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Pinhole Camera

A pinhole camera is pretty much a light proof box with a hole in one side of it. This produces an inverted image on the opposite side of the box (from the pinhole). Some pinhole cameras have a translucent film on the opposite wall for viewing the image in real time. Most uses of this type of pinhole camera are for viewing solar eclipses so you are not directly looking at the sun and the reduced light through the hole makes the detail of the eclipse easier to see through the bright glare of the sun.

People have found that the smaller the pinhole the sharper the image at the cost of the image being darker. The optimum pinhole size is 1/100th or larger the distance from the pinhole to the film plane (or viewing plane). The exposure for pinhole cameras can be extremely long depending on the size of the pinhole. Exposure time can range from a few seconds to a couple of hours.

Using special lenses you can turn a digital camera into a pinhole camera as well. This is usually used to create artistic stylized images, and most of the time in black and white to add to the old timey feeling of using an older medium. Holga still produces “toy” cameras with pinhole lenses. These cameras can record the image on 35mm or Medium Format film.

The pinhole camera with a digital sensor can be used in surveillance photography as well since the depth of field is so large that most of the image is always in focus and the camera can be much smaller and easier to conceal. Depth of field on a pinhole camera is almost infinite if the pinhole is small enough.

Photography


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