Shooting Impressionist Images with the Skink Pinhole Lens

“Impressionism is not a movement, it is a philosophy of life.” ― Max Lieberman

The Skink Pinhole Pancake lens is different than other pinhole lenses in that it uses a modular design with  disks, zone plates or  sieves that can be installed between the retaining rings in the center of the lens. It’s constructed significantly better than Olympus’ 9mm f/8.0 Fisheye Body Cap lens although physically it’s about the same size. The lens’s focal length is 16mm (or 32mm equivalent on Micro Four-thirds format) that I wish was wider and the aperture is f/90. Yup, not a typo. 

skink.pinkTraditional pinhole lenses can create relatively sharp images with exposure times ranging from one second to several minutes. With a zone plate or zone sieve, photos shot with the Skink Pinhole can be made without a tripod.  Since I didn’t have either a plate or sieve, I increased the ISO settings on my Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mark I to obtain shutter speeds I could handhold and hedged my bets by shooting with a body with five-axis in-body image stabilization. Shooting from ISO 800 to 1000 I ended up—in Aperture Preferred mode—with shutter speeds ranging from 1/8 to 1/15 sec. Exposure for the above image was 1/10 sec at ISO 800.

Unlike Oly’s 9mm lens, that has actual optics, the pinhole produced images that would best be described as soft. While working with the Skink Pinhole Pancake the images produced reminded me of Steigletz’s Photo-Secession. So I occasionally shot using Oly’s Soft Focus Art Filter but shooting in RAW+JPEG mode so that I had access to an unmolested RAW file.

light.bookBarry Staver and Joe Farace are co-authors of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s currently out-of-print but while new copies are available at collector (high) prices, as I write this you can purchase used softback copies for less than seven bucks from Amazon.

Author: Joe Farace

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