Following on from a post a couple of weeks ago, where I posted some progress photos of a medium format pinhole camera I have been constructing from wood (thin cherry boards), this is my progress with the camera so far.
The test roll showed some major faults with the design of the camera.
1. The clasp I used wasn’t well suited to the design, making opening and closing the box difficult.
2. The film winding mechanism is far too loose, resulting in the film winding back on itself periodically. I managed to counteract this to some extent by use of gaffa tape, but clearly that’s not an ideal solution, nor is it very pretty.
3. The film itself was given too much room to travel, resulting in a curved film plane, and also making it difficult at times to view the frame numbers in the window.
The resulting test roll came out less than satisfactory. One or more of the above problems resulted in the film not rolling tightly back onto the receiving spool, and so, subjecting the entire roll to light leakage once removed from the camera. Additionally, the curvature of the film plane meant the frames overlapped one another to a great degree.
The following three images are the clearest ones from the roll, and demonstrate the problems.
Before retesting the camera, I used thick, tough black felt fabric to line the film holder areas, and on the borders of the masking frame. This serves the purpose of both additional light trapping, ensuring the spools sit more snugly in the holders, and raises the film closer to the back of the camera, to reduce curvature.
You can also see that I’ve used elastic bands to secure the two parts of the camera, in place of the clasp.
The winder is still an issue – for the time being, I’m still using tape to keep it from winding back on itself, but I’ve been doing a little research, and I’m hopeful I can resolve that problem with relative ease.
So far as the other issues are concerned, everything appears much improved. The film is winding onto the spool tightly, and the frames are clearly defined.
The following were all shot in my back garden, in daylight.
This one was the first shot. I’d finished modifying the camera late at night, and thought I’d have a little experiment. It was sat on my desk for about 6 hours, whilst I slept. That light was only switched on for maybe an hour, the rest of the time, it was in complete darkness.
The next steps are, obviously, to work out the film winder problem, insert a tripod mount, and perhaps come up with a different solution for camera closure. Once I’ve fixed all these problems, I plan to construct Mk II, incorporating all the design changes, and tidier woodworking.