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Hasselblad 500C/M
Manufacturer of NASA's Moon Camera

Apollo 11 Mission

Back in 1969, when NASA completed the Apollo 11's mission to land on the Moon, it was very ground breaking in human history and technology. Certainly, imaging recording for this historical moment was not to be compromising. Hasselblad was involved in researching and producing a Moon Camera for the mission, which is a tailored version adapted from Hasselblad 500EL with modifications :
  • no leather covering
  • mount for viewfinder, mirror and secondary shutter removed
  • magazine for loading 70mm film in open spool
  • large wire handle attaching to dark slide (dark slide to be removed before mounting the film back, otherwise it will damage the reseau plate)

Not surprisingly, printed Ad was emphasizing on the technology in control by Hasselblad, to build the Moon Camera. See the headline - 'What did we learn from building the moon camera ?'. One could expect the trusted capabilities of Hasselblad in producting camera equipment in meeting NASA's scientific / research specification, well beyond 'earth's' standard, regarding built quality, precision, and robustness in buying and owning a Hasselblad is too overwhelming.

The Fate of the Moon Camera - Totally 12 Hasselblad Moon Cameras were left behind on the moon surface in completing the different missions during 1969 - 1972, in order to balance the weight of precious samples collected from moon surface. Supposingly, the cameras are still there until now, and it is possible to bring these gems back.

The 120 SLR Camera

Hasselblad is an icon of SLR in 120 film format. Sometimes this European made camera is mistakenly known as made in West Germany. In fact, it is made in Sweden, while its Carl Zeiss lens is made in West Germany.

The family of Hasselblad 120 cameras (year of production):

  • Hasselblad 1600F (1948-1952)
  • Hasselblad 1000F (1952-1957)
  • Hasselblad Supreme Wide Angle (1954-1959) also called SW or SWA
  • Hasselblad 500C (1957-1971)
  • Hasselblad SWC (1959-1980)
  • Hasselblad 500EL (1965-1971)
  • Hasselblad 500C/M (1970-1989)
  • Hasselblad 500C/M 25th Anniversary (1974)
  • Hasselblad 500EL/M (1972-1984)
  • Hasselblad 500EL/M '10 Years on the Moon' (1979)
  • Hasselblad 2000FC (1977-1981)
  • Hasselblad SWC/M (1980-1988)
  • Hasselblad 2000FC/M (1977-1981)
  • Hasselblad 500EL/M '20 Years in Space' (1982)
  • Hasselblad 500EL/X (1984-1988)
  • Hasselblad 20000FCW (1984-1988)

SWA, SWC and SWC/M are not SLRs, but only box cameras.

The year of production of the camera is denoted by the 2 alphabetic characters as prefix in the serial number (translation of VHPICTURES = 1234567890)

It is a real family of professional 120 cameras, which is completely modular in design, of which each part (lens, finder, film back, film advancing crank) to be fully changeable and supplemented by a vast range of accessories available, in order to facilitate photographer's shooting requirement.

Testing Shot

It is a self-portrait of me, taking by Hasselblad 500C/M, Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm F2.8, NPC MF-1 Polaroid Back, Fuji FP-100C.

About The Camera

The camera shown in the top of this webpage is my Hasselblad 500C/M. 500C/M is a highly usable mechanical camera, and easily available in ebay. It was released to market starting 1970, which is one year after 1969's Apollo 11 mission. It is a modification of 500C with improvement like, easily changeable focusing screen, advancing film reopens diaphragm and returns mirror, etc.

  • Hasselblad 500C/M body black version (less common than the silver version)
  • Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm F2.8, supporting shutter speed 1/500 - 1 sec, plus B(Bulb) setting, with automatic DOF (depth of field) scale, DOF preview lever, focus range from 3 feet to infinity
  • waist level finder with pop-up magnifying glass (other common choices are 45 degree metered / non-metered prism, magnifying hood, prism frame finder combining both views of finder screen and sports finder frame, etc)
  • A12 back for 120 film format (100 type pack film polaroid backs produced by various brands - Hasselblad, NPC, PolaPlus, PolaBasic, etc, Guideline to use / load 100 type pack film polaroid back")

More Information

  • Reference: The development of technology for uses in space, in laboratories, and hospitals often makes its way to the retail market. Education is an important aspect of developing this technology and no matter what field the pursuit of knowledge is in, whether pursuing a masters in public administration or an online masters in criminal justice, technology and the use of photography can play an integral role. The cutting edge of any fields often provides us with fantastic artistic tools to use in the public realm.

Bottom Photo - (1) side view of Moon Camera (adapted from Hasselblad 500EL) (2) Moon Camera being carried by astronaut on Moon's surface (3) Another view of astronaut carrying moon camera, I believe the watch on his left arm is Omega Speedmaster Professional

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