PetaPixel

Want to Own Your Own NASA Hasselblad Moon Camera?

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Want to own a piece of photographic and space exploration history? An original Hasselblad 500EL Electric Camera kit has appeared on eBay. This is the camera NASA astronauts used on the moon for its Lunar Apollo Missions.

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At the time of this post, there’s a day left in the auction by camera trading company Setadel Studios, but no one has offered the starting bid of $75,000 yet (shipping is an extra $1,495.)

One reason may be that this isn’t actually a camera that was used on the moon. No one owns those 12 cameras — they’re still sitting on the surface of the moon. NASA left them there so astronauts could bring back lunar rock samples instead.

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Anyhoo, back to this camera on eBay. This IS actually the same camera as the ones used by NASA astronauts. However, after Hassy produced it for NASA in 1969, it was given as a gift to the then-President of Hasselblad, and then regifted to the company’s Head Canadian Distributor. It’s been sitting in a private collection… until now.

Setadel says that a few previous kits that were in worse condition were auctioned off for over $100,000, and that this is the first time a set this complete and in this condition has been put up for auction.

Along with the “excellent condition” camera, whoever wins the auction will receive an A200 back, a Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f/2.8 lens, a Carl Zeiss Sonar 250mm f/5.6 lens, and some promotional booklets.

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The gear itself has custom enhancements that make the pieces easier for astronauts to use, namely larger knobs and controls that can be handled while wearing large and bulky spacesuit gloves.

This is a modified 500EL with the mirror removed to reduce weight. Also has no waist level finder, instead it has a small flip out round finder/lunar filter. [...] Cosmetically extremely clean and still mechanically working normally; shutter speeds are accurate and all other camera functions are working normally. Optically clean and clear; no fog, fungus, separation or scratches in the lenses.

So… if you have some mountains of cash lying around and would like to start your own private camera museum, or if you’d like to walk around and shoot with a camera that no one else on Earth is shooting with, you have about a day to jump on this “deal.” Good luck.

(via eBay via PopPhoto via Reddit)


Image credits: Photographs by Setadel Studios


 
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  • http://www.aluzinando.com Fernando Callo

    How do you focus on this camera? It is not a reflex camera or am I wrong?

  • Ken Elliott

    No viewfinder? Sorry – I’ll wait for the Mars version.

  • 321321354rada

    the camera was not even on the moon……

  • John

    Where is the 18 inches of lead lining to prevent the film being ruined by the massive amounts of cosmic radiation?

  • Ralph Hightower

    It will take one a few million or billion $$$ to retrieve a Hassy from the surface of the moon.

  • NelsonTan

    You can’t. The camera was designed to be mounted in front of the astronaut on his chest piece, so he can’t see his composition or focus (mostly by estimation or using hyper focus techniques). Every time he takes a photo, he had to say “I’m taking a picture”, so that Houston can keep track of the number of shots remaining on the bulk roll film. But as the article pointed out, the lunar module is too tight for the cameras to be brought on board, so the astronauts abandoned the cameras and brought back the film magazines and rock samples.

  • Ian Jackson

    Also has no waist level finder, instead it has a small flip out round finder/lunar filter.

  • Tristan Afre

    Looks like a dressed up Sony to me.

  • kb

    These are simulated NASA versions of regular Hasselblad lenses. All the shot-on-the-moon photos I’ve ever seen were shot with the distortion-free 60mm Biogon lens–a lens never offered for sale to the general public.
    I wonder if the camera has a Reseau plate in it?

  • tschotsch

    This thing was nowhere remotely close to the moon!

  • E vener

    NAsa astronauts go through a lot of photographic training. You can focus the cameras but it is range focusing based on distance to subject which the Gemini and Apollo astronauts were trained to do.
    Hasselblad began it’s association with NASA’s astronaut core when one ofthe mercury Astronauts went into George Lange Camera in Housto and bought an off the shelf 500C to take with him on his flight. After that the relationship became more formalized. Lange’s small shop was across Main Street from the Texas Medical Center and around the corner from Rice University. He closed it in the late 1980s. As I remember the only lines he stocked were Sinar, Hasselblad, and Leica, maybe Canon as well but not much of it, and everything was always full list price.

  • Mark

    Alpa, Pentax, Nikon, Minox; I don’t remember Canon (I believe you had to go to Skylark or to Southwestern for Canon). I believe that, along with Leitz binoculars, there was the Contax monocular. Leitz: enlargers also. –Mark