Astrotracer Type 3 added for Pentax K-1 and K-1 II

Firmware v2.41 update unlocks astrotracer functionality without GPS

By PF Staff in Firmware Updates on Jan 12, 2024

December 7, 2023 saw some good news for Pentax K-1 and K-1 II owners who are into astro photography: Ricoh announced that the Astrotracer type 3 functionality first introduced with the Pentax K-3 III has been made available through a firmware update. Astrotracer type 3 is much easier to use than the original type (type 1), since it does not rely on the built-in GPS and compass meaning that the related camera calibration is not needed.

In addition to the astrotracer update the new firmware also adds a focus limiter for the HD Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited lens. An earlier firmware update introduced the focus limiter for the HD Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens.

Make sure that you download the firmware version matching your camera, i.e., 2.41 for K-1 won't work for the K-1 II and vice versa.

Note: it was originally announced that this Type 3 astotracer would also be available for the Pentax KF.  We have confirmed with Ricoh that this was a typo, and the KF will not be getting the feature.

Note: On December 15, 2023 this firmware release (2.40) was suspended due to a number of bugs. By January 11, 2024 the bugs had been fixed and a new release (2.41) of the firmware was released.

By installing the latest firmware version you also get all functionality introduced with the earlier releases.

Pentax has a fine explanation of the new firmware which follows here:

Type 2 and Type3 added to ASTROTRACER function

In addition to the existing ASTROTRACER mode (to be called Type 1 after the firmware update), users now have the Type 2 and Type 3 options when using the ASTROTRACER function. They can also activate the Interval Shooting function during ASTROTRACER shooting.

ASTROTRACER Type3 (click image to enlarge)

Normal shooting (click image to enlarge)

HD Pentax-D FA150-450mmF4.5-5.6ED DC AW
F5.6, 30sec, 450mm, ISO6400, In-body RAW data development, not trimmed

Conventional ASTROTRACER function. Shift the camera’s image sensor in synchronization with the movements of stars (diurnal motion) to prioritize the celestial bodies and stars to be captured as solid points.

Shift the camera’s image sensor half the speed of Type 1 in synchronization with the movements of stars to prioritize capturing the landscape and stars in a good balance.

A simplified equatorial function that enables to track and capture celestial bodies without using GPS. Before actual shooting, a preliminary shot is captured automatically, enabling celestial body tracking from star movements. This feature eliminates GPS positioning wait time and able to shoot in locations subject to previously troublesome magnetic fields. As the star movements are being captured on an image, ASTROTRACER’s auto-tracking function may fail when objects other than stars, such as clouds, enter the image field. In such situations, it is recommended that users select the Type 1 or Type 2 mode. When used with interval shooting, it is possible to perform multiple main exposures with a single preliminary shot.

*Time exposure of the mode dial B (Bulb Exposure) is available (Normal bulb exposure is not possible).
*Not compatible with fisheye lenses.
*Only use the zoom lens at the wide or telephoto end. However, the following lenses can be used at any zoom position:

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