35mm film
Open Source

Best of all, the One 35 is open source under the CC by SA 4.0 license! In short, it’s free to make, even commercially, as long as you attribute my work and share any changes. Click on the CC by SA logo to understand the license terms.


CC by SA 4.0 License Logo
Specifications

3D printed – one piece body
35mm format film, 1 exposure (24mm x 35mm)
Field of view – 114 degrees
Focal length – 12mm
Pinhole diameter – 0.15mm
f/Stop – 80
Tripod nut on bottom (1/4-20)
Size – 40mm x 40mm x 18mm (WxHxD)

Pinhole, Printed

The camera requires a pinhole with an optimal diameter around 0.15mm. Despite the name inspired by my Kickstarter, printing the pinhole part of this camera is simply not possible. Even high end SLS/SLA printers cannot print a 0.15mm pinhole with a thickness of 0.05mm. You will need to buy or make a pinhole. An optional O-ring elegantly holds in the pinhole.

Challenge

What can you do with a loaded bag of these cameras?

 
© 2017, Pinhole, Printed®

Clipper I vs II – A Tale of Two Shutters

Clipper is, in my opinion, one of the best 6×18 pinhole cameras in the world, especially considering the low cost. Users have taken some amazing photos with Clipper.

Clipper has an extremely wide 135 degree field of view, with virtually no light fall off at the ends. In fact, the field of view is so wide that my finger shows up at the edge of my shots. This photo shows the finger shadow in the corner.
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Cable Release?

Clipper I’s shutter was remarkably simple and easy to make, but I felt it could be better still. Was a cable release really necessary? It’s another thing to lose or not have when needed. As well, many pinhole exposures, unless taken in broad daylight with fast film, need more than a few seconds exposure.[clear]

New Design

Clipper II is a redesign of Clipper I using the simple Flyer flip shutter. Everything else about Clipper I remained the same, save a few printability tweaks.

Making a product simpler is harder than making it more complicated. I thought Clipper I’s shutter turned out remarkably well at the time. Yet, using Flyer’s flip shutter has made Clipper II even better.

Update

To clarify the choice, if you use a tripod or brace your Clipper on a stable surface, Clipper II is better. Clipper I is better only if your exposures are typically less than 10 seconds and you tend to set your Clipper down on a rock or other uneven surface without a tripod.

I use a tripod or tabletop Manfrotto and find Clipper II preferable in nearly all situations except exposures of less than 1 second. I can do 1/4 and 1/2 seconds reasonably well with a cable release, but not with the flip shutter.

Inspiration for Clipper

The inspiration for the Clipper 6×18 came from my first wooden pinhole camera, made back in 1997. This camera has consistently created the best images of all my pinhole cameras, and as a stretch goal for my Kickstarter, I wanted to see if I could 3D print it and stretch it to 6×18. That effort exceeded my expectations and the Clipper 6×18 is even better than the original, which has been as far north as Labrador and as far south as Antarctica (Detaille Island). It is the first 3D printed panoramic pinhole camera ever and one of a very few 6×18 production cameras with a curved backplane. Following is the original description I wrote for that inspirational camera on my old website.

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A 6×16 Panoramic Pinhole Camera

I started to build a similar camera way back in high school days. We moved, I grew up, and the unfinished camera eventually disappeared. Occasionally the idea would resurface, bother me, and disappear again. It took the Internet and the World Wide Web to rekindle my interest. In 1997, I was tracking down other things on Lycos and, by serendipitous chance, ran a search for pinhole cameras. One search led to another, and another, and another. The spark in the kindling was the discovery that I could order a set of pinholes from The Pinhole Resource in New Mexico. I also ordered Eric Renner’s Pinhole Photography: Rediscovering a Historic Technique.

I wanted an extreme wide angle perspective, almost a fisheye. At the same time, I wanted an even light exposure throughout the entire image and I wanted to be able to use 120 roll film and take several pictures without needing a darkroom to change the film. This camera achieves that result with a 6cm x 16cm (about 2-1/2” x 6”) panoramic image that has no fall-off from edge to edge. The entire camera is made of aircraft plywood and basswood, with a brass crank and shutter as the only metal items. The original crank was wood also, but broke after several rolls. After it was all done, I added the veneer you see on the final camera and gave it several coats of polyurethane. The total cost of the camera was around $60. It could be made for even less using matboard and would be still be relatively durable with a polyurethane or epoxy coating.

pp6x16_interior2The key to uniform light exposure on a panoramic image is to curve the back so all parts of the film are equidistant from the pinhole. While the ideal would be a spherical back, for practicality reasons, a cylindrical back is the best compromise. As you can see in this photo, the back is curved. The film runs in two small tracks at the top and bottom, and a hole exists in the back (with a red plastic viewing filter) to read the film numbers on the back of 120 film rolls (220 film rolls have no backing and cannot be used unless the back hole is covered). The entire inside and lid are spray-painted with Krylon Ultra-Flat Black, except for the pinhole and the red viewing window..

pp6x16_lidinterior2The pinholes come on very thin squares of monel metal (rustproof). For convenience, I mounted the square in a slide mount and made a receptacle for the slide mount on the back of the lid. The slide is secured with a piece of black photo tape. The original idea was to be able to change the pinhole. I have never found occasion to do this yet since I have been so pleased with the sharpness of the images. For softer images, a larger pinhole would be needed. The lid has both inner and outer strips to make a light-tight U-shaped seal on the pinhole camera body. Rubber bands hold the lid on. I had originally intended to make brass catches, but simpler won out in the end. Rubber bands are fast and readily available.

I spent considerable time researching and testing exposure times and came up with this chart, which then went into the exposure table. Other refinements were made after I acquired some experience in using the camera. I modified a Tiffen filter holder to hold additional filters (tungsten correction, for one) and secured the camera shutter under it (see the first picture).

[clear]pp6x16_table2The light exposure guide table is taped on top of the camera for handy reference. I started with the tables in Eric Renner’s book and ended with a table from my graph, modified and verified with many rolls of film.

pp6x16_back3A cheap $9 stopwatch is velcroed to the top of the camera for long exposure timing (try mentally counting off 600 seconds while wandering around looking at other things). Levels were added to eliminate curved horizons resulting from an off-level camera or tripod. Sometimes these effects were desirable, mostly not. A circular level on top would be better and faster.

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