DSLR Pinhole Photography

Uploaded by makemagazine on Mar 18, 2011

A pinhole camera is basically a light-proof container that has a tiny little hole in it
instead of a lens. Inside, you put some photo paper in there, which captures the image.
And you develop the image in a darkroom.
Now, if you don't have access to a darkroom, like I don't, and you want to take your project
into the 21st century, you can convert your DSLR into a pinhole camera. I'll show you
To make your own DSLR pinhole camera, you'll need a spare body cap, which protects the
camera's lens port when there's no lens attached.
Eyeball the center of the body cap and mark it off. Drill a hole there and be sure to
completely clean it off. You don't want any of these bits of plastic in your camera body.
Using a small pin, poke a hole in a small piece of aluminum foil. You could also use
this stuff called black wrap, which is black matte aluminum used by lighting technicians
on TV and movie sets.
Line up the pinhole in the middle of the body cap and use black electrical tape to tape
it down. I made this one with a slightly larger pinhole to let more light in. The tradeoff
is that the image will be more blurry.
OK, I have my pinhole body cap ready. I'm going to pop it on the camera. This is cheaper
than any lens you can get. And it takes pretty cool pictures. Let's go out and try it out.
So we're in Central Park, I've got my camera and my tripod. It's time for my favorite part.
Let's go take some pictures.
As with regular pinhole photography, there's not a lot of light coming into the camera
and there are two ways we can deal with this. We can bump up the ISO and we can make the
shutter speed longer.
For this picture, I set the camera's ISO to 2000 and the exposure time to one fifth of
a second.
So you're probably not going to be able to see through the viewfinder, so you'll want
to do what photographers call "chimping," which is taking a shot, checking the frame,
and making any adjustments until you get the shot you want.
Here are some of the shots I took today. I think they turned out pretty well. There's
so much you can do with DSLR pinhole photography. You can blend multiple exposures to make a
pinhole HDR like this one. Or make a pinhole time-lapse like this.
Or you can shoot digital pinhole video like you're seeing right now. If you do mod your
camera, I want to see how the photos turn out. Post them to the MAKE Flickr pool, and
I'll see you next time!