Apollo 11 Lunar Surface
        Journal

 

Apollo 11 Lunar Module
Hasselblad Cameras and Magazines


Commentary Copyright © 2012 by Eric M. Jones.
All rights reserved.
Last revised 16 August 2012.

 Introduction

When the LM crew separated from the Command Module in preparation for the landing, they had two Hasselblad cameras:

(1) A camera for use in the LM cabin, called the IntraVehicular Camera (IVA).  The camera body was black and was not intended for use outside during the EVA.  The IVA camera did not have a reseau plate, so images taken with it did not have a five-by-five grid of reseau crosses.  The IVA camera had an 80mm (focal length) lens;

(2) A camera for use outside on the lunar surface, called the ExtraVehicular Camera (EVA), which had a silver-colored finish to prevent overheating.  It also had a reseau plate, so images taken with it did show a grid of crosses.  The EVa camera had a 60mm lens.

At the time of separation, the LM crews also had two, fresh Hasselblad magazines loaded with color film: Magazine 37/R and Magazine 40/S.  They also had a fresh magazine loaded with black&white film: Magazine 39/Q.


At 81:55:43 during LM activation in lunar orbit (Rev 4), Buzz mentions in the onboard recording that he put Magazine R on the "reserve" (IVA camera) and Magazine S on the "surface" (EVA) camera. As he will mention to Houston at 083:19:35, "Eagle has checked out both 70-millimeter (Hasselblad) cameras and both 16-millimeter (movie) cameras, and all work fine." The following table lists frames taken on Mags 37 and 40 in lunar orbit.

Magazine
Frames
Camera
Time
Notes
37 (Color)
5433
IVA
82:15:10,
15 minutes before Rev 4 Earthrise
Crater Schuster
4N/146E

5434-35
IVA
082:32:07
Rev 4 Earthrise

5436
IVA
a few minutes after Rev 4 Earth Rise
Crater Babcock
4N/94E

5437
IVA
82:56:25
Rev 4 approach to landing site

5438
IVA
Terminator beyond the landing site, possibly at about 082:58:34
Rev 4

5439-5442
IVA
86:28:48
Rev 6 Earthrise

5443-48

100:12:03
CSM after undocking





40 (Color)
5844
EVA
prior to Rev 4 Earthrise
Craters Green and Hartmann, 4N/134E

5845
EVA
Probably soon after Rev 4 Earthrise
Earth

5846
EVA
Mare Fecunditatis on Rev 4
Craters Messier and Messier A, 2S/47E

Pre-EVA Window Photos

After Neil and Buzz landed,  they were very busy for a while, shutting down the descent stage, telling the computer that the LM was on the surface, venting unused propellants, and preparing the ascent stage for an immediate departure should that be necessary.  These procedures are on surface checklist page Sur-1. About 20 minutes after landing, Houston was confident enough in the LM that Neil and Buz were able to remove their helmets and gloves and start a fresh alignment of the LM's Intertial Measurements Unit (IMU), as shown on pages Sur-2 to Sur-5.  They probably started the window photography at about
103:59:47, about 1 hour 15 minutes after the landing.  This step is at the bottom of Sur-5.  They took this set of photos for the geologists in case they had to return to orbit early.  The next pre-planned liftoff time - called T3 - was about 40-45 minutes after they start the photography and they still had to perform another IMU alignment as a check of the first one.  Taking these photographs was a contingency measure and they didn't plan to spend much time on the task.


Magazine
Frames
Camera
Window
37/R (Color)
5449-53
IVA
CDR

5454-58
IVA
LMP

5459
IVA
CDR
After the EVA, used on the IVA camera for photos out both windows.

39/Q (B & W)
5737-49
IVA
CDR

5750-62
EVA
CDR

5763-89
EVA
LMP

5790-91
EVA
CDR
After the EVA, used on the IVA camera for photos out both windows.

