How to make a pinhole lens for your DSLR


A couple of weeks ago, it was Pinhole Photography Day. That got us thinking, can we use Triggertrap with a pinhole camera? The answer it yes. To experiment with pinhole photography, you don't have to have a darkroom and invest in film or light sensitive papers. If you follow our steps below, you can cheaply and easily turn your DSLR camera into a pinhole camera. 

What you will need:

  • DSLR camera
  • A body cap for your camera
  • Both some fine and coarse sandpaper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Drill
  • A drinks can
  • Scissors
  • Safety gloves
  • Sewing needle
  • Electrical tape
  • Tripod
  • Cable release

Step 1

Be warned, for this technique we will be annihilating a body cap. So make sure you have a spare, or order in a couple of extras before you start. We're going to be making a hole in the body cap, and to make things easier we want to start with a flat surface. Use some coarse sandpaper to remove the logo from the body cap. Once that is done, use some finer sandpaper to smooth off the surface. 

The resulting body cap should look a little bit like this.

The resulting body cap should look a little bit like this.

Step 2

Before drilling a hole in the cap, we need to find the centre of it. Here's where you'll need your ruler and pencil. Draw two lines that each cut across the circumference of the circle in two places. For each line, find the centre of it and from there draw a perpendicular line towards the centre of the circle. Where the two perpendicular lines intersect, you will find the centre. For more information, we used these instructions here

Step 3

Drill a hole at the centre of the body cap, then use the fine sandpaper to get rid of any rough edges from both sides of the cap. Important: Once that is done, wash the body cap under running water. It is very important to remove all dust from the cap before putting it anywhere near your camera - you don't want any dust falling into your sensor!

Step 4

Make sure to wear safety gloves for this bit, aluminium can be very sharp. Cut a small square of aluminium out of the drinks can that can fit comfortably inside the reverse of the body cap. 

Step 5

Using the electrical tape, secure the aluminium square to the reverse of the body cap. Then pierce a hole, as small as you can, through the aluminium with a sewing needle. Make sure the hole goes all the way through the metal, but the smaller the hole, the sharper the resulting image will be.

Step 6

Ta da! You should be left with a body cap resembling the one below. All that's left to do now is attach it to your DSLR and get shooting.

You're going to need to experiment with exposure times at first, but that is half the fun of using a pinhole camera! Make sure to use a tripod and a cable release (how about Triggertrap Mobile) when shooting as you're going to be using long exposures. This way you can get your images as sharp as they can be, while still retaining that romantic soft-focus pinhole aesthetic. Check out our examples below!

IMG_7838.jpg

We want to see the pinhole photos you capture with Triggertrap. Join the conversation by tagging us @Triggertrap and #Triggertrap.

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