Thursday, December 8, 2022

Prototype of a Compact 30mm

In my continuing quest to make the smallest 6x6cm format camera, I reworked the template for the Compact 45mm down to 30mm from pinhole to film.

It's made on the same scheme as the Compact 45 and the Evil Cube with a film holder inserted into the back of the camera which is then covered by the front.

At this angle, a truncated triangular image chamber like those previous cameras would have to come to a point in the front with no place to put the pinholes. I had to rework it slightly with straight sides which then flare out over the film reels. A new feature with the previous Evil Cube and Compact 45mm was to create a part which would attach to the outside wall of the image chamber which created a bay to hold the film reel in place and keep it from twisting. I realized I could create a few extra folds and make that bay as part of the film holder rather than a separate part. One thing this new design did was change how the contact surfaces between the film holder top and the film holder sides met so they weren't big enough to utilize two-sided adhesive sheets. I had to revert to using glue to hold it together, which I'm fine with, but it bothers some people.

It is noticably smaller than the Compact 45mm and a 30mm 120 Populist, but still a little bigger than a 35mm Film Populist. 

It is pretty small for a medium format camera, and at 90 grams, pretty light. Sometimes it's mentioned that cardboard isn't very durable but something this light and flexible can fall to the ground from quite some height without any damage.

This is a prototype and some things need correction. I checked that the rising pinhole wasn't blocked at the edge by the filmholder but forgot to check with the shutter in front of it. It has the same shutter and 15mm rise as the Compact 45. The outside shutter blocked about 5mm of the top of the frame with this wider angle camera. Also, when out using it, that much rise seemed a little excessive. I've since repositioned the top pinhole to be only 11mm above the axis and the whole frame is now clear with the rising pinhole.

Another issue was that I made the front of the camera a millimeter too small and got another very tightly winding camera. It worked well advancing with both knobs at the same time, but it took a little more force than I'd like.

I'm reworking the template.

When I first saw the package design for this 👁PA, I thought maybe Lakefront Brewery had seen the other cameras made from cartons of their Bumble Bear Brown Ale and Hazy Rabbit IPA and did this to challenge me, but Andy tells me they've been making it for years. I did save a few of the cans, but didn't use them for the pinholes like my last two cameras. I found a pair of optimal .23mm pinholes in my stash and just used those. 

The weather was rather overcast with just barely directional diffuse lighting.

A stairway down to the lower courtyard at the library.

An alcove on the first floor overhangs the basement windows. 

The staff entrance next to the loading docks, actually used by someone during the exposure.

Just across the street, the entrance to the Fallout Shelter in the Masonic Temple.

The other side of the Masonic Temple looking a little post-apocalyptic.

Just across the driveway, the employee entrance on the original Wisconsin National Life Insurance Company building, now occupied by Winnebago County Social Services.

The main entrance is to the left where the Neoclassical building is joined to a slightly brutalist addition. This photo is of the other side of the building, which is another employee-only entrance, again put to use while the shutter was open.

This textured stucco wall and recently covered-over door seemed like a good subject for the extremely diffuse light.

A rounded corner of an otherwise rectangular building.

A tree growing in the back of the Time Theatre.

The entrance to the Winnebago Bicycle Shop.

Across the street, my favorite political party headquarters.

The EyePA has .23mm hand-drilled pinholes 30mm from a 6x6cm frame. The film is 200 semistand developed in Caffenol.


  1. Very sharp images, Nick! Good job with the graphics on the face of the camera. Your images are as good as your cameras, which is very high praise indeed.

  2. That comment was me - Earl Johnson.

  3. I appreciate all the technical information you provide, Thanks very much. Jerry