Do NASA Astronauts Shoot Nikon or Canon? What About Raw?

It's not every day that a video interview keeps me interested, undeterred by distractions, the entire time I'm watching it. But this one definitely did, mainly because it involves something that probably 90 percent of little boys, one of which I used to be, often dream of: being an astronaut. And learning about taking photos in space is just icing on the cake.

In this interview, Photo-Educator Jared Polin has a nice chat with NASA Astronaut Randy Bresnik about his experiences creating photographs aboard the International Space Station. Bresnik just got back from a stint on the station, and agreed to an interview. It's pretty cool to be able to call up NASA and arrange something like that. In a short 20 minutes, Polin gets him talking about everything from his grandfather's photography legacy to pixel damage due to cosmic radiation hitting camera sensors.

Does NASA shoot Nikon or Canon? Do the astronauts shoot raw? What shutter speeds do they tend to use? Do they photograph just for "work," or do they shoot for fun as well? Grab some coffee and watch this video to find out the answers to these questions, and more. And then consider checking out how to become an astronaut. You know, just in case. If you don't make the cut, though, you can just follow Bresnik on Instagram.

[via Jared Polin]

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michael buehrle's picture

and they just got a bunch of new (no modifications needed)D5's.

Spy Black's picture

That blue background behind Bresnik was making his video camera's white balance go bonkers. Nice interview. Canon cameras may rule on earth, but Nikon rules in space. ;-)

In the early days they would sometimes mount the Hasselblads on the astronaut's chest, as you can see in the moon shot below. Not sure if any of the 2-1/4 moons shots were ever handheld or if they were all shot from chest level. I believe the Nikon Fs that went into space remained in the capsule, and did not do EVAs, except for possibly modified models like you see in the Gemini shot below.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Jared was kind of unenthusiastic...

Fritz Asuro's picture

I think he just toned down from his "crazy" style just to be in level with the interviewee.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

But interviewee was much more fun this time :)

Ralph Hightower's picture

Wow! Jared "Fro Knows Photo!" is humble and awestruck. I'm impressed!
My wife and I have met a few astronauts.
The first was Charles Bolden. My wife and I were celebrating an anniversary at a local franchise when I saw a family walk in. I told Paula "I recognize that guy, and that's his mom." Bolden was taking a break from the Challenger investigation during the Christmas holidays to visit his family in Columbia, South Carolina. Both he and his mom were on local TV talking about the Challenger disaster and the risks of spaceflight. We waited until after they had paid their bill; I didn't want to interrupt their family time.
The next few were like "shooting fish in a barrel". We went to an Astronaut Memorabilia and Autograph event. We met Chris Ferguson and I told him that Atlantis was the second final flight that I've seen, That intrigued him "Second? What was the first?" I answered "Apollo" and he asked "17 or Soyuz?" I answered "Soyuz" During that event, we met Tom Stafford and Vance Brand, who were on the final flight of Apollo. We also met Kathy Thorton and got her autograph.