Getting Started with Astrophotography and the Pentax Astrotracer
Astrophotography made easy
By FozzFoster in Articles and Tips on Jan 8, 2022
Astrotracer is one of the most unique and impressive features available exclusive to Pentax DSLRs.
Pentax provides shake reduction in-body by mechanically floating the sensor. With most Pentax DSLRs, a GPS unit (either internal or external) is used to geo-locate your position and inform the sensor at which rate to rotate to keep the stars above your position stationary. This enables longer exposure astrophotography so that you can soak up as much light as possible without causing star trails.
Even the most simple equipment can create astounding Milky Way and other astro images.
Although astrophotography usually recommends wide-aperture lenses along with composite images of stacking, blending, and stitching, the PentaxTips video below shows what Astrotracer can acheive using a single image and with minimal post-production edits. The simple setup includes a K-S2, O-GPS1 unit, tripod, and 18-55mm kit lens.
What's increasingly exciting is the advancements Pentax has recently made in Astrotracer.
Exclusive to the new Pentax K-3 Mark III, 'GPS-less Astrotracer' appears to be upcoming via a simple firmware upgrade. Per the initial user testing, the camera sensor seems to calibrates itself by taking a pre-image and measuring the star trace speed and distance across the frame. Read more about early GPS-less astrotracer results and rumors on the forum.
Want to see more PentaxTips? Click here to see a Pentax K-70 Overview video.
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