Pinhole vs. Lens Comparison

During the summer of 1995 I took a large format photography class at the International Center for Photography. During the class I decided I wanted to compare the quality of images taken with a pinhole to those taken with a lens. The following images were take with a 150mm f/5.6 lens and a pinhole optimized for 150mm focal length. The images were taken with the same camera (a Calumet 45N) and I simply swapped lens boards. The film was Polaroid Type 55. The exposures were based on a spot meter reading off a grey card with compensasion for the pinhole and reciprocity. The pinhole images still wound up a bit darker. The scanning was done with a HP Deskscan 3c. I cropped the image area by hand, so the image sizes don't match exactly. In each of the following pairs the lens image is first, followed by the pinhole image.

Grand Army Plaza

This image was take from Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan facing towards 5th Avenue and 60th Street.


The Conservatory

This fountain is at The Conservatory in Central Park.




The images are not "great art", and were primarily done to make a comparison. Personally I like the softeness of the pinhole images. The pinhole cost a lot less too!

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Brian Reynolds <>
Last modified: Fri Mar 16 16:23:42 2001