View Full Version : It's not just a pinhole camera...

25-Jun-2016, 09:27
It's a hand-crafted camera, made with care from the finest pressed-steel biscuit tin, advanced aluminium fanta can, and pure extruded hot-glue.

It's not just a pinhole camera - it's a Marks and Spencer pinhole camera...

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This is designed to amuse Granddaughter when she comes to stay for a couple of weeks - let's see if we can interest her in photography! The biscuit tin is just the right size for an 8x5 inch negative; the pinhole is approximately 0.3mm so an f300-ish exposure is indicated. The film holder is just three layers of card to form a suitably sized groove. The shutter is just a flap of card and tape.


Agfa-G X-ray film, 10 seconds in bright sunshine with clouds, developed 7 minutes in 1:50 Rodinal. It looks like there's a light leak around the lid - some tape will fix that - and I think the double-sided emulsion isn't properly developed. A proper dish in the dark-room will let the neg move around a bit more, I think, rather than the Paterson Orbital I'm using.

I've got some Silverprint cyanotype paper in the post; I'm curious to see how it deals with this film. It's something g'daughter can develop in the sink (she's only five!).

Let's see what she thinks in a few weeks :)


25-Jun-2016, 10:54
Gaffers tape will work, but might change the aesthetic of your finely crafted camera. Nice work all around, looking forward to seeing some more!

Peter Gomena
25-Jun-2016, 13:05
Love the tin!

What's not for a granddaughter to like? Playing with gramps and messing around in the sink to make pictures - it doesn't get much better and she will remember it her whole life!

25-Jun-2016, 13:24
That's the kind of wonderful experience that touches us in our youth and lasts forever. What a great thing you have done!

25-Jun-2016, 14:05
A kit of parts[1] is available for our Euro colleagues here: http://www.m-s.gr/product/all-butter-shortbread-selection-bus-tin/ though I don't recall paying quite that much for it. The real hardship was thinking of something to do with the contents... :D

The most difficult bit of the project was locating a biscuit tin of suitable dimensions: in my naivety I had assumed that biscuits actually came in tins, as they did in the days of my youth; I don't buy biscuits often and it was a surprise to discover even cream crackers come in plastic boxes at most places. I wanted something with a bit of depth to it, and most of the tins I did find were only 60mm deep or so. This one is 100mm and even that's pretty wide; for the shot above the distance to the sitter was under six feet.

The pinhole is in the drinks can, which is taped over a larger hole in the tin itself.


[1] some assembly required...

25-Jun-2016, 14:32
Very cool, but a flashback from my past severely damaged the smile I was getting, when I remembered what happened when I made my pinhole tin camera... (But I doubt this will happen to anyone else, so carry on everyone...)

As a early teen, I made mine from a plain red Xmas fruitcake tin, and made a single 4X5 sheet WA model from it, but needed a subject to shoot with it... There was a very low security Naval outpost in my town, where a minesweeper was stationed, so I'd shoot that...

So I shot my sheet, when a sailor appeared looking furious (and stoned out of his mind), and jabbed a M1 carbine into my ribs (with his nervous, twitchy finger on the trigger), and demanded that I open the tin, as he thought I was hiding drugs in there that he wanted (I was twelve, then)... I kept telling him it was a camera, and couldn't open it because there was film inside... He screeched that didn't look like a camera, and quit stalling because he NEEDED the drugs inside...

So he held me prisoner for nearly an hour, but started to make communication with him when he stated to talk about the local hookers he "loved", and described parts of their anatomy is intimate graphic detail (that I thought was inapproprate discussion for a 12 yr old), but finally let me go when I assured him that I would tell his "love" that he loved her with all his heart...

My point of all of this, is my life lesson from this was if I shooting something, I make a clear show of the fact that I'm taking photographs, by using something that at least LOOKS like a camera, so there is no confusion while shooting in the big world...

But back to the OP, great what you doing for her, nothing like fun AND magic!!! Carry on!!!!

Steve K

26-Jun-2016, 08:49
Today's effort: the other half of the 10x8 I chopped in half.

This exposure 1 minute, in an overcast conservatory, by guesswork, developed as above. There's still some evidence of a light leak, I think in the time between getting the camera out of the changing bag and getting the tape round it. Better to load in a dark room where there's room to get the tape on before the light does. But I think it's good enough to use. The camera was a couple of feet from the roses.




Fr. Mark
7-Jul-2016, 21:45
nice work!

8-Jul-2016, 05:54
I'm 54. I just sent a letter to my Dad thanking him for getting me into photography. Sad that it never occurred to me to do that until I read your post. I remember having a darkroom in the 5th grade. We had this huge Victorian house (falling down) and it was easy to set up a room in the attic just for that. Hard to believe I did my own developing at such a young age (only because I'm impatient!). The problem isn't that you'll turn your granddaughter onto photography; the problem is that you'll have to hide your cameras as my father did, for I surely would have make the inoperable somehow ;) Guess you can trust her with the pinhole camera. Good thinking on that! I love the photos by the way.

8-Jul-2016, 13:38
Thanks guys!