What film was used for Apollo missions?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Neil Gould, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Neil Gould

    Neil Gould Guest

    Neil Gould, Aug 28, 2007
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  2. Neil Gould

    UC Guest

    UC, Aug 28, 2007
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  3. Neil Gould

    Peter Guest

    The site you referenced lists the colour slide films as
    Kodak SO-121 Ektachrome MS and
    Kodak SO-368 Ektachrome MS.

    see: <http://apollo.sese.asu.edu/RESOURCES/apollo_films.txt>

    These appear to be special versions of the Ektachrome films
    of the time. I would guess that the big differences between
    SO-368 and the Ektachrome-X that people used on earth
    at the time are that it was on a polyester Estar base instead
    of acetate and had a really aggressive UV filter layer .
    Indicates a scan resolution of 100 pixels/mm for the
    Ektachrome. I would guess that they tried higher
    resolutions and didn't get any meaningful extra information.
    This doesn't surprise me given what I know of the
    Ektachrome films of the time.

    The B&W films were mostly Aero Panatomic-X which
    they are scanning at 200 pixels/mm.

    At They estimate that the actual resultion on the films is
    about 1/(2^.5) of the scan resolution. This would equate
    to 71 lp/mm of useful resolution on the Pan-X - this is
    very good for real-world performance on medium
    format black and white film. It doesn't surprise me
    in the least that the Ektachrome images are only
    half that good in practice.

    As for "well past the grain" - it can't be true in a
    literal sense - the largest grains are quite a bit smaller
    than a scanned pixel. But it might be beyond
    the point where the graininess of the film becomes

    Peter, Aug 29, 2007
  4. I think some of the pre-Apollo NASA flights used Anscochrome!
    Ansco eventually became GAF and made a complete exit from the
    photographic world (as did Dupont, makers of the best variable contrast
    black and white papers back in the day). Those last Ansco products were
    process E-3.
    George Mastellone, Aug 29, 2007
  5. Neil Gould

    Neil Gould Guest


    Thanks for reviewing the site and the detailed information regarding these
    films. I was thrown by the comments about film "grain", and yet it is easy
    to understand that there many be little benefit to using a higher scan
    rate for the Ektachrome.


    Neil Gould, Aug 29, 2007
  6. Neil Gould

    darkroommike Guest

    YUP as I recall ESTAR was the choice for several reasons.

    Thinner base so the could stuff more frames into each back.

    Dimensionally stable so that they could use photo
    interpretive metrics to scale objects in photos.

    And ESTAR is much tougher so less chance of a roll of film
    breaking in camera.

    And the stuff would be more like Aero-ektachrome than the
    stuff we could buy.

    darkroommike, Aug 31, 2007
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