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Old Warehouse. Pinhole (f/177), 0.6x Wide Angle Converter, Lensbaby Composer.

(Sound of Rob rubbing his hands together in glee.)

Well, here it is, what I've been wanting to try for ages - Pinhole Photography, and the Lensbaby composer makes it easy with the optic-swap system. Simply pop out the glass optic, and drop in the Pinhole / Zone Plate Optic and you're good to go.

Pinhole Photography is so cool because you're not using a glass lens to take the photograph. You're using a hole. Thats right, a hole! By stamping an incredibly small hole in a piece of metal, and putting it in front of your camera, you can take these dreamy, old-fashioned shots, with very long exposures, massive depth of field, and a unique soft look.

Harbour Walk. Pinhole (f/177), 0.6x Wide Angle Converter, Lensbaby Composer.

By adding the 0.6x Wide Angle / Macro Converter you've got a very interesting tool in your hands, and I was surprised at how easy it was to use.

You've got to use a tripod - Pinhole Photography requires long exposures, and I turned "Mirror Lock-Up" on my 350d, and used my remote shutter release, not forgetting to turn "Long Exposure Noise Reduction" on too. Another tip is to remember to cover the view-finder before and during taking the shots, otherwise light will leak in and corrupt the exposure setting, and spoil the exposure itself. Your camera may have a slider to do this for you, or you'll find a rubber cover on your original camera strap. Or just use your finger.

The trickiest thing is composing your shots. If you're not using the Wide-Angle Converter, you can flick the slider inside the Optic to the Zone-Plate setting, where's there's just enough light to see through the view-finder. If you've got the converter attached it's a case of roughly lining up the shot, taking a test image and recomposing, or you could take the Lensbaby off and replace it with another lens, compose, then put the Lensbaby back on. I just guessed and recomposed after I had seen the shots on the back of my camera.

Spinaker Tower. Pinhole (f/177), 0.6x Wide Angle Converter, Lensbaby Composer.

I was shooting in quite bright conditions, so I set my camera to Aperture Priority, and let the camera work out the exposure. This works on exposures up to 30 seconds. In darker light you've either got to increase your ISO or use a light-meter to work out the exposure. (I'll do a post on this a bit later).

Forton Lake Bridge. Pinhole (f/177), Lensbaby Composer.

One thing you've got to watch out for is dust on your sensor, and any glass in front of the Pinhole. A f/177 the depth of field is large enough to make every speck of dust show up, so I had to spend quite a bit of time cleaning up the photographs in Photoshop, using the Spot-Healing Brush and the Clone Stamp Tool. All the black and whites were processed using Nik's excellent Silver Efex Pro.

Cheers, Rob.

Reader Comments (2)

Hiya Rob,

These were the images I was waiting for, the pinhole stuff!

Quite surprised at how well they came out, I was actually expecting far less detail than you've actually achieved. (35mm film pinholes were OK, but large format pinholes were incredible!)
I like your exclamation at the fact that the lens is nothing more than a simple hole and many people are amazed at first. When you imagine that you can simply 'salt-up' some paper with the old lunar caustic, a box with nothing but a small hole and a few simple chemicals and washing to produce a picture from light, you wonder why photography isn't older than it is!

Enjoyable stuff Rob and I look forward to your full indepth review of this smart little bit of kit.

All the best,


October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVictor

Hi Victor!

Pinhole is so exciting! I love the look too, can't wait to have a go at a decent sunset.

Still a lot of work to do - Single Glass, Plastic and Zone-Plate Optics! Few!

Cheers, and thanks again, Rob.

October 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

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