Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

4×5 Pinhole Plan

September 7, 2010

As alluded to in my last post I’ve been making and shooting pinhole cameras lately. The latest is the Petite Boite Noire (little black box… I give my cameras funny French names for some reason… hopefully I’m not cursing inadvertently or something).

525pinhole17The aperture is about 158, the base focal length is 1.5″ and it has a 1″ extension (approximately equivalent to the field of view of 11mm and 17mm lenses on a 35mm camera). It’s a 4×5 but I’m not using a film back. I planned to use paper as the light sensitive medium (paper is no longer strictly negative and calling it film is confusing so “light sensitive medium” is my term and I’m sticking to it)  so I just made the back the right size for taping a 4×5 chunk of paper to it.

525pinhole15Using paper as the light sensitive media has presented some new challenges. It seems to have a very limited range of exposure and it’s very contrasty. I’m having fun figuring it out though. More samples as I shoot them on my pic site here.

Here is pdf version of the plan.

I built the plans in Sketchup, Google’s free 3d software, so if you’d like that version, or have any other questions just post in the comments and I’ll get back to you.


Positive Paper for Pinholes

August 6, 2010

Just a quick note to share something I stumbled upon recently. Ilford just announced positive photo paper that develops in normal developing chemicals. How cool is that. Perfect for pinholes (my latest obsession).  Go from camera to wall in 3 easy steps. Admittedly, if you don’t already have a darkroom set up, this probably doesn’t do much for you and scanning normal paper then inverting digitally isn’t that big a deal, But still…

It doesn’t look like it’s available in the U. S. yet but I might just have to have some sent across the pond. Check it out here:

New Camera Old Lens

December 26, 2009

Back in the day… before bayonet mounts… before canon mount lenses couldn’t be put on nikon bodies and nikon mount lenses couldn’t be put on canon bodies there were a lot of cameras and lenses from multiple manufactures that used a threaded mount called the m42 mount. I don’t know what the m was for but the 42 was because the threads were 42mm (I think). This was a strong standard and a lot of these lenses were made in a lot of variations and there are still a lot of them out there. Because these lenses had threaded mounts (I think) and because they were made before auto focus they are very easy to adapt to be put on modern camera bodies.

The lenses range from dirt cheap to killer deal. The quality of the glass can be as good or better than modern lenses. The adapters range from 5 bucks to maybe 50 with varying functionality. I’ve got a $5 adapter and a pentax 50mm 1.4 SMC so I’ll speak specifically about that combo. I got the lens on ebay for 60 bucks so I’m at $65 total for a very sharp, very fast lens. The modern canon equivalent is $400. I love it. The only down side is no auto focus and I’m perfectly happy to trade that for $335 off a killer fast lens (not to mention that the more expensive adapters may have more functionality).

So if you’re looking more info or searching for adapters and lenses on ebay use terms like m42, 1.4, eos, adapter… etc. Make sure you get familiar with your specific application because different adapters and different lenses will vary slightly in terms of cost, functionality and features. Oh and one other thing… some of them are radioactive so don’t carry them in your pocket or sleep with them under your pillow. Have a nice day.

DSLR Superwide… Super Fun… Super CHEAP

December 26, 2009

So back in the film days I was always a wide guy. I like to shoot right around 20mm. I think that look gives the untrained eye/brain that surreal – I’m taking in more visual information than I normally can – feel without being so wide that’s it obvious camera trickery. So I got a low end 20-35mm at a reasonable price and everyone was happy.

Then along came the DSLR with it’s small sensor and “1.6 crop factor” and my beloved 20mm super wide is now a 32mm piece of crap. I didn’t worry. I trusted the big corporation to look out for my needs. I waited. Then finally they saw the error in their ways and came out with a 10-22mm lens perfect for my needs. And since they love me so much they were willing to give it to me for the low low price of 700 dollars. Too much right? So I went looking for other options and found what I’ll call wide angle conversion lenses. Search for that exact phrase and you should get decent results.

I got a Digital Optics .45x. It threads on to my 18-55mm kit lens so theoretically (assuming all the focal length claims are accurate) I’m at 18×1.6x.45=13mm at the wide end! Actually… when zoomed all the way out I get some serious vignetting and distortion but that cleans up pretty quick zooming in a little or cropping in post and I’m still well under 20mm. I see them new for as low as 40 bucks and I got mine used for 20. Obviously the quality of the glass is going to be awful but hey… I love all kinds of toys with all different levels of quality so if I can be back to my 20mm for 20 bucks low quality is not going to stand in my way.