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Tuesday, 26 April 2011


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Dying to see the bokeh. Does it have rounded aperture blades? And if there's a lens correction profile for Lightroom et.al I'll definitely have one

Would love to see what some TOP readers might create with this.

Looks like fun if you've got the backend so to speak.

Aaaaaaaaaaand bought. What's it called? GAS? Gear Acquisition Syndrome? At least this one is cheap...much cheaper than a Leica...much much much cheaper... Thanks Mike!!

I would say 40 bucks is quite a high price. I created a pinhole lens for 5 Euros using an off-brand camera cap, a drill, a needle and aluminium foil.
I like the kind of images it produces, but on an APS DSLR the focal length is to long - m4/3 is the right choice for that kind of "lens".

Hi -

I have one (did the Kickstart thing). Works as advertised. It's unique for the wide-angle bit, roughly the equivalent of an 11mm lens. One drawback: it doesn't have the ability to attach a filter.

Okay, I'm kidding on that one. :-)

On the EP1, you can, in really bright sunlight, even use it for video. Works, works, works.

Designed in Chicago.

Oh, and it doesn't work on the AF100 because that camera body has a set of ND filters that can be swung in front of the sensor. The Pinwide blocks these: you could actually use it, but if you could damage the ND filters if you tried to use them...


To clarify what it is: it is essentially a lens cap turned into a pinhole "lens." It's a very clever and minimalist design which I like. Its design and MFT's lack of mirror allows for wider FOV than other digital pinholes.

But I wish they would update their design to include a lens cap... for the lens cap. It would be great to use this as a lens cap, but since it has a hole on it it allows dust to enter the camera. I guess putting a some gaffer tape on top of it would work, though.

Sounds like fun, but I was expecting it to be cheaper.
Even more considering last week I almost bought a real lens for $30 :) (a vivitar 28mm f/2 to use on m43 with a adapter).

They need one for the NEX cameras

and, that tin the pinhole lens comes in will itself make a nifty camera

I'm eagerly awaiting my delivery.

I do not get it.

All the Pinwide sample pictures I have seen are soft focus and extremely vignetted. I knew pinhole cameras vignetted but did not realize the focus would be so soft. Why would I add a very soft lens that vignettes to my lineup of lenses when I already have two zooms for my Lumix G2 that are sharp and don't vignette?


In a whim, I just ordered one after reading this. I haven't been using my GF-1 too much, after deciding that it's too slow for the street. Maybe with this pinhole it will become my new toy camera now.

"world's widest", "finally", "Specialized pinwide processing", "Scientific-grade metal"... so much marketing babble and they forgot to put in at least one "with passion"...


I hope you are getting a commission on these. I just purchased using your link and then had a "Man, I hope some % of this goes to support the site" moment.

If you are not then you should get on it as this is a double latte grande (whatever that is) kind of purchase and I expect a great many will sell and be immediately relegated to the lower kitchen drawer where all the photo knick-knacks end up.


How nostalgic. I saw the packaging 'tin' and was immediately reminded of a 16mm film can. A bit of watching one's life flash before their eyes.


"Mike: I hope you are getting a commission on these. I just purchased using your link and then had a 'Man, I hope some % of this goes to support the site' moment."

Nope. And I'm not necessarily recommending it, either, as I've never used one and have never done any pinhole photography.

I did notice there's an article in this month's National Geographic about Abelardo Morrel, the Matisse of pinhole photography, if anyone's interested in that.


This certainly appears to me to be an upscale product...certainly the packaging is designed to maximize the resell value on many photography forums with buy/sell boards.
You may not be able to do much with it, but your investment is secure...

Woah! Since Justin is the one who sends out the press emails, I was surprised and excited to randomly come upon this post as I did my daily TOP visit. Thanks, Mike!

Unfortunately, we don't have a fancy automated affiliate program like B&H or Amazon, but if you purchased a Pinwide because of this post, email info (at) wanderlustcameras dotcom with your name, and we'll donate a percentage to Mike.

Oh, and apologies for the slightly hyperbolic marketing speak, which is squarely my fault. On the one hand, it is just supposed to be a fun tool, but when you've geeked out over every little detail, you want people to know about it!

Ben Syverson
Wanderlust Cameras, LLC

There's (one of many) pinwide groups on flickr,

Very disappointing. A few, a very few of the B&W ones are OK, but it's hard to see where this device would come into its own. Shame.

I have a pinhole body cap for my DSLR that I've never used ... one of those "on a whim" things. I might be more inclined to use a WA cap for my NEX.

But thanks for the pointer to Abelardo Morrel; that was worth the price of admission right there !

yeah, just ordered one, easy :)
talk about pancake!

Please, please leave us alone with our cigar boxes and our coffee cans and our home made foil pinholes (OK I liked the results enough to buy a Zero Image pinhole camera after modifying an old clunker Agfa 120 film camera.

The point--is it not--primitive photography? Someone uploaded on World Pinhole Photography Day a picture made on Android Pinhole App.

Just press the button, somebody with digital skills that you will never achieve will do the rest.

I made a similar (I think) pinhole lens for any Nikon camera, using a body cap with a 2 mm drill hole, and some aluminium foil sellotaped on with a pinprick in the centre. Cost no real money, but it took me significantly more than $40 of my time with all of the trial and error (I am not any great mathematician to calculate ideal apertures - I think we ended up with f/110). Operation is a little "spray and pray" due to the lack of viewfinder image, and I confess that I used a lightmeter to help with the maths. A tripod is essential.

