P6*6 120 Pinhole Camera

by schlem, published

P6*6 120 Pinhole Camera by schlem Oct 6, 2013

Featured Thing!


**This pinhole camera shoots medium-format 120 film! Shoots a 6X6 cm frame!
NEWS FLASH - Illustrated assembly instructions in MAKE: magazine edition #41 out Sept 2014 !!
New P6*6W - Wide Angle version**
First rolls of film! Kodak Ektar 100, Fuji Acros 100 and Fuji Velvia 50 transparency film:
**New Butter Shutter for remote cable release**
Look for addendum to user's guide, but more info here:
**Viewfinders! You asked for 'em, I designed 'em - more info here: thingiverse.com/thing:363857**
An alternative set of parts has been designed to capture a wider angle of view. The original P6*6 already shoots a fairly wide angle frame at 62 deg horizontally; the P6*6W shoots an angle of 77.5 deg horizontally. For comparison, a 50mm lens on a 35mm film camera has a 40 deg horizontal angle of view.
The wider angle means a faster camera too: f/135 vs f/167. Details in Instructions.
-------------- P6*6 Specs --------------
50mm focal length
designed for a 0.30mm pinhole
f-stop of f/167
62 degree horiz. field of view.
-------------- P6*6W Specs --------------
35mm focal length
designed for a 0.26mm pinhole
f-stop of f/135
77.4 deg horiz. field of view.
**Photos from the P6*6 are posted here:
Processing by Moon Photo, Seattle moonphotolab.com/
Images on Flickr may differ from raw scans in contrast and brightness.
The P6*6 traveled to [Amsterdam for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day 2014](https://www.flickr.com/photos/theschlem/sets/72157644374818515)
On that rainy day, I spoke with one of the organizers of our AMS meetup, Alex Yate of [http://Pinholista.com](http://pinholista.com/), about 3D printing and pinhole photography on the [Pinhole Podcast](http://www.pdexposures.com/the-pinhole-podcast-intermission-wppd-in-amsterdam/)
Visit the [3D Printed Cameras group on Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/groups/3dpcams/)
The mission is to share and promote open source cameras and related parts, created with CAD applications and 3D printing. Please join and post content!
__If you download this from somewhere besides Thingiverse, and printed it, please post pics on this thingiverse.com page! Please - I want to recognize and support you too__
I understand skepticism; I hope that if you have been delaying your pinhole photographic adventures, the onslaught of my dubiously composed and poorly-chosen subject matter will convince you that this camera works and that you can print one and shoot photos!
As to how to build and use the P6*6 - All is revealed in the new User's Guide. Anyone can put this camera together and create amazing photographs. Assembly is detailed and simplified in a new document: "P66_assy_revised.pdf"
__No 3D printer yet?__
Kits and assembled cameras available on [Tindie](https://www.tindie.com/stores/schlem/?)
Hate the flat shutter plate on front of the "lens"? Dress it up a bit with the trim plate and pinhole cap!
Worried that the friction-fit of the cap on the body could pop open and ruin your film? (IFAIK, this has never happened) A Sliding Body Clip secures the cap securely to the body, preventing a dreaded accidental exposure of your film.
New, photographic filter adapter! Use neutral density filters to slow exposure times, or colored filters for effects. Not just for the P6*6, good for any camera without a threaded lens barrel:
And a tiny P6*6 keychain!
I have shot dozens of rolls of film through this camera now. I find this camera a delight to shoot. I am very happy with the frame indexing. Like any camera, excessive movement during exposures will blur your image. This makes very short exposures (1-2 seconds) impractical for best results unless you can absolutely immobilize the camera. A neutral density filter (which increases exposure duration by whole stops) or a remote shutter release mechanism will address this limitation and is a future improvement I plan to make. Alternately, for "quick" exposures, you can cover the pinhole with your finger, open the shutter and (literally) manually time your exposure with your finger, then close the shutter - another old-time pinhole trick.
Incorporating aubenc's Knurled Surface Library V2, and modeled around the handy 120 Film Spool by Jakebot, the P6*6 builds on the PINHE4D and PINH5AD pinhole cameras designs.
12-6-13 After some experimentation with different 120 films, I find that some spools are slightly larger than others. This affects the clearance at the winder spool and rotating baffle (small slotted disk); the cap will not snap completely shut. I haven't suffered any damage to negatives from this, but, just to be sure, I have reworked the baffle to a thinner 2mm thickness. You can download and print either the whole winder assembly (knob, baffle, drive) or just the baffle. I suggest having a spare knob and drive handy if you try the Film Clip accessory: thingiverse.com/thing:197924
__New Wider angle version P6*6W f/135__
__*Exposure duration table updated including:*__
- Fuji Neopan Acros 100 B&W neg film
- Ilford Delta 100 B&W neg film
- Kodak Ektar 100 Color neg film
- Fuji Velvia 100 Color slide film
- Fuji Velvia 50 Color slide film
- Ilford FP4 B&W neg film
- Kodak 400TX B&W neg film

