Panoramic Pin-hol-ga

I’ve joined the league of “toy camera” shooters with the Holga 120WPC panoramic pinhole camera. Although it’s a simple, cheap, plastic camera, it works well (except for one issue initially — see below) and has no light leaks. Here are some results from the first few rolls of film (120 format, producing roughly 6×12 cm negatives), all in the Arboretum at U.C. Davis:

Holga 120WPC photo

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Holga 120WPC photo

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Holga 120WPC photo

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Holga 120WPC photo

(A deliberate double exposure in the oak grove.)

These were all taken using T400CN, a chromogenic film from Kodak (based color chemistry) designed to produce black & white negatives. T400CN was discontinued in 2004, and replaced by the similar BW400CN. The rolls I’m shooting are very outdated — they “expired” in 2000 and have not been refrigerated — but the results seem pretty good. For my purposes, though, I think I would rate the ISO around 200 rather than 400.

There was one small issue with the camera itself that required some creative tinkering to resolve. Depressing the shutter button all the way with my finger easily moved the spring-loaded cover completely away from the pinhole. But for exposures that would be mostly 3 to 10 seconds long, I wanted to use a tripod, of course, and also a cable release. But my cable release would not move the “shutter” (pinhole cover) completely away from the pinhole — usually the pinhole was barely exposed under one edge of the larger hole in the opened cover. The problem was that there was a small gap between the inner and outer parts of the shutter button that prevented the cable release from opening the shutter as far as external finger pressure would.

Holga 120 WPC

I’ll skip the details, but I had to remove and dismantle the pinhole and stutter assembly, then glue a small bit of rubber washer material (about 1/8 inch thick) to the tip of the inner part of the shutter button, and put it all back together. That was just enough to fill the gap and allow the shutter to open all the way using a cable release.

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Tim Messick Photography • Graphics
Copyright © 2013 Tim Messick. All rights reserved.

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About Tim Messick

Photographer, cartographer, and botanist/naturalist. Home is in Davis, California. Home-away-from-home is the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills.
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One Response to Panoramic Pin-hol-ga

  1. elmediat says:

    Fascinating post. Wonderful compositions.

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