We had a visit today from Tim Norgate who runs Pinhole Solutions and is based in Bearwood. A few years ago Tim was making camera obscura in Cannon Hill Park with large tents but always wanted to build a permanent camera obscura in Birmingham. Sadly he never did, so when he heard about our efforts he immediately got in touch.
To cut to the chase, he's very generously donated his mirror and lens housing to our cause, and it's amazing. Here's a video of it in action:
You'll notice immediately that it's motorised! There are two switches, one for the angle of the mirror and the other to rotate it. This means it can point up and down in 360 degrees.
The lens has a throw of a 8 feet, which is too long for our portable camera but will be perfect if we were to install it in a room. And we can swap it out for a shorter throw lens with ease.
The mirror is top quality – the same sort you'll find inside a DSLR – and won't give any ghosting that normal mirrors do. Excellent optics all round.
Our plan is to fix it to the portable camera but have it easily detachable so we can use it for other projects. One issue is going to be weather proofing, so on Tim's suggestion we're looking into a glass enclosure, similar to a bell jar, that could sit over the mechanism and keep it dry, while also looking amazing. So if anyone knows where were can get a custom made glass (or clear plastic) bell jar like this please get in touch!
But for now we're just happy to have such a wonderful piece of kit. Here's some more photos of it: