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Pinhole cap on digital SLR - any good?

Cathy Rondo , Jun 17, 2006; 07:33 a.m.

Wondering if anyone uses a pinhole body cap on their digital SLR.

I just bought a Canon 30D with a good 17-55mm 2.8 lens, but I remember all the fun I used to have with my old box camera. I recently heard about digital pinholes and have found some pinhole body caps for sale on the Pinhole Ressource site.

Has anyone bought and used these?

I'm interested in the Film Base NO Dust Cap because I don't want to risk getting dust inside the camera.

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions?

Thanks in adcance.



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Larry Dressler , Jun 17, 2006; 08:19 a.m.

Buy one. Try one. Let us know.


Matt Needham , Jun 17, 2006; 08:39 a.m.

I made my own by drilling a hole in the body cap, and taping in a laser cut pinhole. There are some issues, but it was still fun. I did a lot more digital pihole shooting than I ever have with film or paper because the instant feedback made it so fun. It was softer than what I recall getting using film or paper, but who knows if that was because of the DSLR, or my poor pinholing technique.

The main thing I didn't like was the focal length. Because of the x1.6, even a bodycap is normal to long. I prefer wider angle for my pinhole photography.

I'd think the greatest risk of dust would be when you were switching lenses/pinhole body caps, and I don't know how they could prevent that. We live on a giant ball of dust in a universe filled with dust. Your camera probably came already filled with dust. No matter what you do, you will have to eventually deal with dust on your sensor. Especially when you take your first shot with a pinhole cap on. With the pinhole's DOF you will see every bit of grit laying on your sensor, and it's a scary sight! You are going to wonder how your camera even takes photos with that much dirt on the sensor.

Mark Messerly , Jun 17, 2006; 09:33 a.m.

There were quite a few 'digital pinhole' entries for the 2006 Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day Gallery http://www.pinholeday.org/ I randomly started through the gallery and found image number 1278 and 1310. Enter the numbers in the 'Go To image #'. I use the Pinhole Resource Zone plate body cap with a Hasselblad. Nice products.

Cathy Rondo , Jun 18, 2006; 05:57 a.m.

Thank you for the link to the Pinhole Photography Day Gallery. Many of the gallery�s images were taken with digital SLRs and pinhole body caps, and they are all much softer than the crisp box pinhole photographs I am nostalgic of. If taking digital pinholes is easier, I think I�m going to be disappointed with the results� Boo-hoo�

Cathy Rondo , Jun 18, 2006; 05:59 a.m.

Oups! Those question marks aren�t supposed to be there�

Eddie Gunks , Jun 18, 2006; 07:44 a.m.

check out f295.org. there are quite a few people using a digital pinhole. some put clear tape over the hole to keep out dust. eddie

Lance McVay , Jun 18, 2006; 06:50 p.m.

Cathy, I have found diffraction to be a real problem with sharpness and dSLR pinholes. this is an example of a f/180 pinhole on a Canon 20D, with a 15 second exposure. At f/64, things are a lot more tolerable. f/64 was obtained using a Loreo Lens In A Cap, which is not a true pinhole.

Todd Frederick , Jun 18, 2006; 09:16 p.m.

I tried it. It works. You need to play with exposure times.

My complaint with using it on a digital camera is that it comes out mainly as a fuzzy photo. It looses the wide angle effect you get with a pinhole camera designed to give a wide angle effect.

Below is a test shot, and I didn't go any further with it.

I much prefer using a Holga lens assembly on my digital. See www.holgamods.com for samples.

Pinhole Test On Olympus E-300 Digital

Cathy Rondo , Jun 19, 2006; 08:58 a.m.

Lance - thank you for sharing your LOREO experience! Now this is closer to the kind of image quality and feel I'm interested in (although still not quite the magic of box pinholes). The LOREO dealer is unfortynately out of stock at the moment, but I asked to be notified as soon as a new batch is ready for shipment.

Question: how do you do you calculate exposure time? Say you want to take a photo at f.64 in medium-low light, do you use an external light meter to calculate the speed? And do you then set your camera speed dial to bulb and use a watch to calculate the elapsed time while holding down the shutter?

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