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Pinhole photography: make your own pinhole camera using a body cap

Believe it or not, you don’t need a lens to make an image. Instead, you can simply turn your DSLR or mirrorless system into a digital pinhole camera and capture stunning results without an expensive piece of glass! 

Okay, the images you get won’t be perfect. In fact, they’re likely to be slightly blurred, but that’s all part of the charm. Pinhole photography is a great way to add a unique twist to your creative repertoire – and is a really cheap and easy technique to try.

All you need is a spare body cap for your camera, a piece of thin metal (a small, square piece of an aluminum drinks can is perfect), a pin or needle (about size 7 should be fine), a pair of scissors, black electrical tape, some fine sandpaper and a drill…   

01 Drill your body cap

Place a spare body cap on a block of wood or other secure protective surface, and use a power drill to make a fairly large hole in the centre of the plastic (about 5mm in diameter). File away any loose bits of plastic so they don’t fall into your camera.

02 Make a hole

Use a size 7 needle to make a pin-sized hole in the aluminium square, or use a pre-made, laser-drilled pinhole – they cost £10 ($15) from If you’re making your own, use fine sandpaper to file down the centre of the hole until it’s smooth.

03 Set up and shoot

Attach your camera to a tripod, work manually and use the LCD display and histogram to set up a good exposure and composition. To light a still life, use an off-camera flash set to quarter power. Press the test button to fire multiple flashes during an exposure of 5 secs.

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