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11-26-2011, 01:46 PM   #1
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K5 & Pentax GPS Module O-GPS1

I would like to hear from some of the K5 owners using the Pentax GPS Module. What have been your experiences with it? Have you used it much during travel? Is it easy to use? Have you noticed any accuracy lose or other problems when using in a city? Has it been dependable? And how about battery life, is it as good as advertised? And do you still feel that it is worth the two and a-half bills a person must now lay out?
Thanks for your replies and insight.

11-26-2011, 09:28 PM   #2
DAZ
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Last question first. A lot depends on what is important to you, I am assuming that geo tagging is important to you as for some it has no value. Some don't want anything on the camera so even free it is not worth the price. Some don't think it is worth the price because they would rather spend there time then there money. You can geo tag with just about any thing that can output a file in the correct format, there is probably even an app for a smart phone for this. With this side car file you then use other software to modify your files on your computer later. All of this is a PITA to me and because of the traveling I do not relay workable. When I travel I sometime only have what is on my camera with me and I may don't be able to get to my computer for weeks to down load my photos. Having to keep track of side car files is just not an option for me.


The O-GPS1 can do some things that no other item can for a Pentax camera. When you take the photos it can put the GPS data on your file as the camera is processing the file. The files can be RAW (either PIF or DNG) and JPG. Also this is the only thing that can put the direction the photo was taken. When it is on the camera it is about as easy to use as it gets. Put on camera, push button on the unit, turn on camera. When the info screen on the camera says good 3D lock you are good to go. Just take a photo.


Like all GPS units (other then aGPS like in a phone this is not a typo aGPS) the unit will have to find the satellites first. This can take a minute but the book says 40 second. Once it has the satellites it can track them in most situations as long as you don't turn it off or go inside a building that you can't see the satellites. It is easier to keep a lock then to get it from scratch so it is best to leave it on when you think you are going to take a photo, like if you are walking around look to take a photo. You can turn off the camera but it will take about 5 sec to get the unit to give a lock back to the camera but this is better then the 40 secs it will take if you turn off the GPS. 5 seconds is about 2 times as long as the SR system takes so just slow down a little for the first shot then you can go as fast as you like. If you don't then the first photo will not have any GPS data.


As for the battery life the the book says about 7hours (4-5 if it is cold) for alkaline/NMHi and about 12 hours (9 if cold) for lithium. This is bout what I get. Speaking of the book this is the hardest part of using the unit. It could be a little better written but once you have the info you don't need the book with you.


Accuracy is a term that depends on what you are looking for. The unit from the book says 10m RMS. This is about 30 feet most of the time but can be further. Most of the time I see less then this and if you have open sky with good WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS data I have seen about 1-2 feet. If you are in a city or can't see all the sky it can be less accurate like any GPS.


So far the unit is all it has promised and worth the cost (I have been looking for years for a unit like this) to me.


Did I get all the questions or do you have any more?


DAZ
11-27-2011, 01:12 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Some tips and thoughts on the O-GPS1 unit

I just received the O-GPS1 unit last week and have been doing some astrophotography with it. I am basically just practicing in the city so that when I travel to a dark sky area, I will be familiar with the unit.

Some tips for astrophotography using the O-GPS1:

1. If you have your K-5 set up to turn itself off after a few minutes, you'll want to change this menu item for astrophotography. I use the K-5 accessory battery grip to make sure I don't need to change batteries.

2. Program dial needs to be set to Bulb

3. Autofocus has to be set to Manual

4. You will not be able to accurately focus the lens (especially a telephoto) by looking through the optical viewfinder. You'll see bright stars, but the screen is too coarse to see exact focus. Instead you'll want to use the LIve View at around 6x magnification. Find a star and very slowly rack the lens focus ring back and forth until you get the sharpest star image. (And for those who are wondering why not just set the lens on infinity, most lenses rack past infinity to allow for thermal expansion and other tolerance-related issues.) You can lock your lens' focus with tape once you have true focus.

5. If it is really cold out, let your camera and lens acclimate to the temperature for awhile to stabilize thermal issues.

6. I've been experimenting with 20-50 second exposures with a M-200mm @ F4 and a FA-100mm Macro @ F2.8, and have been encouraged by the results. I'll have to wait until I get to really dark skies to go longer.

7. A right angle finder really helps if your camera is pointed up, otherwise it's pain to contort to see through the viewfinder. I use the Fotodiox model.

8. Make sure you use a sturdy tripod, and if yours has a hook on the center for hanging your bag or other weight, be sure to take advantage of that.

9. Turn off auto image review so that your view screen doesn't illuminate after each exposure. If you do have auto image review turned on, then turn off the blinkies.

10. A small red lens flashlight helps you see the buttons on the camera, and dropped items such as lens caps

Complaints:

1. The GPS unit has a blue LED that glows steadily when it has satellite lock. Unfortunately this light is right near the viewfinder, and it is really distracting when attempting astrophotography. A red LED would have been better. Cover it with tape.

2.It seems you have to control and initiate the exposure from the K-5 menu, which is awkward when the camera is pointing up. It would be nice if you could control subsequent exposure without having to go to the menu.

3. I wish there was a red "night vision" mode for the menu to preserve your night vision.

So far I am pretty happy with the unit. It seems to do what it claims, but I won't know how well until i get to some really dark skies.
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