Over the years there have been more than a few cameras that I have always kept an eye out for. This post features the Finney Field Camera, a 4 x 5 pinhole camera. The thing that attracted me to this particular camera was the fact that it is adjustable. It’s capable of several focal lengths and had several pinhole size options as well. In fact, up until Zero Image introduced their line of large format pinhole cameras, the Finney was the only other pinhole camera that I have found in which any adjustments could be made.
At first glance the camera looks very similar to other wooden field cameras. It’s very compact, foldable and made with brass and aluminum components. The build quality is exceptional built with mortise and tenon construction and tight tolerances. The movements are simple but very solid. The focal length extension is supported on both sides by a scissors bracket tightened with brass thumb screws. The pivots are snug and spaced by nylon bushings to make them snug yet smooth, easy to set focal lengths ranging from 40mm to 200mm. The front standard is solid and has a removable lensboard, which is pretty cool. I know it’s standard for large format cameras, but not for a pinhole. The lens in this case is a custom built dial with 7 options including a wide open option so you can use the ground glass to compose the image. The are 4 pinhole size options, 40mm, 75mm, 150mm and 200mm with the 75mm, 150mm and 200mm having a “Z” for Zone Plate. There is also a brass mechanical shutter. And despite all of this, it still only weighs in at 2 lbs 5 ounces.
There’s not much else to say, they are nearly infinitely adjustable in focal lengths between 40mm and 200mm and mix-n-matching the pinhole sizes could yield some interesting results and it’s coming with me the next time I head out into the field for some camera time. These cameras are pretty hard to come by these days, and I’m not sure how many were made and there really isn’t much about them online at all.
If you’re in the mood for something different but don’t really get into the whole toy camera scene or want something that is a bit more unique than the Zero Image pinhole cameras, the Finney just might fit the bill: if you can find one.
Pinhole focal length & aperture size settings
- 40mm @ f/150, .267mm
- 75mm @ f/250, .3mm
- 75mm zone plate, f/65
- 150mm @ f/350, .429mm
- 150mm zone plate, f/90
- 200mm pinhole f/450, .444mm
- 200mm zone plate, f/100