Nikon F-Mount Pinhole Lens

by kovo, published

Nikon F-Mount Pinhole Lens by kovo Apr 7, 2012
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This is a simple pinhole lens and cap attachment for a Nikon camera with an f-mount bayonet style mount.


This was inspired by http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6831 designed by xjcrawler01. I couldn't get this thing to fit, so I designed my own in openSCAD so I could tweak and reprint.

This pinole lens fits on a Nikon camera (it worked on my D7000) like a regular lens. You affix a separately made pinhole over the small aperture using black electrical tape. A simple and easy, but very good pinhole can be made by the "beer can" method.

The parametric OpenSCAD files are included, along with some dependencies to use rotate_extrude to make arcs, and dependencies to make the Nikon male f-style bayonet mount. I also included the dependency for an female f-style bayonet mount. With this, and a little ingenuity, you could make extender tubes for a homemade macro lens, for instance. I will try to knock one of those up soon. I tested both mounts with my lens and camera. The designs come from my measurements, so you might need to tweek/sand a little for your camera.

"Beer can" method to make a pinhole
There is lots of good stuff on this on the web, so do a search. The basic method is to use a piece of aluminum from a beer can (say 1 cm x 1 cm). Use a punch or nail to make a small dent in the aluminum. Then sand the high side of the dent until a hole forms.

To take a picture
Put the camera on a tripod or table. Set the camera to manual, ISO to 100 or 200, and exposure time to 0.5 seconds if in bright sun, 2 or more seconds indoors. Better to use a remote if you have one. Adjust the exposure time and camera position until you get a picture you like.

There are tons of great resources on the web. So explore and enjoy!


Cameras are expensive, and this is not an authorized Nikon accessory. If you decide to print this thing, you use it at your own risk.

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Pin hole cameras are used a lot in model photography, like model railroads. The infinite depth of field gives the photograph a very real appearance.

I didn't know that, but it makes sense. Thanks for comment!

OK, just made one of these. Works, but somewhat difficult to fit.
Printed in PLA black to avoid internal reflections and works great.

A few things:

  • The diameter of the outer ring should be 58mm instead of 60mm
  • Some wall thickness are difficult to figure out (they're all safe but are they optimal ?)
  • The height of the outer ring cannot be zero - this is annoying when trying to couple this with your own design for ring
  • Deprecated use of child() in oscad
  • Some of the rings available on the original adapters do not appear in the design (their height is very small and they likely play no important role in getting the adapter to fit though)

I hope this feedback is useful,

thx for providing this !

It would be interesting to

Looks like you could have better results if you reduced the glossy finish of the black ABS (black cardboard?) in the inside to avoid light reflections.

Good job! I like it!!

I used PLA, which I think is a little shinier than ABS. But you are quite right, a less reflective material inside would be a lot better.

Hmm, I don't get it - what's the benefit of a pin-hole lens like this?

There really isn't a benefit for visible light images like this, beyond aesthetics and photography fun. Pinhole lens have very large depths of field, but they tend to be blurry. But it is a neat, physicsy way to make an image.

At very short (e.g. x-ray) wavelengths, there are not many ways of forming images, since ordinary lenses don't work. But pinholes continue to form images, and are often used for that purpose. However, I have my doubts you could get enough x-ray flux conveniently to form an image on a commercial CC

I personally like to process the film however, I do see all the benefits of pinhole cameras without the need of having to do the "difficult" part.