Recent Comments

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In the meantime, the film clip is a standalone item: thingiverse.com/thing:197924 The one marked "25" should be the right fit, provided it is printed with the same 3D printer as your camera body.
Sorry for the confusion.
What the...?
No, it's highly recommended that you use it to keep the film from unspooling during unloading. I must have inadvertently deleted it with some junk STLs. I will get that re-posted, right quick.

I am just starting on this project
I downloaded all the files but don't see one for the Film Clip
is that no longer required or has that file just disappeared into the thingiverse diodes

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If you have questions, please post a comment - I try to be very responsive to Thinginauts.
**New P6*6W - wide angle version**
Assembly is essentially the same as for the original P6*6, using the following alternate parts:
* p66_35mm_extension
* New_shutter_plate
which consists of the following four parts:
* New_shutter_blade
* New_shutter_clamp
* New_pinhole_clamp
* New_trim_ring
**See "P66_Users_Guide_x,doc" for instructions on printing, assembly, and photography" Also P66_assy_revised.pdf contains better diagrams and assembly instructions. ** These documents will be merged in the future.
__NOTE__ When unloading the camera, and as the full spool is removed, the film might be loose on the spool and not fully protected from light by the backing paper.
I have designed a film clip which slides in with the empty take-up spool and prevents the film from unspooling (and subsequent light leaks) when unloading the P6*6, It is an easy fix, requiring no modifications to the camera. There is a small lip inside the cavity that will prevent the clip from rotating.
See: thingiverse.com/thing:197924
Everything is designed to fit on the smallest of 3D printer beds, the largest dimension being just more than 5 inches (128mm). If you print on something smaller, the large parts could be rotated 45 degrees. If this is a limitation for you, let me know, and I will supply a suitably modified file. Also - only tested with BLACK ABS - if you want/need to print this in another color/material, a couple coats of a flat black paint on all interior surfaces will guarantee a light-proof camera.
You can see additional pics of p6*6 prototyping at:
----- Printed Bits ------
Camera body
50mm or 35mm extension
Camera cap and winder assembly
Shutter plate or New Shutter plate (with pinhole disc)
(all parts are also available non-plated)
----- Non-Printed Bits ------
4 x 3mm-16mm long socket bolts, washers, and nuts
1/4 - 20 flanged nut (for tripod mount)
Pinhole 0.30mm -50mm focal length
Pinhole 0.26mm -35mm focal length
I highly recommended that you find some translucent red plastic film and some self-adhesive black velvet or felt. See User's Guide for more infomation.
Recently included is an Exposure Duration document for several readily-available films with reciprocity failure. If you can expand on this, please share.
I hope that the various Pinhead Pinhole cameras arouse an interest in this marvelous photography genre. Also refer to PINHE4D or PINH5AD for links to technical information and tutorials.
I remain at your disposal should you have questions.
Here's a couple of videos that explain the basics of pinhole photogaphy (worth a watch!):
[Part 1 ](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LutIudRhm10&list=PL36B9AF146FD58457&index=2)
[Part 2 ](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXtMdCBwLLs&list=PL36B9AF146FD58457)
An encyclopedic article with cross references:
A self-described comprehensive pinhole tutorial:
The basics from Kodak - a quick and dirty primer.
Make your own pinhole:
Pinhole Designer - an excellent pinhole design and exposure calulator. The reciprocity failure function is gold. Sadly, Windows only, but worth it.
Mr. Pinhole - More calculators and more links.
Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day:
A paper pinhole camera, 2D printed in a Czechoslovakian magazine, in the 1970's: pinhole.cz/en/pinholecameras/dirkon_01.html
Books, books, books; Knowledge is power:

