52 Cameras: Camera 63.5 part 1 – Bell+Howell Ultra Compact 35 (28mm)

Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is April 26, 2015.

No video for this one. This is the plastic fantastic Bell+Howell Ultra Compact 35 (28mm) reborn as a pinhole camera.

Stock -- what kind of mangling will it take?

Stock — what kind of mangling will it take?

So far so good -- only four screws to get the front off.

So far so good — only four screws to get the front off.

Clever interlock -- with the lens cover closed, the button can't push the shutter actuator down.

Clever interlock — with the lens cover closed, the button can’t push the shutter actuator down.

With the cover open, the actuator can move down.  That one piece of plastic trips the shutter and releases the film winder which increments the frame counter.

With the cover open, the actuator can move down. That one piece of plastic trips the shutter and releases the film winder which increments the frame counter.

Actuator and cover mechanism removed.  The lens is held in place with a twist-lock.  With the lenses off, there's one screw and a keyhole arrangement like the shutter actuator and cover mechanism.

Actuator and cover mechanism removed. The lens is held in place with a twist-lock. With the lenses off, there’s one screw and a keyhole arrangement like the shutter actuator and cover mechanism.

The shutter is similar to an old Brownie -- pull against a spring and let it snap back.  The metal serves no purpose other than giving the camera a little heft.

The shutter is similar to an old Brownie — pull against a spring and let it snap back. The metal serves no purpose other than giving the camera a little heft.

The shutter.

The shutter.

With the outer lens removed, you can see the aperture and the inner lens.

With the outer lens removed, you can see the aperture and the inner lens.

Aperture and inner lens removed.

Aperture and inner lens removed.

I never found the f-stop for sure so I decided to measure.  28mm / 2.38mm = 11.76 or f/12 ish.

I never found the f-stop for sure so I decided to measure. 28mm / 2.38mm = 11.76 or f/12 ish.

Like the Canon's pinhole from last year, I used plastic from a Fuji instant film pack.  The side was all I needed for this camera.

Like the Canon’s pinhole from last year, I used plastic from an Impossible Project a Fuji instantfilm pack. The side was all I needed for this camera.

Checking the fit so I don't have to sand once the pinhole is drilled.

Checking the fit so I don’t have to sand once the pinhole is drilled.

Without the lenses and the plastic disc aperture, there was a lot of slop.  I tried one foam washer but it was still loose so I added another one.

Without the lenses and the plastic disc aperture, there was a lot of slop. I tried one foam washer but it was still loose so I added another one.

This one presses down on the pinhole washer keeping things nice and snug.

This one presses down on the pinhole washer keeping things nice and snug.

Guts reassembled.  I put the shutter actuator back so I still have a working frame counter.  I decided not to cut off the nub of the cover switch so I can put it all back together when I'm done -- no permanent modifications.

Guts reassembled. I put the shutter actuator back so I still have a working frame counter. I decided not to cut off the nub of the cover switch so I can put it all back together when I’m done — no permanent modifications.

It's actually a tiny pinhole and nice and round -- I checked with a 32X loupe.  Holdng it up to the light with the back open while I took a macro shot with another camera made things a bit blurry.

It’s actually a tiny pinhole and nice and round — I checked with a 32X loupe. Holdng it up to the light with the back open while I took a macro shot with another camera made things a bit blurry.

By keeping the unmodified shutter actuator, I still have the interlock. As soon as I open the cover, light will hit the film through the pinhole. I need to hit the shutter button while the cover is open to allow wind-on and the frame counter, and then close the lens cover to end the exposure. I have no idea of the diameter of the pinhole and hence no idea of the f-stop. Like last year, I’ll cheat a little and use a pinhole on the 60D in aperture priority mode, set to the same ISO as the film in the Bell+Howell, to get a shutter value. Add a little time for reciprocity failure if needed and hopefully I’ll get some decent exposures. I haven’t decided on film but I’ll probably use a 36 exposure roll so I can bracket like crazy and maybe get 12 usable shots. Time to hit the freezer and see what I have.