Pinhole – macro

I am thinking of doing some pinhole macro work.

Looking the internet up I found some interesting thoughts

If you draw a ray diagram you may see a problem if you bring it very close to your subject, and your film sensitivity curve isn’t narrow.

For one thing the material in which the hole is made would need to be very thin, or you’ll get some odd vignetting.

But also remember that pinhole does a very poor job of focusing different wavelengths to the same plane. As the subject gets closer to the pinhole, that issue should get more noticeable: rays containing all the colours will need to approach the pinhole from more extreme angles.

Hence my suggestion to use a film with a narrow sensitivity curve… it’d be best if it were sensitive to a single wavelength

Seems I will have to do some tests myself

2019/10 when in spain…

While on a trip in spain I had my RSS 6×6 pinhole with me, along with Agfa ortho 25, expired 1992, later dev. in Rodinal 1:100 semistand 1 hour, 20 Celsius.

Avila – the fountain
Avila – parador
El escorial
Segovia – the cannon
Toledo – the bridge

RSS 6×17 Pinhole Camera

A very nice ultrawide pinhole camera from James Guerin at aupremierplan.

Here is his description the loading of this camera:

Curved film plane?


The film plane is curved to ensure even exposure across the negative, not possible with a flat film plane with such an extreme wide angle view (141° angle view of equates to a focal length of 6.4mm in 35mm terms). T

A side-effect of the curved film plane is that it results in a curved horizon in your photos unless the photo is taken with the camera level.  This is why a precise bubble level features on the top plate of the camera.

Camera features

  • CNC machined body
  • Curved film plane with a radius of 70mm (focal length).
  • Large 6x17cm (57x170mm) negative giving 4 shots per roll of film (120 roll film).
  • Angle of view: 141 degrees horizontal, 44 degrees vertical.
  • Laser drilled 300 micron (0.3mm) pinholes (f/233). Pinhole material thickness = 50 microns (.002″).
  • Magnetic shutter
  • Dual pinhole allows horizon to be placed on upper or lower third (camera level)
  • Accurate aiming lines for composition.
  • Precise bubble level.
  • Standard 1/4-20 tripod mount socket
  • Rubber feet
  • Film spool tensioner at take up spool

Film – Agfa Ortho 25

I got some of this film in 120 format.

Dev in D96 monobath worked

Dev in Rodinal 1:100 semistand 1 hour, 20 Celsius worked with heavy fog

Agfa Ortho 25, Rodinal 1:100 semistand 1 h, 20 Celsius, pinhole

In this pic the fog actually compensated the highlights

Pinhole pictures

2019, Sicily, „at the beach“, Foma 100, D96, RSS 6×6

2019, Sicily, „sunscreens“, Foma 100 D96 RSS 6×6
2019, December, „pinhole in action“ – look at the left backpack side….
2019, July, „home toen“, Bad Kreuznach, Oranienpark
Foma 100, 8sec, Ondu 6×9, Rodinal 1:100 1h semistand

2019, November, Gensingen, „old truck“, RSS 6×9
The year 2020 keeps me limited pinholing on my way to and from work, due to the Covid Pandemie.
I usually travel by bicycle. I was late, it was already dark and the RSS was mounted on my bike.
RSS 6×9, expired Ilford PAN 100, Rodinal 1:100 stand.

2019, Spain, Madrid. RSS 6×9, wxpired Ilford PAN 100, Rodinal 1:100 semistand.
2020, June, „my way home“, expired Delta 100, Rodinal 1:100 semistand, RSS 6×6
2020, August, „my way home“, expired Ilford PAN 100, 510-pyro 1:200 8min, RSS 6×6
2020, July, „nightshift“ , RSS 6×9, very old Agfa Ortho 25, Rodinal 1:100 semistand.

2020, March, „nightshift“,RSS 6×9, expired Ilford PAN 100, Rodinal 1:100 semistand

Pinhole – sunny sixteen table

This is my quick cheat table if I take my pinhole with me.

pinhole & sunny sixteen

You have to work with small apertures (high f numbers) and long exposure times and the reciprocity law failure (Schwarzschild effect) must also be taken into consideration.

Taking photographs with a pinhole camera is always something of an experiment and requires a bit of playing around. Achieving perfect results is not always the most important aim.

Many pinhole photographers simply use estimated exposure times. Also, many commonly used films have high exposure latitude and therefore are less sensitive to incorrect exposure.

One option is to prepare a simple table for each pinhole camera whereby the time measured by a light meter can be quickly converted to the required time for the given pinhole camera and film stock.

You can use the PinholeDesigner program to help you with the following calculation. f number In order to calculate an exposure time, it is important to know the f number of the pinhole camera.

Using a lightmeter the problem is that the high f numbers on pinhole cameras are not available on light meters.
The  way round this is to set the light meter to a different aperture, usually f 22, and then convert the measured exposure time for the aperture of the  pinhole camera.
This is done by dividing the f number of the pinhole camera by the f number set on the light meter; this number is squared and the result is used to multiply the measured exposure time.

