Today’s Post by Joe Farace
One of the thing that I like to do is customize my cameras. In scouring the Web for gadgets and gizmos I sometimes stumble across other kinds of interesting photographic items, such as the Skink Pinhole Pancake lens that’s available for many different kinds of cameras, including mirrorless ones like my Olympus OM-D EM-5.
Skink’s is a little different than traditional pinhole lenses in that it has a modular design that uses disks, zone plates or sieves that can be installed between the retaining rings in the center of the lens. I was unable to get any of the optional plates or sieves to test.
While the Skink Pinhole Pancake is significantly better made than Olympus’ 9mm f/8.0 Fisheye Body Cap lens it’s about the same physical size. The focal length of the Skink lens is 16mm (32mm equivalent on Micro Four-thirds) that I wish was a bit wider and the aperture is f/90. Yup, that’s not a typo.
Traditional pinhole lenses create relatively sharp images with their small apertures producing exposure times ranging from one second to several minutes. But exposures with the Skink Pinhole lens can be made without a tripod if lighting conditions permit.
To shoot the images you see here, I increased the ISO to get shutter speeds close enough to handhold and hedged my bets by shooting with an Olympus EM-5 that has five-axis in-body image stabilization.
I took this combination to McCabe Meadows and in shooting from ISO 800 to 1000 I ended up with shutter speeds ranging from 1/8 to 1/15 sec in Aperture Preferred mode. Skink’s lens produces images that would best be described as soft. As I began working with the Skink Pinhole Pancake the images reminded me of photographs that Steigletz made during the Photo-Secession. So I used Oly’s Soft Focus Art Filter, for the below image shooting in RAW+JPEG mode.
These images also reminded me of the shot made with the more expensive Lensbaby Velvet 56. Like the Lenbaby, the Skink Pinhole Pancake lens is not for everybody but it’s perfect for those who want to try something new, get out of any rut they find themselves in, or just want to have fun with their photography.