Project: Making a 'Covert' Pinhole Camera from an Old Pocket Watch

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Bayliss

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Hi - I recently did a project where I made a pinhole camera from an old pocket watch - inspired partly by a scene in the film Dr Strangelove.

I also filmed the project for youtube:

Part 1:

Part 2:

I'd like to made another version of the camera and I just wondered if anyone had any tips on how I might improve it - the images I managed to get out of the camera were discernible but not particularly good. Thanks!

maxresdefault.jpeg Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 20.00.34.png Screen Shot 2022-08-12 at 20.01.09.png
 

Donald Qualls

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An image that small has its own limitations. The general rule with pinhole is that the bigger the film the better it looks, because you don't have to blow up the pinhole blur.

That said, that doesn't look bad for a pinhole image comparable in size to a 110 frame.
 
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Bayliss

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An image that small has its own limitations. The general rule with pinhole is that the bigger the film the better it looks, because you don't have to blow up the pinhole blur.

That said, that doesn't look bad for a pinhole image comparable in size to a 110 frame.

Yes, I see what you mean - I think if I could find a pocket watch that was much thicker though the focal length would be longer and I could get a larger image
 

BrianShaw

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That’s really cool! Looks like something that Sherlock Holmes or Watson would use. Regarding the size… might want to carry a magnifying glass for those with impaired vision. :smile:
 
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BobD

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A pinhole camera doesn't have to be small to be covert. Any container large or small can be used. For example, who is going to think a shoe box is really a camera?
 

momus

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You just need to use the right pocket watch. 120 film should work, and maybe you could put a roll film holder on the back.


 

Donald Qualls

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There were commercially made (or professionally converted) pocket watch cameras back in glass plate days, though they generally used a glass lens to allow "instant" exposures at around ISO 25 equivalent.

I wonder if it would be possible to use Minox film and put the pinhole or lens in the stem or the side of the case, and use the stem to wind the film on? A Minox cassette might just about fit in that Goliath pocket watch...
 

Bill Burk

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I’d be tempted to use a real lens, say dismantle an old cell phone, if it had a wide angle lens would be cool
 

ciniframe

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Late to this thread. Although I don’t see them anymore, for several years discarded Disc cameras were plentiful at second hand stores. Most had a 12.5mm lens of f2.8 to f4 aperture and of good quality. Might be a good lens to adapt to this type of project.
 

momus

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Here's a pinhole camera tribute to the man who mastered it. OK, he had a hidden camera, not pin hole (I think), but it's the same.

The pics are totally devoid of any type of photographic conception. It's simply people being candidly photographed in an enclosed space, and the photos feel very different because of that candid quality. It makes me feel as if I'm right there in that subway.

 
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