Modifying my pinhole

I am a relatively recent convert to the joys (and unpredictability) of pinhole photography, even building one myself not so long ago.  As with the majority of my film photography I tend to use black and white film in the pinholes, indeed cannot remember ever having used colour film in one.  I have pinholes that accept 35mm, 120 and 5×4 film of which my most-used is a Zero Image 612b, multi-format pinhole that uses 120 film.  It is multi-format in that it has a pair of baffles inside that can be moved to facilitate using the camera at 6×4.5, 6×6, 6×7, 6×9 and 6×12.

Zero Image 612b pinhole camera, Fuji Acros, orange filter. Developed in Kodak D76(1+1)

As a black and white photographer I routinely use filters to control contrast, indeed with most of my film cameras a yellow or yellow/green filter is ever-present on the lens.  However, my Zero Image is the basic version and therefore has no bells and whistles such as external filter rings. I lack the tools and skills to adapt the front of the camera working around the sliding “shutter” so have reluctantly accepted the lack of filter options.

Until now.

I have recently modified the Zero Image to accept filters internally. I did this by taking a 25-37mm step up ring and asking my grandson to take the 25mm thread off (without removing his own fingers).  This was then super-glued inside the camera, with the pinhole centrally situated within the ring.  Because of the camera’s internal dimensions a 37mm filter ring was the largest filter diameter I could accommodate and still screw filters on/off with my old fingers. By incorporating a screw thread inside the camera and purchasing a few small filters I am now able to use not only contrast control filters but also a 720nm filter to enable me to use infrared film with the pinhole. The only downside is I have to choose upfront what filter I will need and install it before loading the film.  In addition, I cannot change the filter part way through the roll. Other than that it works fabulously though and the 37mm yellow filter is rarely out of the camera.

Zero Image pinhole camera | 720nm filter | Rollei Infrared 400

At the 6×12 setting the outer edge of the ring is visible onthe edge of the negative as a very definite vignette BUT once cropped the usable negative area still measures 6×12.1.  There are no issues at 6×6, 6×7 or 6×9. I haven’t yet tried 6×4.5 but on this evidence I do not envisage problems, although I very rarely use the smallest negative size with this camera.

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