How-To: DSLR Pinhole Photography

Craft & Design Photography & Video
How-To: DSLR Pinhole Photography

We’ve featured our fair share of pinhole photography projects here at MAKE, and it’s no wonder. As complicated as cameras have become, it seems amazing that photos can be taken with something as simple as a tiny hole in a shoe box. But if you still yearn for all the creature comforts that a modern-day DSLR affords and you want to experiment with pinhole photography, you’re not out of luck. This quick hack turns your DSLR into a rather advanced pinhole camera.

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You’ll need to use a spare camera body cap, which is normally meant for protecting the camera from foreign matter entering through the lens port when there’s no lens attached. If you always keep a lens on your SLR, you can use the body cap that came with your camera. But if you store your camera without a lens, you’ll probably want to pick up a spare. Luckily, they’re quite cheap. Simply cut a hole in the center of the body cap and tape a small piece of needle-pricked aluminum foil. The larger the hole is, the more light will hit your camera’s sensor. The tradeoff is that the picture will be more blurry.

Pinhole Photo
What’s great about DSLR pinhole photography is that you can combine it more easily with other photography techniques such as HDR or timelapse for an interesting effect. And if your DSLR supports video, you can even shoot pinhole video. If you shoot any cool photos with your pinhole DSLR, share them with the rest of us! Post them to the MAKE Flickr pool.

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Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

View more articles by Matt Richardson


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