File Name



I am just starting on this project
I downloaded all the files but don't see one for the Film Clip
is that no longer required or has that file just disappeared into the thingiverse diodes
Sep 23, 2014 - Modified Sep 23, 2014
schlem - in reply to KC2PED
In the meantime, the film clip is a standalone item: thingiverse.com/thing:197924 The one marked "25" should be the right fit, provided it is printed with the same 3D printer as your camera body.
Sorry for the confusion.
Sep 23, 2014 - Modified Sep 23, 2014
schlem - in reply to KC2PED
What the...?
No, it's highly recommended that you use it to keep the film from unspooling during unloading. I must have inadvertently deleted it with some junk STLs. I will get that re-posted, right quick.

Hi, I'm new to pinhole cameras but I am really interested in trying this out. I have a question and hope someone could help.

I've printed a 35mm extension but I can see it needs a 0.26mm pinhole. I can only find 0.3mm pinhole online to buy. Should I buy the 0.3mm pin hole and print a 50mm extension, or will 0.3 be fine on the 35mm extension?
Just to put a number on it, f/117 is about 1/3 of a stop faster than f/135. This is really a non-significant difference for many films, especially B&W. HTH
Hey sshum!
Thanks for the great question. It will absolutely work with a slightly larger pinhole. A 0.30 mm aperture will make your camera slightly faster at f/117 than the f/135 as designed. Depending on the film you use, you may not even notice a difference, but subtract some time (15-20%?) from your exposures (see the exposure chart for the P6*6W) as an experiment. If you have a digital caliper or micrometer you can make a reasonably precise pinhole. Look in the links for something called "Drill your own precision pinholes" or similar. I will try to post some adjusted exposure durations for an f/117 pinhole camera soon. Hope that helps - lemme know if you have other questions. PS look for assembly instructions in MAKE: magazine #41, coming out now!
Hey, Pinhole Photographers (and the curious)!These smart folks like to talk about the tools and techniques of pinhole photography.
Give the Pinhole Podcast a listen:http://www.pdexposures.com/category/pinhole-podcast/
just an idea: did you think of giving the 50mm extension a slight curvature, so the distance between the pinhole and the image plane remais the same, thus avoiding slight blurring toward the edges of the image?! that should still fit in the housing maybe with some minor adjustments to the housing (or an insert?!) to press the film firmly at the extension...secondly i think the pinhole calculations are possibly outdated (formula by Rayleigh) for 50mm i found 0.26mm and for 35mm 0.2mm pinhole might be more suiteable. I got a 0.3mm and 0.25mm pinhole and will make a comparision on the 50mm extension....
Hey,Thanks for your thoughtful input.I have spent an immense amount of time thinking about curved film planes in (3D printed) pinhole cameras. But not for either version of the P6*6, and I'll tell you why. I apologize in advance if I sound pedantic, but I want everyone to be able to follow the discussion.What you are discussing is optical vignetting (as opposed to mechanical or physical obstruction) that occurs around the perimeter of a pinhole photograph. The exposure of the film is directly related to how large the pinhole (aperture) is and for how long the film is exposed. The problem with any flat plane of film/sensor is that the distance from the aperture to the periphery is farther than to the center. This is also termed "light fall-off" and the net effect is that the periphery of the film needs to receive light for longer than the center for an absolutely equivalent exposure. In other words, the periphery will be underexposed compared to the center of the film.In a square format camera this fall-off is uniform and fairly trivial for all but very wide-angle pinhole cameras. For the P6*6, with a frame of 56mm x 56mm, and with a 50mm "focal length", and a 0.30mm pinhole, the very center of the film has a speed or "f-number" of f/167. However, at the center of any edge of the frame, the distance to the aperture is 57.3mm, with a speed or f-number of f/191. This is still less than a 1/3 stop decrease in speed. But at the corners, the distance to the aperture increases, yet more, to 63.78mm, and a corresponding f-number of f/213 - right at +1/3 stop, generally considered a trivial difference.The P6*6 was designed for FDM 3D printers and avoids the complications of excessive overhang and support by virtue of how it is printed in various parts and then assembled. The frame (the bottom of the extension) prints flat on the print bed and makes a glass-smooth scratch-free surface for the film to slide across with minimal finishing. For this iteration of this design, I felt that was more important than minimizing a trivial optical