Pins and Needles

I originally altered the bodycap on my Nikon D40 to become a pinhole lens but I think I lost that moving house. So now I’m using a bought Holga pinhole adaptor. This shoddy piece of ‘technology’ comes with no numerical specifications but instead has a handy leaflet suggesting trial and error are the key to successful pinhole images.

Well I’m sorry, but no.

In the 1880s Lord Rayleigh developed formulae suggested by the work of Joseph Petzval before him. Using distinct measurements it is easy to find the optimal pinhole size for a given focal length. It angers me that, even now, artists and photographers are encouraged to ‘experiment’ using trial and error in order to ‘discover’ how pinhole cameras work. This rudimentary kindergarten approach to pinhole photography is more than 130 years too late, and quite frankly insulting. The Physics and Maths involved in applying Rayleigh’s formula is simple and there are even apps available that will do the sums for you.

So back to my tech issues.

My pinhole difficulties have arisen due to not having the figures at hand to be able to calculate exactly the pinhole size needed. As a result I have used what measurements I have, and concluded that the only logical step is to remove the hole from the Holga and reassert a new pinhole size as one slightly larger. So this morning, over breakfast, that is exactly what I did. As you can see from the above image, I’m not far off from my desired outcome now. I reckon my pinhole is 0.2mm off optimum but I want to see results in a variety of light conditions before I alter it again; today’s fog is far from ideal. Fingers crossed, in a few more days I’ll have this problem sorted.

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