Hello, my name is Tom Waitzman. I made a simple and cheap camera obscura using two cardboard boxes, and I’d like to share the build with you.
Two boxes. Tall one is 10″ tall and 5.5″ wide. Small box is 6″ tall and 5″ wide. They are both open on the bottom. Small box has tracing paper taped to one end.
Tall box has a 20mm concave lens from an old magnifying glass taped in the middle of a square of cardboard. I used painters tape, as it was all I had. I imagine that you’d get better results with gaffers tape or duct tape; they’d both let less light in the box.
Here’s a look at the interior of the larger box. Circular lens taped to the inside.
Small box slides into the larger box so you can adjust focus.
Light that passes through the lens on the larger box will project an upside-down image onto the tracing paper.
My phone can be wedged right into the smaller box (sorry for the crummy webcam image) as it looks out of the lens of the larger box. Images that are projected onto the tracing paper can be captured with my phone’s camera.
Here’s the raw image. I brought it into GIMP and flipped it around and fixed the warped perspective, my box started to warp since I taped this together haphazardly.
About the Author
Tom Waitzman lives and works in the Philadelphia area. He has a BFA in Film and Digital Video from the University of the Arts and teaches Media Arts at AIM Academy, a school for students with language-based learning differences. Tom works with photography, animation, and videography in education. Recently, his work has focused on demonstrating and documenting best practices in teaching instruction for literacy educators. Check out more of his work at his website, follow him on twitter and vimeo. This article was also published here and shared with permission.