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Amazing NASA photographs by Nikon

Updated on September 8, 2013

Beautiful NASA photos taken in space.

Nikon D3s NASA photos taken in space

Latest images captured with Nikon D3S and Nikkor lenses ordered by NASA for use on board the International Space Station.

Images taken on board the International Space Station have been released by Nikon. The images were taken using Nikon D3S digital SLR cameras, Nikkor lenses, Speedlights and other accessories found on board the ISS. More than 700,000 images have been captured using Nikon equipment carried into space.

Nikon DS3 Space Images from NASA
Nikon DS3 Space Images from NASA

Nikon and NASA

Nikon's relationship with NASA began in 1971 with the Nikon Photomic FTN, a modified Nikon F camera that was used aboard Apollo 15. From 2008, digital cameras such as the Nikon D2X and D3S have been used on board. In 2009, NASA ordered 11 D3S cameras and 7 AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses for use in recording activities aboard the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. These cameras were the same product available to consumers with no special modifications.

As of now, the ISS holds on board:

11 Nikon D3S DSLR cameras

8 Nikon D2XS DSLR cameras (modified according to NASA specifications for recording extravehicular activities)

36 NIKKOR lenses (including 3 teleconverters)

7 SB-800 Speedlights

4 D2XS eyepieces - made exclusively for NASA

Miscellaneous accessories.

The 2 latest images depict extravehicular activities on the STS-131 mission, showing astronauts as they work to tie down an Amonnia Tank Assembly on the ISS during STS-131 spacewalk (below) along with an image showing the ISS, Space Shuttle and Earth captured from the ISS.

Nikon & NASA - The Story.

Press Release:

For the first time, Nikon introduces the latest images captured in space by D3S digital-SLR cameras and Nikkor interchangeable lenses used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The images exhibited were captured with equipment, including Nikon D3S digital-SLR cameras, NIKKOR lenses, Speedlights and other accessories, kept aboard the ISS. To date, NASA has captured more than 700,000 images with Nikon equipment carried into space. Among these many images, those rare and precious photos that can only be captured from space, as well as those captured under the extremely low-light conditions of space that exhibit the superior image quality of D3S noise suppression features are introduced.

Nikon has spent many years contributing to NASA's study of space through the development and manufacture of advanced and extremely durable cameras and NIKKOR lenses. Production of Nikkor lenses, which make the most of Nikon's optical technologies, reached fifty million units last September. Nikon's history with NASA began with the Nikon Photomic FTN※, a modified Nikon F camera that was used aboard the Apollo 15 in 1971. Nikon's relationship with NASA continued even with the transition to digital when NASA placed orders for Nikon D2XS digital-SLR cameras in 2008. These cameras are still being used in space today. In 2009, NASA ordered eleven D3S cameras and seven AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lenses for use in recording activities aboard the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. The D3S cameras were the same products available to consumers with no special modifications, and they were delivered to the ISS via the Space Shuttle Discovery launched on April 5, 2010.

Nikon DS3 Digital SLR Camera

Power. Precision. Performance. The bluprint for versatility.

The D3S is uniquely qualified to meet the changing needs of photographers whose assignments demand 100% from them and their equipment. Leading with uncompromising FX-format multimedia versatility and engineered for demanding professional use at up to 9 fps, the D3S' rugged magnesium alloy construction, comprehensively sealed against dust and moisture, delivers on its promises of superiority. Exacting moments in time are captured to an expanded buffer, allowing continuous capture of up to 82 JPEG (fine) or 36 14-bit NEF (RAW) images.

Nikon's newly engineered, original 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, teamed with exclusive technologies such as EXPEED image processing, Nikon's Scene Recognition System and a fast, accurate 51-area AF system, work together to assure that both still and smooth 24 fps HD video files exhibit incredible edge-to-edge sharpness, rich color depth and broad tonal range, while barrier-breaking performance enables low-noise ISO sensitivity to 12,800.