For example, if the measured exposure time for f 22 is 1/60 second, the calculation for our pinhole camera with an f number of 250 is: (250/22)2 = 129. The measured time is increased 129 times, therefore the exposure time for the pinhole camera will be 2 seconds (rounded).

Reciprocity law failure (Schwarzschild effect)
For long exposure times, usually for exposures longer than several seconds, it is necessary to extend the measured time.
The majority of film stocks indicate in their specifications by how much the exposure times should be extended; if not you have to experiment.

Tips for correct exposures
Choose a material with high exposure latitude, this increases the probability of obtaining a useful negative. In general, conventional light-sensitive layers (which do not use T-grain emulsions) have a higher exposure latitude, such as Ilford FP4 Plus, and also the majority of commonly used colour negative films.

Indoors the times are very long, often more than one hour.
Usually, the only possible method to obtain a correct exposure is trial and error.

The sensitivity of the photographic paper is to be tested. The light meter should be set to somewhere between 2 and 10 ISO.

A good idea for simplifying exposures is to create a table for each pinhole camera and type of film stock.

Cameras – pinhole construction

Interesting results are easy to get – use a pinhole….
I had gotten my hands on lots of old x-ray film. Expired since the nineties, but in lightsealed boxes.
The format is 18×24 cm, so the cassettes fit in 8×10 large format cameras.

The 8×10 inch (20×30 cm) and the german 18×24 cm cassettes I got are very different, I had to mark them to load the matching film format.

If you construct a pinhole


the optimal pinhole size =  0,037 * SQR(Distance film to pinhole) 

Aperture =  film-pinhole distance / pinhole size

The projected circle of light from the pinhole =  pinhole-film distance  * 3,84 
(using an 125 degree angle)

Exposure time =  (exposure time aperture x) * (aperture pinhole / aperture x)2
(But I find usually I have to go with try and error, so take more cassettes than you think you will need or (like I do) load the cassettes on the road. I never know how much the Schwarzschild effect will kick in because I´m using old expired film. If you use documented film there will be a table in the documentation)


The following equation can be used to calculate the pinhole size:

Pinhole formula No. 1

where d is the pinhole diameter, c is a constant (usually Lord Rayleigh’s constant, which is 1.9), f is the focal length (i.e. the distance between the pinhole and the light sensitive material) and l is the light wavelength. The wavelength used here is yellow/green, which is 0.00055mm.

If you are not all that fond of doing the math youself, here is a table of a number of focal lengths, where you can find the number closest to your camera size and use as a guide when making the pinhole.

Focal length
Optimal pinhole size (mm) * Focal length cont’d.
Optimal pinhole size cont’d. (mm)

More Infos

(a german site), you get all the infos you need.

is in english.

If you need absolute precision (I don´t) :

 The camera

and a picture, old x-ray film, expired 2001, developed in x-ray development machine (paper developer gives better results).

The screen photo doesn´t show the fascination of the original film, that you have to see for yourself.

Pinhole – Camera – Agfa Isolette Conversion

I got two broken Agfa Isolette 120 film cameras.

The first one should become a 75mm pinhole.

I took the front lenses and the rear lenses out.

Than I glued a 0.3mm pinhole on a wafer to screw it in instead of the front lens element, using a rubber seal ring for even pressure.

The final result looks good, shutter is working, maybe I will glue in the front original part for the better look later. 

A first test shows a nice image:

Pinhole photography – tips & tricks

Pinhole photography is something special.

You invest in a camera, film, developing and scanning/printing to get an unsharp image.

But – it is fun. The unpredictability makes it very interesting.

The first things I learned:

Measure. Or play.

No sunny sixteen with these apertures for me.
                Be aware of the reciprocity of your film. Fomapan 100 is no fun here.
                E.g. Ilford Delta 100 is a lot more easy.

Get closer. Closer. Even more close. Closer! (From Andrew Bartram)

Use a tripod.

Trick your shutter. (e.g. finger cover the shutter,  open shutter, exposure, fingers cover the shutter, close shutter) to avoid movement if exposure is less than 10 seconds.

Look for contrasty scenes.

The sun is your friend.

Relax. It is not sharp. It is ok 😉                    

Tips from Neil Piper (

One of things that draws people to pinhole photography is the ‘infinite depth of field’ that the medium is able to capture.  A lot of people assume that everything in the composition, from the pinhole to infinity will be sharp.
The general consensus is that if you have the optimum sized pinhole for your cameras focal length, then everything from 20 x your cameras focal length should have reasonable sharpness.
For instance.  A pinhole camera, focal length is 50mm.
Most online calculators will tell you that the optimum pinhole size for 50mm is around 0.3mm, give or take a few 0.01mms.

Your camera now has the optimum sized pinhole for its 50mm focal length and so the maths says that everything more than 1000mm away from the pinhole (50mm focal length multiplied by 20) should be of optimum sharpness.

Pinhole photography by Justin Quinnell×17/#

The lensless podcast (absolutely great show!)