Pinhole lenses are nothing new. The concept has been around longer than some religions, with the first known description surfacing between 1011 and 1021 AD from mathematician Hasan Ibn al-Haytham

Fast forward through the next few thousand years, and you can see the lens concept used in many early cameras. Even to this day, several lens manufacturers have released pinhole lenses for modern cameras. This includes companies like Lensbaby, SLR Magic, and Zero Optik. 

Then there’s Thingyfy, which has been making pinhole lenses since 2016. We covered its Pinhole Pro lens when it was first announced and now it has a modern update for filmmakers chasing that dreamy vintage aesthetic. 

The Pinhole Pro Max

The new lens from Thingyfy is alleged to be the world’s first pinhole lens that combines six apertures and variable focal lengths into one lightweight and durable lens design.

Made from a single block of aluminum, the Pinhole Pro Max builds upon the first iteration, as well as the Pro X model, to offer all the previous features in one package. 

Pinhole Max Pro Close UpCredit: Thingyfy

Out of the box, the lens will come with apertures in 0.1mm, 0.15mm, 0.2mm, 0.25mm,0.3mm, 0.36mm, 0.5mm, and 0.8mm.

With a range like that, you’ll have a lot more creativity in your pocket than a regular pinhole lens, although you’ll still have to ramp up your ISO to shutter speed to get as much light onto your sensor as possible.

The zoom function will also provide a focal range of 18-35mm, although how different sensor sizes will affect that range remains to be seen. 

Pinhole Pro Max Mount OptionsMount OptionsCredit: Thingyfy

What makes pinhole lens designs so unique, beyond their interesting aesthetic, is that they can accommodate almost any lens mount. The Pinhole Pro Max makes use of this and offers a universal lens mount add-on that fits all popular camera mounts. 

Thankfully, the Pinhole Pro Max will be offered in a wide variety of camera mounts. This includes Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony A, Sony E, Fuji X, Micro 4/3 (MFT), Pentax K. 

The Pinhole Aesthetic

We can’t talk about a vintage piece of tech without providing a glimpse at what users can achieve with this lens.

This experimental short was shot on a Nikon D750 and with the original Pinhole Pro lens. 

The Pinhole Pro S was also used with Kodak Vision 7277 in 16mm to shoot this incredible short film. 

Should You Buy It?

There are niche lenses, and then there are pinhole lenses. While we described this lens as vintage tech, a more apt description would be to call it archaic. 

Calling this a lens is a stretch, as it's basically a hole. But with everything that Thingyfy has built into this piece of gear, it gets damn close. 

The Pinhole Pro Max just launched via Kickstarter starting at $219 and has already been fully funded. While it's not the cheapest pinhole lens on the market, it certainly offers a few features you won’t find on other similar lens designs. 

While you might not use this lens for all your compositions, it’s definitely a unique piece of kit to have in your bag. If you’re searching for that dreamy vintage (or archaic) aesthetic, this might be a better option than decimating your footage in post. 

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