40/S (Color)
5847-48
EVA
CDR

5849
IVA
LMP
Used during the EVA on the EVA camera.

According to surface checklist page Sur-6, they planned to take two sets of photos with B&W film on the IVA camera (80mm lens).  One set would cover the far field with a focus setting of 50 feet.  There would be photos aimed at the 9 o'clock position with Neil's RCS thrusters on the left, 10:30, and 12 o'clock straight ahead and, as well, photos out Buzz's window at 12 o'clock, 1:30; and 3:00 with Buzz's RCS thrusters on the right.  The fact that they planned to take 12:00 pictures out each window is indicated by the notation "(2)".  The second set would cover the near field, with the focus set at 20 feet and using a slightly different set of f-stops.  All of this would then be repeated with color film on the EVA camera (60mm lens).

When the time came to do the window photography, they took far more photos than planned: 13 39/Q (B&W) photos using the IVA camera; 42 39/Q (B&W) photos using the EVA camera; 11 magazine 37/R (color) photos using the IVA camera; 2 magazine 40/S (color) photos using the EVA camera; and 1 magazine 40/S (color) photo using the IVA camera.  Interestingly, the first use of each magazine during the pre-EVA window photography was out Neil's window.

When they landed, color mag 40/S was on the EVA camera and color mag 37/R was on the IVA camera. Because they had taken far more photos on 37/R than on 40/S, they probably intended to save 40/S for use on the surface.  To follow the photo plan, they would have inserted a dark slide in 40/S before taking it off the EVA camera and putting the magazine aside until they completed the pre-EVA window photography.  Next, they would have inserted a dark slide in 37R before taking it off the IVA camera and installing it on the EVA camera and removing the dark slide. Finally, they would have installed fresh magazine 39/Q on the IVA camera.

The following is a hypothesis about the order in which they used the cameras and magazines.  It has the advantage of minimizing the number of times they had to remove and re-install magazines and explains when Buzz might have taken 5849 which is, in some ways, the most difficult of the images to fit into a plausible sequence.  There are undoubtedly other scenarios that would makes sense, but it is impossible at this very late date to know in exactly what order the photos were taken.

Because Mag 37/R (color) was already on the IVA camera, they may have begun with the combination of camera and magazine: Neil taking 5449-5453, Buzz taking 5454-58.  Photo 5459 shows a section of the surface between those in 5452 and 5453, a piece of the surface he didn't get in that pair. He probably realized that he'd missed it and asked Buzz for the camera so he could get the shot before they started the B&W photography with Mag 39/Q (B&W).

Next they may have taken Mag 37/R (color) off the IVA camera and replaced it with Mag 39/Q (B&W).  Neil then took 5737-5749.  At this point they make have realized that they were supposed to take some photos with the EVA camera.  Mag 40/S (color) was already on the EVA camera. Perhaps Neil decided to take a couple of color images (5847-48) out his window with Mag 40 on the EVA camera while Buzz removed Mag 39/Q (B&W from the IVA camera - a process that included insertion of a dark slide while the magazine was still on the camera.  Once Buzz had Mag 39/Q (B&W) off the IVA camera, they removed Mag 40/S (color) from the EVA camera and installed Mag 39/Q (B&Q).  While Neil took 5750-62 with the EVA camera and Mag 39/Q (B&W), Buzz may have decided to put Mag 40/S (color) on the IVA camera to take a single frame (5849) showing the LM shadow below his window.  I really don't know why.  After Neil took his sequence of, he gave the EVA camera to Buzz, who took 5763-5789.  And, to finish the pre-EVA window photography, Neil took 5790-91 with Mag 39Q still on the EVA camera.

Although the compilers of the Apollo 11 Photo Index state  that "Magazine 'S' is a color magazine taken with a 60mm lens (meaning the EVA camera) aboard the LM.  With the exception of the first three exposures the entire magazine was taken upon the lunar surface at Tranquility Base." I had certainly never noticed that AS11-40-5849 does not have reseau crosses and therefore, that the image was necessarily taken with the magazine mounted on the IVA camera.   A question from Journal Contributor AwE130 about 5849 found led me to look at the image with fresh eyes and to realize that there are no reseau crosses.  A copy of 5849 has been labelled with boxes drawn around the locations were the crosses would be if the image had been taken with the EVA camera.  The boxes were drawn by overlaying 5849 on a copy of AS11-39-5760, a shot Neil took out his window with Mag 39/Q (B&W) on the EVA camera.  Click here for a copy of the 51-Mb,  full-resolution tiff file generated during scanning of 5849 from the original film.

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