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05-10-2015, 08:38 PM   #1
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Astrotracer on K-S2

Did anyone else use astrotracer on K-S2 + O-GPS1? If yes, what are your experiences? I haven't been able to make it work on my K-S2 (firmware 1.00). The camera doesn't report any problems while performing calibration (and precise calibration), GPS unit locks satellites without any problems, time/location/direction on the images are correct; however, the images taken with and without the astrotracer function are identical. As examples, I have attached two images: one taken with astrotracer (exp 30 s), the other one in bulb (exp 30 s). For this 120 mm lens/direction, suggested max exposure was 2:20. So the used exposure was way below the suggested one. These are cropped images, but trails are obvious even without cropping. I have been playing with astrotracer for the past several days, but with no luck. It's like it's not doing anything. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

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05-10-2015, 08:56 PM   #2
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but interested to know......experience this at times (especially lately as in last 3 attempts) where it seems the o-gps just isn't doin its job correctly....where as other times it really does....the inconsistency makes it such a mystery
05-11-2015, 07:38 PM   #3
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Thanks Aaron28.
So far astrotracer has been very consistent in my hands. But consistent in not working. Inconsistency will be an improvement for me. Tonight is a cloudy night so I can't do much, but I wanted to ask few things about the astrotracer operation.
So let's say I turned on timed exposure (2:00 min) in the astrotracer menu (first attached image). When I go back to start shooting, exposure is set to 2:00 min. However, in the lower right corner there is an icon indicating that astrotracer is off (second attached image). Pressing the green button sets the astrotracer "on", but it also sets the exposure to "bulb" (third attached image). Am I missing something here? Is the astrotracer with timed exposure supposed to be working though the indicator says the astrotracer is off? Or maybe the indicator is telling me "press the green button to turn the astrotracer off", which I would find to be counter-intuitive. How is this supposed to work?
Thanks!
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05-11-2015, 08:07 PM   #4
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I have a k-50.....I must remind myself to set it in bulb mode.....that will use the astrotracer function (moving the sensor) and set the timer.....the time it thinks it can exposure for a given focal length.....so I would say yes hit the green button to have it display on or set the dial directly on B (which I sometimes forget)......at times I adjust under the time it displays which I can change but never exceed.....since yer at 2:00 what focal length are you dealing with?

---------- Post added 05-11-15 at 10:15 PM ----------

btw I think I am missing the same thing you are.....but I do believe the camera needs to be in bulb mode for the astrotracer to function

05-11-2015, 08:30 PM   #5
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I have the GPS unit and I use it with both my K5 and K5IIs. The instructions differ between the GPS manual and the K-S2 manual, to the extent that I am confused. It looks like the max time for the 120mm lens is 5'00" which is expected (your 2nd and 3rd image above). So your setting at 2' is well within the bounds. I really think that you are taking an exposure with out astrotracking being enabled. I downloaded the K-S2 manual and its instructions are nothing like the K5 in using the GPS. I do not see in the K-S2 manual anything about the green button (other than on the rear display - the green dot (lower right hand corner of the display), which I am taking to mean that the GPS is enabled). The K-S2 manual instructions on page 117 are nothing but confusing. Press [menu] three times? @#$%^&*?

I would call the Pentax customer service line and ask for clarification on how to enable it, since their manual is nothing but confusion. Actually if they could post a Youtube video on how to work it would be a good idea.

