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06-02-2011, 12:51 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by sjwaldron Quote
The Astrotracer sounds like a killer feature. I'll be curious to see how much more exposure time it can provide before star trails are produced.
A table indicating maximum Astrotracer tracking times is provided at the end of the PENTAX Japan press release for the O-GPS1. All times are in seconds.


Last edited by bwDraco; 06-02-2011 at 12:58 PM.
06-02-2011, 01:30 PM   #32
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I wonder if it will require any sort of calibration (i.e. point it at the north star) for the astro tracking. I guess if it can tell where magnetic north is, combined with the gyroscope and gps it can know its 3rd position, we'll have to wait and see.

I am really excited about this, I spent the last couple weeks looking for an inexpensive guided scope with an equatorial mount, but couldn't justify spending $400+++ (entry point really) when I just wanted to piggyback my camera anyway. This could be a lot of fun!
06-02-2011, 01:41 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by pxpaulx Quote
I wonder if it will require any sort of calibration (i.e. point it at the north star) for the astro tracking. I guess if it can tell where magnetic north is, combined with the gyroscope and gps it can know its 3rd position, we'll have to wait and see.

I am really excited about this, I spent the last couple weeks looking for an inexpensive guided scope with an equatorial mount, but couldn't justify spending $400+++ (entry point really) when I just wanted to piggyback my camera anyway. This could be a lot of fun!
gps don't need calibration, they know where north is all the time, the issue will be whether there is a compas display on it or not
06-02-2011, 02:29 PM   #34
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Looks like the pop-up flash can't be used with it mounted. Shame.

Too bad it doesn't have a built-in IR-only controller flash.

06-02-2011, 03:11 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Wow, the Astrotracer technology looks mega cool if it works; moving the sensor to eliminate star trails for longer duration exposures.
I'm a bit skeptical of that... it would need to track the stars in both right-ascension and declination -- you could simulate this if the sensor could both rotate and tilt, but I don't know if it can do the latter and in any event would stretch the image like in a tilt-shift lens. Hm.
06-02-2011, 03:45 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by v5planet Quote
I'm a bit skeptical of that... it would need to track the stars in both right-ascension and declination -- you could simulate this if the sensor could both rotate and tilt, but I don't know if it can do the latter and in any event would stretch the image like in a tilt-shift lens. Hm.
sensor tilt would be amazing.
06-02-2011, 04:08 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
sensor tilt would be amazing.
I am just concerned that by eliminating star trails through altitude and azimuth tracking via sensor movements, you will replace the streaks from the stars caused by rotation of the earth with streaks from the stars caused by the sensor stretching the image as it tilts relative to the projection of the lens.
06-02-2011, 09:08 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Meh. It doesn't support GLONASS.
That's pretty short-sighted imo. It reduces its functionality in the Southern Hemisphere, where Glonass is a great help to GNSS precision and quantity of satellites.

06-02-2011, 09:11 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
gps don't need calibration, they know where north is all the time, the issue will be whether there is a compas display on it or not
It only knows position. It calculates North when the unit is moved in some direction, but when still, it only knows its position and the direction of last movement, so if you turn it on its axis, it won't know where north is.
06-02-2011, 10:44 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
gps don't need calibration, they know where north is all the time, the issue will be whether there is a compas display on it or not
knowing where is the north is something (actually, knowing where is teh camera is more correct) but knowing in which direction teh camera aims is anotehr, and is needed to track stars properly.


Also the fixation on the GPS on teh camera has to be very tight, very precise to work correctly.
06-02-2011, 11:26 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by oliver939 Quote
knowing where is the north is something (actually, knowing where is teh camera is more correct) but knowing in which direction teh camera aims is anotehr, and is needed to track stars properly.

Also the fixation on the GPS on teh camera has to be very tight, very precise to work correctly.
All you need to know true north is your location on the Earth (GPS) and magnetic north (magnetic compass). With those you can just look up magnetic declination for that spot and find true north. And no, the GPS does not have to be very precise. All it needs to know is the general area on the Earth, as magnetic field variation is negligible over short distances.

Camera orientation can be figured out easily with a magnetic compass (yaw) and an accelerometer (pitch and roll).

Last edited by Cannikin; 06-02-2011 at 11:39 PM.
06-03-2011, 02:00 AM   #42
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Wow, that's almost as exciting as the Aletta product.
06-03-2011, 04:41 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
Recording camera heading is somewhat useful, but I wouldn't find it of enough use to warrant the price premium.
Actually camera heading may make the difference in GPS coordinates being useful or not. After all, the coordinates only tell you where the camera was at the time of the photograph, not where the subject of your picture was. The heading helps determine that. Shooting a landscape in the mountains for instance, the heading will help me identify which mountain's on the picture. When photographing birds in a Nature Reserve with lots of lakes and ponds, the heading will enable me to identify which body of water the bird was on, etc...

For those applications where GPS coordinates are important, heading is just as important. If it's only to tag your holiday images to a town or so, obviously heading is trivial...

I must say I like this a lot. It seems one of the first similar units that may have sufficient features to convince me to try it. The only thing that makes me hestitate is the rather limited battery life, which requires carrying a lot of spare batteries when in the wild for an extended period.

Wim
06-03-2011, 06:55 AM   #44
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In fact heading is even more important for Astrotracer.
And about paying a premium... Nikon's unit costs more, but doesn't have the same features. Canon's... afaik, you'd have to buy at least a 7D and an expensive (~$700) wireless transmitter in order to use a GPS unit (again, less features).
06-03-2011, 07:56 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
That's pretty short-sighted imo. It reduces its functionality in the Southern Hemisphere, where Glonass is a great help to GNSS precision and quantity of satellites.
The problem is that GLONASS transmits a signal very different from the GPS (US Navstar) system. It is difficult to make a single chip system (AFAIK no one is). The EU Galileo system is very similar to the Navstar GPS I and II system and has some newer thing like the GPS III system will have. This makes it much easer to have a single chip system that can make use of both Navstar and Galileo systems. In addition the GLONASS system has been deteriorating from when the old USSR launched it 20 plus years ago. Only lately has Russia almost rebuilt the system to full working order. This doesn’t give the companies much incentive to build products to use GLONASS. The Russia government has discussed the idea of changing the GLONASS signal to something like the Navstar/Galileo systems and making it easer to make a one chip system for all the GNSS but even if they do this a working system would not be up till like 2020. The Galileo system was to be up and running by now but the earliest will 2017 (but much more likely 2020). By then the Navstar GPS III system should be close to being complete. Although is can be argued that having more satellites to get a fix on is a good thing the GPS III system will have most of the advantages of the other systems by the time the other system are up and running. Most of the products that use GNSS will be replaced by the time the new systems are up and running, so not having the other systems on a product now is not much of an ensue. Some countries really sold the EU a bill of goods with the Galileo system. Most of the economic reasons to build the Galileo and GLONASS systems are gone with the GPS III systems. This only leaves the political and military/economic reasons.

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