Author Topic: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?  (Read 1198 times)

Offline Trebor

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« on: July 11, 2020, 03:07:21 PM »
Hey all,
I have a question.
Supposedly this lens was used during Apollo and some were used by Kubrick.
But I have not been able to find any actual source for the claim that NASA used this lens... Does anyone know if they ever used it and what for?

This is the best source about this lens I came across and it does not even mention NASA: http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/sk/ac/len/page1.htm?LMCL=XrWVCq
« Last Edit: July 11, 2020, 03:09:12 PM by Trebor »

Offline raven

  • Uranus
  • ****
  • Posts: 1514
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2020, 06:23:01 PM »
Check the press kits; they list the cameras brought along.

Offline Trebor

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2020, 09:58:55 AM »
Had a look and none of them mention it. Its possible NASA may have brought some of the lenses for testing but never actually used them for anything....
Or the story is fictional. Not sure

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3489
    • Clavius
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2020, 04:21:46 PM »
The press kits mention a different Zeiss Planar lens.  I wonder if it's just mistaken identity.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline ineluki

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 172
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2020, 08:18:52 AM »
Supposedly

Zeiss mentions the lens on their website, but not as one of those that were actually used by NASA
https://www.zeiss.com/corporate/int/about-zeiss/history/50-years-moon-landing.html

https://lenspire.zeiss.com/photo/en/article/zeiss-then-and-now claims "This extremely fast lens had been used by the American space administration to take pictures of the dark side of the moon from outer space," but doesn't go into detail about what mission that would have been.

https://nasasearch.nasa.gov/search?query=zeiss+planar&affiliate=nasa&utf8=%E2%9C%93 does not mention the lens at all.

P.S.
I found a thread about it on
https://space.stackexchange.com/questions/37975/stanley-kubrick-used-a-nasa-inspired-lens-to-film-by-candlelight-in-barry-lyndon

Had a look and none of them mention it. Its possible NASA may have brought some of the lenses for testing but never actually used them for anything....
Or the story is fictional. Not sure

It ssems unlikely that Zeiss would have completely invented the story, I guess NASA might have considered the use of the lens, but ultimately preferred the longer focal lengths.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 09:06:31 AM by ineluki »

Offline Trebor

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 203
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2020, 01:53:17 PM »
Thanks for that,
The quote ""This extremely fast lens had been used by the American space administration to take pictures of the dark side of the moon from outer space,""
Is what caused me to look into this as it doesn't make any sense. Although I'm just a numpty I don't see the point of them trying to photograph the moon at night from orbit, and don't see the value of photographing with a lens that short.
Its just weird.

Offline Abaddon

  • Saturn
  • ****
  • Posts: 1128
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2020, 03:19:18 PM »
Well, we know that only ten of them were manufactured. NASA purchased six, Kubrick purchased three, Zeiss retained one.

We know what Kubrick used his for. NASA and Zeiss not so much. Zeiss was probably so they could show off. "Look what we made"

I had a rummage in the Apollo record but drew a blank. Perhaps they have simply been mis-identified in the Apollo record as Jay suggested.

Offline onebigmonkey

  • Saturn
  • ****
  • Posts: 1418
  • ALSJ Clown
    • Apollo Hoax Debunked
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2020, 01:12:06 PM »
The most likely Apollo photography for the lens would have been the dim light/Earthshine sessions done in Apollo 15 and 16. These used Nikon cameras rather than Hasselblads and refer to an f/1.2 lens, not the 0.7. Gemini also did 'dim light' imagery, but seem to have used an  f/2.8 planar lens

I do remember reading somewhere, sadly not where, that these were definitely off-the-shelf purchases and not the often claimed commissions. I think that is something that has grown with the telling and neither Zeiss nor NASA have any actual records to say different!

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3489
    • Clavius
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2020, 09:12:40 PM »
Another thing to keep in mind is that the press kits aren't entirely accurate.  I've found errors in them before.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline apollo16uvc

  • Mars
  • ***
  • Posts: 340
  • Where no telescope has gone before.
    • Patreon
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2020, 06:49:22 AM »
Are there actually any records of this?

Apollo didn't use one.(records?) The fastest lens used on Apollo was likely the Nikkor f1.2 for dim light 35mm photography.

That leaves the Lunar Orbiter, Ranger and Surveyor probes.

Big, crazy fast lenses were often custom commisioned for spy satellites, where money is no object.

Are the any closeup photos of the Lunar Orbiter and Ranger optical assembly?
Watch me at: YouTube
Experience the past: Flickr
Support me on Patreon

Offline JayUtah

  • Neptune
  • ****
  • Posts: 3489
    • Clavius
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2020, 11:47:44 AM »
The J-mission Apollo SM was effectively a spy satellite, since the mapping camera it carried was, at the time, based on classified technology.  But I don't think any of those lenses were f/0.7.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline ineluki

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 172
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2020, 05:15:42 AM »
Big, crazy fast lenses were often custom commisioned for spy satellites, where money is no object.

Probably not with a focal length of only 50mm though.

Offline BertieSlack

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2020, 07:15:52 AM »
The J-mission Apollo SM was effectively a spy satellite, since the mapping camera it carried was, at the time, based on classified technology.  But I don't think any of those lenses were f/0.7.
Somebody (GoneToPlaid I think) told me that the published prints of the Apollo 15 mapping camera images were of deliberately reduced resolution because the US did not want the USSR to know how good their orbital imaging capability had become.

Offline apollo16uvc

  • Mars
  • ***
  • Posts: 340
  • Where no telescope has gone before.
    • Patreon
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2020, 04:12:20 PM »
I don't think so... I got a Panoramic Mapping Camera duplicate negative 3 meters long and its resolution is very close to that of the 8 gigapixel scans online made with the Leica DSW700 of the original film.

Same goes for some huge 24" prints I got of Apollo 14 Hycon camera photos.

Hycon: https://www.flickr.com/photos/steamarchive/49179891907/in/album-72157709700081717/


The NASA basically took Fairchild and ITEK mapping camera's from U-2s and SR-71s and put them inside the command module SIM bay.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 04:15:14 PM by apollo16uvc »
Watch me at: YouTube
Experience the past: Flickr
Support me on Patreon

Offline BertieSlack

  • Earth
  • ***
  • Posts: 134
Re: Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f/0.7 in Apollo?
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2020, 04:25:44 PM »
I don't think so... I got a Panoramic Mapping Camera duplicate negative 3 meters long and its resolution is very close to that of the 8 gigapixel scans online made with the Leica DSW700 of the original film.

Same goes for some huge 24" prints I got of Apollo 14 Hycon camera photos.

Hycon: https://www.flickr.com/photos/steamarchive/49179891907/in/album-72157709700081717/


The NASA basically took Fairchild and ITEK mapping camera's from U-2s and SR-71s and put them inside the command module SIM bay.

GTP was talking about what was publicly available shortly after the missions.......