160408 Pinhole M - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

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And now I have my second pinhole 'lens', this time in a modified M-mount body cap. Because it fits on my adapter for my Fuji camera I was able to take it out and play a bit yesterday. But there's a real downside of using a pinhole on a mirrorless digital camera – I needed to buy some sensor swabs before I could use it properly. There are still some specks, but nothing like the prohibitive number that were there before.

The Fujifilm camera allows a few different ways of triggering it remotely. There's the traditional mechanical cable release, which is the worst option because it can still transfer some movement to the camera, and because there are a surprising number of times when I still want to use the shutter button the old-fashioned way, such as for dismissing menus or bringing up the electronic level. 

There's also the electronic cable release, which solves the problems of the mechanical cable, but I don't own one, so that's something of a downside. Instead I tried using the wifi remote control option. This is somewhat clumsy to set up and forces the camera into raw+jpeg mode, but let me point the camera out the window while I was out for lunch and take photos whenever something interesting happened.

It turns out that this was the most interesting photo I took, which is sad on a few different levels.

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Working at iso200 gives about a two-second exposure, which is just enough time to make things interesting. With care and good light I should be able to hand-hold the Fuji, as long as I don't mind a little bit of grain and blur. Frankly, I doubt the degradation would be noticeable.

At this point I had also given up the pretence of using any sort of remote release, because really, a little camera movement isn't going to decrease the image quality.

This photo has moved to a thirty-second exposure at iso1600, making my little Manfrotto 209 table-top tripod invaluable. It seemed expensive at the time, but I've used it more than any other, and it keeps being the one that I use whenever I want to take long exposures in the city. It does need something else to be set on, which makes it less flexible than a standard tripod, but a floorstanding tripod simply isn't practical when there are other people around.

Using the pinhole body cap on the Fuji camera at night was unexpectedly interesting. This is a relatively short exposure of thirteen seconds, still at iso1600, and I have no idea where all of the artifacts are from. I assume from the colours that they're from the sensor, so film should be immune to it when I switch recording format, but that will still leave the starburst effects from the imperfect aperture.


I've been idly thinking about getting some 'better' pinhole equipment since my favourite person gave me a cardboard 35mm pinhole camera kit. And each year I notice World Pinhole Photography Day way too late to do anything about it. So I'm very glad that my two pinhole lenses, one for each of my 35mm interchangeable-lens cameras, arrived a couple of weekends early – even though it was completely coincidental.


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