View Full Version : ideas for pinhole workshop?

01-15-2006, 04:52 PM
next month i am going to offer a 2 day pinhole workshop, but the school politics forbid the borrowing of a darkroom. i am thinking of having them construct their own matchbox roll-film camera, ala alspix's recent post.

any other ideas for an easily built and affordable 35mm canister camera? i suspect we will have all levels of competency there, so simple is called for, and the budget can't exceed $20/head.

01-15-2006, 05:14 PM
Probably the simplest 35 mm pinhole camera would be done like your favorites -- take a Dremel or similar tool to a commercially made "junk store" 35 mm. You get to use the factory-built film advance and counter, and most of the light tight box, and if you don't require the original shutter, the conversion should be complete in a half hour per camera plus time to make the pinhole.

As an example, I could have done my KX-100 conversion in about 10 minutes (open case, pull out shutter paddle and spring, tape on pinhole, close case) if I'd been willing to use an external, hand-operated shutter and give up flash synch. Even if the students have never had such a camera apart (very likely), if the instructor has done it before, it should be easy and smooth.

01-15-2006, 06:30 PM

As I think you know, I just did a short lecture on PH for a teaching course I'm doing. I posted the results the other week.

I made 15 cameras for the class. They comprised film canisters for film negs and various boxes for paper negs. (cigar boxes and Pringle tubes etc.)

I can send you a d*****l image of those if it is of any help.

Suprisingly, the paper neg cameras gave far better results than the canisters. I simply overcooked the film canisters, giving them way too much exposure, but that was down to my not testing them before the class. (Lesson learned by me). The whole experience was enjoyable and the following week, I took a disc into the class, with the results of their efforts to use on the digital projector.

I think you are way ahead of me, but the offer's there if it helps.

Let us know how it goes.


Ian M

Tom Persinger
01-15-2006, 08:43 PM
if you have a litlte room available that can be made dark, and a near-by sink, you can get by without an official darkroom... if that's the case I suggest going for the beginners holy-grail, a 5x7 matte board camera and some delicious paper negatives... and, since you have 2 days, you could always use lith film and on the 2nd make cyanotype prints.....

all that said, i thought that matchbox camera was awesome.....

01-15-2006, 09:53 PM

I suggest that you download Nick Dvavorcek's paper for pinholing for teachers:


You can use it, or lose it, as you see fit.

01-16-2006, 10:38 AM
As well as the matchbox pinhole, I also built a very similar one using the cardboard box that 35mm film canisters usually come in. The box dimensions are 35x35x55mm - just right for the width of the film, which is good! I guess it could be used either way round too, giving a focal length of 35mm, or 55mm

I can't access my flickr page at the moment (at work-damn security blocker!), but I think this is a link to it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alspix/69823422 - if not, jut have a look in my Pinhole set on flickr, it's pretty obvious, a blue konica box!