Building & Shooting a 3D Pinhole Camera

last year a friend found the perfect birthday gift for someone who thought he everything, a 3d pinhole camera.

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i knew pinhole cameras existed, and i have several 3d cameras, but i never imagined someone made a 3d pinhole camera. it turns out a company called recesky makes one, but it needs assembly. the camera consists of a plastic snap together body. in addition to taking stereo paris, it also has an option of taking a panoramic image.

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fortunately, the assembly instructions were illustrated, but the text was unfortunately (for me) in chinese. a trip to google solved that problem for me by finding several on line videos showing how to assemble the camera. about an hour later, i had a fully assembled, ready to go, stereo pinhole camera.

the next challenge was learning how to use it. the first question was ‘what is the f stop?’. a closer inspection of the chinese instructions revealed that the stereo pinholes were f 128 and the panoramic pinhole was f 180. those f stops are off of most light meters scales, so i had to do a bit of interpolation when calculating the exposure

normally i would go out on a shoot with a few different film speeds, and a camera where i controlled the f stop and shutter speed. with this pinhole camera, i had an unchangeable f 128 aperture, and the best control i had over shutter speed was counting mississippi’s

my first mistake after seeing an f stop of 128 was going out on a bright sunny day with fast film. that combination resulted in exposure times faster than a Mississippi. the next try was on a more overcast day with slower film. that allowed me to do a 4 or 5 second exposure using a tripod

typically I shoot on slide film and mount the slides so they can be viewed in a special stereo viewer, but you can view the image below in stereo too if you follow these instructions in one of my past blog posts on stereo photography, on how to do parallel freeviewing

as you can see with the arches of the bridge, the pinhole ‘lenses’ produce some interesting distortions

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the arches should be symmetrical, not having that pushing forward effect

the ‘focus’ also produced an interesting soft feel that is usually produced with filters on a lens or with digital post filters

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after i started to get the hang of 4 second exposures, i wanted to make good use of that exposure time with water

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and later, just for fun, i tried doing stereo fireworks shots. normally, a fireworks shot uses a long exposure, so it seemed natural to try the pinhole camera to take some stereo pairs

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after having fun assembling and shooting with that pinhole camera, our next project is a “slr” pinhole camera made by kikkerland