There’s an unusual amount of photo-related stuff you can make from a simple Pringles can: a macro flash diffuser, an extension tube, or a “saberstrip.” Sean of Fotodiox brings you another cheap and simple Pringles project: a DIY pinhole lens. In this video, he’ll show you how to do it and list all the things you need, and I bet you already have most of these at home.
You can make a pinhole lens from a lens cap, as we saw here. However, it will give you a wider angle of view. If you want to “zoom in,” you need to put some space between your pinhole lens and your camera sensor. Enter Pringles can, which will be your telephoto lens with around 75-100mm equivalent focal length.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Grab n’ Go size Pringles can
- Empty soda can
- Sewing needles
- Gaff tape or black duct tape
- A sharp box cutter
- 67 mm macro reverse ring and 77-67mm step down ring
Start by cutting the metal bottom of your Pringles can with a box cutter, and make sure to keep it straight. Then, cut a hole in the very middle of the plastic lid. Next, take the scissors, cut a small square off the soda can, and pierce it with the thinnest sewing needle. Now place the tin with the pinhole in the very center of the plastic lid and tape it down. Use the black tape to mask out the rest of the lid so no light can get in, and also cover the shiny interior of the Pringles can. You can also use a black Sharpie to color the metal area around your pin to reduce reflections.
And now for assembling your lens. Take the macro reverse ring and the step down ring and screw them together. Tape them on the back of your Pringles can… And you’re pretty much done. Now you can put this “lens” onto your digital camera and shoot digital pinhole photography with it. Sean uses a Sony A7SII and therefore the E-mount rings, but you can adjust them to your camera.
Sean points out that there are some drawbacks to this setup, though. You’ll get everything in focus but not tack-sharp focus. After all, this is a DIY lens and you can expect very low-fi photos. Still, if you ask me, this is what gives them their charm. You’ll also need to either crank up the ISO or shoot with longer exposures to get usable images. I don’t see it as a problem, but it does limit you a bit. However, rather than focusing on limitations, I’m all up for exploring the perks of this DIY lens. It seems like a simple and fun project to try and something that will put most of us out of our comfort zone – and that’s always a good thing.