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When I heard about pinhole cameras I immediately started constructing one. At once I thought about the possibilities of making panoramic cameras. Everybody likes to have many different cameras, but you can’t spend lots of money just for fun. With the pinhole you can have any model you can imagine, almost for free. You just have to construct it.
Needless to say that the first models weren’t satisfactory enough, since I didn’t want to have a camera just for fun. I wanted a camera to work properly enough to get commercial assignments. At that moment, I was working for a hotel chain taking pictures for big spaces. The panorama was a natural choice, but, even more, I thought that the pinhole could give me a more pictorial appearance to the pictures, and that was exactly what the clients were looking for. The pictures were to be enlarged up to 6 to 8 metres long, so the quality was very important. As I had to shoot on location, the camera had to be easy to charge even outside, and the shooter needed to be more accurate than what a simple piece of black tape could be. I had to correct the distortion and the vignetting, because I wanted a 1:3 panorama camera, without a lens . I constructed the camera with wood and a semicircular support for the film, in order to reach the same focal distance in the whole image area. For the shutter, I fixed a resort to achieve a fast return and an adaptor for the cable. This system ensured the maximum control of the shutter speed. A window carved in the back of the camera allowed to fit the film into the exact frame. Finally, I put a viewfinder with a peephole. The hole, the main piece of the system, was made as precise as possible, with the exact diameter to ensure the maximum sharpness.
The essay-error system was used to determine the focal number.
The resulting slides were scanned in a flat bed scanner and processed with Photoshop just to enhance the color and levels.
As the results were so good, I started the construction of another panorama camera for 35 mm. films. It was very similar, just changing the size and the system to pull the film along.
Shooting panoramas with the pinhole is pretty similar to do so with regular cameras. The only thing you have to consider is the longer exposure time. On a sunny day it could take about 5 seconds roughly. That’s a problem if you want to work on portraits or sports, but I don’t care about that really.

  • Filed under: pinhole, travel