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The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth

(NASA Crew Earth Observations)


















"We catch a glimpse of a huge swirl of clouds out the window over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or the boot of Italy jutting down into the Mediterranean, or the brilliant blue coral reefs of the Caribbean strutting their beauty before the stars. And...we experienced those uniquely human qualities: awe, curiosity, wonder, joy, amazement." (Russell L. Schweickart, Apollo Astronaut ("The Home Planet")






Photographing the Earth from the International Space Station

Cameras Used on the ISS and Shuttle Missions by NASA Astronauts to Photograph Earth

Nikon D4 Digital Camera

Specifications:

  • Type: Single-lens reflex digital camera
  • Lens mount: Nikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts)
  • Effective pixels: 16.2 million
  • Image sensor: 36.0 x 23.9 mm CMOS sensor (Nikon FX format)
  • Total pixels: 16.6 million
  • Dust-reduction system: Image sensor cleaning, Image Dust Off reference data (requires optional Capture NX 2 software)
  • Image size (pixels):
    • FX format (36x24): 4,928 x 3,280 [L], 3,696 x 2,456 [M], 2,464 x 1,640 [S]
    • 1.2x (30x20): 4,096 x 2,720 [L], 3,072 x 2,040 [M], 2,048 x 1,360 [S]
    • DX format (24x16): 3,200 x 2,128 [L], 2,400 x 1,592 (M), 1,600 x 1,064 (S)
    • 5:4 (30x24): 4,096 x 3,280 [L], 3,072 x 2,456 [M], 2,048 x 1,640 [S]
    • FX-format photographs taken in movie live view (16:9): 4,928 x 2,768 [L], 3,696 x 2,072 [M], 2,464 x 1,384 [S]
    • DX-format photographs taken in movie live view (16:9): 3,200 x 1,792 [L], 2,400 x 1,344 [M], 1,600 x 896 [S]
    • FX-format photographs taken in movie live view (3:2): 4,928 x 3,280 [L], 3,696 x 2,456 [M], 2,464 x 1,640 [S]
    • DX-format photographs taken in movie live view (3:2): 3,200 x 2,128 [L], 2,400 x 1,592 [M], 1,600 x 1,064 [S]
    • A DX-based format is used for photographs taken using the DX (24x16) 1.5x image area; an FX-based format is used for all other photographs
  • File format:
    • NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed or uncompressed
    • TIFF (RGB)
    • JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1:4), normal (approx. 1:8) or basic (approx. 1:16) compression (Size priority); Optimal quality compression available
    • NEF (RAW)+JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats
  • Picture Control System: Can be selected from Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape; selected Picture Control can be modified; storage for custom Picture Controls
  • Media: XQD and Type I CompactFlash memory cards (UDMA compliant)
  • Dual card slots: Either card can be used for primary or backup storage or for separate storage of NEF (RAW) and JPEG images; pictures can be copied between cards
  • File system: DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) 2.0, DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format for Digital Still Cameras) 2.3, PictBridge
  • Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
  • Frame coverage:
    • FX (36x24): Approx. 100% horizontal and 100% vertical
    • 1.2x (30x20): Approx. 97% horizontal and 97% vertical
    • DX (24x16): Approx. 97% horizontal and 97% vertical
    • 5:4 (30x24): Approx. 97% horizontal and 100% vertical
  • Magnification: Approx. 0.7x (50 mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0 m-1)
  • Eyepoint: 18 mm (-1.0 m-1; from center surface of viewfinder eyepiece lens)
  • Diopter adjustment: -3 to +1 m-1
  • Focusing screen: Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VIII screen with AF area brackets and framing grid
  • Reflex mirror: Quick return
  • Depth-of-field preview: When Pv button is pressed, lens aperture is stopped down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or by camera (P and S modes)
  • Lens aperture: Instant return, electronically controlled
  • Compatible lenses: Compatible with AF NIKKOR lenses, including type G and D lenses (some restrictions apply to PC-NIKKOR lenses), DX lenses [using DX (24x16) image area], AI-P NIKKOR lenses, and non-CPU AI lenses (exposure modes A and M only); IX-NIKKOR lenses, lenses for the F3AF, and non-AI lenses cannot be used. The electronic rangefinder can be used with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster (the electronic rangefinder supports the 11 focus points with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/8 or faster).
  • Shutter Type: Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter
  • Shutter Speed: 1/8,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV, bulb, X250
  • Shutter Flash sync speed: X=1/250 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/250 s or slower
  • Release modes: S (single frame), CL (continuous low speed), CH (continuous high speed), Q (quiet shutter-release), (self-timer), MUP (mirror up)
  • Frame advance rate: Up to approx. 10 fps (CL) or approx. 10 to 11 fps (CH)
  • Self-timer: 2 s, 5 s, 10 s, 20 s; 1 to 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2 or 3 s
  • Exposure Metering: TTL exposure metering using RGB sensor with approx. 91K (91,000) pixels
  • Metering method:
    • Matrix: 3D color matrix metering III (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering III (other CPU lenses); color matrix metering available with non-CPU lenses if user provides lens data
    • Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 12-mm circle in center of frame; diameter of circle can be changed to 8, 15 or 20 mm, or weighting can be based on average of entire frame (non-CPU lenses use 12-mm circle or average of entire frame)
    • Spot: Meters 4-mm circle (about 1.5% of frame) centered on selected focus point (on center focus point when non-CPU lens is used)
  • Range(ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 20°C/68°F):
    • Matrix or center-weighted metering: -1 to 20 EV
    • Spot metering: 2 to 20 EV
  • Exposure meter coupling: Combined CPU and AI
  • Exposure modes: Programmed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperture-priority auto (A); manual (M)
  • Exposure compensation: -5 to +5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
  • Exposure bracketing: 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
  • Exposure lock: Luminosity locked at detected value with the center of the sub-selector
  • ISO sensitivity (Recommended Exposure Index): ISO 100 to 12800 in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV; can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 or 1 EV (ISO 50 equivalent) below ISO 100 or to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1, 2, 3 or 4 EV (ISO 204800 equivalent) above ISO 12800; auto ISO sensitivity control available
  • Active D-Lighting: Can be selected from auto, extra high +2/+1, high, normal, low or off
  • ADL bracketing: 2 frames using selected value for one frame or 3 to 5 frames using preset values for all frames
  • Autofocus: Nikon Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, fine-tuning, 51 focus points (including 15 cross-type sensors; f/8 supported by 11 sensors)
  • Focus Detection range: -2 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F)
  • Lens servo:
    • Autofocus (AF): Single-servo autofocus (AF-S); continuous-servo autofocus (AF-C); predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status
    • Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used
  • Focus point: Can be selected from 51 or 11 focus points
  • AF-area modes: Single-point AF, 9-, 21- or 51-point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, auto-area AF
  • Focus lock: Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo autofocus) or by pressing the center of the sub-selector

Nikon D4

Source: http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d4/spec.htm