A new pinhole camera

About a week ago, I made another new foamcore 4×5 pinhole camera:

The new Bollywood Pinhole camera

I’m calling it the Bollywood pinhole camera, due to the paint and the bling. I wanted to bling it out more, but was afraid that I would have problems with bling flying off whenever I removed rubberbands holding the film holder in place.

Actually, I barely need to use rubberbands, since the film holder fits so snug.

Back of the Bollywood pinhole camera

I haven’t been using a back cover for it, either, although I might fashion one. Some of the pictures look as if they’re a little light leaky.

I made this camera to replace the Exposed Pinhole camera, which, although functional, wasn’t as pinhole-y as I liked. The focal length was too long, so all of the pictures just turned out looking kind of normal. I intended on making the Bollywood pinhole really wide angle, but screwed up my measurements and wound up with a focal length of about 46mm. So, better than the Exposed pinhole, but not really amazingly distorted.

Mr. Pinhole said I should use a pinhole of .286mm, but that’s smaller than any of the drill bits we have, so I just winged it. Whatever pinhole I’m using is smaller than .34mm (that’s our smallest drill bit), but I didn’t feel like scanning it in and trying to measure it. I’m lazy. I just kind of assumed it was around .28mm, which would make the fStop f164, but after seeing the results of the pics I took, it may be even smaller. So, I think I underexposed everything a bit, which is a nice change from overexposing everything, which is what I typically do.

Of course I went and shot a bunch of pics with this camera before I tried developing any of them, including about 10 or 12 at Franklin Park Conservatory using slide film. Hey, it’s only 4×5 color reversal sheet film! No big deal! [sobs]. At least with the slide film, I’ll be able to tell for certain about the light leaks and underexposure.

Hey!  It's me!

So, after shooting a bucket full of 4×5 film with the brand new camera, I developed some of it yesterday. My first round of developing was using the Arista print developer for the photo paper and the ortho lith film. Here’s a 20 second exposure with the ortho lith film in the Bollywood:

Dodge Dart

I may suck at developing, but I rock at making pinholes. Look how sharp the details are! Maybe some of that is due to the choice of film, but damn! Shiny!

After I got done with the print developer, I mixed up some HC110b from syrup and developed the regular black and white film. I didn’t have much of it. I had a roll of old Ilford Pan F that I exposed in the Pindiana camera. The negatives were wonderfully contrasty, but unfortunately, I didn’t really like anything on the roll. Except for this picture, which turned out okay.

Drive by pinholing

I tried developing an old roll of instamatic Kodacolor II that expired in 1976 in the HC110b with the thought that maybe I could recover some images in the black and white developer, but no go. The negatives came out basically opaque. This was from the same lot of 126 film I was bitching about earlier that I tried developing in the color chems, and nothing came out. I think I still have a few unshot rolls from the lot. I may just try cracking the 126 plastic cases open in daylight (so I can, hopefully, be careful and not shatter them all to hell), extract the film, pitch it, and then use the case and backing paper to respool 35mm onto it. I like the wacky square images of 126 film, and I hate to have 47 million instamatic cameras not being used for anything.

Besides those two rolls, the only other film I developed was some Tmax 100 I shot in the Bollywood pinhole. This was a 4 second exposure:

More van!

Still a bit dark, isn’t it? And it looks like a little light leak-y along the one side. Not too bad, though. Here’s a windmill:


I cropped this one, but if you go to the large size of it, you can see there’s a line of developer bubbles along the top edge. I did tank developing for this batch, and it seemed to go a lot better than the tray developing, but when I use my small tank (with the cracked lid), I need to remember to switch out lids. Or just use the swirly kind of agitation rather than doing inversions. I think I lose too much developer and add too much air (creating the bubbles) when I do inversions.

Two other things I developed yesterday – one is a sheet of ortho lith film I shot using an anamorphic pinhole camera. I used a tube that had held pumpkin spice cookies as my camera, with the pinhole in the lid.

1st go at an anamorphic pinhole shot

Crappy photo, but neat effect. I just need to aim it at something else. This was a 25 second exposure.

The other thing is a piece of 5×7 photo paper I used in my DeCecco Pasta tin pinhole camera. Focal length is 64mm, pinhole is .3429mm, fStop is f190, exposure was 2 minutes, which actually turned out to be about perfect.

Pasta tin pinhole

Yesterday’s paper developing went a lot better than it had previously. Not only did I process it in a tank instead of a tray, but I also tried warming up the developer a little bit. I still have a sheet of 8×10 I need to develop, though – will have to get out the trays for that, unfortunately.

I’m planning on starting to do my shitload of E6 developing sometime this week. I still have all of the 4×5 pinhole shots I took on vacation last fall, the batch of 4x5s I took at the conservatory on Friday, and about 5 or 6 random rolls of 120 I need to develop. I’m going to use my big ass sheet film tank for the 4×5.

Film Tank

Using this is a pain in the butt, because it requires 1500ml of fluid, which is a lot more developer than I normally mix up at once. Also, I can’t do inversions with it, so I wind up just swirling everything around and making a colossal mess. It’s pretty nervewracking.

So, hey, here’s a funny thing. Since I was going to write about doing the E6 developing, I went and got the instruction sheet from the last time I did it to look over it. And in doing so, I realized that I had done the developing completely wrong the last time I developed slide film. Whoops! Also, one more bit of proof that I’m the Worst Developer in the World. Apparently, you’re supposed to wash the film between the first developer and the color developer, and also between the color developer and the Blix. Yeah. I didn’t do that. At all. In the end, I’m not sure how much that mattered. I mean, I did get results last time.

Jefferson Memorial at night

Still, though, the whole rinsing thing might increase how long the chems will be useable. And I still never tried the thing I wanted to with the E6 developing, namely, replacing the first developer with black and white developer to see what happens. I may try that this time, after I develop all of the E6 stuff that I care about. The instructions (which I clearly didn’t read thoroughly enough last time) state that when you reuse the E6 chems, you need to add time to the first developer to compensate for that weakening, but that the color developer and the Blix don’t weaken with reuse. So, if I can just replace the first developer with, say, HC110b, I should be able to reuse my slide chems like woah.

Also want to try developing E2 film with cold E6 chems to see if that works. I don’t think I ever tried cross processing C41 film into E6 chems, either. Hopefully, since I’ll be mixing up such a big batch of chems this time and using the big sheet film tank and the taller Patterson tank, I can get through the developing faster.

2 thoughts on “A new pinhole camera

  1. What if you put something in the big tank that would take up space and reduce the amount of chemicals needed to fill it? Like a sealed container of water (so it won’t float) of a shape that won’t get in the way of the film/paper? Never having seen the inside and it’s rack/spool thingy, I don’t know what kind of container. A water balloon maybe? LOL


    1. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t work with the kind of film tanks I have, since the space is pretty much taken up by spools and slots designed to keep the film from floating against itself. It’s okay, I planned beforehand and just bought a colossal kit of chems to compensate. 🙂


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