11 comments

  • Gregory,

    thank you for another thought provoking article.

    the questions you raise are very valid, and yet there is no right or wrong answer.
    over-analyzing issues or talking about them just takes time away from what we should be doing, i.e., just take good pictures.
    ultimately, WE decide WHAT to shoot, HOW, which moment in time to capture … and WHY. let the pixel peepers debate over sharpness and resolution, who cares?
    who decides what is art and what is not?
    over the holidays i was in amsterdam and went to see an interesting exhibit at the van gogh museum, ‘Snapshot –
    Painters and photography 1888-1915’, which showed how several painters embraced the new tool (the portable camera) and used it for/with their art.
    that is what the camera is, a tool which we use to express ‘something’.

    on a less serious side, i can only imagine the horror that many purists must have felt seeing your M9 covered in duck tape! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Thanks, everyone, for your comments. I’ll address each of them below:

    David 1: Holga’s are, indeed, several orders of magnitude cheaper — *IF* you don’t already own a camera, some gaffer’s tape and a sharp stick. One of the points of this article (and I’m guilty of shoving more points into an article than will fit) is that anyone with any interchangeable lens camera, which will operate without a lens attached, can experiment with pinhole photography. It’s fun and it’s essentially free. The fact I built this article around the M9 is merely one of convenience โ€” it’s the camera I most frequently carry for my documentary work. I will grant that, in general, I prefer the pinhole look with B&W negative film because the extra dynamic range provides a wonderful tonality that’s lacking somewhat in the digital experiments. I have, in fact, ‘pinholed’ both my M2 and my M6 TTL in the past (as well as nearly every other camera I’ve owned). When pinhole image quality really matters (and I recognize the oxymoron in that statement), I’ll shoot with a Vermeer 6×6 medium format pinhole camera — it’s nearly as inexpensive as the Holga, but looks much nicer on the shelf. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    David 2: I’m glad you drew some inspiration from this post — that’s the ultimate goal for any of these articles I pen for Leica. Thank you for commenting.

    Stefano: Thank you for your continuing feedback. I always feel like I must be doing something right when you take the time to check in on an article.

  • Found this post via Popular Photography today. I really enjoyed the details and the photos are beautiful. I recently started a similar project but have yet to post anything online. Very inspirational. Hope to see more!

  • Alisha: Although I’m perplexed by how my ever-aberrant photographic inclinations managed to receive a mention on Popular Photography, I welcome the irony. I also welcome your comment, and the knowledge that this article has helped to inspire. Good luck with your project!

  • Enjoyed the post. As someone who shoots mostly pinhole it’s fun to see someone experiment. I love the playground horse image.
    I beg to differ on the sharpness point (no pun intended). Pinhole images can be surprisingly sharp as long as the hole is matched to the focal length. Too large or too small results in fuzz. People are sometimes shocked to find out my photos are pinholes.
    I’ve dreamed often about shooting M9 pinholes, but I also dream about converting Ferraris into grease cars…on my budget it’s the same dream.
    I’ve turned my Nikon into a pinhole but don’t like the results because of the small sensor size. I shot a nice series of abstracts, though. Two advantages of digital pinhole are instant results and the ability to shot over and over until you get the results you want. Still, I prefer shooting my 120 film pinholes.
    Thanks for the article.
    HP
    Square Peg Pinhole

  • I found this article via a photo contact and I am happy that I did. I’ve always felt the camera is a “tool” to assist the photographer creating their vision instead of the other way around. It’s nice to see the Leica being put to good use on such creative and inspiring work such as this! Sharpness is overrated ๐Ÿ™‚

  • while i learned about the pinhole technology from this article, some of those pictures look like the ones i take when my unstablized camera/lens is set for manual…

  • Well, I see there’s a fresh new batch of comments, all deserving of a response:

    Herschel: Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply and for giving any potential pinhole newbies a more complete “picture” of the pinhole scene. I’ll admit these photos (and this article) favor the “bad” pinhole, and I’m probably (definitely) guilty of glossing over the higher fidelity possibilities of pinholes. Obviously, gaffer’s tape and a pointy stick do not make for an optimized pinhole, but I enjoy the experiments. Similarly (and like you), I’ve found pinhole lens caps to be less than optimum (though much better than the pointy stick method). As I mentioned in a previous response, when pinhole image quality really matters, I’ll shoot with a Medium Format pinhole camera. I get much greater sharpness (and tonality) that wayโ€ฆ and it’s good to remind people that not all pinhole photos need look as grungy as those I chose for this article.

    blue chameleon: You are 100% correct. Usually, when someone buys a hammer, it’s because they already know they want to drive some nails. Rarely does someone buy a hammer and then, because they now own a hammer, walk around looking for something to hit with it. Yet this is the approach many people take to photography โ€” they buy the gear and then look for something to shoot with it. That always seems a bit backward to me.

    L: Based on your comment, I can pretty well assure you won’t like the photos in my next article: “how to make a camera stabilizer out of bungee cord.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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