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08-07-2015, 09:25 AM   #1
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K3 support for ASCOM drivers in astrophotography

Hi: I want to use my Pentax K3 camera for astrophotography through a telescope. I am also interested in software for processing the photos/movies acquired with the K3 through the telescope. One such software processing program is "Nebulosity" which I am informed requires that the camera supports ASCOM anywhere or has ASCOM drivers. Any information would be most helpful to me. Thank you for your assistance.

08-07-2015, 03:54 PM   #2
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I think what you want is located at ASCOM - Standards for Astronomy
08-07-2015, 04:09 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'm not very computer literate. Perhaps, I haven't been clear. I want to buy the "Nebulosity" software but what I need to know is whether or not the Pentax camera, specifically the Pentax K3 camera, is compatible with or would work with the "Nebulosity" software? I am told by Craig Stark, the developer of "Nebulosity" that the camera itself must be compatible with or work with ASCOM drivers of the "Nebulosity" software. I don't know the answer to this question and I don't want to purchase the software until I do know the answer. Maybe you or someone else could kindly clarify this for me. Thanks.
08-07-2015, 08:03 PM   #4
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I did a very thorough search for Pentax ASCOM drivers 3 years ago and found nothing that worked.

I am still able to use my K-5 with Nebulosity but it's less straightforward than with other camera brands. I use a wired intervalometer (details below) instead of a laptop to control the K-5. I later do the initial stacking in Deep Sky Stacker (donation-ware so inexpensive) because it's fast and has better support for Pentax DNG then does Nebulosity 3. (Nebulosity 4 might be different). The initial Deep Sky Stacker image then gets post-processed using Nebulosity.

Intervalometer: The built-in intervalometer menu and M mode only allows 30 seconds maximum exposure. That's okay for starting astrophotography on bright objects, but if your telescope is on a motorized equatorial mount some objects do better with longer exposures. Set the camera to bulb mode and use something like http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B003VIGGSSI. Pentax shares the same bulb jack as many Canon cameras (be careful though; Canon uses at least 2 different types of jacks, only 1 is Pentax compatible).

08-08-2015, 12:26 PM - 1 Like   #5
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ASCOM is for Mount control, some focuser's and dedicated (CCD) astro camera's...it's NOT for DSLR's. More on ASCOM here: ASCOM - Standards for Astronomy

Canon and Nikon DSLR's can be controlled using Backyard EOS, or Backyard NIK O'Telescope
Stark-Labs: Home has software (Nebulosity) for some DSLR control (NO Pentax), Image processing, and guiding (PHD).

If you want to use your Pentax, you will have to either use the built in intervalometer, or the wired one as DeadJohn has suggested.

So, to answer your question, NO, Nebulosity will not control your Pentax, yet may be able to stack and register the files acquired by the Pentax (as DeadJohn points out).

Personally, I use Deep Sky Stacker DeepSkyStacker - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com for stacking from Pentax & Canon files, and Photoshop CS6 for processing.
08-08-2015, 09:55 PM   #6
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It always impresses me just how quick and knowledgeable the astrophotography people are on this site. Good work!


Steve
08-09-2015, 11:54 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I did a very thorough search for Pentax ASCOM drivers 3 years ago and found nothing that worked.

I am still able to use my K-5 with Nebulosity but it's less straightforward than with other camera brands. I use a wired intervalometer (details below) instead of a laptop to control the K-5. I later do the initial stacking in Deep Sky Stacker (donation-ware so inexpensive) because it's fast and has better support for Pentax DNG then does Nebulosity 3. (Nebulosity 4 might be different). The initial Deep Sky Stacker image then gets post-processed using Nebulosity.

Intervalometer: The built-in intervalometer menu and M mode only allows 30 seconds maximum exposure. That's okay for starting astrophotography on bright objects, but if your telescope is on a motorized equatorial mount some objects do better with longer exposures. Set the camera to bulb mode and use something like http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B003VIGGSSI. Pentax shares the same bulb jack as many Canon cameras (be careful though; Canon uses at least 2 different types of jacks, only 1 is Pentax compatible).
Hi John:
Please excuse my ignorance but I am not familiar with the term "intervalometer." Also, thanks for the advice on Nebulosity. I will contact Mr. Stark and inquire about the most up to date software.
Best regards,
Bill

---------- Post added 08-09-15 at 11:55 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I did a very thorough search for Pentax ASCOM drivers 3 years ago and found nothing that worked.

