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Author Topic: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question  (Read 7736 times)

paulmarkj

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Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« on: August 18, 2012, 07:56:34 AM »

I've got an odd questions:

How many photographs can the Hasselblad 500EL take per second?

My understanding is that the Moon Landing Hasselblad 500EL is a modified Hasselblad 500EL but those mods would not affect the the rapidity of taking photos.

I ask because someone has said that taking 1 photo per second is not possible.

Thanks.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2012, 08:11:40 AM »

NASA's lumar mission  Hasselblad EL cameras were heavily modified. Primarily the reflex mechanism (mirror and accompanying mechanisms) was eliminated, different lubricants were used, buttons were redesigned, the lenses I believe were not interchangable (to keep out dust), and special 70mm film magazines were used . The film itself was specially made  with a non standard emulsion and thin, low friction base material. The camera bodies themselves were left on the moon and only the film magazines returned with the astronauts. Essentially each camera is a one of a kind.

I am also pretty sure that the cameras evolved from mission to mission.

I don't know the frame rate. Why is that an issue?
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FranciscoDisilvestro

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2012, 08:18:54 AM »

In optimal conditions the standard camera could go up to 1.3 fps. Using a 9V battery it could go slightly faster.
Don't know about the capabilities of the special Moon Landing model

AFairley

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2012, 11:44:37 AM »

Given the constraints on the amount of film that could go on the missions, I seriously doubt there was any burst shooting anyway.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2012, 02:06:09 PM »

The Apollo 11 crew came back with two 70mm magazines. Not sure of how many exposures per cassette. I'm sure there is this kind minutia available on some website.

Many years ago as in the mid and late '80s some friends of mine were granted access to the original film, not dupes, shot on the Apollo missions so they could make suites of dye transfer prints. The prints I saw were truly beautiful and the clarity and depth were stunning. I am not sure if the project was ever finished as the last time I talked to them they were having quality problems with either the chemistry, the dyes,the matrix base material,  or the paper they were printing on and Kodak wasn't really interested in solving the problems.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2012, 11:21:58 PM »

A few minutes with google ... for example http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11-hass.html

Apparently they used interchangeable film magazines loaded with specially made perforated 70mm film, each magazine exposed 160 frames of color film or 200 of black and white film.  I'm not sure if the magazines could be reloaded by the astronauts or if they just took enough magazines,  but according to this site shows that 9 magazines were exposed during Apollo 11, total of 856 B&W images and 550 color (and all of those images are at that site).

I didn't see anywhere that mentioned the FPS of the cameras, but certainly it was modified enough that faster than normal was possible. If indeed the reflex system was removed, then 3 fps would be pretty easily doable, considering it was perforated film.  Maybe even faster.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2012, 12:43:55 PM »

The magazines were pre-loaded.
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irvweiner

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2012, 02:16:47 AM »

The magazines were preloaded in advance, the color film base was the ultra thin DuPont Cronar. Many, if not all mags contained a pulse generator that signaled which mag was actually used and how many pix were taken.

Handling the film when wet was like juggling razor blades in motion, the film edges would cut thru ones fingers without any sensation-the only alert was the blood on your palms.

There is a 'blad and lens floating in space, on that spacewalk the astronaut let the camera float in front of himself while completing a task. When he over reached, it was bump-launched into space. Victor Hasselblad took immediate advantage of this event to announce that the Hasselblad is the first camera in space!!

There is another 'blad sitting at the bottom of the Pacific, when Griffin's capsule landed in the ocean upon return, he had difficulty opening the hatch. Desperately, he 'blew off' the hatch. It sunk and he floated awaiting pickup.
Just prior to this mission NASA requested ~6 more cartridges for delivery 'yesterday'. I and my tech (J.A. Maurer Co.) spent Fri-Sun, 24/7 satisfying this request. A jeep waited in the parking lot and a jet stood by in Mitchell Field (Long Island NY).

One photo aspect concerning these activities I will never forget: Just before the first docking maneuver mission, the local NY TV stations were creating mock-up images of the docking for broadcast, they did Hollywood proud! Brilliant colors and dead black for the space backdrop, not to mention the eye popping gold mylar curtain. Shortly after the missions completion NASA sent us a copy of the films--I can only state that the 'real McCoy' made the TV stuff look desaturated!!

Thanks for bringing great memories from a great time,  irv weiner
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2012, 02:42:09 PM »

Some interesting info.  So any idea how many frames per second?  Maybe the film was too fragile to move quickly.
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Petrus

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 02:51:15 PM »

Some interesting info.  So any idea how many frames per second?  Maybe the film was too fragile to move quickly.

I believe they used the same "Estar" base that was used also in some commercially available films, which I also remember using in late seventies, early eighties (?). The base was thinner and so strong that it was not possible to rip the end of the film to show that is was exposed (bent end: exposed, ripped end: push one stop, ripped end split in half: push 2 stops...). It was possible to load something like 70 frames worth into a standard 135 cassette. While normal film was sometimes damaged by the sprocket wheels especially during the winter, and using motor drives, Estar base film never suffered.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Hasselblad 500EL Moon landing camera question
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2012, 03:41:07 PM »

More NASA Hasselblad trivia. the first H'blad in space was an off the shelf 500C purchased at a small camera store in Houston by one of the astronauts (Glenn? Shepard? ) as no one at NASA had considered a camera in the cramped  Mercury capsule to be essential.

 It was a lovely little store, now very long gone, located right across from the Texas Medical Center. The name is  escaping me right now. Basically I think they only sold Sinar, Hasselblad, and Leica cameras.
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