The Only Film Camera I Would Kill to Own

By Jesus Diaz on at

I can't put this Hasselblad 500EL in my pocket. And I can't use it to snap shots on a daily basis—it will cost a gazillion dollars on film and development. But I would love to have one at home. Just to look at it. It's a work of art. And it was used in the Apollo program. You know...On the Moon.

Look at those lines. It's perfect. And while this is not the actual camera used in Apollo—it is the Hasselblad 500EL/M "20 years in space" anniversary edition—I would kill for one anyway. Or at least maim someone. OK, perhaps just punch someone, like a Moon-landing conspiracist or something. Buzz Aldrin style.

The EL stands for electric camera. They were adopted by NASA for Apollo and flew for the first time on Apollo 8. They carried three of them to Apollo 11, equipped with Zeiss 5.6/60mm Biogon lens. Each of them had film cartridges that could take 150 to 200 exposures. They modified them heavily:

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 (Reseau-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.

So there you go, that's why all the Moon pictures have the crosshairs all over them.

After their success, NASA has been using Hasselblads for all their flights. [Wikipedia via It's full of stars]

The Only Film Camera I Would Kill to OwnThe Hasselblad taken by Neil Armstrong to the Moon.