Nikon gear in space

Image credit: NASA

Camera porn: NASA astronaut Don Pettit on board of theΒ ISS with a bunch of Nikon cameras and lenses.

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  • Johan Ngalianto

    Very cool Nikon !

    • karl

      why the heck to they need 10 bodies ???!!!

      …to shoot Nikon PR shots like this I guess…

      • I guess it is one camera per astronaut plus a backup body.

        • Sahaja

          They must have used another camera to shoot the picture as well.

          I cost a lot of taxpayer’s money to get each of those cameras up there.

      • homero

        most likely the astronaut is a reseller!

      • Rich in TX

        I am sure the reason they send so many up there is so they can sell them on Ebay for $100k each upon return.

        If you ask ken rockwell I am sure he would say all you need is one camera (D70s, because of course 6mp is enough for anything. (anyone remember bill gates?)_)

        Rockwell would almost certainly use the 18-200 vr since it is a one lens fits all

      • Andrew

        Why, you never traveled with backup cameras?

        • Z

          Never, Nikon pro cameras almost never fail.

      • distanted

        The turn-around time for a repair job is kind of slow, plus shipping charges are a bear.

      • komalkumar

        Please notice that each body has a different lens on it….. it is to save time on changing lens !! they are not back up or sales promos πŸ™‚

      • …it adds mass to the ISS to keep it in orbit. Them pro bodies ain’t light.

      • T.I.M

        In space dusts are “flying”, even with the space station’s air filters, there is always dusts in the air.

        So, taking “in and out” lenses from the camera will end up having the sensor full of dust, because they will not drop from the sensor when the camera does a cleaning (actualy shaking) as it does on earth.

        So having a camera for each lens keep the sensors clean.


        • T.I.M

          On earth, thanks to gravity, the dusts are falling from the sensor when it get a cleanning (shaking)

          No gravity in space, so the dust stay on the sensor, even after cleaning.

      • Mel


        It’s kind of a long trip back to get a replacement :/

  • simon

    look at the special IR D3 in his left hand,

    • iamlucky13

      If you want a closer look, I found the full-resolution copy (10 MP) on NASA’s site:

      Short caption. Click “high res” for the full size version.

      Unfortunately, the picture was taken with an old D2Xs, so it’s pretty grainy.

      I like how they red-sharpied the white “Nikon” text on the infrared body.

      I see some binoculars in the photo, too, but I can’t tell if they’re also Nikon or another brand.

      • …shot with a D2x and a 17-35.

        And the big tele in is right hand has a D2 of some sort in it. (I’d guess another D2x).

      • JLK

        Coloring the logo red is a great idea. I always have to take a picture with my IR camera to make sure I have the right one. See, sometimes it really does require a rocket scientist. πŸ˜‰

  • Daniel

    I think the Chinese spacelab also use Nikon’s gear. But someone told me they use Canon’s. Who knows the truth?

    • danei

      They use both, but canon more than nikon.

    • kyoshinikon

      Nasa doesn’t use canon currently because the last time they tried to send a canon dslr kit up, the fluorite lenses became unstable and shattered from the vibration. That cost them $15,000

      • Until you can show a source I’m going to call that one a fanboy lie

  • Mike

    I say dear old boy, do you have a camera I camera I can borrow?

    • Sahaja

      Sorry, they only lend them to ET

  • MuttonPuncher

    I cringe when I see so many naked lenses with no caps on.

    • karl

      it’s not like they could drop a lens or something…

      • D400

        +1 lol

      • Calibrator


      • OtherJames


      • Cx


        • Funduro

          + 1

      • …back when I was gentle on gear, I ran with no caps or UV filters. No problems. Never damaged any gear. These days I use filters, and they’ve saved gear a couple times. But I’m way more reckless and take more risks to get the shot now. I think I’ve killed about six filters and three lenses. Two of those filters were on the same lens (at different times).

        Anyway, protective coverings don’t make a difference if you’re careful with your gear. Horses for courses, etc…

    • Michel

      No wonder lens caps get misplaced, you cant just put them down somewhere and find them in the same place when you get back

    • kyoshinikon

      Only my 14-24mm has a cap on it…

    • Nikon User

      Cringe? Why, are you a TAXPAYER? =:[>]

    • Me

      Not a lot of dust up there you know!!

      • Sahaja

        I’ll bet astronauts have dandruff and flaky skin just like everyone else.

  • Fundero

    So that’s were all the D800/D4 are.

    • pragjna

      I doubt there’s on up there πŸ˜‰ nor is on the way.

    • They’re on back order.

      • Anon


  • i wonder if the LEFT AF bank focuses correctly…in space πŸ˜€

  • matus141

    soooo this is why nikon is better than canon πŸ˜€ oh i wish i could have one of those… πŸ™‚


    I just heard his D800E is on the truck, out for delivery from B&H!

  • aham

    no caps ? what a shame, there why we all likes nikon..

  • metsatsu

    Do they need VR in space?

    • Calibrator

      Unless the photographer is floating around dead.

    • Lol, Good call! Maybe Nikon should add another notch to the VR switch.


  • Rx4Phto

    You see, those folks don’t have to actually PAY FOR the gear like we do so they couldn’t care less about replacing a lens cap. I recently lost the cap to my 24-70 and already looking to order a new one.

    • Art K.

      A NASA screwdriver costs probably as much as a 24-70, for them it’s peanuts…

  • Mike

    So this explains where all the D800E are.

  • kaze kaze

    I “see” 10 + 1 camera, dont forget the D2Xs and the 20mm prime shooting it.

  • Quick someone see if they spot a D4S or D400. They did get a per-production D3S, not sure if they got a per-production D4/D800

    • pragjna

      Wait, what’s that on his right hand with the massive lens. Looks like a D4x for me. πŸ˜›

  • Alan

    Virtual Horizon works up there?

