A Detailed Look at the Camera Gear Behind the Historical Apollo 11 Moon Landing
Only NASA could turn photography into literal rocket science. As Reddit user truetofictionpoints out in a resource-rich post, NASA meticulously decided upon a number of factors that determined the fate of the space-bound Hasselblads and the resulting images.
When Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong separated from the Command Module of the Apollo 11 mission, their moonscape-destined Lunar Module had two Hasselblad cameras in it. Each served a distinct purpose and each had a number of features purpose-built for their individual endeavors. Before we break down the differences though, we’ll establish what the two models had in common.
Both built around the Hasselblad 500EL body, these two cameras featured a mostly-automated process, thanks largely in part to the electronic motor. The astronauts needed only to set the distance, aperture, and shutter speed. Once the shutter was pressed, the frame was exposed, the film was wound to the next frame, and the shutter was reset.
Other features present to these two cameras was the use of special-designed locks for the film magazines, levers for the aperture and distance settings and featured a simple sighting ring, rather than a reflex mirror viewfinder.