Make Your own Pinhole Camera

Take a step back in time! You might want to help your grandchildren build this so that you can explain “this is how we used to do it in the good old days!” Then again, maybe not. They may think you are older than you really are. Well, it will also teach them about physics.

A pinhole camera is a simple camera that uses a single small aperture – a pinhole – instead of a lens. As light passes through this hole, an image is exposed onto the film loaded inside the camera. Exposure times are typically longer than with a normal lensed camera, due to the aperture being so much smaller. This means that pinhole cameras can typically take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of hours to expose a photograph. Because of these long exposures the shutter is usually manually operated. Pinhole cameras were very popular back when photography first became popular for in-home use.

The VIDDY probably is the world’s cutest do-it-yourself 35mm pinhole camera. The camera’s web site proclaims, “It’s fun, educational and takes less than 30 minutes to make!” It ships as a kit and reportedly requires about 30 minutes to put it together. It accepts both medium format and 35mm film.

I can hear your grandchildren asking, “Film? What’s that?”

Actually, you cannot purchase a VIDDY just yet. The producers are raising money to go into production. You can pledge money today. Once enough pledges are made to finance the manufacturing process, the product will be built and shipped to those who pledged the money. If the producers cannot raise enough money, the project is canceled and each person who pledged money is never charged. First shipments are expected to begin by the end of November 2014.

Several options are available. I suspect most pledges will be made for one VIDDY camera kit for £30, roughly $50 U.S. Add in another £12 (roughly $20 U.S.) for shipment outside of the United Kingdom.

Take a step back in time! Amaze your grandchildren! (Well, maybe they will be amazed… but I suspect they will prefer a video game.)

You can learn more about the VIDDY camera at


And good luck trying to find a place to get your film developed.


    Walgreens, Costco, WalMart, etc. all still have photo departments.


    In my area, Walmart, Target, Kmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, CVS, and RiteAid no longer process film. Walgreen’s is the only store that still does it, for a fee that’s more than twice what it was in pre-digital days.


It accepts both medium format and 35mm film. Film I understand – what is medium format? Just curious.


If you truly want to make your own pinhole camera, look here:

(I wonder how old that web page is.)


What I would like are instructions and a source for parts to make a pinhole camera that uses the sensors now used in digital cameras and the associated electronics. Or, instructions on how to modify a digital camera for use as a pinhole camera.


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