Okay its lame, very lame in fact, one paraphrased album name and one paraphrased film name, but hey! I need to lighten my blog posts up with something.

So, I’ve had my Zero Image 612 multi format pinhole camera for a couple of weeks now.  The pinhole camera itself is lovely, polished teak with brass finishings, it very much ticks my tactile box (in much the same way as Crane’s Silver Rag paper ticks it too!).  The great thing about the multi format is that it’s multi format, so I can switch between 6 x 12 to 6 x 9 to 6 x 6 to 6 x 4.5 film formats. I can’t see my self using the camera at 6 x 4.5 but the other formats hold some appeal, especially the 6 x 6 format for maybe trying out some still life.   My first four films have all been at 6 x12 (that’s the latent Xpan user coming out in me), but it does mean that you can only squeeze 6 shots out of a 120 roll.  Using Ilford FP4 that works out at £0.75 a shot if you are developing and scanning yourself (based on a £4.50 roll of film).  I’m planning on using Velvia 50 next, but as that will have to go away for developing the price starts to tip over £2 a shot!

Old Car and Barn II f/158 at 45sec on Ilford FP4

I do like shooting at 6 x 12 on my pin hole camera, but I’m not sure if it pleases me completely (if that makes sense).  The edges are heavily vignetted and there is the slight effect of moving at speed (look above at the tree on the left hand side), albeit it was slightly windy when I took all of my first shots, and given the length of time for the exposures perhaps this is to be expected – time will tell.

The vignetting can be addressed in part, as I have tried in Adobe Lightroom.  Film gives a lot of latitude and there is still detail in the shadows on most negatives that come out.  Detail, unless you are bracketing, that a digital camera would never show I feel.

Old Car and Barn f/158 at 45sec on Ilford FP4


A slightly fixed up image, with a graduated Adobe Lightroom filter following the edge of hill, to darken the skies and the grass that appeared at first to be completely burnt out.  This was a challenging shot, as I was sat in shade (actually sat on the edge of a wood), shooting across to fields that clouds were passing over, breaking up the bright sunlight.

Towards Heyope – f/158 at 40 seconds (ish) on Ilford FP4

Down Hill Through the Woods – f/158 at 1min 40 seconds (ish) on Ilford FP4

What I like about using the pinhole is that it is a thoroughly unrushed affair.  No quick grab shots here, though the thought of trying some street photography with it intrigues me (I believe there was a pin hole workshop as part of the London Streetphotography Festival).  You have to sit down, compose the shot without a view finder (albeit the Zero Image camera does come with a see through bit of plastic – which is handy to start off with), work out the exposure (no in camera metering here, so its out with the old light meter), then decide depending on your film whether recipority rules apply or not (and if they do, it could push your exposure out by two, five or even twelve times the original exposure). Once you’ve worked this all out, then maybe you can slide back the shutter.  This gives you time (between checking your watch) to actually take the view in for yourself, instead of chimping at your histogram and blasting off a couple of other shots “Just in case”.  After a couple of minutes, you can think about closing the shutter and winding the film on.  Oh and don’t forget to keep your tripod steady, the images are soft enough without any more help.


This function has been disabled for Alastair Ross Photography - Landscape photography from the Peak District, Outer Hebrides, Lake District and Scotland.

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