5" x 7" Pinhole Box Camera Video

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Hi folks;

Some of you might know that I've been using a 5" x 7" pinhole box camera recently, constructed of black foam core board and featuring an internal storage compartment for paper negatives.

Here's a sample image:

Today I put together a simple video explaining the features of this camera, along with a brief description of how I calculate my paper negative exposures. I hope you find this video helpful.



  1. JoeVanCleave's Avatar
    In my haste to shoot this footage I failed to mention that I cut the paper down from 8" x 10" sheets into 5" x 8" pieces in the darkroom, prior to preflashing and loading into the camera. The extra 1/2" margin on either side of the image area is where the magnetic mounts contact the paper.

    Also, the audio got garbled right at the point where I was explaining that I reference the exposure time for f/128 on the meter, then multiply by the camera's correction factor.

    The way this correction factor gets calculated is (333/128)^2, where the 333 is my camera's focal ratio and the 128 is the ratio I'm referencing on the light meter. Divide these two numbers, then square the result. I recommend using the highest f-stop available on your meter, as it introduces less measurement error.

    Since the focal ratio and metering method remains constant for any individual camera, the resulting calculation becomes a constant, which I fix to the camera body with a label maker. I then use a calculator out in the field to do the conversion prior to making the exposure. In the video, the meter recommended 12 seconds for f/128, and with the conversion factor it amounts to about 82 seconds, or 1 minute and 22 seconds.
  2. colray's Avatar
    Great clip Joe

    Question about you Gossen light meter have you changed the cells for the newer type that are just a tad stronger in voltage?
  3. JoeVanCleave's Avatar

    No, as far as I know they're the original cells, though the meter was recently calibrated by Quality Light Metric of Hollywood, Ca. It is very sensitive, however. I know there are older types of Gossen meter cells, this meter is the type that runs off a 9v battery.
  4. JefreyJacob's Avatar
    thank you very much for the video! love your work! do you have any plans on doing video about the art of pre-flashing? i would really like to learn. i will try to put more time on reading about this. thanks again!
  5. JoeVanCleave's Avatar

    Yes! I want to do a series of videos about this whole paper negative (and Harman DPP) plus pinhole camera-making genre. Much depends on my motivation, and ability to overcome procrastination!
  6. Tom Persinger's Avatar
    I really enjoyed the video Joe! thanks for making and sharing it! I think a couple of videos on paper negs and the DPP would be very well received... but I do understand that overcoming the inertia of procrastination can be difficult

  7. Jimmy G's Avatar
    Great stuff Joe, you're younger that I had imagined! Another vote for something on correct exposure paper negs!
  8. JoeVanCleave's Avatar
    You're as young as your feel - or young as you look? I'm 56, so judge for yourselves.

    I do intend on more instructional videos, and preflash exposures would be a good topic.

  9. colray's Avatar
    My Gossen is the older type should run on two 1.35 v cells , the new 1.5 v give a reading about two stops over
  10. rdungan's Avatar
    I have been tinkering with the idea of buying one of the new Ilford Obscura 5x4 camera's but your camera with a compartment for exposed and unexposed store paper, or, film is a much superior design. I may have to build one.