Some Assembly Required: Spiffy Tumbleweed’s Polaroid Pinhole Camera

This series focuses on those who take the making of pictures a step or two further, creating their own photographic tools.

Polaroid pinhole camera

Polaroid pinhole camera

Spiffy Tumbleweed, Austin, TX

Like many photographers who make their own cameras, Spiffy Tumbleweed’s polaroid pinhole camera was a solution to a problem. Interested in pinhole photography, his lack of darkroom access required a way to create pinhole photographs without negatives. Rather than attempt to build a camera from scratch, he disassembled a Polaroid Oscilloscope camera that he had purchased inexpensively from eBay. Finding the Polaroid back in good condition, he went about transforming the camera into a pinhole. Separating out the camera’s essential parts from the mass of body and electronics, he later salvaged a few previously discarded pieces to stabilize the bellows and allow for tripod mounting. Using a Vivitar lens cap as a shutter, he mounted the pinhole and eliminated reflections and light leaks with flat black spray paint and gaffers tape.

With six inches between the pinhole and the film plane, the aperture is about f293. Tumbleweed was concerned about the scarcity of Polaroid pack films, but this camera accepts traditional pack films as well as the newer Fujifilm products. The combination of the Polaroid’s unique color spectrum and the pinhole’s dreamy quality allow for some beautiful, one-of-a-kind photographs.

Exit, Stage Left. Photo by Spiffy Tumbleweed.

Exit, Stage Left. Photo by Spiffy Tumbleweed.

View more of Tumbleweed’s work on his Flickr.

Have you made or modified your own photographic equipment? Let us know at info@donttakepictures.com