Beer can pinhole camera

When [Justin Quinnell] sent in his beer can pinhole camera, we were just floored. The parts are easy to obtain, and the process for building and ‘shooting’ with the camera are near effortless.

The really impressive part of this hack is letting your camera sit for 6 months facing the sun. Yes, you read that correct, a 6 month exposure. Check out after the break for one of his astonishing shots, and trust us, its well worth the click.


  1. flatr0ze says:

    That’s f****in’ awesome!

  2. Rizla++ says:

    I wonder what would happen if he could process the photo paper before scanning it… Damn cool!

  3. Jason says:

    wow IMPRESSIVE! the scanning is an awesome idea. Im not sure if ill be living here for another six months but im for sure gonna try messing with some photo paper now. Great work and writeup!

  4. The Steven says:

    Mmmm…. Beer.
    Is there anything it can’t do?

  5. canbot says:

    I was going to make one, but after finishing the case of beers I forgot.

  6. Gert says:

    Just drink some soda, alcohol is a hard drug.

  7. James Becwar says:

    I don’t get it… Won’t the scanner expose the film before it scans it?

  8. Dan says:

    I was surprised at how low in the sky the summer solstice is in Britain; I knew Britain is pretty far north but the pictures really brought it into focus. At 39°N (in Ohio) the sun is much closer to overhead on June 21.

  9. fartface says:

    Ok, this is a REAL hack. Rock on!

    I’m gonna make a few of these around here. I wonder if there is a way to get the image clearer.. smaller hole maybe.

  10. Richard says:

    There’s an unfeasibly large quota of win in this – it’s such a simply idea, well executed, and easy to have a go at without having to invest a lot of cash.

    And of course, beer is always a good idea. :-)

  11. mrgoogfan says:

    What kind of film takes 6 months to expose? Even in my pinhole cameras maximum exposure time is 5 min on a cloudy day.

  12. 24601 says:

    I too am curious about running the paper through a scanner. To my mind (which knows very little about photography) it seems that the bright white light on the scanner arm would overexpose the whole sheet. Or is it that the paper is scanned fast enough to record the image before the paper is exposed by the light?

  13. 24601 says:

    I also wonder how many people are going to try this with photo paper… the stuff you run through an inkjet printer to print out your photographs.

  14. Stu says:

    Ha ha! Must be like ‘ISO 0.1′ or something!
    Very cool, well worth the shot.
    Thinking about doing this with modern tech, you might achieve the same effect with a DSLR and several stacked ND Filters, or one ND1,000,000 filter! Maybe at ISO Lo1 on Nikons with the highest F-Stop your lens gives you. I’m thinking a 24hr exposure would be quite revealing, would appear a lot cleaner, and somewhat more practical! ;-)
    Speaking of photography, this eruption in Iceland has knocked out our entire air industry for a few days, I’ve taken shots of a totally contrail and vapour-mist free sky and its kinda freaking me out! ;-)
    Great though!

  15. Renee says:

    Photo paper isn’t like film. The equivalent ISO is around 50 or 40 depending. You would have to check the papers specs for more info.

    Take that and add in a pinhole with an equivalent f/stop of like 150 or 300 and its totally feasible to have that kind of exposure.

    I don’t think you could really do this with a digital camera. The sensors get warm after a period of time which causes artifacts.

  16. Chris says:

    Can anyone enlighten me as to why the sheet isn’t run through a developer and fixer?

  17. travis says:

    To everyone wondering about developing/overexposure: yes, the paper is massively overexposed. If you developed it, it would be all black. However, if you overexpose photopaper, the image is visible prior to developing.

    Also: yes, the light of the scanner degrades the image, so you have to get it right the first time. Not too much stress after waiting six months.

  18. lee says:

    Just set up multiple cans for the six month period. Drink the whole pack.

  19. Brian says:

    It would be interesting to make a similar setup to photograph the path of the moon. You could use a microcontroller with a RTC to control some sort of shutter so that it only exposes at night.

  20. iramot says:

    if you dig a bit deeper, there’s a link to a gallery with all sorts of pinhole camera pictures: (click on the dot in the middle to enter)

    also, his in-the-mouth camera is hilarious:

  21. phuzz says:

    That’s a great picture, but as I looked at it I wondered what the building was, it looked kind of familiar…
    Of course, it’s the catholic cathedral in Bristol, I can see it from my roof.,-2.616768&spn=0,0.003449&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=51.459924,-2.617084&panoid=lh_W7j9p1GyPOe5nUc_PJQ&cbp=12,107.11,,0,-14.04

  22. anonymous says:

    …no relation with beer goggles, right?

  23. Victor says:

    Paper ISO is usually closer to 8. This project is a destructive process and I suggest one does not attached it to a tree or anything that grows. The guy looks to be expanding on Tarja Trygg´s project at better explanation too.

    The other projects on his site have also originated from different female artists.

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