  • Jim

    I read that cameras aren’t brought down due to space concerns (no pun intended).. once they go up there, they stay up there. That may change in the future..

    Also just found out there’s 12 (likely very valuable) Hassleblad cameras on the moon. Crazy!

  • nuno santacana

    This number of cameras is very far from equilibrium. They should be more equally distributed.

  • jon

    Cool. Looks like a couple of 180s on two of those bodies.

  • Nathan

    What? No Hasselblad? I guess they can’t say they’ve been on every manned space mission any longer.

    • distanted

      You’ve stumbled onto NASA’s dirty little secret: it wasn’t the rockets that ate up all those billions of dollars, it was mounting a half-dozen ‘blads to the launch tower each time.

  • D

    Very, very sexy.

    • Calibrator

      Yeah – he’s a real hunk!

  • Rad

    Is it possible to see the clouds throught the window in the ISS, or is this a fake?

    • JLK

      Yes, you can see the clouds behind him.

    • I’m assuming this window that he is near is a spot that they photograph the earth from that’s probably why the Earth is in the background. And from space you can see the ocean and clouds which is what you are seeing in the background of this photo… which may get confused as the sky and clouds… Obviously anything can be faked but I don’t think so in this case.

      • Zeke

        That window is the ISS cupola.

  • rt3

    i guess this is why NIKON is so expensive – Made on Earth, Tested in Space!

    • MikeV

      HA πŸ™‚

  • Spaceman Obvious

    Seeing as it is so expensive to send things into space and the have to be wary of every gram… you’d think someone at NASA would have suggested changing lenses… πŸ˜‰

    • Ron Kenwell


      They did save weight on lens caps though. πŸ˜‰

  • Geek question for everyone:
    Auto focus is slow on earth because the af motor has to move giant heavy glass like on the 85mm 1.4. Because they are in space with very little gravity, how much faster is autofocus in the station? Can they use af at all?

    • znsel

      Don’t confuse weight with mass. Mass does not disappear up there…

    • Yes, you can use 3 or more nikkor AF lenses for ISS orientation.

  • Josh

    I can tell you exactly why he has so many cameras. Unlike a Formula 1 race, where we can all go and take photos, we can’t all go to space, so those cameras are for all of the news agencies photographers.

    • Josh

      In fact, I think I see peices of tape on all of the equipment with names or ids on hand written on them.

  • Pat Fahey

    Wouldn’t it be nice to be so rich that you never had to mess with lens caps?

    Oh, yeah. And not a B&H mug in sight.


  • Old Amsterdam

    There’s a Dutch astronaut in the ISS at the moment.
    His (Nikon) pics:

  • In space, cameras like these are a dime a dozen, apparently. πŸ™‚

  • OMR

    I Can’t see the D5100.

  • Pablo Ricasso

    Hmm. I think I know why there aren’t any Canons in there. One of them thar astronauts would probably be tempted to take one and use it for a meteorite.

  • dave

    I suppose weightlessness really comes in handy with that mm f/2.0 (or whatever that monster lens is) πŸ™‚

    • dave

      “200mm f/2.0”, damn typos…

  • Are there any openings for a photographer on the ISS?

  • jsr4522

    It is very easy to hand hold a 600mm lens in space.

    • Z


  • bob2

    It’s a hoax, just like the moon landings, it never happended.

    Proof? They’d be using Canons and Hasselblads if it were a REAL space station, definitely not Nikons (Nikons are for amateurs). Photo probably taken in some Hollywood studio….

    • Anon

      The lighting is not real.

    • Darkside

      And you sir, is a hoax. Your birth never happened.

  • Andrew

    Now that’s the ultimate photographer!

  • Andrew

    This is the kit I want. I wonder how much Nikon will charge for this.

  • Spy Black

    Seems to me a great way to damage the front element on those optics as they float around and smash into each other.

  • cruser2469

    Wow. there really is a heaven up there.

  • B!

    Right along with Thinkpads πŸ™‚

    Sorry Apple fanboys, maybe next time. LOL

  • Nightrider

    And the worst part is that, in case of Soyus re-entry, the equipment gets to be burned up in the atmosphere!

  • Ren Kockwell

    Why is Robert DeNiro in outer space? Filming the sequel to Taxi Driver. Shuttle Driver.

  • Foolishcfo

    I bet he can take shots through people’s bedroom windows from space with that lens in his right hand!

  • Ralph

    With the increase in weight of Nikon gear over the years its amazing the Shuttle ever left the ground.

  • David Swenson

    There is an IR modified camera in his left hand. About a month ago I purchased a modified D800 (for astrophotography) from the company that performed the NASA mod and just recieved it yesterday. I was on the waiting listy for about 4 weeks. I cant wait to get out under some dark skies and see what it will do.

  • Pablo Ricasso

    It will do zero to 18,000 in ninety minutes. But it’s not as good at braking and cornering…

  • Chris

    Oh and there are about a couple of Nikon cameras that went to the moon or on the moon right now. Speaking of those cameras on the ISS, they actually don’t bring those back that’s why there’s a lot of it in there! Most of them are from previous Shuttle and Soyuz missions.

  • Ken_X

    No tripod? How possible?

  • 26081989

    This many camera’s only surprises me because of the weight they have to haul up there. Given that the estimate price of getting 1 kilo into space is like 10.000 dollar, the purchase price of these camera’s isnt really the issue. My best bet is that these camera’s all have a specific goal or task and are spread out across the ISS (hence the labeling etc). Also, an astronaut has way more important things to do that lens changes or lens caps I guess.

  • 26081989

    Oops, want email notifications..

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