How to make a pinhole camera from your DSLR

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In this tutorial we’ll show you how to make a pinhole camera using a really simple method involving nothing more than a spare body cap for you DSLR.

There’s an app for just everything these days, including a plethora of photo effects that replicate traditional darkroom and camera techniques. Among these, getting the pinhole look ranks high.

However, there’s nothing quite like doing it for real, so we’re going to show you how to make a pinhole camera of your very own using your existing DSLR.

Using nothing more than a spare body cap for your camera, a small square piece of aluminium drinks can, a pin or needle (about size 7), scissors, some black electrical tape, fine sandpaper and a drill, you’ll have all you need to transform your DSLR.

The results won’t be perfect: the distance between the body cap and the sensor on most digital SLRs is fixed at an inconvenient distance for pinhole photography, and it can’t be easily changed.

If you can live with a little impressionistic lack of focus though, pinholing can be great fun.

Through the pinhole

Once you’ve made your pinhole body cap, you’ll be able to easily experiment when the mood takes you. If you catch the bug, you’ll find a bunch of pinhole fans around the world on image-sharing sites such as Flickr and 500px to share your wares with. Read on to find out how it’s done.

How to make a pinhole camera step-by-step

1. Hole in one
Use a power drill to make a 5mm (ish) hole in the centre of the body cap. Make sure the body cap is not on your camera at the time! Next, you need to file away any loose bits of plastic so that they don’t fall off into your camera.

2. Pinhole puncture

Take a small piece of aluminium foil and make a hole with a size 7 needle. Use fine sandpaper to file down the centre of the hole so it’s nice and smooth. Use electrical tape to attach it to the body cap, so the holes are lined up and central.

 

3. Shoot it

The tiny pinhole aperture means the exposure will be long, so use a tripod. Switch to manual and use the LCD display and histogram to determine a good exposure and composition. Try adding some off-camera flash for additional lighting.

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