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Pentax O-GPS1

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11 24,618 Thu January 3, 2019
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $242.00 8.91
Pentax O-GPS1
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Description:
This is a hotshoe-mounted GPS unit for select Pentax DSLRS's that does not have a built-in GPS receiver. The O-GPS1 adds star tracking capability and EXIF data geotagging. Star tracking ("Astrotracing" per Pentax) is achieved via the camera's sensor-shift stabilization system.

The unit is powered by a single AAA battery.

The O GPS1 launch price was $249. It was announced in June, 2011 became available in July, 2011. The price was reduced to $199 at retailers in December, 2011.

Read our in-depth O-GPS1 review and our Comparison with a built-in GPS unit

General Specifications

Power SupplyOne AAA battery
Battery Life7h (NiMh/Alkaline), 12h (Lithium) at normal temperature
Weight1.8oz (51g)
Dimensions1.9 x 1.3 x 2.3 inches
Supported Cameras 
- AstrotracingKP, K-3, K-S2, K-S1, K-70, K-50, K-30, K-5 family, K-r
- Simple navigationK-5 family, K-r, 645D
- Electronic CompassKP, K-3, K-S2, K-S1, K-70, K-50, K-30, K-5 family, K-r, K-5 family, K-r, 645D, 645Z and K-01

GPS Specifications

Recorded DataLat, Lon, Alt, Time (UTC), Direction
Reference DirectionTrue North
GPS Receiver50 Channel Tracking, Supports SBAS (WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS)
Positioning Interval1 second
Acquisition time5 seconds (40 when cold)
GPS Accuracy10 meters
Compass Accuracy+/- 5
Positioning IntervalApprox 8X
GeodesicsWorld Geodetic System (WGS 84)
In Production: Buy the Pentax O-GPS1
In-Depth Review: Read our Pentax O-GPS1 in-depth review!
Price History:



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Site Supporter

Registered: November, 2017
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 966

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: January 3, 2019 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $199.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Enables GPS and astro tracer on cameras that don't have it built in
Cons: cost for what it does, time sync feature

I have owned this little device for almost a year now and generally like it even if it was a bit spendy for what you get (a small package of sensors). As an add on for supported cameras to enable GPS it works just fine. When I use it for geotagging pictures it works fine and I don't bother with calibration as I really don't care what direction I was facing but where I was.

However I am a bit put off by the time sync feature but maybe because I have something setup incorrectly elsewhere. The minutes and seconds are correct but it appears that it uses the western time zone so my camera's time is always 2 hours behind.

Those are all minor features to me and probably most of those who would buy this. The reality is that they like myself probably wanted to enable astrotracer on cameras that could do it with this add on. If you read the official material for it you probably are thinking you can get some great long exposures. In reality those estimated total exposure times are pretty optimistic. Now that isn't to say you won't get dramatically improved results using this just don't think you are going to get 5 minutes of tracking without any trails. Some people say you can't do deep sky objects (DSOs) with astrotracer or that you won't get good results using longer lenses (above about 100 to 150mm), but that is a lie. I frequently use astrotracer on my K-3 with my 300mm lens but you do have to understand it's limitations.

The first is that it basically uses the IBIS as an alt-az mount. This means that it only tracks in the x and y direction, no rotation like you would get with a proper equatorial mount. This can lead to star trails from rotation and they are more pronounced at the edge of the frame. For star field pics with something in the foreground with a wide lens this may not be a problem as pixel peeping on prints doesn't really happen and errors like that can hide with ease. However when one needs real round stars you will have to use substantially shorter times than what is recommended.

The next limitation is that I have found how the camera is orientated seems to have a big effect on how well it performs. For me on my K-3 it accumulates fewer errors when either pointed more straight out or straight up. When pointed near 45 degrees up from the horizon tracking errors accumulate faster. Also I have found that shooting in a landscape orientation instead of portrait produces better results. However this may be an artifact of performing the calibration and using the landscape orientation as the starting point of all the movements so take that last bit with a grain of salt.

Finally the last limitation is really understanding how to minimize the errors that crop up from the previous 2 when shooting DSOs. Basically I have found that I can get pretty good reliable results by not shooting above 1/4 of the recommended time it suggests. For me this means that with my 300mm lens I am frequently shooting 20 second exposures and sometimes 30s. For astrophotography these are pretty short times with most people taking shots 6 to 10 times longer using equatorial mounts. Without astrotracer I would be stuck taking .6s shots with my 300mm lens to get similar round stars using the rule of 200 so I am getting between 12 and 18 times the exposure per shot, or about 4 to 5 extra stops of light. So while not as good as others it is a substantial improvement over no tracking at all. A proper equatorial mount would also offer a similar improvement again over astrotracer but at a still substantially higher cost.

