PINHOLE CAMERAS [ YES ]
120 FILM CAMERA: Reality So Subtle 6×17 & 6x17F with a 70/233 pinhole
4×5 CAMERA: Harman Titan 4×5 (made by Mike Walker) with 72/230 & 150/290 cones
Pinhole images are not as sharp as images made with a lens, but it is still fun to be so basic with image making. And sometimes, the captured light looks surreal from bouncing around in the box. I recently shot with my Titan 4×5 to participate in World Pinhole Day and had a wonderful time shooting with it (my submission). Shooting 4×5 film has never been easier! Check out the World Pinhole Day website and gallery here.
I use the pinhole app on my cell phone, Pinhole Assist, and find everything I need to assist me when shooting with my 6×17 and 4×5 pinhole cameras. The viewing ability is very accurate, from my experience, and the exposure calculation and countdown to the end of the exposure can be a godsend. If you are serious about shooting pinhole photography, get this app!
I acquired Reality So Subtle 6×17 pinhole cameras because I miss my Fotoman 6×17. I sold the Fotoman because I was not using it. That was a few years ago, and now I want to return to the 6×17 format on 120 films. If I could afford a 6×17 again, I would have a 6×17 dedicated field camera like one of these Shen Hao 6×17 field cameras. I tried a Shen Hao SH617 film magazine, and it is a reasonable option for photographers that want to shoot 6×17 on 120 films and cannot afford a 6×17 camera, but it was not for me. Until I can have a 6×17 field camera, it is a 6×17 pinhole for me.
REALITY SO SUBTLE 6×17 & 6x17F (Filter)
[ FEET IN THE SAND | RSS 6x17F + ND64 + ACROS II/PYRO 510 ]
The Reality So Subtle (RSS) 6×17 pinhole camera is unique. It has two pinholes, allowing you to choose the placement of the horizon either on the upper third or the lower third of the camera’s view. It has a 70mm focal length with a curved film plane. You can read more about its specifications here.
Because I sometimes like to do very long exposures during daylight at the beach near where I live, I wanted a 6×17 pinhole camera that accepts ND filters. I was thrilled RSS made the 6x17F model, with the F standing for Filter. The RSS 6x17F pinhole camera has a built-in 77mm filter ring. Like the RSS 6×17, it has a 70mm focal length with a curved film plane. The cameras are identical except for the fronts. You can read more about its specifications here.
The only downside I have found with the RSS 6×17 cameras is film loading because the inside of the cameras is very tight on the fingers, and the curved film plane adds to this difficulty. After trying a pair of needle-nose pliers to assist with the film loading, I realized using them was key to loading the film.
Overall, I am happy with the construction and operation of the RSS 6×17 cameras and enjoy shooting with them. I like that these cameras are made with ABS plastic, as I did not want wood pinhole cameras due to the marshes and water areas I visit for photography. My initial experience with a pinhole camera was with the Harman Titan, also made of ABS plastic, which is my favorite ‘experimental photography’ 4×5 camera to shoot.
Finding these cameras in the US is not easy. The company I purchased my original 6×17 camera shipped quickly without issue, but I bought it through eBay and not their online site. Then, about a year later, when I searched for the 6x17F model, this same company had one in stock on their site but nothing on eBay. I paid for the camera, and they shipped the wrong model. After waiting for them to replace it, they assured me they would send the 6x17F once they received it back. Once the second camera was accepted, I would again be disappointed because they sent another wrong camera! Then they told me that they did not have a 6x17F all along. No matter how pretty the stock on their website looks, I will not do business with them again.
I ordered my 6x17F from the RSS website, which arrived quicker than Portland could deliver without all the shenanigans and was a tad cheaper. Save yourself some trouble and buy from the RSS website! Then, take a look at the perfect case I place my RSS 6x17F for on the road trips.
HARMAN TiTAN 4×5
[ GULF BREEZE | Harman Titan 4×5 + Tri-X + 510 Pyro (cropped to 6×17) ]
I find the HARMAN TiTAN 4×5 a delightful 4×5 pinhole camera to shoot. It comes standard with an interchangeable 72mm wide-angle cone and is a good choice for the environment I find myself in when out in the landscape. The HARMAN TiTAN 4×5 is lightweight, durable, and made from an injection molded ABS. All of the HARMAN TiTAN 4×5 fittings are stainless steel. To see its specifications, go here. It is a fun camera to shoot! I cannot say anything negative about this pinhole camera. I recently acquired the 150mm cone and will try it out soon. Working with the Pinhole Assist app, composing with the HARMAN TiTAN 4×5 is a snap.
CUSTOM CAMERA BUILDING HASSELBLAD PINHOLES
[ CUSTOM CAMERA BUILDING HASSELBLAD PINHOLE CAP & PINHOLES ]
The Custom Camera Building (CCB) Hasselblad Body Cap & Pinholes should be on your shopping list if you enjoy pinhole photography and own a Hasselblad 200, 500, or 2000 series camera.
My initial feelings about shooting a pinhole negative less than 6x17cm or 4×5″ was not very optimistic. My thoughts drifted toward the added blurriness a smaller negative might produce. Pinhole images are already unsharp, but just enough to where I like it. I assumed shooting a pinhole with a smaller film frame might cause the image to be less likable due to more blur. Boy, was I surprised. Not only were my images artistically fulfilling with the unsharpness I like, but there was an added workflow bonus I had never thought of until my first shooting.
On the 2023 Worldwide Pinhole Day, April 30, I used my Hasselblad 501cm as a pinhole camera for the first time, using the 0.35mm (77mm/220) pinhole. The ability to take a few pinhole images with the CCB body cap in place and then remove it to take an image or two with my CFi 180/4 lens was priceless to this photographer. I never thought of that option before. When I travel with my Hasselblad kit, the CCB Pinhole Cap & Pinholes will travel with it. This is an excellent and easy way to be creative with the same subject.
The CCB Hasselblad #4 kit contains five different pinhole sizes, plus the cap and an empty pinhole holder to use alone or for installing a customized pinhole. Miroslav Francuz from CCB was kind enough to answer my questions and responded with helpful information about why different pinhole sizes are included in the kit.
Different pinhole sizes do not produce better image quality per se but are suitable for:
(1) helping to adjust exposure length (larger pinholes allow more light in when needed),
(2) creating more blur by using a pinhole size that goes away from the ideal size,
(3) trying different pinholes with extension tubes or homemade cameras.
So you can see all our creative options using different pinhole sizes. Thanks to CCB’s kit and the information they provided, I will test these various pinholes on my 4×5 with my Hasselblad lens adapter and my digital back before shooting the film and will report back. I can’t wait to see what comes from this.
Click here for the exposure conversion factors I use with the CCB pinholes on my Hasselblad 501cm.