effect (although generally considered a defect in lensed cameras). Examining photos made with the 50mm P6*6 show very little optical vignetting in the corners.The P6*6W, however, with a "focal distance" of 35mm starts to exhibit significant optical vignetting at the corners of some images, and you can see this (to me, pleasing) effect on many of the images in this Flickr album:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/theschlem/sets/72157645030373964/The P6*6W- 35mm "focal length" - has an f/stop ( at the very center of the frame) of f/135, but at the corners, 52.85mm from the pinhole, f/203 - approaching a +2/3 stop change in exposure requirement. That is starting to be significant. So why wasn't this camera designed with a curved film plane?Since the P6*6W is a version of the original P6*6, I didn't want to have more than one significantly different part. The wider angle necessitated some subtle redesigning of shutter-related parts to minimize mechanical vignetting, but they are backward-compatible to the original design and have been updated as part of the official Thingiverse design repository. In a square image, the vignetting is symmetrical and allows the photographer to emphasize the scene's center or periphery, depending on exposure and artistic intention. Indeed, this is an effect many pinhole photographers relish, and I have had many requests for just such a remix of my original design.However, I am working on several wider format cameras, 6x9, or 6x12, and these cameras will definitely have a curved film "plane", with an equidistant curvature. Since film can only be bent around one axis, there will still be issues with light falling off at the top and bottom of a wide photograph, but again, shooting for a nominal 1/3 stop difference in exposure.As to blurred pinhole photos, all pinhole photographs are blurred. If you noticed, the term focal distance, while a convenient convention for pinhole camera design, is wholly inaccurate and has been used in this context with quote marks. A lens focuses an image by bending light to meet at a point, but pinholes do not focus anything; they project light in a straight line. This is known as a rectilinear projection and lens manufacturers go to great lengths and vast expense to approach reproducing a true perspective.The width of the projected beams of light is directly related to the width of the aperture or pinhole. A smaller hole means a clearer image on the film, but with a correspondingly longer exposure duration. A larger hole is faster, but blurrier. The various optimal pinhole diameter formulae (there are dozens) are intended to calculate the best trade-off between clarity and speed. Also, as a pinhole diameter decreases, unexpected diffraction effects can occur as photons interact at a quantum level.It may not be obvious, but there is a range of pinhole diameters that will work well for making pinhole photographs. for any given "focal distance". It is far more important that your pinhole not be too big or too small, than to be perfect. And **it is yet even more important that you know your pinhole's diameter with some precision**, so as to be able to accurately calculate your camera's f-number, and subsequent exposures. Keep in mind, any deviation from the pinhole sizes I have specified will necessitate recalculations for exposure durations (shutter speeds).Further, all the 3D printed pinhole cameras I have created are designed for easy pinhole replacement, allowing experimentation of design, technique and effect.Finally, I hope you embark on your pinhole photography adventures with the understanding that pinholes do not make the same photos that lenses make, nor do they make lesser photos. You won't take snapshots- indeed, pinhole photographs require deliberate composition, exposure calculation, and many seconds / minutes / hours of exposure. They make different photos, images that are startling, amazing, and very rewarding for the photographer. In fact, they can make images that no lensed camera could ever approximate.Thanks again for your interest and support
-schlem==== Resources: ====http://photo.net/learn/pinhole/pinholehttp://www.pinhole.cz/en/pinholedesigner/http://pinhole.stanford.edu/pinholemath.htmhttp://www.mrpinhole.com/calcpinh.php==== Simple F/stop Math: ====+1/3rd of a stop is 1.26 times F/#.-1/3rd of a stop is 0.8 times F/#.+1/2 a stop is 1.4 (1.42) times F/#-1/2 a stop is 0.7 (0.71) times F/#.+2/3rds of a stop is 1.5874 times (1.6 near enough) F/#.And -2/3rds of a stop is 0.63 times F/#.
hi, thnx a lot for taking the time writing all of this down. very interesting !!I found calculations with a factor (c) of 1.9 (after Rayleigh they claim) down to 1.6. (pinhole d = c * sqrt(550nm*focal length)
or considering the distance of the object d = sqrt(2.56*550nm/((1/distance to object) + (1/focal length))
