Image Manipulation and Computational Photography

Project 2: Camera Obscura

Morad Shefa cs194-26-adx
Parsa Fereydouni cs194-26-agy

Camera Obscura


In this project we built a camera obscura out of a shoe box. The process if very simple. We took a shoe box and put black paper all around the inside except for one side onto which the image would be projected. On the side that we project onto we put a blank piece of paper and on the other side we make a tiny hole that lets light in. The idea is that light rays from an object have a unique path to the canvas creating a sharp image similar to our eye which has the pupile as hole and retina as canvas. Note, as a result the image will be reversed both horizontally and vertically.


We completely sealed the box and put black duct tape over any hole to make sure no light would enter the box except through the pinhole. We would also put a jacket on the box and make sure it seals the light around the whole we used to place our camera in. We used 3 different apertures, or pin shole sizes, 1mm, 2mm, and 5mm. To capture the image of our camera we used a Sony A6300 with exposure time 15 seconds and f=4.5. For the 1mm pinhole we found ISO 1600-2000 to work best, for 2mm 1600, and for 5mm 800.


We noticed that as expected as we decrease the size of the pinhole the image became sharper but also dimmer so we had to increase the ISO on our real camera for the smaller pinhole. The best result we got was with the 1mm pinhole ISO 1600-2000 and 15 seconds of exposure.

Selfie with 1mm pinhole (ISO 1600)
Selfie with 2mm pinhole (ISO 1600)
Selfie with 5mm pinhole (ISO 800)

car with 1mm pinhole (ISO 2000)
car with 2mm pinhole (ISO 1600)
car with 5mm pinhole (ISO 800)

More images with 1mm pinhole, ISO 2000, f 4.5

Building and cars