Pentax Astrotracer Guide and GPS Feature Comparison

A look at the O-GPS1 versus in-camera GPS

By K David in Articles and Tips on May 10, 2018

Pentax cameras offer GPS functionality in two ways: either through the built-in antenna found in the Pentax K-1, K-1 II, and K-3 II, or through the O-GPS1 accessory, which works with most other DSLRs since 2010.

Sample 78-second star photo taken with the Astrotracer

GPS data unlocks another unique Pentax DSLR feature: the Astrotracer.  With the help of location information and the Shake Reduction system, the camera can track stars by turning the sensor to match the stars' movement.  This allows you to more than double the exposure time of astro photos without introducing star trails— which can result in more detailed starscapes!

While this is great, it gives rise to a number of questions:

  • What are the practical exposure time limits of the Astrotracer?
  • How do you optimize the Astrotracer's performance?
  • What is the difference between in-camera GPS functionality and cameras using the O-GPS1?
  • Can I use the O-GPS1 on GPS-enabled cameras?

We answer these questions and more through a series on hands on tests.  Read on for the answers!

Pentax Astrotracer Guide & O-GPS1 vs In-camera GPS Comparison

Celestron AVX Product Review

Accurate Tracking with your 500mm

By K David in Hands-On Tests on May 4, 2018

B&H Photo Video loaned us a Celestron AVX tracking mount specifically to test with a 500mm f/4.5 Takumar telephoto lens. We wanted to get some close-up, tracked galaxy images for the Astrophotography Series, and this mount seemed like the best option for delivering those images. The mount test afforded us an opportunity to provide in-depth information about an uncommon, niche piece of photography equipment largely unknown outside of telescope photography circles. We elected to use a fast 500mm telephoto lens in lieu of a telescope because the process would be more recognizable to photographers not familiar with the specialized language used for describing telescopes. This article discusses the AVX mount with a telephoto lens and some of the incredible advantages it provides, some limitations, and some drawbacks.

Celestron AVX, Takumar 500mm f/4.5, and Pentax MZ-S

Eric Hendrickson Time Off Until 2018

Hold off on new repair orders for a bit, please.

By K David in Photo Industry News on Oct 22, 2017

A PSA from Pentax Forums: Eric Hendrickson, well-known Pentax repairman in the US, is pausing new orders for a few months. He is not retiring, just clearing out backlog.

A bit more than two years ago, Pentax Forums traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee, to interview Eric Hendrickson about camera repair. Eric is the most-well-known Pentax repairman working today. He formerly ran the Honeywell Pentax repair shop outside of Chicago, and repairs a lot of cameras and lenses for Pentax Forums members at reasonable prices.  In addition to CLAing and fixing legacy bodies, Eric can also service many modern lenses, such as FA Limiteds.

Astrophotography Part 6 of 6: Reducing Image Noise

Tips for Reducing Noise

By K David in Articles and Tips on Aug 11, 2017

High-quality digital cameras with good high-ISO performance combined with fast, high-quality optics from makers like Pentax, Samyang, Sigma, and Tamron are taking astrophotography out of the enclaves of astronomers and putting it in the hands of hobbyists, too. This six-part series examines various elements of astrophotography.

This article looks at ways to reduce noise in digital images. Using best capture practices, software, and editing techniques, a significant amount of noise can be removed from overnight photos.

To revisit the rest of the articles in this series, here are links and their subjects:

Image Composition: Converging Lines

Bringing it all Together with Converging Lines

By K David in Articles and Tips on May 10, 2017

In this ongoing series, we examine different photographic techniques, their use, and how to achieve them. This article looks at converging lines and discusses how to use them well, poorly, and to achieve different goals with your photography.

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