Turn Your DSLR Into a Pinhole Camera

Illustration for article titled Turn Your DSLR Into a Pinhole Camera

Want to turn back the clock on that expensive DSLR rig of yours, and transform it into a classic pinhole camera instead? Yes? Great, because what we have here, courtesy photo pro Stephanie Zettl, are instructions to do just that.

First, a parts list:

A Digital SLR Camera
Body Cap for your digital camera
Drill Bit (1/8") and Drill
Thin piece sheet metal
Sewing needle
Fine sand paper
Utility knife
Black permanent marker
Black Electrical Tape


Next, a detailed set of assembly steps and settings instructions (tweaking required), which you can find and mull over here.

Zettl's results (using a tripod) include the photo above, and aren't too shabby, although she admits there's definitely some trial-and-error at play here:

Because there is no real way to see what your composition is, there is a bit of trial and error to get what you want. (Just another benefit of doing it with a digital camera.) I also plan on trying it again with a new "hole" that is both smaller and more uniform. I believe that some unevenness in the hole lead to greater distortion in the light rays as they entered the camera.

That said, experimenting and fine tuning are a fun part of the pinhole camera process. [Neil van Neikerk]

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You can make the hole smaller if you don't puncture the foil, but just dent it and then sand it down until there is a tiny hole as per these instructions:


Also, here are cheap body caps: