Sharon Harris Makes Surreal Images with Simple Pinhole Cameras

“I find it seductive that a pinhole camera has no viewfinder,” says photographer Sharon Harris regarding what she finds appealing about pinhole photography. The minimal approach to this kind of art is something she embraces wholeheartedly, along with the visually distinct results it produces. Impressively, Harris makes all her pinhole cameras, and she currently boasts 25 creations. It’s something we’ll look into with more detail through the course of this fascinating interview.

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Cezary Bartczak’s Custom Pinhole Cameras Are Beautifully Unique

We got to chat with Cezary Bartczak, a craftsman of pinhole cameras that are simply stunning.

“When customers from all continents send me sample images or links with pictures taken with cameras made with my own hands, it’s a great feeling, and I’m very proud of that,” says Cezary Bartczak, a maker of pinhole cameras who hails from Poland. A couple of weeks ago, we were introduced to this wonderful craftsman. When we dug a little deeper into Cezary’s work, we were blown away by his craftsmanship and the passion he has for his work. Immediately, we knew we had to have a sit down with him to find out more. Come find out about the world of custom camera making and what drives Cezary to make incredibly unique pinhole cameras.

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Does Anyone Remember the P-Sharan Pinhole Camera?

There was a time when you could simply grab a P-Sharan Pinhole Camera if you wanted to try out pinhole photography. Does anyone remember that?

Pinhole photography isn’t really difficult, but the results can be hit or miss. Still, its appeal is the fact that you can make a pinhole camera out of anything, and it’s actually a fun, experimental way to learn about photography. But, just a couple of years ago, you could also simply pick up one of those simple P-Sharan cardboard pinhole cameras, pop in a roll of 35mm film, and get shooting. Let’s look back at one of Alastair Bird’s 2016 videos to refresh our memory about this fun paper camera.

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Pinhole Cameras Are Taking 1,000-Year Exposures Around Lake Tahoe

The “Millennium” pinhole cameras installed by Jonathon Keats will reveal the long-term effects of climate change to generations 1,000 years ahead.

How’s your photography project going? You’re probably doing a long-term documentary photography series, or maybe a collection of street portraits. They will definitely take some time to complete, but surely not as long as the pinhole camera project of conceptual artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats (yes, the brain behind the Berlin-based Century Camera Project). His large scale undertaking aims to capture the long-term effects of climate change in various locations across the US.

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You Can Now Use Your Camera Filters with the New ONDU MK III Pinhole Cameras

Pinhole camera makers ONDU promises the ONDU MK III, with its array of impressive new and improved features, to be its “most advanced and versatile” series yet. 

The ONDU MK III is in the early stages of its Kickstarter campaign as we speak, yet it already seems poised to become one of the (if not the) most advanced pinhole cameras in the market. Now equipped with several new features, ONDU’s latest series of handcrafted pinhole cameras is geared towards those who wish to do more with pinhole photography.

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This Project Aims to Convert a Camper Van Into a Giant 360° Pinhole Camera

If funded successfully, the 360° Pinhole Camper Van project will be traversing Europe to take pinhole photos and videos. 

While some of us are dreaming of a nomadic life aboard a converted camper van, London-based freelance photographer Santino Pani wants to transform his van into a giant 360° Pinhole Camper Van. If he meets his £15,000 funding goal on Indiegogo, he plans to take it across Europe and document what he already perceives to be an extraordinary photographic experience.

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Sergey Lebedev Handcrafts Unique Pinhole Cameras Using Driftwood

Here’s something to inspire you to make pinhole cameras using the most unique and unexpected materials out there.

Pinhole photography is as simple and basic as it gets when it comes to creating images, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to make impressive work out of it. In fact, photographer and camera maker Sergey Lebedev proves you can make the camera itself jaw-dropping. After seeing his gorgeous handmade pinhole cameras made out of driftwood, I believe we no longer have any excuse to not take on crafting our own pinhole cameras — and getting experimental with it in the process. I’m sure that seeing something that is typically ignored made into something beautiful, unique, and functional is nothing short of inspiring. Continue reading…

PinBox: A 6×6 Pinhole Camera That You Can Build and Re-Create

Want to learn how to design and build your own pinhole camera? The PinBox is a medium format DIY pinhole camera that teaches you just that. 

Pinhole cameras are essentially easy to make, especially when you’re making them for 35mm film. But if you want to have an idea about how it’s done for 120 film, Hamm Camera Company offers to let you in on the basics with a new camera called the PinBox. Hot off the heels of the NuBox 1 Interchangeable Lens Box Camera, Robert Hamm has just launched the Kickstarter campaign for this DIY pinhole camera. The company’s goal is for the 6×6 medium format DIY camera to be a learning tool for anyone who wants to gain the basics of pinhole camera design and apply it to make their own. This is in support of the crafty photographers who like to DIY their cameras, encouraging them to go beyond the usual handmade pinhole cameras.

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How to DIY a Pinhole Camera for Some Cool Solargraphy

Our photography funny man, Lou Guarneri, is back with a new “Lou-torial” showing us how to make a pinhole camera for trying out solargraphy.

Are you in the mood to get crafty and try something new? If you said yes to both, we have just the right stuff for you today – a new “Lou-torial” for a DIY pinhole camera! You’re going to love step one — grab a can of your favorite drink and chug the contents down, because that can will be your camera for the day!

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Here’s How You Can Get a Zoom on Your Pinhole Camera

We bet you’ve never thought you can convert your current cameras into a pinhole camera with zoom! 

Did you shoot with a DIY pinhole camera for the recent Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day? If you were able to make a nice setup, we have something that will make sure you get to shoot with an even more epic one next year (or anytime you feel like some pinhole snaps are in order). There’s a lot of cool science stuff involved, and there’s no one better to explain it to us than Cyrus Arthur of The Science of Photography channel.

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DIY: How to Build a Pinhole Camera from a ShoeBox

This is a syndicated blog post from La Noir Image.

The pinhole camera has been a classic DIY project for students discovering photography for many decades. If you want to get a deeper appreciation for the basic DNA of a camera, build a pinhole camera. Pinhole cameras are bare-bones cameras; they consist of a black box, a place to put photo-sensitive material, and a pinhole-sized opening that projects a faint image on light-sensitive material. Stripped of the bells and whistles, all cameras—film and digital—follow this design. Some (OK, almost all) cameras are more advanced. But DIY is making a comeback, especially among millennials, so, let’s make a pinhole camera!

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Why I Built a 90mm 4×5 Film Pinhole Camera

All photos and blog post by Julian L. Used with permission.


I first got into photography with a Kodak Instamatic 126 when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I absolutely loved it, it was magical to me at that age. I actually recently bought the same camera off eBay to run some 35mm film through it. After a few years I graduated onto a Voigtlander Vitoret D and my dad found at a car boot sale. It was cheap because the shutter was jammed, but dad fixed it for me. I ‘helped’ with the repair (watched and tried not to get in the way, I must have been about 7 or 8 at the time). The shutter mechanism absolutely fascinated me. I remember dad explaining aperture and shutter speed to me, because the camera was unmetered. It took a little while to get used to it, but got there in the end. Anyway I had several other cameras, but I always remember these two. The Instamatic introduced me to photography and the Voigtlander taught me the importance of exposure.

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DIY: How to Build a Pinhole Camera (Premium)

The pinhole camera has been a classic DIY project for students discovering photography for many decades. If you want to get a deeper appreciation for the basic DNA of a camera, build a pinhole camera. Pinhole cameras are bare-bones cameras; they consist of a black box, a place to put photo-sensitive material, and a pinhole-sized opening that projects a faint image on light-sensitive material. Stripped of the bells and whistles, all cameras—film and digital—follow this design. Some (OK, almost all) cameras are more advanced. But DIY is making a comeback, especially among millennials, so, let’s make a pinhole camera!

What? No lens? That’s right—a small enough hole will focus light on the facing surface. Sure, that image won’t be as sharp as the one your glass lens projects. But the resulting images can be dreamy, moody, romantic (in the classic art sense). And the process is fun. The goal is to turn whatever container you have at hand into something that’s completely light-tight, but easily reloadable, so you can produce some pretty cool pictures while spending almost nothing on your “camera”.

In this article, I’ll show you how to create Paper Negatives. The photo-sensitive material we’ll be using will be standard variable-contrast RC printing paper, which can be reversed via a contact print or by scanning and reversing the negative image to positive on your computer. While film is more light-sensitive and therefore requires faster exposures, it is also harder to handle for this purpose. So, we go with slower paper.

