Okay – you’ve made your pinhole camera and now it’s time to photograph with it. A lot of this depends on your camera and how well you built it. The biggest factor is the size of the pinhole. If your pinhole was bigger (about 0.75mm), then the aperture size is around f/55. If the pinhole was really small (about 0.30mm), then the aperture size is about f/160. If it was in the middle somewhere (about 0.50mm), then it’s about f/128.
Below is a chart for the exposure times. The methodology can be this: Take your camera with you and set the ISO to 100. Then read the shutter speed needed by your camera. Follow the chart to the right, chose the size that you think is closest to the measurement of your pinhole, and then figure out the exposure.
Essentially, what you will probably be doing is this – on a sunny day, a normal camera would make a good exposure at f/16 and 1/15th of a second. This translates to a 4 to 8 second exposure with your pinhole cameras. With my experience last year, I would say that outside on a bright day, open the pinhole for 8 seconds. If it is overcast, then open the pinhole for 16 seconds. if it is dusk or early morning, then I would open the pinhole for 30 seconds. Remember that f-stops are doubles and halfs of each other, so always either double your time or half it to make any adjustments. Also, we are using very forgiving black and white film, so if you are off by a stop or so, you’ll still get an image.
|1 second||8s||66s||2m 10s|
|2s||16s||2m 10s||4m 21s|
|4s||33s||4m 21s||9m 42s|
|8s||1m 05s||9m 42s||17m 24s|
|16s||2m 10s||17m 24s||35m 49s|
|33s||4m 21||35m 49s||1hour 10min|
|65s||9m 42s||1hour 10min||2hours 20min|
|2m 10s||17m 24s||2hours 20min|
|4m 21||35m 49s|
|9m 42s||1hour 10min|
|17m 24s||2hours 20min|
Below are some examples of good pinhole photographs – all taken with the paint-can cameras. Remember what seems to make good pinhole photographs are the following:
- High contrast subjects
- Subjects that are not moving
- Water/waterfalls (the water is moving, but the rocks aren’t)
- Subjects with lighting that has high-contrast (bright and sunny days!)