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Thread: Arcane Details: B/W Filters on Pinhole Camera

  1. #1

    Arcane Details: B/W Filters on Pinhole Camera

    Hi All -
    I want to put a red filter behind the pinhole on a few of my cameras, and have some detailed questions for which I cannot seem to derive the right googles. I think my primary concerns are 1) image distortion from the filter being too far from the pinhole and 2) polluting the image with artifacts from the filter materials.

    My questions are:
    • Is there a distance between the filter and the back of the pinhole that is optimal?
    • Does it matter if I go with a glass (e.g. B+W) vs gel (e.g. LEE) filter?


    Any specific recommendations for a product would be greatly helpful. Thanks!

  2. #2
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    Glass vs gel does not matter. Distance does not matter (as long as the light cone from pinhole to film is covered). What does matter is dust. Every speck on the filter will be displayed on the image. Why not put the filter in front of the pinhole? I use a step-up ring and a lens cap for the shutter on most of my pinhole cameras, which allows me to include a filter in the shot.

    The filter should not distort the image any more that it would with a lens-based camera.
    because:
    "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    -Don Van Vliet

  3. #3
    Thanks Earl - Well, my two primary cameras are Zero's (the zero 69 and zero 4x5), and they have an external shutter mechanism that will be somewhat problematic. I guess I was thinking that I could diligently clean out the interior before putting the filter on, and then I wouldn't have to worry about dust.

  4. #4
    I have a 5" x 4" and a 6cm x 9cm camera which both have old filter rings glued on the inside; I can then screw a coloured filter in behind the pinhole. I shoot mostly paper negatives and so use a yellow filter to control contrast. Having the filter inside between the pinhole and the film holder means it does stay much cleaner than if it is on the outside; when I had the filter on the outside, I managed to get one image with a hint of a fingerprint that was on the filter (it was a good fingerprint and very visible on the filter).

    For the 5"x4" camera, it has the screw thread mounted as part of the camera front plate; I have pinholes glued to brass disks and then I clamp the desired pinhole between the screw thread and the coloured filter. Having the pinhole in contact with the filter minimises the area of the filter that has to be super clean and free of dust and fingerprints.

    Evan
    More mad ramblings at http://blog.concretebanana.co.uk

  5. #5
    thanks for the feedback! given that I have to mount the filter inside, using a stepper ring is probably the surest way to avoid dust and fingerprints

  6. #6
    500+ Posts earlj's Avatar
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    That's a good solution, Evan. I like the thought that the inside of the camera might be easier to keep clean. That is offset by the inconvenience of opening the camera to get at the filter. On big sheet film cameras, though, I guess that getting inside is not a problem.
    because:
    "a squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?"
    -Don Van Vliet

  7. #7
    Hi Earl,

    Yes for sheet film cameras, having the filter on the inside is not a problem as it is easy to get too; I did have sheet film in mind when I posted as it my main use for filters, but that is most applicable to the zero 4x5 in the earlier post. For roll-film, having it on the outside is much more flexible; I have had one in a cardboard camera on the inside and it involved a changing bag operation to remove it mid-roll. I also had a 6x6 folder I modified for pinhole by removing the glass from the lens (the front cell was damaged anyway) and then putting a pinhole in; I could then use my clip-on filters on the outside.


    Evan
    More mad ramblings at http://blog.concretebanana.co.uk

  8. #8
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
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    here's a thread from a few years back about how I implemented a variable length pinhole system on a crown graphic. It also uses a step up ring with integrated lens hood to attach filters for dust control and tonal manipulation.

    http://www.f295.org/main/showthread....=crown+graphic

  9. #9
    Tom that's a great idea! Gives me inspiration for a Polaroid 335 I have sitting around somewhere here. Hmmm...

  10. #10
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
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    excellent Kier! keep us posted!

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