The ONDU 35mm Pinhole Arrives At Last! / by Jana Uyeda

ONDU 35mm Pinhole Camera
ONDU 35mm Pinhole Camera

If you've been paying attention to film photographers in the Twitterverse you've probably heard some discussions (okay, more like gleeful freak outs) about the ONDU Pinhole cameras on Kickstarter. Haven't heard of them yet? Here's some links to introduce you:

ONDU website

ONDU  Pinhole Kickstarter site

Pdexposures: Q&A With ONDU Founder Elvis Halilović

Colossal: Put Down the iPhone and Pickup an ONDU Wooden Pinhole Camera

All caught up? Good! After much, much, much anticipation, ONDU sent an update saying early bird backers' cameras were in the mail and the very next day I received a small box at my doorstep. I exposed an entire roll an hour later and developed it immediately. In this first roll I wanted to get a sense of how the camera operates, setup Pinhole Assist to calculate exposure and bracket my shots because pinhole + film + reciprocity failure is a real thing. Once the film was developed and scanned I also looked at field of view, overall image resolution and considered how I could more effectively setup the camera for the next few rolls. Since pinholes don't have a viewfinder I need to learn how each camera "sees."

Here is some basic information, provided by Elvis in the Pdexposures Flickr discussion:

135Pocket and 135 panorama and 6x6 Pocket Focal length: 25mm F stop equivalent: f/125

According to Mr. Pinhole this should give an angle of view of 70 degrees.

ONDU provides an illustrated instruction manual with exposure charts which fits neatly into the 35mm body. It's much smaller than my Zero Image and may possibly be the loveliest piece of craftmanship on my shelf. Magnets are used to secure the back which are much sturdier than I'd anticipated. I have no worries about the back suddenly popping off, this camera is small but solidly built. Loading the film is quick and easy, especially if you've had experience with bulk film. You just tape the film lead to the takeup spool in the empty canister (provided!) then snap on the back and advance the film with a few turns of the dial before exposing your first shot. The magnet in the shutter makes it easy to slide open and snap closed. Advancing to the second frame just takes a bit of DIY. Since there isn't a film counter I put some tape on the dial and added a + with a sharpie to help me measure 1.5 turns between exposures. It's also helpful to add an arrow to indicate which direction to turn the dial so you don't wind the film in the wrong direction.

A few things I'm considering after this first roll:

  • Advance roll 1 1/4 turn to the next frame, 1 1/2 turn seemed to waste too much film.
  • The camera exposes the film over the sprocket holes. Not a big issue, but something to play with.
  • Gaffers tape where the film slides over the wood. I seeing some scratches, look at the Canonet shown below.
  • Closing the shutter can cause some shake, just be careful snapping it shut.
  • After exposing the roll, rewind the film back into the original canister.

Here are the first few images from my ONDU 35mm. I couldn't be happier! The tones are lovely and the resolution is better than I anticipated. I'll spend the weekend playing with this camera and with it's smaller size, I'm sure this will be a great travel camera as well.

Did you get an ONDU camera? What are your first thoughts? Don't forget to share in the ONDU Flickr pool as well. See you online!

ondu pinhole canonet
ondu pinhole canonet
ondu pinhole firepit
ondu pinhole firepit