# Pin Hole VS Glass Lens

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#### Deleted member 55

##### Guest
Greetings to All, a nagging question of some importance to start a heated discussion. (better than the chicken or the egg question)

Pin Hole VS Glass Lens, Similarities & Differences in depth of field, depth of focus, sharpness, f stop, and differences in distance to film plane/sensor.

What are they?

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#### Doug Kerr

##### Guest
Some optical proerties of a pinhole camera

Will Thompson said:
Greetings to All, a nagging question of some importance to start a heated discussion. (better than the chicken or the egg question)

Pin Hole VS Glass Lens, Similarities & Differences in depth of field, depth of focus, sharpness, f stop, and differences in distance to film plane/sensor.

What are they?
Nag, nag, nag.

Here are a few considerations:

Depth of field, depth of focus: These are not defined, since there is no concept of focus.

f/stop: As a first approximation, the exposure implication of a pinhole camera is the same as a camera with a lens whose f/number is the ratio of (a) the distance from the pinhole to the sensor to (b)the diameter of the pinhole.

Field of view: Field of view actually works just the same as on a camera with a lens (glass or plastic): it is determined by the dimensions of the format and the distance from the exit pupil to the sensor. (In a camera with a lens, there is a small complication if the pupils are not collocated with the nodal points, but I'll ignore that for now.)

Of course in a camera with a lens, we tend to think that the second factor is the focal length. But that's only because, with the camera focused at infinity, the distance from the exit pupil to the sensor (again, ignoring pupil displacement) is the same as the focal length. It is the distance that actually does it in either case.

Magnfication: The magnfication of a pinhole camera (for an object at any distance) is the ratio of (a)the distance from the pinhole to the sensor to (b)the distance from the pinhole to the object.

Sharpness: Sharpness? Sharpness? Too dull a pin will not make a nice hole.

Difference in the distance to the sensor: That could be the same or different, depending on what you make them. Some implications of the distance in the case of the pinhole camera are mentioned above.

The chicken/egg matter: An embryologist is a scientist who thinks that a chicken is just an egg's tool for making another egg.

#### Daniel Harrison

##### pro member
I don't think there are many advantages to pin hole lenses...

Oh wait...

They are cheap!

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#### Doug Kerr

##### Guest
Hi, Daniel,

I don't think there are many advantages to pin hole lenses...

Oh wait...

They are cheap!

Yeah, but then you gotta put some sort of body behind 'em!

Best regards,

Doug

#### Daniel Harrison

##### pro member
well, there was a plan I saw where you converted an old tin can into a camera. Of course it was film, I'd hate to think of a digital pin hole tin can camera! :-0

#### Ray West

##### New member
I messed around with pin holes a few months ago. I found a cardboard tube that fitted over an extension ring - one of those postal tube things. In the cap of the postal tube, I cut a hole, and taped a piece of ali. foil over it, with a small pin hole. I got very blurry results with a tubelength of about 20 inches. I tried different distances too, even considered a zoom.... Someone was offering pre etched foils, modify a body cap. Some folk get really interesting results, but I'm uncertain if I will try much more. iirc international pinhole day was a month or so ago. There is a website somewhere.

There is a certain appeal to it, a bit like when you have a power cut, and you have to use candles.

Best wishes,

Ray

#### Jack_Flesher

##### New member
A pinhole image is not sharp. Moreover, the aperture is very small being on the order of f128 through f256, so a tripod and long exposures are the order of the day even in bright sunlight. And then, the image isn't ever going to be sharp. Even the cheapest 40-year old 35mm lens you could find and adapt to your modern DSLR would produce a better image. Heck, even a 100-year old lens would be better.

However, the pinhole does generate an interesting effecting effect and can be used for an 'artsy' look. A picture is worth 1000 words, so here is a pinhole shot I did with one of those lenscap pinhole things on my 1Ds2 -- did I mention it isn't sharp?:

#### Ray West

##### New member
Hi Jack,

Compared to what I got, with my pin and my holy efforts, your is as sharp as a sharp thing. What length exposure? If I take my glasses off its looks as sharp as everything else I see.

Best wishes,

Ray

#### Jack_Flesher

##### New member
raymw said:
Hi Jack,

Compared to what I got, with my pin and my holy efforts, your is as sharp as a sharp thing. What length exposure? If I take my glasses off its looks as sharp as everything else I see.

Best wishes,

Ray

Hi Ray:

Well I did take it with my 1Ds2 -- but trust me, it isn't very sharp

IIRC, I think the exposure was somewhere around 1-1/2 to 2 seconds at ISO 100.

Jack

#### Ray West

##### New member
Thanks for the exif information....

iirc I was surprised when I was playing, re the exposure times being shorter than I thought they should be.

I may try and take a few more, and post here (on a new thread, I guess). I have a few ideas for experimentation.

Best wishes,

Ray

#### Daniel Harrison

##### pro member
Jack, That is simply aweful! Even for a 100% crop it would be aweful, but I suspect that is the whole image. Still I am sure it was fun. Well at least I know now that if I ever want to get into pin hole shooting I will spend more money on a good hole than on an 1DsII LOL!

Pretty cool effect. Makes it look ancient!

#### Harvey Moore

##### New member
The best "pinhole" camera I have seen results from is where the pinhole was in the body cap.

I might try it when I get some time.

#### Olaf_Laubli

##### New member
Occasionally I use a pinhole cap with a DSLR for food still lifes.

It is not at all a competitor for a conventional glass lens but a creative tool for creating an airy pictorial atmosphere. However for shooting at f/256 you need pretty powerful strobes or be prepared for very long exposure times with tungsten.

Also post processing can be quite challenging as the RAW files usually look not very impressing.

Olaf

#### Jack_Flesher

##### New member
Daniel Harrison said:
Jack, That is simply aweful! Even for a 100% crop it would be aweful, but I suspect that is the whole image. Still I am sure it was fun. Well at least I know now that if I ever want to get into pin hole shooting I will spend more money on a good hole than on an 1DsII LOL!

Pretty cool effect. Makes it look ancient!

1) It IS a lenscap pinhole image

2) It IS the full image

3) You would not even have been able to recognise structure on a 100% crop

4) And yes it is terrible!

5) As for fun... I sold the cap after about three of these images

,

#### Nicolai Grossman

##### New member
Hey, awful is in the eye of the beholder! If you require sharpness to enjoy an image, stop reading. But if you've ever enjoyed bokeh in any capacity, you have enjoyed unsharpess.

They'll never be as sharp as a lens, but the microscopic smoothness of the surface of the pinhole has a huge effect. You can get precision laser-drilled pinholes from Lenox Laser that produce significantly sharper images than the example above. This was made with a precision pinhole and hasn't been sharpened either in scanning or in post.

If you want to see some serious unsharpness, check out zone plates images.

Pinholes are simply tools that have different characteristics than lenses, and if you're willing to put in a little effort, you can learn to use them to creatively.

#### Asher Kelman

##### OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Zone Plate images do have a plane of focus, unlike pinhole shots. This glassless methodology, is a great form of photography to explore where colors, tonalities, shapes and movements provide the composition, not the finest detail.

The medium adds a special feel of depth and delicacy that is worth examining, and I'm sure, when done well, will give surprising pleasure.

Asher

#### An Pham

##### Banned
I choice Pin Hole

#### Asher Kelman

##### OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I choice Pin Hole

Succinct opinion. Do you have pictures to share?

Asher