Ilford Obscura 5x4in pin-hole Review


The film is held in place between two boxes, with one box fitting snugly inside another. The sheet film is trapped at the back and this creates a 5mm clear border around the negative. The clever design is in the use of small magnets set into the box sides, which hold the two boxes together and keep it light-tight. To load the camera, the boxes are pulled apart, a sheet of film or paper is dropped in and the inner box is pushed back into place.


As already stated, the Ilford Obscura 5x4in pin-hole comes with a set of stickers. One of these has sight lines on it to aid composition, while the others can be used to customise your camera. To keep costs down, the camera does not come supplied with a spirit level. As there are large flat areas on all sides, the camera can easily accommodate a portable spirit level or be lined up by eye.

Exposure can be determined by referring to the circular exposure calculator, which has cloudy, bright and sunny indicators for those without any form of meter. The chart does not give an extra calculation or allowance for reciprocity failure, so these times will be inaccurate until that is taken into account. I spoke to Steven Brierley, director of sales and marketing at Harman, about this and gave him my reciprocity chart from my night photography book. Steven will include this with later models of the camera, but it can also be downloaded at www.

As already stated, the camera needs to be loaded and unloaded in complete darkness (or safelight conditions if loaded with paper), so a changing bag is needed if you intend to take more than one shot out in the field. This is less convenient than the film-holder arrangement of the llford/Walker Titan 5×4 pinhole camera, but not a huge problem.

The Ilford Obscura Pinhole camera costs £69.99.

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