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05-10-2016, 01:27 PM   #1
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Using Astrotracer with K3II locks up with exposures over about 40 sec

So, I tried the astrotracer on the K3II for the first time last night. The first thing that I learned was, even if the it is turned on in the menu, if the gps led is not on, it doesn't work. I must have pressed that button on the side of the gps housing and turned it off by accident. I was frustrated for awhile, but I was happy when I figured out what the problem was. It was great to do a 40 sec exposure, review the image, zoom in and see circles of light instead of lines.

I was activating the shutter (in bulb mode) with an RF remote--one click to open shutter, one click to close. I counted the time in my head. This seemed to be working fine for exposures of 40 seconds or so. But, when I tried exposures over a minute, the camera would lock-up. Pressing the remote, half pressing or full pressing the shutter would not stop the exposure. It would continue for 300 sec, which is what the camera shows in the upper lcd (I think this is max time for the astrotracer to work?) I was using a 15mm lens.

I had the high iso and long exposure noise reduction set to auto, so at first I thought the camera was just doing its dark frame thing, but then realized I hadn't ended the exposure. I tried again, and I had to turn the camera off to end the exposure. The camera still wrote the image to the card, and it otherwise seemed to work fine.

The images looked pretty good, though I was just testing, so I wasn't pointed at anything really interesting.

Anyone else have these kind of problems?

05-10-2016, 01:34 PM   #2
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Did you put the camera in astrotracer mode? The mode lets you select a shutter speed up to 300s without the need for a remote. I would check to see if the accessory isn't to blame for the lockup. Also, be sure that the battery has a decent charge.

In astrotracer mode, B is replaced by a little star icon.

Early production K-3 II had a GPS related lock-up issue, so hopefully yours isn't affected (if it is, Pentax will service it for free). Our in depth review has a list of affected serial numbers.

BTW, in practice the sweet spot for the astrotracer is 60 to 120s.
05-10-2016, 02:50 PM   #3
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Original Poster

Thank you so much! I was just in the process of testing different possible causes when I read your post. The timed exposure is much better than counting in my head and works just fine!

Now if I could only use this with the intervalometer, so that I could set up the camera and go to bed.

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