How-To: Tea Canister Pinhole Camera

    Pinhole photography can be rewarding or frustrating depending on how the camera is designed. Even though all cameras are a box with a hole, the size and distance of that tiny hole can make or break a pinhole photograph.  

In this article, I'll show how to use Mr. Pinhole website to design a Pinhole camera using a tea canister. 

*If you haven't use Mr. Pinhole before, or this is your first time making a pinhole camera check How-To: Pinhole basics first. 

Tea Canister

Step1: Measure the focal length
    we need to measure the distance from where you plan to put the film/paper to the opposite side where the pinhole is installed. We are going to call this measurement focal length. 
Canister 1: 46mm
Canister 1- Focal length: 46mm
Step 2: Calculate pinhole size
    Now we will calculate the size of the pinhole we need to install to get the best exposure using Pinhole Size Calculator (
This is the information we get:
We use all measurements in mm to stay accurate
  • Focal Lenght 46mm
  • Pinhole diameter 0.286 mm
  • f stop  161
  • Image circle 88.3mm 
    To get the "sharpest" photograph using this tea canister we need to use a pinhole with a diamter of 0.286. There is no need to buy a pinhole when you can make and measure your own. If you haven't done this yet check How-To Make a Pinhole
    It doesn't matter if you buy or make a pinhole, sometimes it's difficult to find the exact size you need. In my experience, I recommend to approximate to the closest number you have available. For instance, in this canister the ideal pinhole size is 0.286mm so I'll use a 0.3mm. 

Step 3: Pick the right negative size
    The image circle is important to decide the size of the negative we are going to use. For instance, in this camera we get a 88.3mm image circle which is big enough to cover an Instax Mini. 
    This information is also important to decide where to install the pinhole. Here you can see how the film size I'm gonna use for this canister is smaller than the canister itself. So, I'll install the pinhole more close to the bottom of the canister instead of right in the middle to get full coverage.
Step 4: Installing the pinhole
    Since I already decided to use the same size of an instax mini. I make a mark in the center to provide full coverage 
    Now it's time to drill a hole (if you don't know how to use power tools please ask to somebody that knows, and take all the necessary precautions) I add cardboard inside to avoid drill the film plane (yes, one time I perforated both sides of a canister 😭) 
    My drilling skills are far from good. The metal is gonna be sharp so you need to sand it until it doesn't have sharp edges (inside and outside) A dremmel tool can help speed up the process.

We are gonna use electric tape to install the pinhole, taping it inside the canister.

Now we have a Pinhole camera! 

    The next step is to light proof the camera. I'll share another article dedicated only to light proof pinhole cameras, sharing materials and ideas on how to solve common light leaks issues. 



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