CS194-26 Project 2

Pinhole Camera

by Kimberly Kao and Mian Zhong

Project Overview

The goal of this project was to build a pinhole camera. We took a 11.7" x 9" x 4" cardboard box and lined the interior with black paper, excluding the screen, which we lined with white copy paper. Our camera was a Sony Alpha 6500 with manual aperture and shutter speed settings. We carved a hole so the camera lens could be pointed inside of the box. Right next to the camera was our pinhole punch card. We decided to follow the equation 1.9 * sqrt(f * lambda) suggested in the spec and made our smallest pinhole around 0.8mm. We also made two additional pinholes with diameters of 2.6mm and 5mm.

Photos and Analysis

We experimented with three locations, the first one being our test trial. We found that the pinhole of 2.6mm worked the best in general. It was especially difficult working with the pinhole of 0.8mm. In our first location, the pinhole let virtually no light in, so we were only able to capture an image of the box interior. The pinhole did slightly better in the second location as we took the photos around 12pm when the sun was very bright but was still very dark relative to the other two images.
The pinhole of 5mm let too much light in -- when we took our first photo with this pinhole, we had the ISO set the same level as the smaller pinholes. This produced overexposed photos, so we decreased the ISO to 2500. The image was also less sharp than that of the 2.6mm pinhole, which makes sense because the bigger the aperture, the less focused/controlled the lights are.

One important thing to note when taking photos with the pinhole camera is that since we're taking our photos at long shutter speeds, it's essential that the camera is very still so that the lights are continually focused on the same spots-- any small movement including shaky hands would create blurry images. Since we did not use a tripod, we were only able to take pictures on flat surfaces.

Flowers by South Hall

0.8mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 8000

2.6mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 2500

5mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 1600

View of Memorial Glade from Moffit

0.8mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 8000

2.6mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 8000

5mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 2500

Berkeley Trash Bins

0.8mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 10000

2.6mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 6400

5mm, ISO 30" shutter speed, ISO 2500

Extra Pictures

Taken using the 2.6mm pinhole

Bells and Whistles: Light Paintings