Pinhole Camera - Xi Deng & Zhenli Wu

Part 1: Basic Pinhole Camera

Camera Design

Pinhole camera:

we used an cardboard box as the body and made it completed dark by lightproof tapes.
The left hole is for replacable pinhole cards and the right one is for the camera.
Although the best pinhole size we calculated from the formula is around 0.7mm, it's not easy to prick or measure such a small pinhole. Instead we made four different size of pinhole cards: 1mm, 2mm, 3mm and 5mm. To adjust the pinhole size, we just insert the card with desirable size and cover the left hole completely.
We attached the lens hood to the right hole to make sure the digital camera can be fixed on our pinhole camera and the quality of photos would not be affected.

Appearance of our digital camera

Pinhole cards

Camera setup:

Tripod to keep camera steady during long exposure, and scarf to avoid light leak.

Taking photo on the Green

Photo with light leaking through lens hood

Pinhole Diameter Comparison

We can clearly see the differences on brightness and sharpness between photos taken with different pinhole size. By using a smaller pinhole, we can get a sharper but dimmer image.

Scene 1: Desktop View

Camera settings: f: 2.8, ISO:1000, Exposure time: 30s

1mm 2mm 3mm 5mm

Scene 2: House View

Camera setting : f: 5.0, ISO: 400, Exposure time: 30s

1mm 2mm 3mm 5mm

Best Diameter (Outdoor Views)

Both 1mm and 2mm work well. However 1mm works best only in sunny days, while 2mm is capable for some indoor scenes.

2mm pinhole

Camera setting : f: 2.8, ISO: 500, Exposure time: 30s

Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4

1mm pinhole

Camera setting : f: 2.8, ISO: 800, Exposure time: 30s

Scene 1 Scene 2 Scene 3 Scene 4

Part 2: Extras

Subtask1: Light Painting


We choosed large size pinhole (3mm, 5mm), high ISO, big aperture and long exposure time (10~30s) to take these photos.


Light painting 1: Stars


Light painting 2: Smile


Light painting 3: Teapot

Subtask2: Stereo Camera

Initially, we used color filters for instant print camera as red and blue filters. However the results are not quite satisfactory. The shape of them also limited the distance between red and blue pinholes.
For better results, we managed to borrow the red and cyan light filter, and adjusted the distance between the pinholes.



Images obtained using instant print camera filters


Blue channel only


Red channel only

Pinhole camera with red and cyan filters

stereo camera


stereo camera


Images obtained using red and cyan light filters

stereo camera Red channel Blue channel Green channel
stereo camera Red channel Blue channel Green channel

Subtask3: Turning Our Room into Pinhole Camera

We covered all the windows in our room by aluminum foil to make it a dark room.


Camera Obscura in my room

View on the wall

Subtask4: Tracing Paper

Based on the dark room we created in task 3, we were able to make a box with tracing paper and see the views outside.



The box with tracing paper


View on the tracing paper