Space is Better Captured – The Cameras In and Outside the ISS

It’s not all science aboard the International Space Station. Astronaut Scott Kelly proved you need to stop and take in the view. They are members of an elite club. Residents aboard the space station who get to capture mesmerizing views of Earth while conducting cutting-edge science experiments.

For Scott Kelly, his camera of choice was the Nikon D4, though there are images through his incredible year in space shot on a Nikon D800. In a bit of a twist, the Nikon D850 is set for release in the coming days and hopefully lives up to its predecessors and makes it up to space soon.

ISS and Nikon?

When you’re scrolling through Flickr, it seems the space station and its crew has a thing for Nikon. That’s true inside the space station. What about outside the ISS? Check out this stunning 4K footage captured:

Give it up for the low-light mirrorless king, the Sony a7s II. Mounted inside the Japanese Experiment Module, it features the camera body and a 28-135mm FE PZ F4 G OSS lens. The video you are watching has the lens set at 28mm and the ISO stretching to 51200. The a7s is known for its low light performance, and Sony definitely showcased it outside the ISS. It’s stunningly beautiful.

While you may not get the shots from the ISS, you can get a similar setup for around $5,000 on Amazon. (Camera / Lens).

The other non-Nikon camera aboard the ISS is a GoPro. Earlier this year, Astronaut Thomas Pesquet grabbed a GoPro for a spacewalk to install a new computer and few other assorted maintenance tasks.

And what would a space walk be without a selfie?

Selfie outside ISS

Nikon Still Dominant Aboard the ISS

In 2016, Astronaut Jeff Williams and NASA released a three-minute video of him talking cameras.

He’s obviously a Nikon fan, and his go-to setup is a Nikon D4 – the ISS has several bodies aboard and a selection of lenses – with the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 ED VR. What type of pricing are we looking at for that on the ground? You’d have to go used or upgrade to the Nikon D5 which is nearly $6500. My tip would be to wait for the D850’s release and save $2500 because the lens mentioned is $2400. May as well have the megapixels and non-cropped 4K video.

Below are a few of the stunning shots captured on the Nikon D4:

International Space Station sunrise
Sunrise from the ISS. Nikon D4 at 28mm f/1.4. Shutter speed: 0.8 seconds and ISO 12800
Crackling aurora ISS
Aurora from the ISS. Nikon D4 at 24.5mm f/1.4. Shutter speed 2 seconds at ISO 8000
Low pressure from the ISS
Low pressure near Morocco
aurora capture outside the ISS
Aurora capture. Nikon D4 at 24mm f/1.4. Shutter speed 3 seconds at ISO 8000

Where Do Astronauts Store Cameras on the ISS?

If you can stomach the ride to the space station, the Zvezda Service Module is where you want to be. Hanging on the walls is tens of thousands of dollars in photography gear. And it only grows with each supply run.

camera storage ISS

Canon fans won’t like the pictures of all Nikon gear, but everyone has their preference. The images sent back are incredible and prove like life, space is better captured.

Those stuck on Earth can have a look at our guides on mirrorless cameras, drones, entry-level DSLRs, travel cameras and vlogging cameras.

Image credits: NASA


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