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

*Metal* 35mm Film – 120 Spool Adapter

35mm Film

Why use 35mm film in 120 cameras? 20140430-35mm-040714012-230You can expose the full film frame, including the sprocket holes, for a cool effect. Or you can use films that are not available in 120 format such as infrared, CineStill, and other uncommon or specialty films. Start exploring!

Metal Adapters

Many followers have been downloading the files and making their own 35mm – 120 film adapters. For others, it has been easier to order from Shapeways (recommended). However, I still wanted to explore making them in metal at Shapeways. I found I couldn’t use the same design as the plastic ones. As a result, I ordered new prototypes with tweaked parameters for testing.

The new metal adapters are much stronger, and have a solid heft and feel. So, if you or your friends shoot 35 film regularly in 120 cameras, these adapters make great gifts.


120 Takeup Spool for 35mm Film

A while back, a couple of backers asked if they could use 35mm film in Flyer and I designed an adapter to center the 35mm film as a 120 spool. Now I’ve done the matching 120 takeup spool needed (though it’s easy to tape up a 120 spool or use a couple of rubber bands on either end).

For more information, be sure to read this post as well.

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35mm Film to 120 Spool Adapter

A while back, a couple of backers asked if they could use 35mm film in Flyer. I finally got around to it and yes, you can! I’ve designed an adapter that will work in any 120 format (or 620 format) camera with a flat film plane, including Flyer. It won’t work in a curved film plane camera such as Clipper since there are no guide rails for 35mm, but there are few of these cameras.

This adapter has top and bottom parts which exactly center the 35mm film in the middle of the 120 (620) format frame. Combined, the dimensions are the same as a 120 (620) spool, and the film is fully exposed, sprocket holes and all, leading to interesting effects. This adapter is open source (CC by SA 3.0) and can be freely downloaded and printed.

Using this enables the use of films not available in 120 format such as infrared, CineStill, and other specialty films.

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The adapter comes in two parts. The bottom part, with the long prongs, goes into the bottom of the film canister. The top part, which has a recess as well as prongs, goes into the top of the film canister. Align the prongs with the tabs inside the canister before pushing in.




Bottom Inserted

Bottom & Top Inserted

Bottom & Top Inserted


[clear][alert type=”warning” close=”false” heading=””]Do not force the adapters in. They should slide in with little force or can be wiggled in with slightly more effort. Some custom-loaded and bulk-loaded 35mm canisters have thicker walls than commercial 35mm canisters. In these, the adapter may be an overly tight fit and you may need to file down the rims of the prongs with a nail file or sandpaper. Using force can break the prongs. If they are loose instead, a bit of tape or nail polish on the rims can increase the friction.  [/alert]


  1. Tape over the red film number window (on the back of nearly every 120 or 620 camera) with opaque black tape so the film is not exposed through there.
  2. Start the film by bending the leader over flat to put in a crease. Insert into the take-up spool and wind 4 turns. Close the camera and wind another 2 turns to get fresh film in place.
  3. The film must be blindly advanced about 1-1/2 turn of the knob after each picture (for 6×6, more for 6×9 or other formats). If the knob can spring back, you may need to put a rubber band over the knob so it doesn’t unwind itself between shots.
  4. Most 120 and 620 cameras do not have a rewind knob. This means that once loaded, the film can be shot until the end of the film is reached and the advance knob stops. At this point, you need to use a darkroom or changing bag to open the camera and manually rewind the film back into the canister (the adapter makes a convenient rewind knob).
  5. When you take or send the film in, you must request “process only” and “do not cut”.

Here’s a link to the PDF (35mm Film to 120 Spool Adapter).

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(Sun) Tracks on the Film

As a boating enthusiast with a fascination for charts, I liked Tracks in the Sea: Matthew Fontaine Maury and the Mapping of the Oceans. So when it came to writing a post on solargraphs, I borrowed the title for Tracks on the Film. Flyer 6×6 and Clipper 6×18 make great cameras for recording sun tracks because they’re weatherproof and won’t fall apart in rain (though a little water might trickle in through the winder hole if not wrapped).


