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Photographer builds pinhole camera out of a shoe box


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Photographer Benoit Charlot has designed the perfect poor man’s pinhole camera, using a shoe box and parts from a damaged 35mm camera.

A lot of professional photographers dream of experimenting with a pinhole camera. Most people believe that this is a natural desire, as humanity has always wanted to get back to its roots.

The most recent artist to experiment with pinhole photography is Benoit Charlot. His method is different from what we have seen before, but it is nonetheless interesting. Benoit’s pinhole camera has been constructed from a shoe box.

The shoe box camera is perfectly capable of capturing photos and you can see a couple of them below as well as at the photographer’s Flickr page.

French photographer created a pinhole camera using a shoe box and black paint

Montpellier-based Benoit Charlot is one of these curios people, who dreamed of taking photos with a pinhole camera. However, he needed money to buy one and, since he had none to spare, Charlot thought to build one himself with as few resources as possible.

Benoit quickly realized that a shoe box could be modified to act as a pinhole camera. Soon after that, a shoe box has been painted black and a convergent lens has been taken out of a 35mm shooter, which no longer worked, and added to the mix.

The photographer assembled his project and the pinhole camera became ready to capture photos soon enough. Even though high image quality is not something you can achieve with few resources, the photographer proved us wrong.

Charlot’s project is based on an old lens with a 1.5mm wide diaphragm. Even though it is larger than conventional pinholes, Benoit has been forced to keep it this way, in order to prevent optical aberrations from happening.

Photographic paper has been chosen instead of film

The “shoe box camera” also sports a larger depth of field, which allows it to capture pretty good images. Unfortunately, it only works with photographic paper, whereas film is not supported.

The photo paper measures 10 x 15 centimeters and it is fixed on the shoe box’ back with Blu-Tack-like adhesive.

Charlot added that his pinhole camera does not require a viewfinder, a shutter, nor any other adjustments – it just works. He defines it as the “most simple camera” in the world.

The photographer uploaded some pictures on his Flickr account, whereas instructions on how to build the camera are available on his website.

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