hence when the object is far away (>10m) then you can neglect (1/distance to object) and the formula fimlifies to the first one.
in this case the factor c would be 1.6
I recently bought a book which supposed to be up to date, but i havnt got this yet (http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/3831112614)
and its in german...When following your f-stop calculations above i repeated the same for a pinhole 0.25mm and came to the same conclusion. so probabyl it wont make much of a difference (except for exposure time) if you use a 0.3mm or a 0.25mm pinhole on the 50mm extension.
i think all those pinhole calculations are more like a thumb of rule and one needs to try out which suits best. And yes i knowthat i cant expect the same results as with a lensed cam ;) if i need snapshots ill take my NEX-3 ;)
Long, long time ago... i used to do analog b/w photography including developing my own films and prints etc. but then i switched to digital photography and sold most of my stuff.
When i stumbled over your pinhole camera i got inspired going back to the roots and beyond ;)Ill keep you posted how things are working out. Camera parts are printed just mission the pinhole and some films i ordered.two things:
do you know this App ?: facebook.com/pinholeassist
seems to be quite good, but dont have anything to compare it to yet (still have to find my old light meter ;) )
probably ill use the iphone as some sort of viewfinder attached to the back of the P66, so i can always take a photo as
a reference for the used exposure parameters... still have to cook up a holder for it ...secondly (probably most of the ppl know) for glueing ABS, Aceton works very well when applied in a thin layer on both parts.
Also for nicely pinished surfaces: just apply very little aceton with a soft brush. it gives a nice smooth and shiny surface, espacially for the parts you sandpapered and for the parts of the extension which are touching the film. just dont use to much
otherwise the ABS will melt away ;)
Thanks for the reply! I look forward to seeing your photos!
In (pinhole) photography, as in many endeavors, some things are "need to know", others are "nice to know", and then there is the "nuts to know". For myself, I just picked the most convenient Pinhole formula, which is part of the PinholeDesigner windows app. There are others, Mr Pinhole uses a slightly different formula, but they don't generate significantly different results. Same with reciprocity failure. There are rules of thumb and there are multi-variable exponential equations that give you about the same exposure +/- an f-stop. Luckily the latitude of most modern films allow adjustment of exposures that don't quite hit the mark. With careful metering and preparation, I am fairly happy with the results I get.I haven't used Pinhole Assistant, not being an Apple user, but I have friends that swear by it. I am told it has good RF support for a wide variety of films.Look for V/Fs soon.
Hi, thanks for putting this up. I'm looking into making one, and was wondering if you knew the volume of material used (I'm trying to get a pricing estimate; they charge by cm^3 of material). Thank you; any thoughts you have are greatly appreciated.
Thanks for the great question. But it's a trick question. In FDM (consumer-grade, extruder-type) 3D printing, volume of material used is a function of how many perimeters define inside and outside surfaces, and how much "infill" is specified for the print. I typically print my cameras (and most other parts) at 50% infill for strength.Slicing for 2 perimeters and 50% infill, to 3D print the main parts of the camera takes about 22.3 meters of 3mm filament. Adding the face plate, pinhole cap, and film and body clips probably pushes that over 26 meters of filament. Using some geometry ( volume = p i* r^2 * height - I had to look it up), 26m of 3mm filament is 736 cubic cm. That's a quick estimate, but it could be more.
Hi. I am currently working on creating one of these cameras from scratch for my 3D modeling and printing class. I was wondering if you have any more of the measurements?
Other than a frame of 56x58mm, a focal distance of 50, and height and width of 120 film spools, I'm not sure what dimensions you would need to make a pinhole camera from scratch. If I were copying someone else's work, I'd open all the STL files in a CAD program and take the measurements there. And, of course, I'd attribute the original designer.
Where could I buy a 'Pinhole 0.30mm'? Or am I not understanding the instructions?
There are some nice folks out there, in the wilds of eCommerce, who sell very nice store-bought, often laser-drilled, pinholes. I bought one of their fancy pinholes once; was very expensive and very precise. I misplaced it before it found its way into a camera. Unless you demand a high degree of precision (and you might), I would simply make my own. It's actually almost as simple as it sounds.

