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Miss Large Format Cameras? Now You Can 3-D Print One

Large format negatives are higher resolution than even the most expensive digital cameras, but expensive out-of-production equipment has made them impractical for hobbyists. Now creating your own low-overhead version is as easy as downloading a schematic from Thingverse.

Sometimes technology comes along to reinvent an enthusiast hobby from days of yore for new potential fans—like this design for a 3-D printed large format camera.

Over on the 3-D print-file repository Thingiverse, user Todd Schlemmer dropped a design for the PINH5AD, a new 3-D printed pinhole camera that uses 4x5-inch format film, the preeminent large format film size that is 16 times the size of a standard 35mm film print (and thus 16 times the resolution). If you don’t have your own 3-D printer, Schlemmer also has a PINH5AD design on the 3-D printing marketplace Shapeways repository for a laser-sintered nylon version that goes for $207 in white or $241 in black.

The PINH5AD is an evolution of sorts from Schlemmer’s 3-D-printed 35mm PINHE4D camera that he uploaded to Thingiverse back in late August. Like the P4, the P5 has only one moving part: the shutter blade that exposes the 4x5 negative to light through the pinhole, reducing the likelihood of breakage. The standard P5 has a 90mm lens for a .40mm pinhole with an f-stop of f/225 and a 70-degree horizontal field of view, but Schlemmer has recently updated the design for a 150mm "Normal view" extender that shaves the horizontal field of view down to 46 degrees but drops the f-stop to f/300. If you came up as a digital photography native and have access to a 3-D printer, this is your chance to try analog large-format printing without investing hundreds of dollars in an antique large format camera.

[Image: Flickr user Eusebius]