Pinhole Panorama Camera

A Hila Technology Project
Step by Step Instructions

If you have constructed a pinhole camera at one of our workshops you will know that a pinhole, like a lens, can be used to project an image onto film and create a picture.

The images above have been captured by our pinhole camera. They are "negatives", with black and white reversed.
The images below have been "inverted" to a positive, black and white are correct.

The pinhole for this camera was created with a #6 needle.

Exposure times (bright sunlight):
 upper left image - 35 seconds, upper right - 25 seconds
lower left - 30 seconds, lower right - 25 seconds

Most pinhole cameras use flat film or flat light-sensitive paper.
 Like the drawing of a camera below.

A camera like this does take pictures, but there is a problem.  Light has to travel further from the pinhole to get to the edge of the film. Because "B" is a greater distance then "A" the center of the film receives more light energy then the edge does, resulting in an uneven exposure.

If we curve the film into a perfect circle with the pinhole being the center of the circle then we solve the distance problem.
The image below shows a camera constructed like this.

But there is still a problem.  Light energy that comes through the pinhole from the side, like the light path "B" above, does not "see" the whole pinhole, less light enters from the side then does from straight on.  The bigger the angle from "A" the less light enters.
Here is our attempt to solve this problem. If the film is curved into an ellipse, a flattened circle,   as shown below,  light taking the path "B" does not travel as far as light taking path "A" which should help to balance the exposure.

Below is an image of the camera you constructed at one of our workshops.

This camera has an elliptical film plane.
Pictures captured with this camera appear evenly exposed.

Note that distance "A" is greater than "B", balancing exposure of the film.

We use Ilford black and white paper and chemistry for processing our pinhole camera pictures.
In Ottawa you can purchase paper and chemicals from Henry's both down-town and in Kanata.

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