Actually, the proper term is “solargraph” but as the film records the sun’s track across the sky,
much as charts record tracks in the sea, I’ve always thought of them as sun track photos. A
solargraph can be anywhere from one day to six months, depending mainly on your patience for

The featured photo was taken by the author with a handmade pinhole camera (not Flyer) in San Lorenzo, and is in the New Mexico History Museum archives. The sun came out once during a cloudy day, right behind the bottle.

Neutral Density Filters

The Kickstarter edition of the Flyer 6×6 pinhole cameras all came with a stretch goal of 3 ND (neutral density) 1.2 filters. Post-Kickstarter, these are a separate order of $5 (shipping included).

Each ND 1.2 filter reduces the light by 3-3/4 f/stops, allowing only 6.3% light transmission. Put another way, a Flyer 6×6 photo using Ektar 100 on a sunny day should use a 1-second exposure. Each f/stop doubles the exposure, so rounding off to 4 for simplicity, that becomes 2, 4, 8, 16 seconds. One ND 1.2 filter gives me 16 seconds instead of trying to open and close the shutter in 1 second.

The second ND 1.2 filter extends that to 32, 64, 128, 256 seconds, or 4 minutes 16 seconds.

The third ND 1.2 filter extends that to 512, 1024, 2048, 4096 seconds, or 1 hour and about 8 minutes. Technically, another filter would be needed for an all-day sun track, but most films do better if treated as a lower ASA film than they actually are (overexposing).

In addition, a factor called reciprocity failure comes into play. Reciprocity failure means films don’t behave linearly and require progressively longer exposures than mathematically indicated as the light falls.

Three ND 1.2 filters should give you a decent solar graph image. For multi day or multi week
exposures, you might need one or more additional filters.


Remove the o-ring around the pinhole with tweezers or a pin (try not to damage the o-ring) and drop in the 3 ND 1.2 filters on top of the pinhole. Make sure they are clean and dust-free, and handle them with tweezers or by the edges. Replace the o-ring. If you have film loaded when adding or removing the filters on Flyer 6×6, this will cost you an exposure so be sure to advance the film one count afterward. Clipper 6×18 has an internal shutter and the filters can be changed without costing an exposure.


Locating a good spot for a sun track photo is important. The camera should point upwards to the sky (not necessarily vertically) and include something interesting such as a plant, tree, or other objects as a point of reference. The camera should be well propped or mounted on a tripod so it won’t shift when opening the shutter or rock in the wind.

Flyer wrapped in paper for the day

Flyer wrapped in paper for the day

The black camera will get hot in a bright sun, and while ABS can tolerate a fair amount of heat, it’s not good for the film either. I normally take a sheet of white paper, tear a hole in the middle for the shutter, and just wrap the sheet around the camera and tape the ends together in the back. This is sufficient to deflect most of the sun’s heat and can easily be torn off afterward.



This is simplicity. Open the shutter at dawn (or the night before if you’re not an early riser) and leave the camera out. Close the shutter at twilight and advance the film. Repeat (or take the filters out, advance an exposure, and resume normal shooting). Take the film in for processing when you’ve shot all the exposures or your patience runs out, whichever occurs first.


This requires cutting and loading/unloading in the darkroom or a changing bag, but you can unroll 120 film and cut 3 pieces, each about 3.5-4” long, stack them together and drop them into the film slot (no winding). The first piece will be overexposed, the second will be exposed, and the third will be underexposed. The effect varies by film (probably works better with B&W) and can be quite interesting. Remember to tape over the red window with opaque black tape.

Making Your Own ND Filters

While you can get pre-punched ND filters to fit your Pinhole Printed camera, you can also order or make your own. Commercial ND gel filters can be found from photo supply stores. If you want to do your own, you’ll need a roll of B&W film – 35mm is fine for this purpose. Pull the film out, expose it to daylight, and process it. You’ll then have a roll of black film. Cut out several 20mm (slightly larger than 3/4”) circles and experiment with how many you’ll need. Chances are one will do, possibly two, depending on the film.

Click on this link for the PDF version:
PDF: (Sun) Tracks on the Film