Analog cameras have been used intensively on the Moon and inside orbital space stations or ships.

Were analog cameras ever used during an EVA outside Spacelab, Mir, ISS or Space Shuttle? In zero gravity as well as in space vacuum and after the Apollo mission?

This excellent photo was taken 2013 using a digital still camera.

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    $\begingroup$ By analog do you mean a film camera? $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2022 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ What about Skylab? I do not know the details of the photos of their spacewalks, but it looks like at least some would have been taken from a camera that was "outside". (Perhaps the photographer was standing in the open hatch of the command module, but still in a vacuum.) What about Gemini? Obviously before Apollo, but is your question about "only spacewalks after Apollo", or is it about "film cameras used in the vacuum of space during a space walk"? $\endgroup$
    – JohnHoltz
    Apr 8, 2022 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


Were analog cameras ever used during an EVA outside Spacelab, Mir, ISS or Space Shuttle?

Yes, lots of different cameras, see links below:

In zero gravity as well as in space vacuum and after the Apollo mission?

Before as well? Yes, See below: - (I am only including those used in EVA, not when inside the spacecraft (the fourth person in space, Gherman Titov, was the first in-space photographer.))

This link is very fascinating:


NASA Nikon Space Cameras

The technologies Nikon used in developing cameras for NASA finally went into use in 1971. The modified F camera and some modified interchangeable lenses were provided to NASA for the Apollo 15 mission. Then, in 1973, a modified version of the F camera with a motor drive and modified lens were supplied for use aboard Skylab.

in the late 70s, Nikon went to work on camera models for NASA that were based on the F3 body. There were the "Small Camera", which was equipped with a motor drive, and the "Big Camera" for long film that were delivered to NASA for use aboard the space shuttle in 1981.

Auto focus officially arrived in space in the late 1980s along with Nikon's F4S, and the digital age was ushered in with the hybrid NASA Nikon F4 Electronic Still Camera in 1991.

Kodak's collaboration with Nikon resulted in the high resolution and more compact Kodak DCS 460 cameras which took over digital duties in 1996 and the F5 film camera brought autofocus to spacewalks in December of 1999.

A short time later, an F5 body on a Kodak Digital chassis flew into space as the Kodak DCS 660. The DCS 760 replaced the 660 shortly thereafter, then NASA went with all-Nikon digitals, the D1, D2XS, the D3, D3X, D3S, D4, D4S and the D800E.

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The Nikon F was the first Nikon commissioned by NASA to be taken into space. The F would debut in the late Apollo era and also be taken into space during the Skylab missions in the early 1970s.



Zeiss Contarex Camera and Lens

.. camera and lens were attached to the top of Ed White's maneuvering unit during his spacewalk for Gemini IV.

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The Zeiss Ikon Contarex Special 35mm camera featured a 50mm Planar lens and was mounted on Astronaut Ed White’s Hand-Held Maneuvering Unit (HHMU). The entire contraption was attached to the astronaut by a surprisingly thin wrist tether. Compressed oxygen in two bottles, one forward-facing jet and two rear-facing jets, allowed the astronaut to make small movements in outer space.

White managed to make twelve images in space, an unsurprisingly small number considering his hindered movement and the difficulty of operating a camera in a space suit. White had to hold the “Zip Gun” as they called it, in his right hand as close as possible to his center of gravity. To depress the shutter he had to use his left hand. The restrictions of movement, his gloves and limited vision from his EVA visor made taking images very difficult, and most were of poor quality. White found maneuvering with the device easy, especially the pitch and yaw, although he thought the roll would use too much gas. He maneuvered around the spacecraft while McDivitt took photographs. White had far exceeded his suit’s cooling capacity, producing severe condensation in his helmet and sweat streaming into his eyes.

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Salyut 1W was one of the first Soviet space cameras. It was designed for Soyuz 4 space mission launched on 14 January 1969.

The camera featured a special grip and viewfinder, as well as enlarged controls, enabling the operation of the camera in large spacesuit gloves. The offered example is in excellent, original condition and includes a modified Industar-29 2.8/80mm no.6700294, a special viewfinder, two film magazines and a matching grip. A similar camera is on permanent display in Yuri Gagarin Museum.


Aleksei Leonov was not only the first man to do a spacewalk in space on March 18 1965, he carried the first camera with him on his EVA too.

His spacesuit woes meant that he was very quickly unable to operate the shutter on the camera unfortunately.

"My fingers' tips no longer felt the glove tips, my feet were floating in my boots, but the main thing was, I was unable to reach the shutter release on my camera."

“I had a thought about dropping the camera, but I felt very bad about giving it up and losing all that great material,”

“Then, I grabbed again with my both hands...the airlock’s edge and inserted both legs simultaneously, in advance, holding the camera in the right hand. After this, pulling myself in and holding with my left hand, I began inserting the camera with my right hand.”

So, as the other comments and answers point out, analogue cameras were used in EVA's before and after the Apollo missions and all the way through until digital versions replaced them in the last few decades.

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    $\begingroup$ Great stuff and references! $\endgroup$ Apr 10, 2022 at 3:42

This famous photo of Bruce McCandless II was taken on a 70mm camera which was probably a Hasselblad. But the camera that took this iconic image was almost certainly inside the orbiter. Bruce McCandless II free floating outside the space shuttle orbiter And the camera you see in the image is a modified Nikon F3 covered in thermal blankets. Also an analogue camera.

Ist seems, astronauts started to use digital cameras universaly pretty late. Probably as late as 2008!

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    $\begingroup$ Digital cameras may not have been universal until surprisingly late, but STS-41 flew an early digital Nikon in 1991 $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2022 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Andrew oh, thank you, I'll update my answer accordingly. $\endgroup$
    – TrySCE2AUX
    Apr 8, 2022 at 13:50
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have a source that verifies the shoulder mounted camera is a Nikon film camera? If so, this would be a good answer. $\endgroup$ Apr 8, 2022 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ Does this count ? : "Astronaut Bruce McCandless takes a NASA Nikon F3 EVA Small Camera out for a ride on the MMU" - timmchapman.com/gallery/nasa-thermal-blankets $\endgroup$ Apr 9, 2022 at 22:12

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