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mystery NASA lens


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I found this NASA surplus lens. Its a 9-27mm f3.5 wide angle zoom with unknown lens mount for 35mm motion picture cameras. Its only marked with NASA s/n 4007 but it doesn't say who manufactured it. It covers aps-c or s35 sensors and I made a canon RF adapter for it. (FFD around 30mm) So Im trying to find out where and when this lens was used. NASA themselves says they don't know. Does anyone here know? Lens manufacturers aren't allowed to put their name on lenses made for NASA I have learned.


Björn Köling


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As far as I know, apart from a Russian Konvas, 35mm movie cameras never went into space, they used 16mm Maurers and later 70mm Imax cameras. So chances are this lens never went to space. It might have been used to film something on earth for some sort of NASA testing/analysis application, who knows. 

The style doesn't look like any of the lens brands that were typically used by NASA in the film days - Nikon, Zeiss (Hasselblad), Leica, Kern, Schneider or Angenieux. It reminds me of Century adapters if anything, but I think NASA commissioned various companies to make specialised optics for them, and it's likely some sort of custom job. I don't know of any 9-27 f/3.5 zooms for 35mm cine use, it's a very wide angle zoom for that format.

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digging through the webs led me to this document:


under "Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
Stafford-Slayton-Brand (July 15-24, 1975)", in the Television section, this equipment was used:

ASTP Television System (Camera, Lens, Monitor).

Operated in Apollo and Soyuz. Zoom 6-1 and 3-1. Range 25-150 mm, 9-27 mm. F-stop 4.4-44, 3.5-35.

Focus 20"-inf,. 1'-inf. (modified Westinghouse)

searching further based on that leads to:


which appears to have your lens!

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Nice detective work Kyryll!

Being a TV lens for a 1970s video camera, the resolution specs would be pretty low, hence the ability to make such a wide, relatively fast zoom at that time. I suspect the image quality will be less than stellar (no pun intended) on a modern camera. Could be interesting though, I'm curious how much distortion it has.  

Even today you'd be hard pressed finding a S35 cine zoom that goes down to 9mm with a 3x range.

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