Two views of Fountains Abbey – with and without a lens

One of these wet and windy days we’ve been having recently saw me in Yorkshire for a days photography. It started off at Brimham Rocks but I retreated to Fountains Abbey to get some shelter. I had photographed the amazing “celarium” there with the Mamiya RZ67 but wanted to have another go with large format – and it’s under cover so I’d be dry.

I started with a 4×5 pinhole taken on the Intrepid camera with the front standard set in the rear hole – which is where you’d put it if you were using a wideangle lens and which gives the widest angle of view with a pinhole. I did crop a little from the right hand side because of what looked like a light leak, so the image below isn’t quite as wide as it should be.

With pinhole

The Intrepid pinhole is optimised for a focal length-equivalent of about 140mm – for which you’d use the central hole. The diameter of the pinhole is 0.5mm, so if the distance from the pinhole to the film plane is 140mm, then the aperture is 140/0.5 = f/280. When the distance from the pinhole to the film place is about 90mm, as it was for the image above, then the aperture is 90/0.5 = 180. The resulting image is theoretically not as sharp as it would be with a 140mm distance, but a 4×5 negative still produces a fairly detailed image, by pinhole standards.

I then moved across to the other side of the “room” and took the shot below with a Fujinon 90mm lens.

With a 90mm lens

To be honest, I think it’s a bit of a distraction to take both pinhole and lenses images of the same scene on the same trip, since you end up doing what I’m doing here, which is to obsess over the difference between the pinhole image and the lensed image. It’s probably better to choose one or the other (for a particular trip) and enjoy the images on their own merit.

Both images were taken on Ilford FP4+ and developed in Kodak HC110.

One comment

  1. I’ve tried something similar in the past, not with a pinhole, but taking two cameras on a photowalk. I didn’t like it, as you tend to end up spending most of the time deliberating between the two options and not fully comitting to either. These days I’m a one camera at a time guy!

    Fountains Abbey looks like a very photogenic place!

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