The Leica IIIa Pinhole Edition…. Results!

I developed the roll of film from my Leica IIIa shot entirely with my new pinhole lens 2 days ago and at last I have been able to scan the negatives.

They mostly are OK, but well…. they are Pinholey of course. Unsharp, fuzzy, sometimes dreamlike… interresting!170125-leica-iiia-pinhole-ilford-hp5-025

Of course I did work these negatives a bit in Luminar, but they were quite impressive even in their ‘raw’ condition.

I’m sorry for the scratches on the negatives…. a silly error I made as I saw that the negatives were quite splotchy with water stains I wiped them with a humid cloth. Well, let’s say this gives some kind of flair to the photos….


A walk in the city park brought me these photos of light snow and harsh contrasts. Rather mysterious and dream-like don’t you think?170125-leica-iiia-pinhole-ilford-hp5-033As I didn’t have a tripod with me I had to rely on urban furniture (trashcans) to support my Leica. This explains the poor framing on the pics. But I think it really adds something to the look of the pictures.

I found that flare is a real problem for pinholes…. even without any glass to play nasty with the sunrays.170125-leica-iiia-pinhole-ilford-hp5-015

This was an eyposure of about 1 second and you can just make out the bus leaving the bus stop opposite our flat, bathed in sunrays.

Of course, pinholes are equally sharp….or fuzzy…. at any distance. No focusing required, everything is in and out of focus at the same time. Here you can see Sully, our cat taking a nap on the carpet, with his favourite cushion.170125-leica-iiia-pinhole-ilford-hp5-011

A pinhole means small aperture – f:145 in this case – and long exposures indoors. Ideal for ‘ghost pictures’. Do you see me?170125-leica-iiia-pinhole-ilford-hp5-012

20 seconds for this one, with me releasing the shutter, walking to the couch and sitting down for some seconds and then getting up to stop the exposure. Plenty of possibilties here!

The last one will be a comparision between the pinhole on my Leica and the Olympus XA2… which one has the most caracter?170125-leica-iiia-pinhole-ilford-hp5-020


Do I like my diy pinhole lens? Well, yes in a way. Not that I will use it every day, certainly not, but I think it is a great thing for certain subjects, for certain looks.170125-leica-iiia-pinhole-ilford-hp5-021

Dreamy, vintage landscapes. Special effects. Playing with the sun… that’s where a pinhole excels. Not for every day, but plenty of fun.

Why don’t you build your own?

9 thoughts on “The Leica IIIa Pinhole Edition…. Results!

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  1. These are excellent Frank, and I very much agree with the comment that it would be interesting to develop a series along these lines.

    And water spots are my pet hate with developing. Weird chemical mixes and half guessed developing times, no problem! But plain water…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I will try to develop a kind of series from these…

      I took care of most water spots by using distilled water (and PhotoFlo) for the last wash. I don’t know what went wrong with these though.

      One thing I’ll definitely try is to put the reels in a salad spinner thing to take off most of the water. Seems to work for some people.


  2. Really interesting results. There’s something really beautiful about the “low image quality” of these images. The top image doesn’t look that “real” and yet it has something more natural than some digital shots. I’d also like to see a little series out of this. By the way, have you heard of world pinhole photography day on the 30th of April?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Frank!
    I had the same very annoying flare issue, and I was wondering if it may be due to the thickness of the brass and to the fact that the hole is a perfect cylinder and not something like a double cone (I hope it is understandable :P).

    I really like the high contrast snowy landscapes, scratches included 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Seth. I don’t know why I had the flare issue. You might be right. Anyways it’s something I won’t lose any sleep about. As so often in analog photography the results can be unpredictable and that’s part of the deal.


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