Now for a few shots I took with my O-GPS1 attached to my K-3 and 300mm lens. These are stacked and processed but should be used set expectations of what can be achieved when using it if one also stacks images and does a not total garbage job processing them:

M31 The Andromeda Galaxy (a big stack of 20 second exposures):


M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy (a big stack of 20 second exposures):
This galaxy is about 10x farther away than Andromeda is and it is also 1/5 with width so it is understandable that it is much smaller in its picture.
   
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Dundee, IL
Posts: 6,510
Review Date: July 8, 2015 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $180.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: geotagging
Cons: flash use

I've been using this for two years now. It's invaluable for pictures where GPS makes a difference. I use it for pictures of insects and plants in the field for scientific reporting. The GPS takes all the guesswork out of the process.

The calibration is very easy, and it seems to last quite a long time on a single AAA battery. While I'm glad the new K3II body has built-in GPS, this is a welcome accessory for all the other bodies.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 1,445

2 users found this helpful
Review Date: August 28, 2014 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Astrotracer
Cons: Why isn't this marketed more???

I'm just using this for the astrotracer aspect. I have already blown people's minds with this! No one can believe the shots that are possible just with a camera and a tripod.
Negatives are the manual has too little detail and Pentax doesn't market this more. Yet another completely unique advantage of Pentax that nobody knows about.

I found this youtube video helpful:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1szkebtA3c
   
Veteran Member

Registered: March, 2012
Location: Western Sydney, Australia
Posts: 3,085

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 23, 2014 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Accurate, long battery life
Cons: loss of flash capability

I've been using it for the last four days and am surprised that I haven't had to replace the single zinc (non-alkaline) battery.

However, often the GPS data wasn't saved to the EXIF file even though I'd been in an open area and the previous photo did have the GPS data saved.

I need to do some more experiments to figure this out.

The user guide doesn't say if one needs to recalibrate the GPS every time one switches the camera off to change lenses (even though the GPS isn't powered off). In most of the cases I mentioned above, I hadn't been changing lenses.

I downloaded GeoSetter to allow me to copy GPS data from one EXIF file to another image's EXIF and found something interesting.

When I looked at the images in GeoSetter, I saw that the direction and angle of view was displayed on the maps. Now that I've read the reviews, I see another reviewer has mentioned this. Very neat!

I bought the O-GPS1 to geotag images when I'm on holiday. Identifying image locations when one returns from holiday is so much easier!

I was also worried that the GPS would come free from the hotshoe and was continually checking it. I think it needs a tether just in case. I use a BlackRat strap so the camera hangs upside down by my side.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2013
Location: Brussels
Posts: 1
Review Date: April 15, 2013 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $228.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Fast Geotagging, Astrotracer function
Cons: No Flash when O-GPS1 is connected.

Great add-on to the K-5, I use it regularly for Geotagging when shooting here and there.
The Astrotracer fucntion works quite well, Have had the opportunity to use it for nightshots of various constellations.
I would definately recommend it to anyone doing outdoor photography.
Minor drawback, you can't use the flash when it's installed
   
Community Manager

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Posts: 23,574
Review Date: April 15, 2013 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Reliable, responsive, well built
Cons: Expensive, ties up hotshoe

This is a useful unit for tracing stars in long exposures, doing away with the need to stack multiple images to get good results shooting the constellations and celestial bodies. It is small enough to carry around in your pocket or small camera bag, a light as a feather. It does the job well with little fuss - it just works. Well done to Pentax for bringing out such a product.
   
New Member

Registered: September, 2010
Posts: 10
Review Date: July 31, 2012 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $250.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Geotagging works really fast and with accuracy.
Cons: Manual seems to be misleading.

I have recently ordered and received this item. I am sure that it is working just fine, I see geotagging applied to my K-30 files just as it should be, but there's one puzzle. The little manual says that the battery indicator will not light up unless there is adequate power. I can't get it to light up even with a brand new fully charged AAA lithium. Evidently the manual is wrong at this point.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: June, 2010
Location: North Zealand, Denmark
Posts: 1,516
Review Date: June 13, 2012 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $330.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Reliable, small and lightweight, Easy to use, WR, Independent power supply
Cons: Poor manual, pricy (in Europe)

This is a highly recommendable item. So, let me start with the negative aspects:

For such apricy item, PENTAX should provide a much better manual. Especially, for a newcomer the fist start-up and calibration procedures are both mysterious and a bit "scary". Am I doing the right things and am I doing them correctly? Does this darn thing work at all and how do I know???

Also, directions for seeing geographical co-ordinates in the camera play-back mode and the statement that one cannot erase or edit geodata in EXIF are positively wrong. Further,descriptions of file- and folder structure for geodata are missing. You can find directions (now) at the Pentax-Ricoh homepage if you know where to look, but the manual doesn't even give a link. The very concept of geotagging (i.e.:What do you/can you do with your data) is also barely touched touched upon in the manual.

