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03-07-2019, 02:32 PM   #1
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K-1 Wifi range?

Hi,

Apologies if this has been dealt with already but what is the operational range (outdoors) of the wifi tethering of K-1? I am planning to do photography using a drone so this is quite crucial. I do not care about image transfer, just controlling the camera.

Thanks for any info/experiences!

03-07-2019, 03:05 PM   #2
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You're planning of hanging a K-1 from a drone? Must be quite a decent size drone!
I don't know what the range is, but hopefully someone has tested it.
03-07-2019, 03:10 PM   #3
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Yes, this one: Matrice 600 -*Simply Professional Performance

It has a payload capability of roughly 6kg, of which the gimbal takes 1,5kg. Still plenty left for a K-1 and a lens

I am also planning to do UV and IR with it, so the camera will immediately go to be modded for that (full spectrum conversion). This voids the warranty, but that's ok.

As you maybe guessed, this setup is for research purposes.
03-07-2019, 03:29 PM - 1 Like   #4
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The range of the K-1 (or any WiFi device) depends on the range of the device it's talking to. It will have much lower range to a cheapo smartphone than to a multiantenna WiFi base station.

Range will also depend on the orientation of the camera and the orientation of the receiver. Most devices will have deadzones unless they have a pretty sophisticated antenna system (which neither the K-1 nor a smartphone/tablet will have).

You can also get booster antennas and high-gain directional antennas for much longer distances.

03-07-2019, 04:14 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rorschach Quote
Yes, this one: Matrice 600 -*Simply Professional Performance

It has a payload capability of roughly 6kg, of which the gimbal takes 1,5kg. Still plenty left for a K-1 and a lens

I am also planning to do UV and IR with it, so the camera will immediately go to be modded for that (full spectrum conversion). This voids the warranty, but that's ok.

As you maybe guessed, this setup is for research purposes.
Thanks for the link. That is an impressive piece of kit!
03-07-2019, 04:23 PM - 1 Like   #6
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If you have the room you could place a small router onboard setup as a wireless bridge to extend the range to a ground station hooked to another router. The antenna options will be easier to manipulate if the router allows for external antennas and you might consider somewhat directional ones on the ground station at least. (Not too narrow!)

Whats the precise amount of control needed? Could you make do with a remote trigger without as much sophistication as tethering?
03-07-2019, 04:54 PM - 1 Like   #7
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There are "range extenders" which pick up the signal and retransmit it on a different band with more power. That might be a consideration for the drone end since there's no way to directly tie into the WiFi unit in the K-1. Regarding what photoptimist mentioned, a Yagi antenna connected to a ground based transceiver (by wire) and then to a device like a laptop via USB might get the best range, but you'd have to keep the antenna "on target" to avoid dropouts (could be a two person operation). Small transceivers are made which will work with a good system on the other end up to about 1/4 mile or more (direct line of sight) this way.

Here are a couple of links that might be of use:

RadioLabs - Radio, Wireless and Beyond -

amazon.com: Alfa Network 1000mW High Power Wireless G 802.11g Wi-Fi USB Adapter with 5dBi Antenna AWUS036H: Computers & Accessories?tag=pentaxforums-20&

Also Google "Alfa Network booster". Some companies that carry these, also carry other WiFi devices that might lend themselves to your use.

If you don't mind sharing, what drone are you using and how do you like it?

Also, if you haven't already done so, check out WiFi Commander in this forum - it's a nice little program that might be of interest to you.

A K-1 on a drone

Last edited by Bob 256; 03-07-2019 at 05:00 PM.
03-07-2019, 04:57 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rorschach Quote
Yes, this one: Matrice 600 -*Simply Professional Performance

It has a payload capability of roughly 6kg, of which the gimbal takes 1,5kg. Still plenty left for a K-1 and a lens
Which gimbal are you using? As I understand it, the normal DJI process is to trigger video etc via the gimbal, can you check if this is an option?

03-07-2019, 06:01 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
Thanks for the link. That is an impressive piece of kit!
It is indeed. Pentax Surveying are already selling it in Japan, and show it mounting a K-1:

Pentax UP-1 drone

---------- Post added 2019-03-08 at 12:25 PM ----------

A small WiFi repeater like the $20 Xiaomi Wifi Repeater 2, plugged into a small USB power-bank, hung below the K-1 on the drone, would also be a good investment. A useful setup video (just replace Tello with K-1):

Last edited by rawr; 03-07-2019 at 06:34 PM.
03-07-2019, 10:23 PM   #10
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Thanks for the great responses! The gimbal would be the Ronin MX. In terms of control needs, we need live view and the camera controls provided by Image Sync so a remote trigger is not enough. Live View is especially important because we will be also doing UV photography and for that we will need to use full manual legacy lenses (there are several with good enough UV pass through.

