Pinhole Camera Guide

Zero sees Zero

Here you will find an entirely subjective guide to the pinhole cameras that I am aware of that can be relatively easily obtained. For the cameras that I have used, I present my personal views of each, as I say though it is entirely subjective so if you make the camera and don’t like what I have written please let me know. As a disclaimer, in some cases I know the camera maker, so I wouldn’t use this guide as the only basis if you are trying to decide what to buy. Anyway, let’s start with the ones I own or have owned.

  • Zero Image
    • Generally considered to be amongst the best of the cameras available, beautifully constructed and generally sharp (although I have found my Zero 69 to be sharper than my Zero 2000). The deluxe version has the optional cable release which I have to say I really like, I know many others think it is unnecessary. One disadvantage is the winding mechanism only works one way so if you either wind past a frame or want to rewind for multiple exposures you are out of luck. Pretty widely available in stores, or you can go direct to Zernike in Hong Kong.
  • Ondu
    • A massive success when crowd-funded (twice), these are beautifully made cameras using some clever tricks (such as magnets) in the construction. Results are decent, I currently only have a 35mm version but will be getting a medium format version soon. I do prefer the shutter of the Zero (that cable release you see).
  • Reality So Subtle
    • Only available (to my knowledge) from their website. I have the 5×4 and tiny 6×6 cameras. Again beautifully constructed with some neat features (magnetic sliding shutter). Apart from the construction what sets these apart are the rise pinholes and the extremely accurate sightlines.
  • 8 Banners
    • Pretty hard to get now, as far as I can tell, I have a 6×17 camera which is metal bodied with an interesting shutter design and interchangeable pinhole (both probably based on large format cameras). Construction is great, although mine had obviously suffered some water damage, but with some slight odd design details. Mine comes emblazoned with dragons and with a compass!
  • Pinhole Blender
    • Basically tins with holes, the results are actually surprisingly good.
  • Noon
    • Again wonderfully constructed but the cameras are large for the image size compared to others (at least in the case of the 6×6 I owned). The results are good, although the 6×6 had pretty heavy vignetting. You’ll need to try and find them on Ebay.
  • Supersense
    • Makers of the instant pinhole 66/6, which I kind of am in love with (and which might now be sold out). A really interesting camera, which offers rise/fall options and a changing focal length (with two different pinholes as well). Based on the Impossible Instant Lab, which has a disadvantage in that you need to charge it, it does not take power from the battery in the film pack. Oh, and the film, well its now likely you’ll only shoot Impossible Project and so you have to accept the learning curve.
  • 3D printed
    • What a revolution, if you have access to a 3D printer (or in my case a friend who does) you can print the camera of your desire, possibly even the legendary Shink Pelly. Can be brilliant, I’d recommend you look into the designs by either The Schlem or Pinhole Printed.
  • Pop-Up-Pinhole
    • Construction varies depending on your skills, as this is one you build yourself. A wonderful cardboard kit, and another crowdfunding success, this is probably the cheapest way to get into Pinhole with a camera that gives really good results. I have the Viddy and it is great, and would be a brilliant way to get kids into photography and pinhole. If I can make one then you can!
  • Sharan
    • Another one you construct yourself, has the honour of being my first pinhole camera. Again decent results if you get the construction right and pretty kawaii to boot.

…and now for the ones I don’t own

I’m sure there are many more out there, so let me know in the comments if I have missed anything obvious. ¬†Of course, I should really say that you should be building your own camera…and don’t fund any crowdfunded cameras that really don’t offer anything new compared to something you can do yourself.

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