Finally,some more details regarding the limitations of the Astrotracer function should be given. Astrotracer is an excellent and very intelligent feature, but there is no need to raise unreasonably high expectations with unecessary dissapointment as a result.

And then all the positive stuff:

This is abreeze to use. I have always wanted to geotag my pictures from foreign places but found it a bit of an owerwhelming task. With the O-GPS1 you are in the game as soon as you have established communication with the GPS satellites.

The feature of having compass data recorded and stored in EXIF data as well was a real eye-catcher for me, once I discovered that I could actually display not only position but also heading and viewing angle on a map. However, that does require that one finds the way to a suitable software such as GeoSetter that can actually interpret and visualize this data. Again, the manual is of very little help here and preferably, PENTAX should include some freeware with their product the same way as Nikon does with their GP-1.

The independent power supply in the form of a single AAA cell is also a brilliant feature. You don't have to worry about additional load on your camera's battery. Very good!

It is also great that the O-GPS1 comes with PENTAX' simplified weather Resitance. After all, a GPS is mostly for use in open air, isn't it?

The use ofthe SR technology to simulate an equatorial mount in Astrotracer is no less than ingenious. Only, as said above, one should realize that it has its limitations (for reasons too technical and lengthy to be described here). Astrotracer does not replace any equatorial mount, but it is a very fine supplement.

And the Compass and Simple Navigation functions? Well, some shrug their shoulders, but the electronic compass is needed for display of heading and viewing angle (which is great) and for the Astrotracer function (which is also great) so I am happy, that these functions are availble as individual features too. The may not replace in full more elaborate and costly navigational gear, but they are fun and (to me) useful. They work - and they are included in the price!

Highly recommended - but do let us have a better manual for us newcomers!



(click HERE to see larger version)
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,091
Review Date: May 14, 2012 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Easy to use
Cons: I didn't have it years ago

The pentax O-GPS1 is a breeze to use. take it ouside, push the button and after a minute check the camera to see if it is working which it magically does. It is just so easy, i can't believe it. I often use my flash on a flash bracket and I can pop the GPS on the adapter on the hotshoe and use the flash and GPS at the same time.

I have had a few past attempts at geotagging images. I have used a moderately expensive handheld GPS machine and a cheaper underwater camera with a GPS. With the hand held It is a nightmare making sure the clock on the cameras are correct, the machine hasn't turned itself off, you haven't left the GPS in the car and that's the easy bit. Then you need to download the coordinates plus the photos and use geotagging software to get it all together before you can upload it into lightroom.

I have a panasonic with built in GPS. To make the dam thing work I have place it on a table ouside and leave it for at least 2 minutes. pick it before hand and it spits the dummy and won't work. Trying to make the GPS work drives me nuts.

The pentax O-GPS1, I can't believe how easy it is. It is accurate enough for my needs and doesn't get in the way on top of the camera. I feel it is locked on very well, but I suppose time will tell.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2010
Location: Queensland
Posts: 3,568
Review Date: March 4, 2012 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $289.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Does what it says. Because of negative it's light and very manageable to leave on for all but flash shooting.
Cons: Not quite as robust as it could be.

I originally ordered this from the US, But B&H couldn't supply, then it became available in Australia at the same price. It used it first up just as a geo tagging unit and at this it was very good. No more having to take an iPhone photo every time I took a photo. Now I know where the shot was taken and traveling this is a very large bonus.

Just recently I tried the Astro tracking and WOW it works great. I took some shots below the Siding Spring Observatory at Coonabaran NSW. After seeing the photos up at the observatory the ones I took are as good if not better with the wide angle ones anyway. Sharp, well defined and very bright.

If you want to geotag, or take star photos then I don't think you could go wrong. Highly recommended.
   
Senior Member

Registered: December, 2007
Location: Working in Norway, Bordeaux area when on time-off
Posts: 111
Review Date: August 3, 2011 I can recommend this item: Yes | Price: $286.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Light, not as bulky on the camera as I expected.
Cons: Calibration procedure a bit scary the first time.

I have included positioning information in my pictures for a long time now, using an old and heavy hiking gps and exiftool...
The O-GPS1 module does that for me automatically now, and a lot more...

Operating this unit is really easy. I had a valid GPS fix about 2 minutes after opening the parcel...
The first fix took a bit long (I would say 1:30 min) but he following starts were between 15s and 45s under heavy tree cover, which I think is not bad at all.

I had updated the K5's firmware already, so when starting it, the whole bunch of GPS functions were available (apart from Astrotracer as it is only accessible with camera set to Bulb).
The calibration procedure is easy, although I did not feel too secure while rotating the camera+GPS on all 3 planes the first time. You have 1 minute to complete it according to the manual, so there is no rush. That makes it less stressful.

I have not tried the astrotracer function yet due to bad weather conditions in the area. But I will try and update this "review" as soon as possible.

Overall, a very good feeling about this new toy!
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