Approximately 20,000 in-flight mission photographs were collected during the Apollo Program, primarily with Hasselblad and Nikon cameras. In addition, thousand more images were taken remotely by the metric and panoramic cameras situated on the command module. In total, there are approximately 31,000 Apollo mission in-flight images. This number does not include the images taken with the 16mm film cameras.
The Hasselblad Camera Images
The most iconic Apollo era images were taken with Hasselblad cameras produced by a Swedish camera manufacturer. The Hasselblad cameras used during the Apollo era had Zeiss lenses and were well-known for their reliability and excellent quality. A Hasselblad camera was the first held-held camera taken into space during the Mercury Program and Hasselblad cameras were used on all NASA subsequent Gemini and Apollo missions, including by Apollo astronauts on the lunar surface. Film for the cameras was pre-loaded onto interchangeable magazines that could be switched out as conditions required. Each film magazine generally contained up to approximately 160 color and 200 black and white pictures on special film developed by Kodak for NASA.
As Hasselblad proudly, and accurately, states on its website:
There are perhaps no images in the history of photography more famous and more influential than those taken with Hasselblads in space.
Truly, the list of classic images that came from these missions is almost endless; a single man hovering in the blackness of space, the earth-rise as seen from the moon, the solitary, dramatic shape of man’s first steps on the lunar surface…
These images, perhaps more than any of our time, captured the history of mankind in the making.
Early NASA Missions
Mercury Astronaut Wally Schirra brought the first Hasselblad camera (a Hasselblad 500C) into space on his Mercury Atlas-8 mission in October, 1962. Schirra purchased the camera from a local camera shop and modified it himself. Following that mission, the Hasselblad became the primary camera for all future missions. The Hasselblad SWC was first used on the Gemini 9 and subsequent Gemini missions.
The Hasselblad 500EL cameras were first used on Apollo 8, the first mission to orbit the Moon. The electric motors in the 500EL cameras greatly automated lunar photography. While astronauts had to set distance, aperture, and shutter speed, the camera automatically exposed and wound the film. Other modifications, such as specialized levers on the aperture and distance settings, made operation of the cameras possible while wearing pressurized spacesuits and gloves. The cameras also had a sighting ring, instead of a reflex mirror viewfinder, to help the astronaut point the camera.
Lunar Landing Missions
The Hasselblad Electric Data Camera (EDC), a modified Hasselblad 500EL, was used for all the Apollo lunar landing missions (Apollo 11 through 17). One of the most notable features visible in images taken with the Hasselblad EDC cameras are small grid marks shaped like a cross or plus sign (+). These grid marks were created by glass Reseau plates which were engraved with the grid marks and were placed between the film magazine and the camera body. These grid markings made it possible to calibrate distance and height in the photos and appear on every Hasselblad image from Apollo 11 through Apollo 17.
Apollo Lunar Surface Closeup Camera (ALSCC)
Apollo 11, Apollo 12, and Apollo 14 each carried Apollo Lunar Surface Closeup Cameras (ALSCC) to the lunar surface. These cameras were used to take close-up stereo images. The cameras were held approximately ten inches above the surface and each exposure produced two side-by-side images of the same area. These images were used to produce detailed stereo photographs of lunar soil and rocks.
The Apollo mission Hasselblad photographs are arranged by Program Mission and specific film magazines.
70mm Hasselblad Images
Apollo 4 1 Magazine 713 Images
Apollo 6 1 Magazine 373 Images
Apollo 7 9 Magazines 539 Exposures/533 Useable Images
Apollo 8 7 Magazines 865 Exposures/862 Useable Images
Apollo 9 11 Magazines 1378 Exposures/1374 Useable Images
Apollo 10 9 Magazines 1442 Exposures/1436 Useable Images
Apollo 11 9 Magazines 1409 Exposures/1408 Useable Images
Apollo 12 14 Magazines 2124 Exposures/2114 Useable Images
Apollo 13 5 Magazines 601 Exposures/Images
Apollo 14 14 Magazines 1338 Images
Apollo 15 19 Magazines 2651 Images
Apollo 16 22 Magazines 2805 Images
Apollo 17 23 Magazines 3584 Images
Metric Images (SIM BAY)
Apollo 15 2616 Images
Apollo 16 2497 Images
Apollo 17 2138 Images
Panoramic Images (SIM BAY)
Apollo 15 1529 Images
Apollo 16 1435 Images
Apollo 17 1581 Images
Apollo Lunar Surface Closeup Camera (ALSCC) Images (35mm)
Apollo 11, Magazine 45 (W) AS11-45-6697A to AS11-45-6714A 35 Images
Apollo 12, Magazine 57 (FF) AS12-57-8441A to AS12-57-8455B 30 Images
Apollo 14, Magazine 77 (??) AS14-77-10357A to AS14-77-10374A 35 Images
35mm Nikon Images
Apollo 17 8 Magazines 404 (408) Images
Magazine AS16-123-19613 to AS16-123-19821 [209 black and white images]
Magazine AS16-127-19990 to AS16-127-20026 [47 black and white images]
Magazine AS16-129-20033 to AS16-129-20079 [47 black and white images]
Magazine AS16-132-20183 to AS16-132-20192 [10 color images]
Unmanned Apollo Flights
The Apollo 4 mission carried one 70MM camera. There were a total of 756 exposures made on 1 magazine of color film.
Magazine AS04-01-044 to AS04-01-755 [713 color images (0 surface; 0 orbital; 713 other)]
The Apollo 6 mission carried one 70MM camera. There were a total of 755 exposures made on 1 magazine of color film.
Magazine AS06-02-1000 to AS06-02-999 [373 color images (0 surface; 0 orbital; 373 other)]
Mercury Program Mission Images (528 total images)
MR3 – 180 images
MA6 – 75 images
MA7 – 206 images
MA8 – 14 images
MA9 – 53 images
Gemini Program Mission Images (3001 total images)
Gemini 3 – 30 images S65-18737 to S65-18761
Gemini 4 – 363 images (294 useable)
Gemini 5 – 402 images (357 useable)
Gemini 6 – 260 images (202 useable)
Gemini 7 – 467 images (440 useable)
Gemini 8 – 21 images
Gemini 9 – 368 images (367 useable)
Gemini 10 – 374 images (357 useable)
Gemini 11 – 242 images
Gemini 12 – 474 images
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Images
Astronaut Still Photography During Apollo:
Hasselblad in Space
Images of Apollo 11 Hasselblad camera at the Smithsonian: