Project 2: Building a Pinhole Camera

By Jacob Green, Michael Gibbes, and Mrinalini Sugosh

In constructing our camera obscura, we used:

  1. A cardboard box of approximately 30x15x15 cm in lxwxh.
  2. Black construction paper for all sides except the screen, which was white computer paper.
  3. Black construction paper for the pinholes, which were created by poking with a literal pin.
  4. Red duct tape.
  5. A Canon camera.

In retrospect, we should not have used the red duct tape because the first model flooded the picture with red light. To mitigate this, we covered the box with an extra layer of black construction paper.


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First Model
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Mitigated Red

Our 3 pinhole sizes included holes of size 0.5mm, 1.0mm, and 4.0mm. During the experiment, these were several of the photos taken around Berkeley campus with the same parameters (position, 30-second exposure time, etc.):


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Campanile (small)
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Campanile (medium)
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Campanile (large)
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Glade (small)
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Glade (medium)
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Glade (large)

Seemingly, as the size of the pinhole increases, the brighter the picture becomes due to exposure. When the hole is too small, there is not enough light for satisfactory detail; when too large, the picture suffers from the same problem but due to too much light instead. Deciding that the 1.0mm pinhole looked best, we took 3 self-portraits with it and also a few pics of campus.


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Mrina
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Jacob
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Gibbes
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East Asian Library
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Campbell Hall
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Cory

The Cory picture is particularly interesting because of the way the ceiling light is dimmed significantly over areas not exposed to the direct light. In the future, of course, we would like to (1) center the camera so that the borders aren't filled with black and (2) use non-red duct tape to avoid that red glare.


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Pinhole Selfie Process