Slit-pinhole photography

Steve Gellman shows us how he uses a slit pinhole to make pinhole images, experimenting with pinholes in cameras.

Writer and photography / Steve Gellman


A slit pinhole in a pinhole camera, Slit-pinhole photographySlit-pinhole is a variation of Pinhole Photography where the pinhole has been converted to a slit. The initial pinhole was made in a small piece of aluminum from a soft drink can using a size #10 needle. The slit was enlarged using an X-acto knife blade to produce a somewhat irregular horizontal slit. The metal shim was attached to a digital camera body cap, without a lens, to capture the images.

The advantages of the slit-pinhole over traditional Pinhole Photography

Pinhole camera with a slit lens

  • The slit can be made parallel to a straight line (such as a horizon) in the image to preserve its linear integrity
  • Less color degradation with the slit-pinhole
  • Exposure times are shorter in view of the larger aperture
  • Unfocused image as expected with a pinhole image
  • Easy to make a slit-pinhole
  • Minimal cost as the slit can be made easily by enlarging the pinhole

Compare the lake horizon images below produced by a regular pinhole and the slit-pinhole. Results are easily reproducible resulting in striking improvements to the image.

Traditional Pinhole image.
Traditional pinhole image.
Slit-pinhole Image
Slit-pinhole image.

Steve Gellman lives in Dallas and is an MFA Photography student at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

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