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Photography DiscussionExperimenting With Pinhole “Lens”

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minniev
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Experimenting With Pinhole “Lens”

Post by minniev » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:49 pm

I’ve had this thing a while, a pinhole “lens” (not really a lens since there is nothing there but a lens cap to fit my camera but with a hole drilled in it). I have little idea how to use it, but experimented some this week.

Focus is not achieved in the usual way, and I haven’t found a way to get sharp focus but then those images I’ve seen that were shot with such things are not exactly sharp so I’m not sure what I’m missing. The camera has to be on a tripod or the blur makes it unrecognizable.

So, I locked it down, and played with different shutter settings. Here I was trying to make a “ghost” on the porch by setting a time delay and long exposure, then walking up onto the porch and into the house. So the ghost is me, a blob of white ectoplasm which is kind what I wanted, but will try some other experiments to see if I find something I liked better.

Then of course I had to play in PP, with my ipad toys to tone and texture it. What do you think? Have you tried pinhole lenses? If so, how do you use them? Can you share an image and your technique?
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Charles Haacker
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Post by Charles Haacker » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:52 pm

minniev wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:49 pm
I’ve had this thing a while, a pinhole “lens” (not really a lens since there is nothing there but a lens cap to fit my camera but with a hole drilled in it). I have little idea how to use it, but experimented some this week.

Focus is not achieved in the usual way, and I haven’t found a way to get sharp focus but then those images I’ve seen that were shot with such things are not exactly sharp so I’m not sure what I’m missing. The camera has to be on a tripod or the blur makes it unrecognizable.

So, I locked it down, and played with different shutter settings. Here I was trying to make a “ghost” on the porch by setting a time delay and long exposure, then walking up onto the porch and into the house. So the ghost is me, a blob of white ectoplasm which is kind what I wanted, but will try some other experiments to see if I find something I liked better.

Then of course I had to play in PP, with my ipad toys to tone and texture it. What do you think? Have you tried pinhole lenses? If so, how do you use them? Can you share an image and your technique?
That's great and I see the ectoplasm! I think it's a swell shot! What fun!

Pinholes don't need to be focused. A pinhole is "in focus" from here to eternity. Pinholes can be any "focal length" just by getting them further from the film or sensor plane. When I was in school we made pinhole cameras. I made mine in a cylindrical oatmeal box so that the film could be curved around for the wide angle. Sharpness is determined by the size and precision of the hole. A bigger hole is "faster," just like a fast lens, but because there is no optical component the bigger hole makes a less "sharp" picture. If you want sharper you have to make the hole smaller and also more precise, as perfectly round as possible with smooth edges. We made ours from thin brass shim stock and a drafting pin, first carefully punching the hole, then flipping the brass over and polishing the hole on the back side with emery paper. The rounder and smoother you can make it the sharper and less distorted. I just taped mine over a slightly larger hole in the cardboard but you can get as fancy as you want. There was a formula (I'm sure it can be found online) for the "speed" of the hole so that you'd have a guesstimate for how long to expose. A very tiny, well crafted hole would make a sharper picture but would also take a much longer time with a moderate speed film. The beauty of digital is you can boost the ISO wherever you want it but that will also degrades sharpness. The closer the hole is to the sensor the wider the angle; the further you can space it out the more telephoto. I have no examples but I bet somebody else does! :|
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Post by PietFrancke » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:22 pm

definitely it feels Old.

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Post by minniev » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:33 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:52 pm
minniev wrote:
Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:49 pm
I’ve had this thing a while, a pinhole “lens” (not really a lens since there is nothing there but a lens cap to fit my camera but with a hole drilled in it). I have little idea how to use it, but experimented some this week.

Focus is not achieved in the usual way, and I haven’t found a way to get sharp focus but then those images I’ve seen that were shot with such things are not exactly sharp so I’m not sure what I’m missing. The camera has to be on a tripod or the blur makes it unrecognizable.

So, I locked it down, and played with different shutter settings. Here I was trying to make a “ghost” on the porch by setting a time delay and long exposure, then walking up onto the porch and into the house. So the ghost is me, a blob of white ectoplasm which is kind what I wanted, but will try some other experiments to see if I find something I liked better.

Then of course I had to play in PP, with my ipad toys to tone and texture it. What do you think? Have you tried pinhole lenses? If so, how do you use them? Can you share an image and your technique?
That's great and I see the ectoplasm! I think it's a swell shot! What fun!