It's good fun, and my daughter learned a little of light and exposure. She also took a surprisingly good image with it - far better than any I managed. It was a shot of some flowers in the garden on Velvia 50. The slowness of the Velvia meant that exposure was quite long, so wind motion blurred the details of the flowers, and we were left with an amazing palette of blurred colour, but still a definite composition.

So $40 is well worth it for those who don't mind that cost (and I hope that charity and Mike at TOP both benefit). Give it to your children and let them learn something.

From the few tests carried out to date with the latter, I suspect that this device will significantly out-resolve the new Pentax DA 18-135.


Just saw Ben's post in regard to the Wanderlust affiliate program and want to thank Ben for helping to support TOP.

Now since my post appears to have helped kick this process into gear I think it only fair that I get a free TOP life membership.


I'm not understanding why this is $40. Couldn't I just take 10 seconds and punch a tiny hole in my lens cap and have the same thing? Or am I missing something here?

"I think it only fair that I get a free TOP life membership."

Consider it done. You can now read TOP free of charge, for the rest of its existence.



"Couldn't I just take 10 seconds and punch a tiny hole in my lens cap and have the same thing?"

But then how would you get the tin?

Seriously, the traditional method of making a pinhole is unquestionably to do it yourself. But if you try, you'll find that a hole in a lenscap won't work. I believe the thinner the material you're drilling through and the cleaner and rounder the hole, the better. Calculating the aperture size is also important but easy enough to do. (I'm not an expert in pinhole photography, though, as I've said.) But definitely give it a try.


A couple of years ago I gave a talk about pinhole photography to my photo club. One of the older gentlemen (a Leica owner) in the crowd asked after seeing some photos "What's the point if they're all blurry?". To which I responded “Do you like Monet, Cassat, or Renoir?”. Point being, it's just a different way of looking at things.

But then the issue becomes is what's being seen the image or the process? Akin to infrared photography or leaving the rough edges in a platinum print I think. I had my brief flirtation with pinholes but I’ve moved on as I suspect others will too.

Dear iceaxe,

What Mike said, and more. Being able to make a hole of just the right size (give or take a stop)is important. For a small format pinhole camera like this, that's circa 0.1mm. Hard for many people to do with any accuracy.

I'm genuinely unsure if circularity or blackening really matter, or if they're just matters of pinhole superstition, but thickness very much does. The material needs to be thinner than the diameter of the aperture, or very severe vignetting will occur (way beyond normal geometric falloff). Think of it like looking at a scene through a length of drinking straw. Now tilt the straw so you're looking through it a little off-axis. Lots of the aperture quickly gets blocked by the sides of the straw.

One of the big secrets of mass production is that the component/assembly cost of any product you buy is a small fraction (somewhere between 10% and 25%) of the selling cost. You're just noticing it in this case.

pax / Ctein

Ordered one, sending a mail to support TOP. I've never done pinhole photography, but always found it intriguing - finally a good excuse to try it out!


If you look at the product image shot on Mike's original post you can see that in addtion to a cool tin (worth at least $35) the hole is placed at the bottom of a conical shape thus placing the pinhole much closer to the sensor than you would achieve with a drilled hole in a regular lens cap. This gives the 11 mm wide angle (22 35e). Not sure what the equivalent focal length would be in regard to a drilled lens cap.

Wow, those images on flickr tell a sad story. I think ctein's point about thickness applies here and may be the cause of that vignetting.

The best pinholes are the thinnest. I used to make them out of thin brass sheet. Dimple with a round end punch then sand down the back until it is flat. This makes a thin area. Next step push the point of a needle through from the front, then sand off the burr (use a fine grit sand paper for all this) and then push the needle in from the back. Give it a twist or two to give a round hole. You can then tape this thing behind a larger drilled hole in the cap.

I've just rechecked my pinhole apparatus. Contrary to my post of yesterday, the hole I drilled through the cap is about 4mm across (not 2 mm as I mis-stated yesterday. Memory was playing tricks on me). The plastic body cap is about 1mm thick. The aluminium cooking foil which covers the 4mm central hole is too thin for me to measure with any precision, but it's like a normal sheet of paper. The pinhole in the foil is made by a needle, and by eye appears to be about 0.3mm across.

Thank you for the explanation guys. :-)

I figured there had to be some technical skill involved beyond just poking a hole in a lens cap.

To those who complain that the pinhole photos on Flickr are sad, I would say that most Flickr photos are poor quality. You need to spend some time searching to find quality. I haven't looked at pinhole pictures on Flickr but I would not expect them to be different.
Coincidentally, shortly before this pinhole discussion on TOP, I had bought Bill Witliff's book "La Vida Brinca". I would recommend it to those who would like to see pinhole done well. You can get an idea of his work at this gallery website
I like pinhole photographs for their blurred, impressionist effect. The vignetting and lack of sharpness recall the early days of photography. This imbues a feeling of nostalgia and a built-in sense of poignancy to many pinhole photos. For evoking a dream-like atmosphere pinhole is excellent.
Incidentally, re the post about Leica pinhole, Leicagoodies.com do different focal length pinhole caps with the appropriate aperture for each. Each focal length brings up the appropriate frame lines in the Leica M viewfinder. They used to sell 21mm, 28mm and 35mm but, on checking, only the 28 and 35 are available now. They are a little too expensive for me but Leica users can frame their pinhole exactly.
Eddie Power

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