The dedicated UV lenses by Coastal Optics and Nikon are not an option. Not so much because of the high price but because of those being available only for Nikon F. So there would be no infinity focus without an adapter that has corrective optics...and those optics would not pass UV (almost certainly). So we're going to use a few different fixed focal length m42 lenses. A mix of the oldest tech and the newest possible! I like that

One thing in UV photography is the rather long exposure times (unless full and strong direct sunlight) even with UV-capable lenses and that is where the high ISO capabilities of the K-1 will be important but even more so the sensor shake reduction of course. For visible light and IR stuff we of course appreciate the weather shielding of the Pentax and it's lenses (the new 50mm f1.4 will be the most important lens for us).

I did not know that Pentax surveying is already selling a combo of Pentax K-1 and this drone! I must look into the pricing and functionality. Perhaps it is good alternative.
03-07-2019, 11:16 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I haven't used the K1, but I have the Kp which I suspect has the same wifi capabilities, I found it to be good for maybe 50 yards max at ground level, though it can drop out well under that. I tested it with a laptop with an external antenna and with the android app, the Android app had a much shorter range, but the camera doesn't get anywhere near the max range of the laptop. You might get 100+ yards with line of sight, but I'd be very surprised if it was much over that.

When I've fiddled with IR stuff for looking at drainage (with an M43 camera) I just used a time lapse trigger and sifted through masses of photos after the fact.
03-08-2019, 01:59 AM   #12
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Time lapse is one option that we have considered but it is not optimal as we need to get low aerials of a very large number of vegetation plot that are part of a long-term manipulative field experiment. With manual, legacy lenses in use, would also need to calculate focal distance (i.e. drone height --> distance from lens to the ground) carefully before taking off and setting the lens focus plane so that the resulting images would be in focus.

I just put in an inquiry on the UP-1 drone combo to Pentax Surveying. Let's see what the answers are!

I am also aware that there are high-quality wired power tethering options for this drone. They use a light power wire and high input voltage (due to resistance, to reach the desired 12V at the drone). These enable unlimited flight time and would be of interest as well, because we intend to fly not just the camera but also NDVI sensors and radiometers/pyranometers. But these drone power tethering systems cost around 5000 to 10 000 euros so we'll have to consider our priorities,
03-08-2019, 02:12 AM   #13
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Interesting question. I was thinking not to use a drone (given the price) but to hang my K1 to a balloon, ultimately forgot this idea when I realized this could be the last time I see my K1.
But, the Wifi range on the K1 is a very valuable question: it could be used to tether the K1 from a distance when using normal lens for taking wildlife shots.
03-08-2019, 02:45 AM   #14
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A balloon might be useful for some light applications and would definitely be very cheap. However, it would be terribly difficult, if not impossible, to control satisfactorily. We ruled balloons out at the very start of our considerations.
03-08-2019, 08:29 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rorschach Quote
.....
we need to get low aerials of a very large number of vegetation plot that are part of a long-term manipulative field experiment. ....
Cool science project! A few more thoughts and ideas....:

1. Have you looked at the drone's APIs and on-board control features? If it has any digital I/O features, you may be able to control the K-1 from the ground through the drone's API with a simple bit of electronics, and the wired remote port on the camera. And if that doesn't work, then a long-range wireless remote control can do that job.

2. Time lapse could work if you program the drone to fly to a grid of locations at set time intervals and hover in sync with camera's time lapse. (Note: you are probably going to want to program the drone to fly a fixed grid for the survey and sensor shots anyway so that your scans are comparable over time.)

3. Wifi range will be curtailed and unreliable if there is any vegetation between the drone and the base station.

4. AF may not work well in UV or IR. But manual focus should be workable for your project even at f/1.4. For example, if your goal is to image a 10 m x 15 m rectangle with each shot (= a pixel size of 2mm on the ground), you'll be flying at about 20.8 m above ground level. If you set a 50 mm f/1.4 lens to focus at 16 m, then everything from ground level up to about 10 m up should be in focus. You can use a DoF calculator (Depth of Field (DoF) calculator | PhotoPills) for other scenarios.

5. You'll probably want to do some experimentation with lenses to check the plane of focus, aberrations, and transmission in UV and IR.


I look forward to hearing more about your project!
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