Pinhole photography, though one of the oldest forms out there, is fairly new to me. I finally jumped in with both feet by getting my hands on a Zero Image 6×6. After many hours of YouTube on how to build my own pinhole camera, how to convert a camera to a pinhole camera, I decided to skip that work and get something nice to play with right away. My eye was immediately drawn to the Zero Image Pinhole line.
This wasn’t easy, they offer a wide-array of pinhole cameras covering just about any size you want. After some thought, I knew I wanted medium format and I also knew that I enjoy the square format so this quickly led me to rest on the ZeroImage Zero 2000 pinhole camera.
My setup was for a stable, long exposure pinhole approach and I didn’t want anything big and decided that a lightweight, minimal tripod would suit my needs for experimenting. Using the camera is very quirky, there is no viewfinder to look through, you really have no idea what the camera can see. To aid with composition, I created a Zero 2000 Pinhole Camera Composition View Finder which is excellent for giving you an idea of what is going to be included in the final composition.
The Zero 2000 model comes with an aperture size of f/138 which you can imagine is going to give pretty long exposures especially when you factor in the reciprocity times of certain films. On the rear of the camera is a round exposure disc which I have to say is pretty accurate but I like to use some Pinhole Camera Exposure Charts which I created as I find these more user friendly when out in the field.
To calculate the exposure, I set my handheld light meter to f/22, take a reading and then using the Pinhole Camera Exposure Charts, I simply read off the exposure at f/138. All I have to do then is work out the reciprocity times for the given film.
Choice Of Film
I started to use some FomaPan 200 film but I very quickly started to dislike it, The film has quite bad reciprocity and it meant that you could be hanging around for several minutes for what should be a fairly short exposure time. Another aspect of the FomaPan 200 which I did’t like was the fact that when its developed and dry, it curls up like a coiled spring and you end up fighting with it when trying to get to lay flat on the scanner bed.
I ended up settling on Fuji Across 100. This film is beautiful, it produces rich tones and the added bonus is that it has no reciprocity failure up-to at least 2 minutes and even after 2 minutes you only need to add an extra 1/2 stop.
I develop all my own film and for the pinhole photographs, I develop them all in Kodak XTOL which I use as a replenished developer, this stuff is amazing when used replenished. I develop in daylight using a Paterson daylight developing tank which I find extremely easy to use.
I always try to develop the film at 20 degrees C but in cases where this is not possible, I use the Developing Temperature Time Substitutes charts to convert the temperatures for me.
All my black and white film is scanned ready for processing in Adobe Photoshop. The scanner I use is the Epson V800 which I have been extremely happy with. Scanning Black and White negatives can be a challenge and I mainly use Vuescan which is very affordable and covers a huge range of scanners. For those who want to get a bit more from VueScan, I recorded a set of VueScan Scanning Black & White Video Tutorial videos.
The Zero Image Zero 2000 camera in my opinion is extremely well built, very sleek looking and has one of the best cut pinholes I have seen. I like the camera that much that I am going to get the 4×5 Zero Pinhole next to try.
Photographs Taken Using The Zero Image 2000 Pinhole Camera
More Black and White Pinhole photographs taken with the Zero 2000 can be seen on my personal website