Pinholes don't need to be focused. A pinhole is "in focus" from here to eternity. Pinholes can be any "focal length" just by getting them further from the film or sensor plane. When I was in school we made pinhole cameras. I made mine in a cylindrical oatmeal box so that the film could be curved around for the wide angle. Sharpness is determined by the size and precision of the hole. A bigger hole is "faster," just like a fast lens, but because there is no optical component the bigger hole makes a less "sharp" picture. If you want sharper you have to make the hole smaller and also more precise, as perfectly round as possible with smooth edges. We made ours from thin brass shim stock and a drafting pin, first carefully punching the hole, then flipping the brass over and polishing the hole on the back side with emery paper. The rounder and smoother you can make it the sharper and less distorted. I just taped mine over a slightly larger hole in the cardboard but you can get as fancy as you want. There was a formula (I'm sure it can be found online) for the "speed" of the hole so that you'd have a guesstimate for how long to expose. A very tiny, well crafted hole would make a sharper picture but would also take a much longer time with a moderate speed film. The beauty of digital is you can boost the ISO wherever you want it but that will also degrades sharpness. The closer the hole is to the sensor the wider the angle; the further you can space it out the more telephoto. I have no examples but I bet somebody else does! :|
I figured the old pro would know about these things! The hole is very precise but it may not be small enough to get any degree of sharpness. It is fun to play with though.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by minniev » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:33 pm

PietFrancke wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:22 pm
definitely it feels Old.
The subject(s) are old too, so we all match!
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Post by Duck » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:59 am

Gotta love the humor in this thread. We may be old, but we're all young at heart.

Chuck made a good point about size of hole relating to focus. Just keep in mind that like our traditional lenses the larger the hole the more scatter there is down the length of the lens barrel. The tighter the hole the more directional the light resulting in a sharper image. However, with pinhole cameras there is aliasing caused by uneven edges of the hole. This introduces that soft focus effect on the focal plane. As Chuck said, the more precise the hole can be, the sharper the image. If you have a lens cap pinhole you can't expect too much precision from the plastic as you would from, as Chuck mentioned, a brass pinhole.

Also, you have to realize a pinhole camera is considered a simple lens camera as compared to our more complex multi-element lenses that focus the light better.

Hope this sheds a little more info.
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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:17 pm

Having the privilege of spending time at The House I think this is an amazing image and would challenge you to that the same with a glass lens and compare the two to see which right. Pinhole is a lesson in composition, light, geometry, leading lines, and all the rest, but leave the sharpness at home. Pinhole is about the image not the fine details and goes against all we seem to hold dear.

I hope we see more of these! S-
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Post by minniev » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:44 pm

Duck wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:59 am
Gotta love the humor in this thread. We may be old, but we're all young at heart.

Chuck made a good point about size of hole relating to focus. Just keep in mind that like our traditional lenses the larger the hole the more scatter there is down the length of the lens barrel. The tighter the hole the more directional the light resulting in a sharper image. However, with pinhole cameras there is aliasing caused by uneven edges of the hole. This introduces that soft focus effect on the focal plane. As Chuck said, the more precise the hole can be, the sharper the image. If you have a lens cap pinhole you can't expect too much precision from the plastic as you would from, as Chuck mentioned, a brass pinhole.

Also, you have to realize a pinhole camera is considered a simple lens camera as compared to our more complex multi-element lenses that focus the light better.

Hope this sheds a little more info.
I realized a lot more about it once I used it. There is literally nothing there but a hole, a sensor, and your control of the shutter.

I've read an article about modifying the pinhole with a smaller insert and smaller hole, so I may tinker some, but the hole in it now is very precise. Any issues are my fault.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by minniev » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:45 pm

St3v3M wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:17 pm
Having the privilege of spending time at The House I think this is an amazing image and would challenge you to that the same with a glass lens and compare the two to see which right. Pinhole is a lesson in composition, light, geometry, leading lines, and all the rest, but leave the sharpness at home. Pinhole is about the image not the fine details and goes against all we seem to hold dear.

I hope we see more of these! S-
The pinhole is an entirely different animal from a glass lens, even a prime. It is a fun exercise, and I think it is suited well to Old Things.
"God gave me photography so that I could pray with my eyes" - Dewitt Jones

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Post by St3v3M » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:30 pm

minniev wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:45 pm
The pinhole is an entirely different animal from a glass lens, even a prime. It is a fun exercise, and I think it is suited well to Old Things.
I wonder if you could 'pinhole' your recent portrait with a filter? S-
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