Friday, January 21, 2011

Stereo Pinhole

Though not technically stereo, because it’s not lined up to shoot 3D, I did make a pinhole camera that has 2 holes… meaning 2 overlapping images.

You can start with almost anything that is light tight.  Paint can, wood box, old soda can, matchbox… or this lovely Life Savers tin we got for Christmas.


I started by using E6000 to glue a tripod nut onto the bottom.  If you haul your tripod into any hardware store and go to the loose nut aisle, they’ll help you find the right size.


I used a clear ruler to line up where I wanted the holes to be.


Then I drew it out and placed blue marks where each drill hole would go.


I made 2 matching pinholes, using this method, and taped them in.


Then made 2 shutters using the lining material from darkroom photo paper. 


Okay, this is the cutest camera ever.  Just sayin’.

I went outside with it and set it on the spare tire on the back of my Wrangler and took a shot using darkroom paper.  With this specific camera, it was about 20 seconds shooting into the setting sun.

Here’s my negative, straight out of the darkroom print lab.


And the corresponding positive after inverting it digitally.


The distortion with this camera is insane.  I have the paper curved all the way around the back so you can see in this shot some of the neatest things about pinholes.

1 – they are really wide angle.  In this shot you see both the tread from my tire and the trees above my car.

2 – infinite depth of field.  The tread is in focus.  The trees way off are in focus.

3 – If your camera has a curved back – such as with a paintcan – you get interesting distortion toward the edges.

Finally, With this particular camera, there is a double image.  You see the cars, tread, trees all appear twice, overlapping in the middle.

Are you doing this yet?  You should be doing this.  Pinhole is the camera at it’s most basic!  For more pinhole resources, please visit – both his galleries of pinholes and his blog which links to more pinhole resources.

Shasta Betty

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