There are several techniques used to make a pinhole of "known" diameter. This is my favorite:
A pin vise or small vice grips is very handy to have for this. If you can find on, the pin vise is much cheaper.

I included a number of other helpful and instructive links on the Thingiverse page for the PINHE4D.Instructions:

I will add them to the P6*6 also!
Thanks for the info!
Wow, very cool design and a charming effect on the pictures. Would be nice to have a torsion spring loaded trigger for a shutter like this thingiverse.com/thing:8402. If i had time...^^
Yeah, multi-bladed iris-type shutters are very cool mechanisms, but shutters that dilate don't have much value if your camera's aperture is fixed and tiny (i.e. 0.30 mm). Also, no spring is necessary if you are holding the shutter open for an exposure measured in seconds (or minutes). Emmett's Iris box isn't designed to be a light-tight closure, and the gaps in between the blades might easily exceed the diameter of the pinhole. In lensed cameras, shutters are often very precise mechanisms of oiled metal - hard to duplicate with FDM, and probably not necessary for a medium that uses masking tape "shutters" to equal effect. ...I've thought much about shutters.
Brilliant stuff!! Ok, I totally have to make this.. there goes my weekend! :)
Fantastic camera, printed really beautifully in PLA and feels very solid - can´t wait to test it! Have you considered adding a simple viewfinder?
I have thought about that. I printed a clip-on plate with a couple of lines embossed with a 62 degree angle, but it's not very useful. I will knock something out in the next day or two - open to any and all suggestions. Do you like the idea of a removable V/F? or something glued to the cap?
cool project, im just in the process printig one ;) i will post my make when its ready
what about a clip on viewfinder?! any news about it ?
if i want to make my own, how would you suggest to go about it ?!
I was thinking that two holes thru the cap and two holes into the meatier bit of the frame would allow me to throw in two of the same hardware used in the shutter. This would secure the cap and give you mounting options for a viewfinder attachment or maybe a flash pan ;-)
Maybe a v/f glued to the cap might be more practical to use, however might it also increase the risk of the cap accidentally coming off for example when transporting the camera in a bag or inside a pocket. I was thinking of ways to secure the cap - one possiblity could be to put a tiny bit of velcro to both the middle section the inner extension housing and the inner side of the cap. I tried it but there was not enough space. The center section of the extension would have to be lowered a tiny bit to make room for the tape, otherwise the cap won´t close properly.
Do you think this would print ok in dark-colored PLA?
I was looking at Black PLA samples at the Makerbot store today. That would be absolutely suitable for camera use. It appears to be as opaque as ABS.
Great! Thanks for the tip.
Only if it is absolutely opaque. My experience with PLA (and non-black ABS) is that it is a little bit translucent. Of course, a couple coats of a flat black spray paint on interior surfaces would work too for any material/color. - that's a standard camera maker's trick.
WOW !!! You made my day !

Amazing, stylish (and knurled!) 120 film 3D printed camera!!!
Thanks a lot for designing this!
Glad you like! Thanks for the awesome knurled surface library!