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Thread: 4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    God's Country

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?


    I just attended a pinhole print exhibition last evening at one of the local galleries. To be blunt... it wasn't what I was expecting and the images were absolutely beautiful!

    During the artist's presentation she mentioned using LF films and papers as recording mediums (4x5 to 8x10.)

    My questions are, "How many of you on this forum have either experimented with, or are still, involved with the use of pinhole cameras?"

    Did you build your own cameras? Or, what make(s) do you own?

    What is the f-stop of your opening?

    What are you using as a recording medium? What type(s) of film or paper do you use? What film speed?

    How are you mounting your recording medium? Has anyone used either regular film holders or Grafmatic backs?

    How are you determining your exposures?

    Are you happy with your results thus far? And, how long have you been involved with Pinhole photography?

    Are there any pearls of wisdom that you like to share with us?

    I'll apologize in advance for asking all these questions... as you may have guessed, I'm quite taken with the idea of this venerable method of photography and am thinking of giving it a try.

    Thank you in advance.

    Life in the fast lane!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

    There's a large literature on pinhole photography. If you haven't seen any of it, this is a good place to start:

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

    Why not make a lensboard with a pinhole? A lot easier then making a camera.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

    I started in LF using homemade pinhole cameras 8+ years ago. If you do not already have a 4x5/5x7/8x10 camera, you can build/buy dedicated pinhole cameras easy enough, or as Nick mentioned, make a pinhole lensboard for your existing camera for a few dollars. I've done both (cameras and lensboards for 4x5 and a dedicated 8x10 camera that accepts standard 8x10 film holders) with good success. Standard film holders, Grafmatics, Polaroid 545's, or even film taped to the back of simple pinhole camera will work. (I don't recommend the last one though).

    Two links to try for determining pinhole size, focal length, exposure, etc. are "" and "" I have personally used HP5+, Polaroid 52 and 72, Kodak Tmax, and Ilford Delta films for pinhole exposures. I've been happy with the results (once I figured out the proper exposure) and would recommend anyone who is interested to give it a try. Cheers,

  5. #5

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

  6. #6

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

    Hi, Sorry,the text in French, but may be interesting for you.

    Regards, Robert.

  7. #7

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

    Check out f(295).
    Martha Casanave has done some lovely things with LF.
    Pinhole Designer is an online calculator with an exposure guide that accounts for reciprocity issues with particular films.
    I'm working with pinhole more often than LF, being a beginner in a rental darkroom and limitted funds.
    I use a variety of cameras, very much experimenting:
    a pinhole and a zone plate in body caps that fit digital and film SLRs
    a modified Brownie Box
    a foamcore box with 4x5 film holders and RC paper or a polaroid 545 film holder (made at a workshop at of UC Santa Cruz)
    a variety of cookie tins and oatmeal boxes with homemade pinholes in soda can aluminum, with RC paper.
    My latest (finished this weekend!) attempt is a modified lens for a Mamiya TLR. I put a laser cut pinhole sandwiched between cardstock behind the front barrel of the taking lens, with the inner lens and the glass of the taking lens removed. If I keep the bellows at the optimum length for this size pinhole (80mm) then the viewing lens accurately frames what I should be recording. I'm waiting for the first roll to be developed.
    The fstop for the laser pinhole (.400 mm) is about 200. I've measure (approximately) the pinhole I made in the body cap using a scanner and it's about the same.
    Inside the cartons I've used tape loops to mount, and had them show through into the exposure! Interesting, but not the composition I was hoping for. One person posted that he puts a tape tab on the back of each corner, then tapes down the tab. That's what I'll try next.

    I need to pinhole. I need to understand this process at the simplest level. And I like the way the pictures look.

    Make/modify a camera before Worldwide Pinhole Camera Day in April and post your first attempt!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Sydney, Australia

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

    Thats a lot of questions! you must be excited.

    Pinhole photography is amazing in that its the simplest way to record an image. Do some research, choose a starting point, and experiment. I started out with the simple 'photo paper in a box' method. Nowadays - well, now I have contructed myself a pinhole camera with a seiko shutter and rb film backs.

    Start simple.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

    The on-line sources mentioned here are probably more accessible but if you happen to have back issues of View Camea magazine available there was an excellent article about using a pinhole camera to make 11x14 platinum prints in the July/August 1993 issue.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  10. #10

    4x5, 5x7, 8x10 in Pinhole Camera?

    I've been shooting pinhole for 3 years or so. My initial exposure to large format was shooting pinhole with a <a href=>Zero Image</a> 4x5 variable length camera. These are excellent cameras, BTW. I own both the 4x5 and the 120 multi-format.

    The fstop on the 4x5 is variable depending on the pinhole used; from f/138 to f/216

    I shoot Ilford Delta 100, TMAX 100, and Portra 160 mainly in standard double-sheet holders.

    Exposure can be easily calculated on your own or with the help of a calculator like those from zero image or black cat (I think that's the brand. Calumet stocks them). The trick is in learning and using reciprocity failure to achieve the image you want. Most exposures that aren't on a white sand beach in direct sunlight will run 4 minutes or more.

    I love the process and results, though it does give the guys in the lab fits that they can't get a 16x20 print sharp anywhere. One of the characteristics of pinhole is that the image will be uniformly unsharp due to the fact that the light striking the film is not a focused point, but rather a bent beam which will strike the film plane as a disk.

    I have examples on the zero image gallery, in gallery 21.

    Here are a few other recent 4x5 examples:


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