Pinhole Camera

After last week’s blog post about my daughter’s Digital Pinhole Camera science project, I received numerous requests to see the actual camera she built. So we did a quick photo-shoot this morning to show you her creation.

The design is very simple and straightforward, a box with a pinhole in it. She began with a leftover Christmas gift box. The next step was to paint the interior flat black and attach a piece of white paper in the back to act as a screen to display the pinhole image. After doing this, she covered the whole box in aluminum foil tape to ensure that it didn’t have any light leaks.

Pinhole Camera

The next step was to create the lens. For this, I cut out a piece of an aluminum soda can with scissors and she carefully punched a hole in it with a needle. This small piece of metal (approx 2×2″) was then placed over a hole that she cut in the front of the box and sealed with more foil tape.

Pinhole Camera

After putting the lens in place, I helped her cut a hole next to the pinhole to be able to attach a digital camera body and lens. After cutting the hole, she lined it with a rubber gasket that we made out of an old bicycle tube. The camera was placed at a slight angle to be able to capture the pinhole image projected on the back of the box. After mounting the DSLR to the box, she put foil tape around the opening to seal off any light leaks.

Once the camera was complete, she then went to work testing it out. I helped her by providing an exposure starting point, which was 30 seconds at ISO 3200 with the DSLR lens wide open at f/4. Working with a classmate, they worked on bracketing their exposure times to find out which would give the best result.

Digital Pinhole Camera

One thing she learned in testing the camera was that the viewfinder of the DSLR had to be covered. Light was entering the box through the viewfinder during the beginning of the exposure and causing problems. One other recommendation that I would add is that a sharper image could be obtained by using a smaller aperture on the DSLR, but she liked having the relatively shorter exposure times with the digital camera set wide-open.

I have to admit that I had a lot of fun helping with this project. The final results were much better than I expected when she started.

One final thing that needs to be noted is the website that she found when researching the project. The page located at ScienceBuddies.org helped her with her design of the project:
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Photo_p005.shtml