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Photography Question 
JJ Tanks

photo paper & chemicals

What photo paper and chemicals to use with pinhole photography camera?

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11/11/2007 12:41:29 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Paper and chemicals aren't really determined by the kind of camera. Chemicals for developing depend on type of film, and chemicals for printing depend on type of paper.
Type of paper depends on what kind of prints you make, color or black&white, different textures.
You can do pinhole with a regular slr.

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11/11/2007 4:37:42 PM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi JJ,

What a wonderful project: I would like nothing better than to help!

The pinhole camera know as the camera obsura (darkened chamber) pre-dates film. Used in the Middle Ages as an artistís aid, consisted of a tent and pinhole and mirrors. Artistís traced the upside down projected image of the outside world using paper and pencil. The pinhole was replaced with a lens. By 1820 Joseph Niepce invented photography. The pinhole camera served as the design original of the modern camera.

Your problem: To get a nice sharp picture with a pinhole you must make the hole small. Best pinhole, prick aluminum foil with a sewing needle. Small hole, dim image. Larger holes yield brighter but un-sharp pictures. This is a dilemma because low image brightness requires you choose fast (highly sensitive) material or exposure time becomes excessively long.

You may use any black & white film or paper. If you choose paper you will get a negative image. Fun, however a negative image on paper is not the best for viewing. If you use film, you also get a negative image however film negatives can be easily contract printed onto paper. The contact print is positive thus this is the preferred method. It is possible to mount Polaroid film in your pinhole camera. Polaroid material yields fantastic results and you can skip all the developing and printing stuff. Sorry to report that black & white film and paper and chemicals are hard to find. You can try a well stocked camera store. If not you can buy on-line. Kodak has discontinued black & white paper. Soon all this film stuff will be in a museum the neighbor exhibit will be primeval medical instruments.

You can use any black & white enlarging paper inside the camera. To make contract prints from film negatives you will need contract photographic paper. Ask the clerk at the camera store to help with this project. Best to use film in the camera.

You need two (2) chemicals. Developer and Fixer. For the Developer buy any photographic paper developer available regardless of brand or type. For this application you can use this developer for both film or paper developing. You need a chemical called Fixer, any type you can find will be OK. A third chemical is often recommended called a stop-bath. You can buy one or you can make your own using table vinegar, 1 part vinegar 3 parts water makes excellent working stop bath solution. You will also be OK if you substitute plain water for the Stop-Bath

The developer and the fixer can come as power or liquid. Powers are mixed with water according to directions, Liquids are diluted with water. Both make a concentrate. You will need some quart size empty bottles to store the concentrates. For use the concentrates are diluted with water according to directions on the package.

You develop using thee trays. The material is first submerged in the developer. You must rock the tray (agnation) as the material develops. Time in the solution is provided in the instructions on the label. Remove and submerge in Stop-Bath or plain water for Ĺ minute. Remove and submerge in Fixer for 5 minutes. Remove and submerge in running water. Wash in running water for 10 to 30 minutes (longer is better). Use a clothespin as a holder and hang to air dry by the corner.

The handling and developing of these materials must be preformed in a dark room until two minutes into the fixer solution.

Best of luck to you on this project.

Alan Marcus

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11/12/2007 9:21:42 AM

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