4×5″ Pinhole

The RealitySoSubtle 4×5 is an ultra-wide angle pinhole camera. It’s a sturdy and rugged camera that has some great features not found on other pinhole cameras. Features include:

  • 0.3mm 0.2mm precision laser drilled pinholes, 38mm  35mm focal length. Aperture = f/127 f/175 Pinhole material thickness = 50 microns (.002″).
  • 3 separate pinholes and independant magnetic shutters. One central and 2 ‘rise’ pinholes for fun perspective effects (both offset 31mm from centre).
  • Accurate bubble levels for both portrait and landscape orientations.
  • Tripod mounts for both portrait and landscape orientations.
  • Accurate sight lines engraved into the wood for ease of composition.


Built to last

The main body of the camera is made from 15mm thick solid oak with the sides joined neatly using double rabbet joints. The front face sits in a recess in the oak body and is made from a 4mm thick wood effect vinyl tile – durable and scratch resistant. The shutter panels and pinhole board are made from 3mm high impact polystyrene. The shutter pulls and locking beam fasteners are stainless steel. The wood finish is a satin varnish. The film holders (standard 4×5″ film double dark-slide holders) are held securely to the camera by a simple yet efficient profiled oak locking beam which applies pressure to the film holder via 2 knurled stainless steel thumb-wheels. (The operation of the back is illustrated in the video below).

The ‘Rise’ pinholes

Using either of the rise pinholes adds two effects to your image:

  • There is a straightening effect on diverging verticals – this is especially useful for shooting buildings
  • The horizon is shifted – this is nice if you are shooting with the camera level on the ground, you can achieve a more pleasing compostion having more ‘sky’ than ‘land’.

You can see examples of these effects in the gallery below. Note: The pinholes are set in large 18mm brass discs and are removable should you want to replace them. The board to which the pinholes are mounted can also be detached (via 3 nuts inside the camera) to allow access to the moving shutter panels. Cleaning the shutter panels might be required if, for example, the camera took a tumble on a sandy beach.


Here are some wonderful examples from James Thorpe -  click on the image to see impressive large versions in flickr. Hollywood Spam

Here’s a crop from the above to show the level of detail:   thorpe Pinks Hot Dogs   Frolic Room Cocktails Hollywood Mega Sale  Here’s an example shot with the central pinhole from George Scharnweber : georgsfoto Here’s a good example using the vertical rise pinhole from Vittorio Silingardi: Unipol tower These images were made by Chester Chen : Parallel Universe

  Art Science Museum 2This by Patrick T O’Reilly : Last hour of summer This by John Grimson

Other film backs?

By using longer bolts for the rear locking beam various backs of different dpeths can be accomodated. Here’s a 4×5 with a Fuji instant back fitted.. (Email for details if you want to use a different film back.) compoC compoSmall

How much?

€120 + shipping. You can buy directly here.