P5 MUTO Wide Angle 4X5 Pinhole Camera

by schlem, published

P5 MUTO Wide Angle 4X5 Pinhole Camera by schlem Apr 16, 2016

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The MUTO is an evolution of one of my earliest 3D printed camera designs, the PINH5AD (AKA P5). I have been thinking about a super wide 4X5 camera for a long time and I'm happy to finally publish this in time for Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, 2016! This camera's pinhole placement (and subsequent perspective) is designed to be easily altered, thus the name: MUTO.

This is a very versatile design, intended to be used with a variety of films and formats. 4X5 film or paper can be used, as can 120 roll film with an appropriate film back. Recently, NEW55 started manufacturing a new 4X5 instant film. I haven't had any luck shooting pinhole with NEW55 yet, but it looks promising. You will want a Polaroid 545 film back for the New55 instant film.

This camera features an adjustable pinhole plate, 25.4 mm (1 inch) from the film, that can be rotated in 60° increments, altering the perspective of the captured image. The very wide field of view requires clearances inside and outside of the camera, to avoid eclipsing part of the image at extreme angles. In lieu of bolts, Gaffer Tape is used to secure the pinhole in place and affix the hexagonal plate to the front of the camera. Any film back or film holder you could use with this camera will have a dark slide, so adjustment of the pinhole position can easily be done in the field between exposures.

Additionally, the shutter on the plate is mostly to protect the pinhole, but can be used for timing your exposure. An alternate hex plate is included lacking the shutter stops and bolt hole. A finger over the pinhole is a time-tested pinhole technique, and for very long exposures, the dark slide may used quite effectively.

If shooting a full 4x5 frame, expect extreme optical vignetting at the perimeter of the frame. Photographers who use this technique often aggressively crop the resulting image to exclude underexposed portions of the frame. Featured sample photos were shot using a Graflex 120 6X9 film back, held in place by clips (included in Thing files), with a 0.20mm diameter pinhole, metered at f/165, a rough average for the 6x9 frame. The center of the frame is slightly overexposed and the margins are obviously underexposed, with a pronounced color shift. For best viewing, enlarge images to full screen. All future photographs made with this camera will be shared HERE

The flexibility of this camera design lends itself to much experimentation, and a separate hex plate is included if you want to cater your pinhole choice to your exposure and/or perspective. A smaller pinhole (0.20 as shot in sample photos) is going to exacerbate the underexposure at the edges, as will a film like Velvia50 which has a narrow exposure latitude. Most black and white films and many color negative films have excellent exposure latitude and won't show the extreme effects seen here.

This camera was designed entirely using Tinkercad.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial license. This license applies only to the files and documents available for download from the Thing Files section of this Thing.
All other related content (photographs, videos, and verbiage such as contained in "Description" or "Instructions" ) are excluded from this license, with all rights reserved, unless specifically available for download This notice constitutes a clarification, not a change, to licensing for this design.

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0.25 mm layer height




You absolutely want to use the most opaque filament you can obtain. PLA is notorious for being translucent. I have had good luck with Shaxon and MakerGeeks black PLA. Both are very affordable also!


Assembly is Easy

You will need a pinhole sized 0.15 - 0.35mm in diameter. (optimal pinhole diameter is a function of the distance from the film, but owing to the very wide angle of this design, that distance varies significantly from center to edge. I use THIS APP to make these calculations)

qty 1 -3mm panhead bolt, 8mm long, and lock nut for shutter pivot

qty 4 - 3mm socket head bolts, 16mm long, and 3mm nuts to attach selected tripod mount

qty 2 - 1/4-20 flanged nuts for standard tripod attachment, press fit into tripod mounts. Glue if desired.

I used super glue (Cyanoacrylate) to attach the film holder bracket and MUTO plate to the body.

I gave the inside of the camera body a coat of flat black paint to minimize internal reflections on sometimes-shiny PLA.

Gaffer tape to attach pinhole behind hex plate and mount hex plate to front of MUTO body plate. 1" gaffer tape is a good investment and if you build more pinhole cameras, you will find it invaluable. Electrical tape can be used in a pinch, but it is often shiny.

I used self-adhesive velvet to light-proof the film holder bracket and that seems work well with the clips for the film backs. Various foam or rubber gasketing material could be used for this purpose. I have had difficulties getting film holder to be light tight against the bracket with elastics and I should design clips for that purpose as well.

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This was the 1st 3d print i made.

How do I remove the raft from camera? The raft is very well connected to camera.

I'm flattered that you would rush to print my camera first thing. I have never used rafts, so I don't have any solid advice on that... But I bet the Internet does! THIS VIDEO seems to have some good suggestions.

Will this work with New55 film?

Or course it will... in theory. You will need a Polaroid 545 film back with rollers in good condition. New55 should have good exposure latitude, and they have shared Reciprocity Failure adjustments.

However, I have tried pinhole with New55 (using a different LF camera), rated at ISO 50, developed 2:00. Got nuthin. Like ZILCH.

It's not the camera at fault. I have a meticulous process based on rigorous metering and RF adjustment. I have no confidence in New55 at this point, nor do my other photographer friends. At $17/exposure (!!!) I would expect SOME KIND of image. Add the cost of an eBay film holder, and this becomes a very expensive exercise in trust.

FWIW, there are exactly five New55 Pinhole photos that I can find on Flickr.