What you need:

  • A completely sealable box. Any size box will do, although the shorter the distance from pinhole to film the shorter the exposure (and the wider the focal length). A shoebox a a classic starting point for a pinhole camera, but a large box of matches will work, too. In fact, so will your film or digital camera! Use your imagination and find something else that you can turn into a pinhole camera.
  • Black Paint and a brush. Spray paint is an option as well. You want to paint the inside of the box black so light doesn’t bounce around, which would cause fogging.
  • Aluminum foil. You’ll be taping the foil over a larger opening that you’re going to make, then use the pin to create the pinhole.
  • A sewing needle. Try a #8 needle, which will give you an aperture of f/350.

Gaffer tape, aluminum foil and a needle: That plus a shoebox and a can of matt black paint ($1.99 at Home Depot) and you’re ready to roll.

Fancy add-ons: Black felt lining along the box’s openings can create an effective light baffle to prevent light from leaking into the camera. Alternatively, you’ll use Gaffer Tape to make it light tight, but you’ll have to remove the tape each time you reopen the box, which will eventually damage it.

Making the camera

Shoe-Box Cam

Step 1: Tape the box along all the edges to create a light seal when you close it. Also tape over any potential openings, no matter how small, on the outside and inside. Black or silver gaffer tape will block light effectively. Hold the box up to a light and look at the corners and edges for potential light leaks, and seal them by covering them with gaffer tape.

Step 2: Paint the inside of the box completely black. Matt black paint is ideal, and using spray paint is cost-effective. Make sure to get the entire inside.

Step 3: Punch a hole measuring about 1/4-1/2 inch wide in the front of the camera (you can use a pen, scissors, razor blade, whatever’s handy). Tape 1-2-inch square of aluminum foil over it.

Step 4: Using a sewing needle, carefully make a pinhole in the aluminum, positioned so it shines through the larger hole you made in Step 3.

Step 5: Create a flap with light-proof tape that will hang over the pinhole.

Loading the camera

Use clear scotch tape for this: In a darkroom under a safelight, place the paper on the wall of the box facing the pinhole. Tape it down so it lays flat and doesn’t move during transport and exposure. Make sure the camera is completely sealed before taking it out into regular light. Tape over the openings with gaffer tape if necessary. Now find a location.

Determining exposure

Your exposure will be long, so you may want to affix your pinhole camera to its surface with gaffer tape so it doesn’t move. If you’re shooting on printing paper, your exposure will be many seconds to several minutes long, depending on lighting conditions.

Exposure is determined by the size of the pinhole, its distance to the paper, and lighting conditions. For the shoebox, let’s say the pinhole is about 6-8 inches from the paper. In bright sunlight, expect an exposure of around 15-20 seconds. You may need to go through several sheets before you find the right exposure. A camera with a smaller pinhole-to-film distance will have a shorter exposure.

Once you’ve exposed the paper, go back to the darkroom and process it as you would a regular print. Repeat until you get a negative image with a fairly wide range from dark to light.

In the fix: It took 4 tries to get a good tonal range and exposure. Keeping convenience in mind, my subject was the building across the street from where I lived. I’d take a picture, run back into the darkroom, un-tape the camera, process the paper negative, and reload, adjusting exposure as I went. I ended up with a 14-second exposure in direct sunlight. Here’s the final photo floating in the fixer.

Reversing the negative image

Once you have your paper negatives, there are two ways to reverse it.

1. Direct Positive contact print: In the darkroom under a safelight, place the paper negative on top of an unexposed sheet, emulsion to emulsion. Place a glass surface on top to hold them flat and touching each other. Expose to white light. (You will need several tests to determine how long this exposure should be). Develop the new sheet as usual, and you’ll get a painterly, other-worldly positive print. Now that’s old-school!

2. Scan it. Go hybrid! Scan the image on your flatbed scanner, then reverse it in your favorite photo editing software. Voila!

My final result: I decided to scan and digitally invert the image for the sake of time, but you can get equally amazing results with direct positive prints!

Beyond the Shoebox

Shoeboxes are the classic way to build a pinhole camera, but there are others. Any container that you can seal against light can be a pinhole camera. A match box? Sure! The box that your DSLR shipped in? If you’re into irony, why not? You can even convert a film (or digital) SLR into a pinhole camera. Buy a body cap, drill a hole in it with a large drill bit. Cover the hole with aluminum foil, make a hole with a needle, and you’re all set!

