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About the Scans

Hasselblad 500c Camera (not yet scanned)

The Hasselblad 500c is a Swedish designed medium format single lens reflex camera that was first introduced in 1957. The camera was fitted with a Carl Zeiss lens with a built in leaf shutter. This camera was renowned for its clarity. The camera that was taken to space was modified to make it lighter and sent up on the first Mercury mission. The consumer version was first carried to space by astronaut Walter Schirra when he piloted Mercury 8. It became the foundation of a line of cameras which was used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to record the first images of man on the Moon. The astronauts used a motor-driven Hasselblad 500EL/70 (70mm film back) Data Camera fitted with a reseau plate and a Zeiss Biogon 5.6/60 mm lens. Traditional lubricants were replaced by a low friction alternative and metal plating was used instead of the standard black leatherette covering.

Apollo Lunar Surface Close-up Camera

As the name implies, this camera was designed to produce detailed stereoscopic imagery of the of the lunar surface during Apollo 11, 12, and 14 mission surface operations. The Apollo Lunar Surface Close-up Camera (ALSCC) is a twin-lens stereoscopic camera built by Eastman Kodak. The two lenses were 46.12mm f/17 Kodak M-39 copy lenses mounted 29mm apart, focused for an object distance of 184.5 mm and provided an image magnification of 0.33.

For the sake of simplicity, the camera had a fixed focus and flash exposure and was loaded with Ektachrome MS (SO368) film prior to launch. To take an image, an astronaut simply had to place the camera over the area to be imaged and press the trigger that was located on the camera handle and the film was automatically advanced to the next frame and the flash recharged. The photographed area is 72 mm x 82.8 mm centered between the optical axes of the lenses.

Nikon 35-mm Camera

The Nikon cameras used on board the Apollo Command Modules sported a 55-mm lens with either black-and-white film or color film. During Apollo 16 and 17, black-and-white film enabled dim-light photography of astronomical phenomena and lunar surface targets illuminated by Earthshine. During Apollo 17, color film was used for documenting various activities in the Command Module.

Scanning

P3

The Apollo photography scans were acquired by Johnson Space Center. Rob Ingram was responsible for the scanning and Mary Wilkerson validated the originally named/cataloged film. The negatives were scanned with an Oxberry 70mm system. The Oxberry uses the Kodak HR-500 scanner, which incorporates the Kodak KLI-6013 tri-linear line sensor (one line each for red, green and blue). Dark signal correction and flat-fielding are performed automatically during standard scan operations. Scans are digitized as 8-bit numbers (DN range 0-255) per channel (24-bits total for RGB composite). The Oxberry 70mm scanner was adjusted at the factory and in-house tests indicate the geometric fidelity is within 1 part in 3000 vertically, and better than 1 part in 6000 horizontally (assuming the film is properly aligned). The Apollo scans are 3072X2048 except for Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 color which are 3070X2044 and Apollo 17 black and white images which have a size of 3900X2550.

Processing

Raw

Raw*

Process

Intermediate*

Processed

Processed*

* These images demonstrate the image processing techniques and methods used. These sample images show how our image processing improves the visual quality of the images from the raw film scans.

The raw frames are processed in two steps for distribution (raw scans are also archived and made available). The first step is the removal of background density (base plus fog). This background is estimated from different statistical regions outside the frame area (see figure) of each image. The second step is a simple contrast adjustment using a half percent histogram stretch for each of the red, green and blue components. In addition to the enhanced full resolution frame several reduced resolution products are also produced for distribution.

Why don't all of the Apollo 35-mm Images have Processed Products?

The 35-mm frames from the ALSCC are closeups of the regolith with little contrast and thus were not processed into the full suite of products (to preserve their full dynamic range).

Acceptable Use

Digital scans of flight film images (Mercury, Gemini, Apollo) in their raw (unprocessed) form are in the public domain. Please credit processed images (i.e. post scan products such as movies and enhanced images) to: NASA/JSC/Arizona State University.

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