CS 194-26 Fall 2018

Project 2: Building a Pinhole Camera

Chengzong Ou <aai>, Annie Wang <age>, David Luo


We built a pinhole projecter by covering the insides of a shipping box with black paper, except one side where we covered it with white paper ("screen"). Two holes were then cut on the side opposite to the screen: one for the pinhole opening, and the other for our digital camera. The dimensions of the box measures 66 x 41 x 18cm. We had to use a large box due to the minimum focusing distance of our lens being 45cm. We then took long exposure images with our digital camera to complete our pinhole camera. We obtained an pinhole size of 1.19mm from using the formula 1.9 * sqrt(f * lambda), so we chose pinholes sized 1mm, 3mm, and 5mm. Finally, we sealed the box by duct taping all edges and possible openings. We also duct taped the lens of the camera to prevent light from leaking in.

All images are taken at f/1.8, 30s, varying ISO @ 50mm.

Figure 1: Setup of our pinhole camera ft. Annie for scale
Figure 2: Interior of the Box


Unit 3 and Channing Parking Garage

1mm @ ISO 1600
3mm @ ISO 640
5mm @ ISO 200

Eshleman Hall

1mm @ ISO 8000
3mm @ ISO 1000
5mm @ ISO 500


We noticed that there's an inverse relationship between pinhole size and image sharpness, as the 1mm pinhole provided the most detail. However, there is a consistent brown tint that is present in all of our images taken with the 1mm pinhole, so we selected the 3mm pinhole and took four additional images.

One trouble that we had was that our images had a streak of light, and we were unable to find the root cause. We tried taping every single edge and the camera again, taping the viewfinder of the camera, and mounting the camera upside down. None of these methods has solved our issue, as the streak showed up in the same place for all images.

Additional Images

Bancroft Ave. and Blackwell Hall @ ISO 400

Lower Sproul Plaza @ ISO 400

Campanile @ ISO 400

Lower Sproul Plaza and Zellerbach Hall @ ISO 1600, 3s