Hasselblad on the Moon

Photo of Buzz Aldrin by Neil Armstrong/NASA

NASA photo of Neil Armstrong with his modified Hasselblad

The man who spoke those immortal words that inspired the world: “It’s a small step for man, a giant leap for mankind,” passed over the weekend.

Neil Armstromg, a hero to many was the primary photographer of the first successful manned lunar mission in 1969 and was responsible for some of the most iconic images of the modern age. Contrary to popular belief, Armstrong did not actually appear in many of the famous photos he took in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon’s surface. Most of those images are of his lunar romping partner Buzz Aldrin.

Armstrong used a special modified 70mm Hasselblad 500EL. According to Hasselblad, “This is a specially designed version of the motorized 500EL intended for use on the surface of the moon, where the first lunar pictures were taken on 20 July 1969 by Neil Armstrong. The camera is equipped with a specially designed Biogon lens with a focal length of 60 mm, with a polarization filter mounted on the lens. A glass plate, provided with reference crosses which are recorded on the film during exposure, is in contact with the film, and these crosses can be seen on all the pictures taken on the moon from 1969 to 1972. The 12 HEDC cameras used on the surface of the moon were left there. Only the film magazines were brought back. They also had two 16mm data acquisition cameras and one 35mm close-up stereoscopic camera. Altogether, they took 232 color and 107 black and white photographs on the surface of the moon.”

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