Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Through the pinhole

A year or so ago, I started dabbling in old film cameras. Not the cult film cameras that still cost thousands of dollars, but the 'cheap as chips' cameras that can often be had for a hundred dollars or so and, preferably, have no electronics. It has been fun exploring some of the cameras that I could never have afforded back in the 1950s and 60s when I was starting out in photography. But, I thought, why stop there?

Kornel, is in Budapest. He makes pinhole cameras that are simple, cheap and very well built. His business is called "Infinie Camera" and, global mail delays notwithstanding, he sent me this beautiful little pinhole camera from his Etsy store...

6x6 pinhole camera, f130 pinhole at 32mm.

The camera arrived well ahead of the film stock I had ordered from Melbourne, so I set the camera aside and exercised my patience while I waited for the film to arrive. Finally, the camera and film were both in my hands and a nice spring day called for a bike ride. The pictures were shot in colour on Ektachrome but, in deference to the pinhole aesthetic, here they are in black and white ...
Pearson Park, Oxford
Farm entrance, Coopers Creek
Bridge, Coopers Creek
Coopers Creek
Woolfs Road ford and swing bridge
Derelict swing bridge, Woolfs Road
Unnamed ford, Island Road
Eyre River, Harewood Road

But, I can almost hear you asking, don't pinhole cameras produce rather fuzzy pictures? Why do these look so much sharper? Well, it's part of an experiment: What happens when you marry old technology with modern computers? These pictures are not really that sharp, but they are much sharper than a pinhole camera can produce on its own. The results are a blend of the pinhole's simplicity and infinite depth of field, with modern, AI, computational photography. I'm sure I can't be the first to have thought of doing this, but I like the results enough to want to follow this path a little further. Your thoughts?

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