I am still able to use my K-5 with Nebulosity but it's less straightforward than with other camera brands. I use a wired intervalometer (details below) instead of a laptop to control the K-5. I later do the initial stacking in Deep Sky Stacker (donation-ware so inexpensive) because it's fast and has better support for Pentax DNG then does Nebulosity 3. (Nebulosity 4 might be different). The initial Deep Sky Stacker image then gets post-processed using Nebulosity.

Intervalometer: The built-in intervalometer menu and M mode only allows 30 seconds maximum exposure. That's okay for starting astrophotography on bright objects, but if your telescope is on a motorized equatorial mount some objects do better with longer exposures. Set the camera to bulb mode and use something like http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B003VIGGSSI. Pentax shares the same bulb jack as many Canon cameras (be careful though; Canon uses at least 2 different types of jacks, only 1 is Pentax compatible).
QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
Set the camera to bulb mode and use something like http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B003VIGGSSI. Pentax shares the same bulb jack as many Canon cameras
By the way, John, this above link to Amazon did not work for me.
08-10-2015, 03:37 PM   #8
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This ought to work :Vello Shutterboss Version II Timer Remote Switch RC-C1II B&H works with my K5ii

08-10-2015, 05:31 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by SKYGZR Quote
It this device different than the Pentax remote switch? I have a Pentax remote switch. Thanks.
08-10-2015, 05:51 PM   #10
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It allows for counted number of exposures as well as duration ie; (10) @ 240s (10) @ 300s (10) @ 360s..all without having to manually trip the shutter w/the remote...set it and let it do it's thing...
08-10-2015, 08:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by XLXW Quote
Hi John:
Please excuse my ignorance but I am not familiar with the term "intervalometer." Also, thanks for the advice on Nebulosity. I will contact Mr. Stark and inquire about the most up to date software.
Best regards,
Bill
I just checked my K-5 manual. The in-camera function is called "Interval Shooting" and works with Manual mode (so 30 second maximum shutter).

The external devices go by different names but they are all pretty similar. They consist of a cable and electronic timer. They work with Bulb mode and can do longer exposures.

QuoteQuote:
By the way, John, this above link to Amazon did not work for me.
Hmm, the link worked when I posted it but not anymore. Others have already posted working links.
12-18-2016, 01:09 AM - 1 Like   #12
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ASCOM is for cameras too

I did write an ASCOM driver for my Pentax camera. Who says that ASCOM is for mounts, focusers and dedicated CCD cameras is obviously not very knowledgeable in this matter. ASCOM has a camera interface and as lomg as you write a driver that expose the required functions then ASCOM doesn't care if it is a DSLR or an astro CCD or a webcam

The driver I wrote controlled the camera via USB to serial to the shutter cable and monitored folder to acquire JPG images for the main software (MaximDL etc...) I would obviously shoot JPG+RAW. Let me go find the driver and I'll post it here...

V.
12-19-2016, 08:00 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I use a wired intervalometer
If you already have either an iOS or Android device, you can obtain a very sophisticated intervalometer for your Pentax camera for very little money. Take a look at TriggerTrap.
12-19-2016, 11:17 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by vincenzomiceli Quote
I did write an ASCOM driver for my Pentax camera. Who says that ASCOM is for mounts, focusers and dedicated CCD cameras is obviously not very knowledgeable in this matter. ASCOM has a camera interface and as lomg as you write a driver that expose the required functions then ASCOM doesn't care if it is a DSLR or an astro CCD or a webcam

The driver I wrote controlled the camera via USB to serial to the shutter cable and monitored folder to acquire JPG images for the main software (MaximDL etc...) I would obviously shoot JPG+RAW. Let me go find the driver and I'll post it here...

V.
You have revived a zombie thread. If you managed a USB tethered solution then you are doing very well. When you post your driver, please post a link to the source and documentation as well.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-19-2016 at 11:22 AM.
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