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05-14-2016, 07:51 PM   #1
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Pentax K1 astrotracer help

Not sure if it this has been asked before. How exactly do people take these amazing shots of the stars? I mean besides being amazing photographers. How do they do it? I have yet to even come close to the images that are posted on this forum. Any help to point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it!

05-14-2016, 07:54 PM   #2
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First and foremost, patience and practice. Deep space photos require multiple exposures. Generous post-processing is also almost always needed, since tiny stars aren't normally visible unless you boost the exposure/contrast.

Good luck!

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05-14-2016, 08:28 PM   #3
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There are a lot of resources on this site for the budding astrophotographer, including a six-part series of articles. The first might be a good place to start and contains many links to other resources.

Astrophotography Part 1 of 6: Planning the Shoot - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com


Steve
05-14-2016, 08:38 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the info ! Definitely looking forward to creating great images

05-15-2016, 04:07 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Come join the sub-forum (there are over 150 folks over there).....
05-15-2016, 06:58 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Hey fellas,

I have two questions regarding night sky landscape photography with the K-1

1) Does the Astrotrackerfeature work in portrait mode also? (I think it does but I haven't had a chance to try it.
2) This may be just me being thick!? When I shoot a landscape at night with the milky way above a mountain or a lake or so... the sensor moves and keep the stars being "on point" but what happens to my trees, lake, mountain? Will they be blurry? Is the astrotracing made for pure sky captures in the first place? Do I need to take two exposures and fiddle them together on the computer?

Thanks, mateys this is bugging me for quite some time
05-15-2016, 07:18 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by i5_david Quote
2) This may be just me being thick!? When I shoot a landscape at night with the milky way above a mountain or a lake or so... the sensor moves and keep the stars being "on point" but what happens to my trees, lake, mountain? Will they be blurry? Is the astrotracing made for pure sky captures in the first place? Do I need to take two exposures and fiddle them together on the computer?
Yes the will be blurry cause the whole sensor is moving and everything on earth is not ^^ (to put it in a simple way)
-> Yes two photos. One with the Astrotracer and the sky and a 2nd one with the trees/mountain/... without astrotracer. Then you have one with a blurry sky and one with blurry mountains
05-15-2016, 09:11 AM   #8
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Ok am was not on a wrong track then. Thanks mate
Can't wait to give it a spin

05-15-2016, 09:33 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by i5_david Quote
Ok am was not on a wrong track then. Thanks mate
Can't wait to give it a spin
Yep same for me! Sadly when the nigthsky was superb here I had no time, and now its clody like hell
05-15-2016, 09:44 AM   #10
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night is still real short but the galactic centre has already arrived again. Cant wait for the perseids shower and my new toy haha
05-15-2016, 11:08 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by i5_david Quote
Hey fellas,

I have two questions regarding night sky landscape photography with the K-1

1) Does the Astrotrackerfeature work in portrait mode also? (I think it does but I haven't had a chance to try it.
2) This may be just me being thick!? When I shoot a landscape at night with the milky way above a mountain or a lake or so... the sensor moves and keep the stars being "on point" but what happens to my trees, lake, mountain? Will they be blurry? Is the astrotracing made for pure sky captures in the first place? Do I need to take two exposures and fiddle them together on the computer?

Thanks, mateys this is bugging me for quite some time
Morning - I don't have the K1, but use the GPS unit on my K5IIs in astrotracking quite a bit. So, here is what I know...

1) Does the Astrotrackerfeature work in portrait mode also? (I think it does but I haven't had a chance to try it. - yes.

2a) This may be just me being thick!? When I shoot a landscape at night with the milky way above a mountain or a lake or so... the sensor moves and keep the stars being "on point" but what happens to my trees, lake, mountain? The items that are not in motion (stationary), will start to blur. I've found that the static items tend to be ok up to about a 40 second exposure. Longer than that they just get really blurry.

2b) Will they be blurry? Yes

2c) Is the astrotracing made for pure sky captures in the first place? In its purest form probably. With just sky and no landscape elements, it does become much easier.

2d) Do I need to take two exposures and fiddle them together on the computer? Yup!! If you are going to go to the trouble of shooting two different exposures, you really need to optimize each of the images for their intended use. For the landscape, since it will be at night, shoot it with a moderate ISO (200, 400, 800) and shoot several frames and stack them so that you get a real clean image. Then shoot the sky. Here is a thread that I did last year that somewhat walks through it.After going through all of the shooting, you need to composite the two halfs (sky and land). Gimp is still only handles 8 bit images in their standard distributions. To do 16 bit images, you need to download their development set, compile and link - essentially building your executable. The other approach is to use Photoshop - which handles 16 bit images. That is what I am currently thinking about doing (actually - I should just do it and get it over with).

The other thing that I wanted to say is that - the K1 with the new 5 Axis SR unit, should solve one of the problems that the original GPS implementation. For all other bodies other than the K1, the SR is 2 axis, so there is no rotational component. If you look at the images in the above link, you will see that the center is point on, but along the extreme edges, you get a bit of star trailing. This starts with exposures longer than about 60 seconds with a 18mm focal length (crop sensor). I think that the 5 axis should fix this problem.

05-15-2016, 11:44 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
For all other bodies other than the K1, the SR is 2 axis, so there is no rotational component.
I think you underestimate the SR - it's three axis, and K7/5/3 are capable of rotating the sensor around the Z axis. Without that, with x-y movement alone, astrotracing would be impossible,
05-15-2016, 12:06 PM   #13
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For any nightscape shot that is wide enough to encompass both nortern and southern starfields either side of the celestial equator, there wil be differential star trailing. There is no way that the O-GPS1 or the built-in gps units can counteract for both movements.
05-15-2016, 01:04 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
The other thing that I wanted to say is that - the K1 with the new 5 Axis SR unit, should solve one of the problems that the original GPS implementation. For all other bodies other than the K1, the SR is 2 axis, so there is no rotational component. If you look at the images in the above link, you will see that the center is point on, but along the extreme edges, you get a bit of star trailing. This starts with exposures longer than about 60 seconds with a 18mm focal length (crop sensor). I think that the 5 axis should fix this problem.
Trailing at the extreme edges is unavoidable with the astro tracer due to how wide rectilinear lenses warps the image. Everything is prolonged at the edges in order to keep lines straight and that means that stars appears to move faster at the edges of the frame when using such lenses.

But since the sensor is a solid piece of equipment it can only compensate for one speed of movements, and thus stars will still seem to move at the extreme borders.

And as funktionsfrei said, all cameras that can use the astro tracer can rotate their sensors.
05-15-2016, 02:34 PM   #15
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Great questions and great answer everyone ! Definitely doing my research now thanks to all the links ! Hopefully I can have a decent picture by the end of the month !!
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