05-11-2015, 09:12 PM   #6
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Sorry for the confusion, but when I took images of the camera menu, I had a different lens, 28mm, mounted on the camera. The original images of star trails were taken with a 120 mm lens.
To use astrotracer I do set camera to bulb mode. But also, I need to go to "GPS" options in the rec menu and choose "action in B mode". Here, there are two options: astrotracer and bulb. Choosing "astrotracer" also allows me to use "Timed Exposure". By default this option is off. Turning it on allows me to choose exposure time. This is illustrated in the first image, where you can see that "Timed exposure" was set to ON (star-clock-on icon), and also exposure time was set to 2:00 min. Now this is what confuses me. After turning on timed exposure (star-clock-on icon), I go out of the menu to see astrotracer off (star-clock-off icon, second image, lower right corner)??? I don't get it. I can change this to "on" by pressing green button, but then I loose timed exposure (it goes to bulb). I haven't been able to make any sense out of this, mainly because I haven't been able to make astrotracer work in any combination of options.
05-11-2015, 10:02 PM   #7
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You are right at the point where I was my first time with the GPS unit on the K5. I had everything setup just like you have and I kept pressing the shutter (it seemed logical to me). I finally went back and read the GPS manual and saw that I needed to select the "start shooting" option with the [ok] button which flipped the screen to a display that indicated that the camera was ready to track in astrotracking mode and then hit the shutter - and then it all worked.

In your case with the K-S2, they have eliminated the "start shooting" option, and substituted the - "press [menu] button 3 times" and then press the shutter (page 118 step 6 in the K-S2 manual). I have no idea as to why this approach - but then again, I didn't write the software (user interface). It sounds like you need to press [menu] button 3 times followed by pressing the shutter, to get the camera body to enable the sensor tracking capability, when the shutter is released. In the manual I see no instruction to press the [green] button.

[just an aside - I would boost the ISO to at least 800, if not 1600 to 3200, in order to capture enough star light.]

05-12-2015, 05:42 AM   #8
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Thanks interested_observer. When in the astrotracer menu, pressing [menu] button three times takes you out of the menu. And this brings me back to my initial questions: I just turned ON "Timed Exposure" in the astrotracer menu > I press [menu] button three times to go out of the menu > now in the lower right corner of the screen there is an indicator telling me that "timed exposure" is OFF (next to green button). Or maybe this is telling me to press the [green] button to turn off timed exposure, which I would find to be counter intuitive. In any case, I have tried astrotracer w/ and w/o timed exposure (and w/ & w/o pressing the [green] button) and couldn't make it work. Now I'm going through different lenses to see whether this will help.

Regards,

05-12-2015, 07:26 AM   #9
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I don't know what to say, other than that there is something wrong with either the camera or the instructions. Actually, I'm betting on the instructions being wrong. Who would create a user interface like that? (well Pentax does marketing - right?)Down at the bottom of the page, under Support is Live Chat
I would give them a try.
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... then there is this page - probably more effective


Last edited by interested_observer; 05-12-2015 at 07:36 AM.
05-12-2015, 03:35 PM   #10
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more clear nights and more drinks will give me the experience to better understanding of the mysterious device as I have prolly used it less than 20 times.....what befuddles me is I got comet lovejoy ok but m42 in orions belt I could never get right! plus I really suck at finding objects to shoot........maybe by mid summer I will have a much better grip on use....
thanks for help Interested_observer......have read many of yer posts and others in using the device
03-30-2016, 06:29 AM   #11
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Did you ever have luck getting this to work correctly? I have a K-S2 on the way, and am debating getting the GPS unit.
03-30-2016, 02:30 PM   #12
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I don't own K-S2 but you might want to try the firmware 1.11 which specifically addressed the astrotracer tracking problem.
Latest K-S2 Firmware Update : Software Downloads | RICOH IMAGING
03-31-2016, 11:43 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kwb Quote
I don't own K-S2 but you might want to try the firmware 1.11 which specifically addressed the astrotracer tracking problem.
Latest K-S2 Firmware Update : Software Downloads | RICOH IMAGING
Yesh, I was about to say the same thing. many reviewers who have reviewed the astrotracer function in K-S2 have got unsatisfactory results with it.

The new firmware claims it improves astrotracer functionality.
04-11-2016, 03:23 PM   #14
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With the 1.11 firmware it all works as it should on my K-S2. I've just got to get my focusing better with more practice - when we have a clear night.

It's a great bit of kit.
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