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05-11-2020, 04:34 PM   #1
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So Frustrating!

I'm in the UK, and I've been stuck away from home for the last few weeks thanks to Covid-19. I've been stuck at home with my mother in law and my 4 year old, so as you can probably imagine, I need something for me.

Tonight is one of the clearest nights we've had, and my daughter went to bed with no complaints, so I've actually got some time to myself. Great! I'll get the camera out and try to capture some star trails. I had a quick try when I first got here, but I needed a much longer shot / set of shots. I found a good spot and took some standard astrophotgraphy shots first, then realised that there were regular satellites passing over (presumably Starlink). Even better, they'll add something a bit different to the shot too. I set up, got myself comfortable, set a timer on my phone, and pressed the shutter in bulb mode. I waited for just over 20 minutes, then pressed the shutter again.

Nothing happened.

I was using a remote shutter, so I pressed it again just in case there was some kind of battery saving that I'd forgotten about. Still nothing. I tried the remote shutter a few more times, then tried the physical button, but still had no response. Ok, I thought, maybe it's the DFS as I've used bulb mode. I haven't used it for a while, so I'm not 100% sure how it works without double checking. I brought the camera inside* and waited for over 25 minutes, slowly defrosting my extremities (it was about 5c, so not cold enough to cause major problems). Still nothing. I tried several buttons on the camera with no luck, and eventually shut it off. I've just checked the memory card in my laptop, and there's no sign of the long exposure.

I've just wasted about an hour for nothing because my camera decided to stop working. The satellites are long gone, and as my daughter tends to wake up at about 7AM, I haven't really got the time to go back out and try another shot. The worst part is, the camera has just turned on at the latest attempt, and the batteries are showing as half full, so I don't even know why it stopped working


*Yes, I know that's not the best idea, but I wasn't going to sit outside for another 20 minutes in the cold.

05-11-2020, 08:46 PM   #2
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sorry to hear Tippon. Hope it works out next time.
05-11-2020, 09:14 PM   #3
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I would blame Murphy's Law, as if anything can go wrong, it often will with photography.

Are you shooting with a K-x? That model is not weather sealed and it is not uncommon when experiencing sudden temperature and humidity changes, electronics just shut down. In the future, I'd leave the camera in a safe place outside for several hours before attempting to shoot.

Last edited by Alex645; 05-12-2020 at 12:15 AM.
05-11-2020, 09:21 PM   #4
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does this make you feel better....
After I purchased a used 645D, took my wife to a city flower greenhouse...beautiful exotic flowers. Drove down, parked, walked, lots of people there...took a few shots...then realized-
NO memory card! Sometimes things just don't work out the way you want!
Good news, bad news, based on the reports from the UK of Covid19, you probably have time to try again!

05-11-2020, 11:15 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Dont see it as a waste of time see it instead as a learning opportunity. The camera stopped working so the question is why ? Find the answer and you have learnt something which will allow you to get it right next time.

05-12-2020, 05:51 AM   #6
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Fresh batteries are your friend! A lot of batteries lose 30% or more of their capacity in colder weather. If it's a rechargeable Lithium, it might be nearing end of life. Charge it up full before going out. Keep a spare in your breast pocket so it stays warm.
What camera were you using?
05-12-2020, 09:07 AM   #7
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Have you done long exposure before? Did it work ok?

05-12-2020, 09:37 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by VSTAR Quote
does this make you feel better....
After I purchased a used 645D, took my wife to a city flower greenhouse...beautiful exotic flowers. Drove down, parked, walked, lots of people there...took a few shots...then realized-
NO memory card! Sometimes things just don't work out the way you want!
Good news, bad news, based on the reports from the UK of Covid19, you probably have time to try again!
I've had those experiences. One time I took my Samsung GX20 (K20D clone) on a little trip to Roanoke, Va. and was happily clicking away in the Va. Museum of Transportation when I noticed a "card error" message on the rear screen. Not a single shot was saved to the card. After a lot of experimentation after I got home, it turned out that camera is very persnickety about storage cards. It doesn't like 32GB cards unless they're of the high speed variety like a SanDisk Ultra. Slower cards need to be 16GB or smaller to work properly. I've learned to work with that little quirk and have taken some nice photos with that camera. Knowing what I can and cannot do with that camera allows me to get the most out of it so I'll echo what others have said. You've got to simply accept these things for the learning experiences they present.
05-12-2020, 01:37 PM   #9
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Many years ago, I drove two hours for a day of fun in the sun with the family at a resort. My trusty new Pentax K10D with a small selection of lenses went along to record the occasion. Upon arrival, I took the camera out to start shooting. The display showed that the battery was low. I had forgotten to charge it before setting off! I got off two or three shots before the camera turned itself off. I bought a second battery the very next day.