Expanded ISO sensitivities of 25,600, 51,200 and an astounding 102,400, shatter many long-standing rules of photography. Audio to accompany HD video is preserved with a built-in microphone, while high fidelity stereo sound is recorded through the external Mic input using an optional microphone. More proven technologies include Nikon's renowned 1,005-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II, assuring exacting exposure evaluation and white balance detection. Precise image review and menu access comes to life with the D3S' tempered glass-protected and individually factory-calibrated 3-inch, 921,000-dot Live View monitor. A self-diagnostic shutter, tested to beyond 300,000 cycles, and a myriad of inherent benefits stemming from decades of Nikon design experience, round out the D3S' qualifications to meet the needs of professional photographers.

Nikon D3S 12.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and 24fps 720p HD Video Capability (Body Only)
Nikon D3S 12.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and 24fps 720p HD Video Capability (Body Only)

12.1-megapixel, FX-format CMOS sensor; 720p HD video capture

Body only; lenses sold separately

Low-noise ISO sensitivity from 200 to 12,800; continuous shooting up to 9fps

Fast, accurate 51-point AF system; Nikon EXPEED image processing

3-inch super-density 921,000-dot VGA LCD; one-button Live View with two shooting modes

Dual CF card slots with overflow, backup and copy options (CF card not included); up to 4,300 images per battery charge

The D3S is uniquely qualified to meet the changing needs of photographers whose assignments demand 100% from them and their equipment. Leading with uncompromising FX-format multimedia versatility and engineered for demanding professional use at up to 9 fps, the D3S rugged magnesium alloy construction, comprehensively sealed against dust and moisture, delivers on its promises of superiority. Exacting moments in time are captured to an expanded buffer, allowing continuous capture of up to 82 JPEG (fine) or 36 14-bit NEF (RAW) images.

 

Astronaut!

Astronaut!
Astronaut!

Just think - This is our universe!

Floating Apple

A peak inside

Space Shuttle -Top View - Breath-taking Imagery.

I Call Window Seat

Blue

NASA & Nikon's Equipment

In addition to the extreme environment of space, Nikon also provides official observation equipment used in exploring the Antarctic. Nikon equipment contributes to observation and research of these little explored regions with durability, reliability and technical capabilities that stand up to even the most severe environments.

Nikon products kept aboard the ISS

One Nikon D3S digital-SLR camera: Delivered to the ISS via the Discovery with Space Shuttle mission STS-131, which returned on April 20, 2010. Images are primarily those of the surface of the earth and nighttime scenes. Standard consumer product (no modifications).

Eight Nikon D2XS digital-SLR cameras: Modified according to NASA specifications for recording extravehicular activities (EVA)

Thirty-Six Nikkor lenses (including three teleconverters)

7 SB-800 Speedlights

4 D2XS eyepieces: Eyepieces made exclusively for NASA. Special eyepiece viewfinders that enable image framing and verification through a space helmet with extravehicular activities.

Miscellaneous (filters, cables, etc.)

Primary images captured by Nikon products

Examples of the images we have are as follows:

Image of extravehicular activities on the STS-131 mission. View of astronauts, as they work to tie down an Ammonia Tank Assembly on the International Space Station during STS-131 spacewalk.

Image of the ISS, Space Shuttle and Earth captured from the ISS

Nikon’s history with NASA

1971: Nikon Photomic FTN (NASA specifications) was used on Apollo 15

1980: The “Small Camera”, based on the Nikon F3 and equipped with a motor drive, and the F3 "Big Camera", which utilized long film, were delivered to NASA. The “Small Camera” was used aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia launched the following year.

1991: The Nikon F4 and F4S were delivered to NASA

1999: The Nikon F5 and AI AF Nikkor lens were carried aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery to photograph extravehicular activities (EVA)

2008: D2XS digital-SLR cameras were delivered to NASA. Eight D2XS cameras are still used in space to document activities such as inspections and maintenance operations.

In addition, approximately 15 types of lenses, more than 35 all together, are kept aboard the International Space Station for intra- and extravehicular photography that supports NASA’s space activities.

Astronaut on the ledge

Nikon DS3 Space Images from NASA astronaut
Nikon DS3 Space Images from NASA astronaut

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    • Jkak profile image
      Author

      Jkak 6 years ago

      @agoofyidea: i know! these pictures amaze me again and again. They are beautiful!

    • agoofyidea profile image

      agoofyidea 6 years ago

      These pictures prove that we need to get back into space ASAP. There is so much to explore and all of it is mind-blowing wonderful. Thanks for the great lens.