That time I shot with a...

That time I shot with a Leica and gaffa tape as a “lens” – By John Scott

June 6, 2019

Photography, cameras, techniques. I love everything about photography. There was a time when I was really into Lomography photography. The simplicity of taking a photo via a in hole lens was liberating in that my focus was on the subject and the image result was part estimation and part magic.

As my kit grew and my cameras changed I had forgotten Lomography days. That was until I purchased my first Leica camera. Now I had to spend serious cash to buy that camera so I didn’t exactly have a lot of cash left to buy a lens. That’s when I remembered my good old pin hole photography experiences. But the problem – how can I get a pin hole lens? A quick scramble through the drawers uncovered my sturdy, black, gaff tape. So I decided to cut a piece of tape the size of the lens mount, poke a pin hole in the tape, and see what happened.

Now I wasn’t expecting a super sharp image but having spent some time walking the streets of Singapore shooting with a piece of gaff tape over my Leica, I was pleasantly surprised about the unique images I could capture!

So if you are broke after buying a Leica,  looking for a bit of fun, or just feeling a bit experimental maybe give the “pin hole gaff tape lens” a go…

If you would like to see more then please follow my instagram channel

Thanks for reading!

A note from Hamish:

This post is the first of a new series here on 35mmc called “That time I shot a…” I’m looking for stories from time you have shot something or somehow that is a little less than ordinary. This might be some sort of film shot in an odd way, a lens mounted on a camera it has no right to be mounted on, a camera that was broken or bodged to work in a way it wasn’t supposed to, or something else out of the ordinary. You might have discovered something wonderful, or it might have been a complete failure. As long as you have some sort of results, you can tell me what you did and why and how you did it, then please get in touch and let’s share some weird photographic experiments with the world!

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  • Reply
    June 6, 2019 at 10:46 am

    I’d like to see right now the faces of people that complain about using voigtlander lenses on a leica!
    Other than that I like those pictures, as you state they communicate a sense of freedom and simplicity! Sometimes we struggle with the pursuit of perfection and we lose at least part of the ability to communicate such a feeling!

    • Reply
      June 6, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      So true, priceless facial expressions I’m sure. Wait till they see me shooting landscapes with a toilet roll.

  • Reply
    Terry B
    June 6, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Funny Farm application in the post, John. 😜

    Did you spot the piece of dust that crops up in all your images? I hope this isn’t a sticky residue leftover from the gaffer tape. (Seriously)

    • Reply
      June 6, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      I did. When I first looked at the shots in C1 I freaked out thinking it was some gunk on my sensor. Luckily it was only a stray hair.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Next in the series:

    -Focusing A Noctilux with my toes
    -Developing Ektachrome in the Gobi Desert with camel urine
    -How to turn Coke bottle bottoms into a 180mm ƒ/32 ASPH lens

    Stay tuned… 😉

    • Reply
      June 6, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      What about:
      -Lens whacking with a toilet roll
      -Tilt shift with a set square

      Love the thought 😉

  • Reply
    Dale Willetts
    June 6, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    Oh I can almost hear the wailing cries of the Leica purists. Absolute genius, combining the most simple form of photography with what many consider the pinnacle of photographic perfection. Excellent results too.

    • Reply
      June 6, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks for the appreciation. Desperate times – To eat or to photograph? Luckily both with this combo 😉

  • Reply
    Martin Siegel
    June 6, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I could help you out with a body cap, if needs be. Plastic only, but drilling is easier that way.

    • Reply
      June 6, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Funny you mention that. I did try with a lens cap and a drill bit. But the hole was a little too large and not as focused as the Gaffer’s tape…Probably user error on my part.

  • Reply
    Kurt Ingham
    June 6, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Gaffer’s tape.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I’ve been meaning to try this too, rangefinders are great for this sort of thing. I was wondering, how did you calculate the shutter-speed, and do you have an idea of the pinhole’s approximate aperture value?
    The cool thing about pinhole photography is the theoretically infinite depth-of-field, so that everything is equally sharp (or more realistically, equally unsharp).

  • Reply
    June 6, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    How do you set exposure ? I suppose it’s longer ?

    • Reply
      June 7, 2019 at 5:59 pm

      Easy on the M10. Set the ISO to 10,000 and the shutter to about 1/60.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2019 at 5:27 am

    John, I started a cheapest/most expensive gear combo thread here:

    You win!

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