As for astrophotography, I made the mistake of shooting wide open with my Samyang 8mm on the first and so far only try with it in that role. The images looked wonderful on the rear screen, but some problems showed up on my computer. I believe it is called coma. Will try have to do better next time...
05-12-2020, 06:08 PM   #10
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Live and learn! Now probably more important than in past years...as everything takes longer to get done.
05-13-2020, 08:11 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Many years ago, I drove two hours for a day of fun in the sun with the family at a resort. My trusty new Pentax K10D with a small selection of lenses went along to record the occasion. Upon arrival, I took the camera out to start shooting. The display showed that the battery was low. I had forgotten to charge it before setting off! I got off two or three shots before the camera turned itself off. I bought a second battery the very next day...
One of my (few) repeatable quirks is being slightly OCD about running out of 'consumables' - in film days, I had at least two bodies (one mono, one transparency), plus as many spare rolls as I could cram in. Many spare charged batteries for flash (even if I never used it !).

Nowadays : Two batteries in cameras (K10D, K20D, each with battery grip - fortunately both cameras take same battery), plus 8 fully-charged spares - spare SDHC card in each battery grip, plus twelve others in waterproof wallet - hot-shoe flash with 8 spare fully charged batteries, ring flash and again 12 Alkaline-type AA batteries (none in flash), as re-chargeables wrong dimensions.

There have been occasions when other people have been grateful for my forethought - this is especially nice when there is a pub in the offing, and gratitude arrives in liquid form!!

Red asterisk on calendar on first of every month - Battery Charge day !
05-20-2020, 07:19 AM   #12
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Hi all. Thanks for the replies

Apologies for not replying sooner, but I'm barely getting time to get online at the moment. I managed to get a star trail shot, but I'm still having problems. I'll be able to post properly again next week, so I'll post the shot and reply properly then.
05-20-2020, 07:31 AM   #13
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My first star trails were, a "set the camera up, go to bed, set the alarm " type situations. It takes a while to get it right, that's for sure.
05-27-2020, 01:35 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Thanks for all the replies

Sorry, I forgot to mention, it's a K-x. I'd put fresh batteries in during the night, and I'd been out for maybe an hour already taking normal astrophotography shots, so I think I should be able to rule those out.

I went back out after posting and tried a 15 minute exposure pointed at Polaris instead, and that worked perfectly. I used the same batteries, as I wanted to check them. I'll post that shot below. A few days later I tried another roughly 20 minute shot and had the same problem, so I think it's the camera rather than anything else. The 15 minute exposure was otherwise set up in the same way, so it seems to be related to how long I'm using Bulb mode for, especially as I've been shooting regular shots during the day and night for longer overall durations.

@JohnX I haven't done anything over 30 seconds for a few years now. The light pollution where I am usually makes them difficult. Coupled with Dark Frame Subtraction they're usually more trouble than they're worth.

Thanks to those of you who posted your mistakes too, at least I know I'm not alone

I've just remembered as I'm typing this that I've been having some minor issues with the camera. The scroll wheel jumps every now and then, so zooming in on a photo sometimes jumps a few steps, and adjusting the shutter speed does the same e.g. if I'm on 1/125 and want to go faster, it might go to 1/160 then jump to 1/500. It's not all the time, and it's only when I use the scroll wheel, rather than randomly. The AF / MF switch sometimes sticks on Manual too, and can take a few tries to get back to Automatic. Neither of these should affect anything once they're set, but I'm wondering if it's part of a bigger problem.

Thanks again for the help
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05-27-2020, 03:21 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tippon Quote
Sorry, I forgot to mention, it's a K-x.
I've just remembered as I'm typing this that I've been having some minor issues with the camera. Neither of these should affect anything once they're set, but I'm wondering if it's part of a bigger problem.
The K-x is now over 10 years old which for most digital tech is old and depending on over usage, under usage, handling, environmental storage or shooting conditions, and sample variation, is not uncommon to have anomalies. Thankfully lenses can work fine for many decades. Even with my 34 year old 645, the mechanical bits are fine, but the electronics has gremlins.

Whatever issues you're having now, will probably only get worse over time, and of course momentarily vanish when you try to show anyone the problem.

For now, you just need to be sure your batteries are fresh. Are you using lithium, alkaline, or nickel metal hydride AA? Do you have a multimeter to test their voltage and amperage when fully charged?
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