Camara estenopeica

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Dirkon – the paper camera
Cut-out pinhole camera, published in 1979 in the magazine An ABC of Young Technicians and Natural Scientists in former Czechoslovakia. Created by: Martin Pilný, Mirek Kolář and Richard Vyškovský.

A few notes about the original instructions
The camera must be cut out of stiffer paper than ordinary office paper (or thin card). If the paper isn’t entirely opaque, youneed to stick very thin black paper underneath the important sections so that no light gets into the camera. This is particularly important for sections 1, 2, 3, 10 and 23. It is very important to print the cut-out to the correct size, i. e. 1 : 1. When you are printing from the Acrobat Reader, the option “Fit to page” MUST NOT be selected, otherwise the pages might come out smaller and the filmwon’t fit into the Dirkon camera. I’ve added a ruler on each page so that you can check that the size is correct. The instructions recommend using Foma 21° DIN film. This was film made back in former Czechoslovakia but it’s similar, for example, to today’s Ilford PAN 100. You can of course use any 35 mm film, even colour. I discovered from the makers of Dirkon that, even when it was published, people oftencame up with improvements on their model. The design was significantly improved by sticking on a thin piece of metal with a hole, rather than making the hole in the paper, as described in the instructions. I didn’t follow this suggestion, however, since I wanted to experience the real magic of Dirkon photography. David Balihar

These are the original instructions printed in 1979:Who isn’t familiar with the pinhole camera, the predecessor of today’s modern camera? You would certainly have heard about it at some point. Today you can have a go at making it, and experiment to see how it used to “capture images” in the past. The principle is the same, except that it requires modern film. You need to get a classic 35mm film. The best to use in this case is Foma 21° DIN. Highersensitivity enables a short exposure. After you have stuck the various parts of the camera together and let it dry properly, insert a film roll containing film into the right-hand small side box (viewed from the back). Pull out the film approximately 6–8 cm and insert the end into the other reel – a second, empty film roll. You can get these in any photo-lab. Turn the “key” on the empty cassette (section15) so that the marker on the key goes through 360° + 180°, i. e. three half-turns. You make your exposure by moving the shutter (10) down and up, thus opening and closing the “lens”. You have to play around with the exposure to get it right. With Foma 21 film, it’s about 1 second on a really sunny day. Naturally,

you have to place the camera on a firm base and it mustn’t be moved at all whenhandling the shutter. And now for the instructions on how to put the camera together. First you take an office paper clip and bend it as indicated in the drawing (25). Then you make cut-outs in sections 1, 2, 7, 11, 13 and 24. Now take part 10 and, using a press stud (popper), fix it to your completed section 1 at point A, where you make a tiny hole with a small nail. Put section 1 together, attach thesmall side boxes (sections 2, 3) which will have been made beforehand. These boxes serve as containers for the film rolls. Stick section 12 together and attach it to section 2. Then section 24 to 3. From sections 4, 5 and 6 make a fake view-finder for the top and place it onto the main section 1. “Lens”: attach the outer part 8 to section 7 and stick it together from inside with section 9; thenstick this whole section to the front of 11. Now stick the whole “lens” to the camera. TAKE CARE only to stick down the side, lower and upper flaps, and make sure that the shutter can move freely in the space between the camera and the front cover with its “lens”. Before putting on the cover at the end, check that the press stud (popper) fastening is secure. Now work on the additional parts using...
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