Monday, June 27, 2016

The easy way

I have presented our old college friends, Gene and Laura, with portfolios of black and white prints, beginning with their wedding, for many years.  They include all sorts of events and just mundane visits. For example, I had been trying to get their elder daughter to take my picture with my Canon F1 ever since she was born, and on New Years Eve when she was three and a half, she suddenly took over the camera and shot a whole roll. They had a fortieth wedding anniversary party last Sunday at the bar where they met that we had all hung out at for years  I tell you all this to justify what I did last weekend.  I shot a few rolls of Tri-X with a lens.

How that's relevant to a pinhole blog is that I had about 10 frames left when we got back to Oshkosh. I have never put a pinhole on a 35mm SLR nor have I ever shot black and white 35mm film with a pinhole.  So this seemed to be the opportunity.


I have to say this is the easiest way to do Pinhole I've come across.  It could be pretty cheap too.  I already have three of them but I found numerous fairly good SLR's including a Nikkormat on eBay for $10. The shutter doesn't really need to work very well.  All you really need is that it works on Bulb.

I lost the body cap that came with my F1 probably the minute I put the first lens on.  The closest thing I had was the lens cap from my 10x50 binoculars. It doesn't fit at all so I had to tape it on with 3M #235. It only took a few seconds and it's on there pretty solidly.

I was really surprised that the pinhole ended up being 50mm from the film plane.  I had always imagined these to be wider angle, but I never had really thought about it.  Quite a bit different from the Populist I'm used to at 24mm.  (The lens I had on it last weekend was my beloved Canon FD 20mm f2.8)

I made a pinhole in some beverage can aluminum by drilling just the tip of a #10 needle on a table top.  The initial hole was about .18mm. I gave the needle a gentle twist or two and enlarged it to .26mm.  Mr. Pinhole says .298mm is optimal for this distance.  Close enough.

Professional SLR's are some hefty chunks of steel, but I never felt about this camera that way, but with the pinhole on it it strikes me as really heavy and clumsy.  It's just under two pounds.  The Populist is just under three ounces.


I was kind of surprised you could see anything at all through the viewfinder. Except for a completely sun-lit scene, it's still pretty useless though. This image was done with my iPhone and probably a little  better than it actually looked to my eye. (Yes, I know, the phone has a lens too)
Another kind of surprise was there's no other good way of viewfinding, other that just trying to center your subject in the frame.  Horizontally, the angles on the pentaprism roughly point at the angle of the 50mm distance, but vertically you just kind of have to guess.

I guess you could have predicted that I got some more tightly framed shots than I was planning. Not particularly level either.



I did a little better with the entrance to the garden.


I couldn't find a cable release.  (BTW, our local camera store which is jam packed with every kind of accessory you could imagine, doesn't carry cable releases.) I kept forgetting that you had to keep the shutter held down on Bulb and blew a few exposures that way.  It also meant I had to be within an arms length of the camera.

Here I am gripping the black film can from a roll of Tri-X left over from Gene and Laura's 25th wedding anniversary in 2001 that I found in the bottom of the camera bag.


When I'm desperate to get some film shot quickly, I always end up with a self portrait, but having to hold down the shutter meant it had to be pretty close-up,


It is kind of handy that you know how much film you have left.  I may play with it with that outdated roll of Tri-X as long as I had to buy a whole quart of developer.

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