By • Mar 20th, 2010 • Category: Fun with film

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Some time ago … I was ‘stuck’ with some piggies (US$ credits) in the Lomography store and had to decide on ‘killing’ them on something a couple of days before they expired. There wasn’t any camera I was eyeing and I’ve enough film in my fridge to last me a while. So I browsed around and came across these pinhole cameras called ‘Pinhole Blender’. Huh? What a name!

They look like some cool metal cans that you can shove a roll of film (they come in 35mm and 120 variations) and take pinhole photos. Hmm. They looked very cool and I decided to kill all my pigs on the ‘original’ version (ie. 35mm Pinhole Blender).

When it arrived … I opened up the DHL parcel … there was this pretty retro and simple looking box …

Cool! So I excitedly proceed to open it up and … I almost fainted! Look at the size! Damn! It does look small in photos but little did I expect it to be of this size! Check out the photos below where I place some common subjects to illustrate the size of this pinhole camera …

Yeah! It is THAT BIG! Look at how it compares with a LC-A+ and a roll of 35mm film!

I’m sure I can fit a pizza in there!

Madness ain’t it? Hahaha! I should have gone for the mini version of it but I wanted the 3 pinholes for some overlapping madness. I know I can try DIY one of these but since it’s available on the shelves and I’m using the free piggies to pay for it … why not?

The Pinhole Blender comes with …

* The big round tin can aka pinhole blender camera
* An empty film roll that acts as the pickup spool
* 3 small pieces of magnetic sheet that you use to open/close the pinholes
* 2 magnetic sheets with printed exposure guide
* 2 hard plastic ‘knobs’ for film advance and rewind
* Instruction manual
* Exposure guide (you can use a light meter and refer to the guide to get the correct exposure for f/200)
* A roll of black electrical tape (some use to secure the can lid or to open/close the pinholes)

Honestly, one look at it and you’ll find that it is not really worth paying so much for an empty can but since I paid for it using free piggies … why not? 😀 You can actually DIY such a setup but I have problem drilling such a little pinhole.

After loading the roll of film, you have to turn the advance ‘knob’ 4 full circles to advance to the first shot. Subsequent shots require only 3 full circle turns.

A roll of 36 exposure film takes 9 pano shots (only!).

More info about these Pinhole Blenders are available [here] in their website.

I personally prefer to use the black electrical tape to open/close the pinholes because I find the magnetic strips a little to clumsy. A little push and they will be off position (or drop) and then the pinholes (and film!) will be exposed. That makes putting the big camera can back into my bag very troublesome because I’ll have to make sure the magnetic strips are still in place when I shove the pinhole cam into my bag (and when taking it out).

What is a pinhole camera without a tripod mount? You’ll probably have to go around looking for flat surfaces to place the camera. Luckily the makers of this weird can are kind enough to plant a standard tripod mount at the bottom of the can. This means I can have the pinhole cam mounted on my tripod … although it really looks very very very weird!

I knew it was gonna be funny lugging around this big strange pinhole camera, especially when I’ve to try ignore stares during the long exposures. Loaded it with a roll of BW400CN for some test shots and ermm … I got only 4 surviving test shots. Why? Let’s talk about that in a moment. Here are the pathetic suvivors … (click on them to open up a slightly larger photo).

Quite a few things that somehow screwed up this roll. I kinda like a couple of these surviving shots but I thought I could do better. Here are my findings about this weird pinhole camera … as well as the reason (or excuse) why this test roll was almost completely screwed up …

Opening/closing the pinhole(s)

This proved to be the toughest thing (to me). I didn’t want to use the magnetic strips that was provided because like I mentioned earlier … they’ll (very) easily fall off when I put the camera into my bag. Also, a slight push will result in the pinhole being exposed. So I used the black electrical tape method … but I found out that it is a bit clumsy when it comes to opening and closing it. Maybe it is just me and my clumsy fat fingers but you’ll find out more in the next point (Mounting on tripod).

Mounting on tripod

Initially I thought it was a clever idea that they provided a tripod mount at the bottom of the pinhole camera. It is mounted right in the center (at the bottom) of the big can (aka pinhole camera). The problem is  … the pinhole camera is made of some very light material and it is a little filmsy! When it is mounted on the tripod and when you try removing/replacing the electrical tapes, the camera actually moves (usually pushed downwards with very slight force). That somehow got me a little pissed off when using it. Anyway … that could also due to me having to quickly cover up the pinhole because of the fast film I was using. See next one (ISO!) for more info about that ….

ISO!

Before leaving home that day to test out the pinhole camera, the sky was pretty cloudy and lighting was on the bad side. So I decided to load a roll of ISO400 film … because I don’t have much patience for long exposures. It was quite a headache when the sun suddenly decided to go full blast when I arrived at the War Memorial (for the test shots)!!! OMG! So taking a reading from the meter and referring to the exposure guide … I could only expose each scene for about 1 second! OMG! How in the universe can my old hands open and close the pinholes that fast … especially when the camera doesn’t seem to be sitting steadily on the tripod? Argh! I still went ahead for the test shots but guess due to my slow hands … some shots were overexposed.

The end?!!

Since I wasn’t really counting the number of shots I was taking … days later I tried finishing the roll by doing some indoor shots. I guess I screwed up by not exposing long enough … and thus a couple of shots (that’s like many shots in 35mm format!) were underexposed and to the bin they went. When the pinhole camera refused to advance anymore, it was time to rewind it and run to the lab. Unfortunately some accident happen in the process of rewinding. Halfway though … the darn roll refused to continue letting me rewind it! I thought I had finished rewinding it and opened up the pinhole camera … and then … I screamed ‘[insert your favourite swear word here]!!!!’. More shots went dead.

Okay … so that’s about all  I can say about this pinhole camera. I am looking forward to try another roll on it … this time making sure a roll of ISO64 or ISO100 film is loaded if I am shooting ourdoors. At the same time, I’m trying hard to figure out a way to modify the pinhole camera … so that opening and closing the pinholes become an easier task. I don’t quite like sticky tapes! LOL!

9 Comments »

  1. I want one!!! rawr!! … no $$ now..

  2. noreen should see this! DIY one!!!

  3. @Mijonju : You sure you want this???

    @cyanwater : Yeah I’ve shown her this. She told me she’ll be doing something new (pinhole) soon. She found the right ‘tool’ to ermm … ‘poke’ … and the hole is small enough to let the pinhole work properly. Eh … stop giggling ok?!!

  4. yah i got a rough idea on this before i saw this… after reading so many links and video about pinhole i guess it can be really a good thing to explore and experiment with….. but i got too many ideas right now…. and got confuse easily after reading to much… HAHAHHAHA … Cindy knows how “CONFUSING” i get… HHAHHAHA
    NDROO u must go fix one too!!!!! u r a super creative wacky master of creation!!! hahahah may b u will end up with a coffin pin hole… LOL

  5. @noreen : I ain’t got much time to try these. Hahaha! First I’ll gave to figure out how to poke a hole that small. The last time I tried … the hole I poked was like … maybe f8!!! LOL!

  6. @noreen: Yes, I know! LOL… Can’t wait to see your next pinhole creation!

  7. @cyanwater : Now you see what a poem can do to someone? 😀

  8. You can actually ask Yor lab to pull the film.. developed it as 100 🙂

  9. @Leejiing : Thanks for the tips but … I didn’t know the film was stuck! I thought the roll was finished. LOL. Stupid me.

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