Alex Jiang

Ben Wu

Bradley Qu

CS 194-26: Project 2

Building a Pinhole Camera


Box Construction

        The basis of our pinhole camera started with an 19x31x11 cm shoebox, which was lined with black paper on all sides except one, which was lined with white and a hole for our aperture slider on the opposite side. Light travels through our small pinhole and our pinhole alone and projects a flipped image onto the white screen, which we then take a picture of over 15-30s exposure time. We created an external sliding panel on the side opposite of the white-lined inside, which allowed us to easily switch between four apertures of 0.5mm, 1mm, 2mm, and 5mm. The camera used was the Honor 8 main camera, which features full exposure, ISO, and focus adjustment, all equivalent to that of a modern DSLR camera. We set a black pillar on the inside of the box so that the phone could rest inside easily while the photo was taken. Tape was applied over the box accordingly to ensure that it was completely impermeable to light, aside from the sliding panel pinholes.

Camera Interior
Aperture Slider (0.5mm, 1.0mm, 2.0mm, 5.0mm)

First Pics

We initially tried this with only a lamp for light and thus left our ISO at 3200 and max exposure time of 30s:

Reference Image of Amazon Card
1mm Pinhole Image

Pinhole Sizes, Exposure, and ISO

         Our four pinhole sizes and appropriate accompanying settings were as follows:

Pinhole Size/Aperture

Exposure Length

Camera ISO













To compare the differing quality of these setups, we used the fountain on Sproul Plaza and the red statue outside of Li Ka Shing Center. The results are shown below:


0.5mm produced the sharpest image. The higher iso, however, introduced more noise. 1.0mm produced a less noisy image with similar sharpness. The larger apertures (2.0mm 5.0mm), were too large for our camera and produced blurrier images.


Here, the 0.5mm produced a blurrier image than expected, possibly due to diffraction and high intensity light, coupled with our compact camera size. That is not to say, that the 0.5mm is not viable. A couple good shots were taken with the 0.5 and are visible in the "Art Gallery." The benefits of the 1.0mm is now clearly visible. The larger apertures (2.0mm 5.0mm), once again, were too large for our camera and produced blurry images.

Bells and Whistles

Light Painting

        By waving a flashlight around in a relatively dark area in a premade shape, we can create light art over a long exposure time.

Initial Attempt in lighted area. "Running Dog" (1.0mm 3200 30s)
Infinity (0.5mm 3200 30s)
Comparison in same room as Infinity outside box (0.5mm 50 5s), too much external light
Dark Closet with camera outside box (0.5mm 50 5s), too much reflected light from walls, etc.
Horse Legs (2.0mm 1600 30s), four legs good
Big (2.0mm 1600 30s), it was supposed to be a person
Tree (2.0mm 1600 30s), no leaves
Saturn (2.0mm 3000 30s)
duk (2.0mm 3000 30s), quack

Art Gallery

Pipes (1.0mm 1000 30s)
duk (1.0mm 1000 30s)
Botched Flowers from only one side receiving sunlight(1.0mm 3000 30s)
Lulu with Dim Indoor Lighting(5.0mm 3000 30s)
Cactus (1.0mm 1000 30s)
Window 1 (0.5mm 1600 30s)
Window 2 (0.5mm 1600 30s)
Window 3 (0.5mm 1600 30s)