On July 20th in 1969, humans walked on the moon for the first time.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took custom-made Hasselblad 6x6 bodies, with two focal lengths, and captured images that changed history.
The cameras were built on the Hasselblad 500EL body, but modified for the extreme conditions: lubrication was removed as it would boil off and condense in the optical elements; aperture and focus wings were added to aid manipulation with gloves; shutter speed was locked to 1/250th of a second, with exposure being controlled via aperture only.
A ‘Reseau’ plate was added ahead of the film magazine, resulting in the crosses present in the images. This was used as a visual distortion correction aid.
The silver Hasselblad IVA (Intra-Vehicular camera) had a 80mm f/2.8 Zeiss Planar, for use inside Apollo 11’s cabin.
The black/silver Hasselblad EVA (Extra-Vehicular camera) had a 60mm f/5.6 Zeiss Biogon. The silver paint was added for external use to prevent radiation fogging and temperature damage.
The films used were custom formulations of Panatomic-X and Ektachrome from Kodak. These were especially thin to fit many, many exposures into a single magazine, instead of the usual 12.
NASA was worried about the Apollo unit having enough fuel to return to Earth. So, strict weight restrictions for the return flight were imposed, and these cameras were left behind. To date, 12 Hasselblads remain on the lunar surface.
All images above belong to NASA.
⏤ Raz Hansrod