Why go through the process? It is, after all, not the most convenient way to take a picture. I taught this method to hundreds of day camp photography students many years ago; many of them got a deep understanding of the inner workings of cameras and photography, and some of them even eventually went on to become professional photographers!

Tomasz Cuncvir Created a Pinhole Camera with a Matchbox

Photo Essays is a series on the Phoblographer where photographers get to candidly speak their mind about a specific subject or project of theirs. Want to submit? Send them to

All Images By Tomasz Cuncvir. Used with Permission. 

I wanted to present you some of my work I did back in 2010/2011 with a similar design. I have updated it since to make it a SLIT SCAN MATCHBOX PINHOLE CAMERA! (world’s first, perhaps) 🙂 I am attaching those photos as well at the end of this email, should you be interested. Films were Agfa APX 100 New, And Kodak Portra 160. Those photographs come from my first exhibition in Nowa Ruda, June 2011.

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This Matchbox Pinhole Camera Is So Fun

Screenshot taken from video. 

Pinhole photography is perhaps the most basic yet creative genre to explore on the cheap, while being super enjoyable at the same time. We found this tutorial video by Brightside on how to construct a working pinhole camera using a matchbox as the camera body.

For this simple project, you will need a standard matchbox which has just the right size to house a 35mm standard film, a fresh roll of 35mm film, an empty roll of 35mm film, thin cardboard (the box of the new film can be used), black PVC electrical tape, a silver tape, scissors, a sharp craft knife, a needle or a pin, and a black marker pen.

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“Handheld” Is a Street Photography Series Done with a Pinhole Camera


All images by Jon Wilkening. Used with permission.

Photographer Jon Wilkening is a 32-year former banker turned photographer living just outside of Philadelphia. He used to do photography in college, but it took a backseat after graduation so that he could focus on his banking job. However, it ended up draining him a bit too much–so he quit his job and threw himself right back into photography.

Jon tells us that he uses light and chemistry to reveal how magical the world can be. These actions are easily applicable to his project called “Handheld.” He describes it to us as a project where he used a pinhole camera to capture street photos that result in having an impressionist feeling.

We talked to Jon about the series; which we find to be such a great reminder that street photography doesn’t need to be tack sharp and technically perfect.

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ONDU Mk II Pinhole Camera Has Better Build Quality Than the First


ONDU pinhole cameras made their debut a while back, and eventually took off into success. But now, the company is trying to create a newer and more improved version of the cameras and has already received the necessary funding through Kickstarter. To make the ONDU cameras even better, the company is doing a fairly large overhaul to the cameras to make them better to use.

For starters, they’re adding in more magnets that help to securely close the back panel and therefore not accidentally let light leak in from the back or sides. They’re also changing up the shutter mechanism, creating better pinholes and making framing easier by putting a guide on top of the camera for you to get a better idea of how wide you’re shooting.

Besides this, winding the film will be smoother and you’ll be getting an improved finish for even more durability. This all is totally in line with what ONDU first tried to create: pinhole cameras that will last generations. Pledging as low as $60 can get you a camera. Their video is after the jump.

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Three Modern Pinhole Cameras That Aren’t a Beer Can

Wood Pinhole-2014-X3

Pinhole photography is one of the earliest forms of the art and involves being truly creative about looking at scenes. It often involves an extremely narrow aperture of f162 or even narrower along with a long exposure time to capture what’s in the frame. Depth of field is determined by using composition techniques and often the cameras don’t have a lens or focusing of any sort.

Many folks tend to DIY their own pinhole cameras using things like beer cans and much more. But if you’re not the type of tinker around with tools then here are three pinhole cameras that are very worthy of note.

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8 Awesome Pinhole Cameras That You’ll Want to Shoot With

2011 pinhole

Photo by Matt Bigwood

All images by their respective owners. Originally featured in our initial blog posts with permission.

Pinhole cameras: they’re such an incredible thing of mystery. They can be large, small, unconventional, or totally fair-looking. Something that they all share in common is the fact that they’re bound to shoot a very long exposure and the image will usually look incredible with the right creative knowledge.

We’ve featured lots of cool pinhole work here on the site, but a couple of cameras really stand out at us. Here they are.

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