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11-01-2022, 07:48 AM   #1
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K3III With a Telescope?

Hello, sorry if this has been asked, I tried searching with no results. Has anyone used the K3III with a telescope? I was thinking with the telescope as your lens and the Astrotracer feature it would make a great combo but I don't know a lot about the subject. I was hoping maybe someone here had tried it or with an older camera with the astrotracer? Thanks in advance.

11-01-2022, 02:01 PM   #2
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Astrotracer with a telescope will be problematic. I have long used it with my 400mm lens (A* 400/2.8) and for GPS based astrotracer I can consistently get good 20s shots. With the K-3iii and type 3 astrotracer I can get consistent 40s shots. The various incarnations of astrotracer basically require good focal length data which is one of the limiting factors. Also type 3 really needs a good focus otherwise it gets confused and fails to process the test shot or shots (still haven't figured out how that works entirely). When you increase focal length you decrease the tracking time for good shots. So if you are out near 800mm (like most inexpensive scopes) I would expect you could get 20s shots. However most scopes aren't as bright as my 400/2.8 unless they are one of the mirror ones but those typically have substantally longer focal lengths.
11-02-2022, 05:48 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
Astrotracer with a telescope will be problematic. I have long used it with my 400mm lens (A* 400/2.8) and for GPS based astrotracer I can consistently get good 20s shots. With the K-3iii and type 3 astrotracer I can get consistent 40s shots. The various incarnations of astrotracer basically require good focal length data which is one of the limiting factors. Also type 3 really needs a good focus otherwise it gets confused and fails to process the test shot or shots (still haven't figured out how that works entirely). When you increase focal length you decrease the tracking time for good shots. So if you are out near 800mm (like most inexpensive scopes) I would expect you could get 20s shots. However most scopes aren't as bright as my 400/2.8 unless they are one of the mirror ones but those typically have substantally longer focal lengths.
Thank you for the insight. I hadn't thought about those things really because I thought you could just input the focal length of the telescope you were using. Mine has failed at times but I thought it was more due to shooting in windy conditions. I also read recently that you can't have land in the frame? I shot the Milky Way a month ago or so and it was working fine even in some windy conditions.
11-02-2022, 07:00 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcshellyg Quote
Thank you for the insight. I hadn't thought about those things really because I thought you could just input the focal length of the telescope you were using. Mine has failed at times but I thought it was more due to shooting in windy conditions. I also read recently that you can't have land in the frame? I shot the Milky Way a month ago or so and it was working fine even in some windy conditions.
You can have a bit of land in the frame. My experience has been 1/4 or less land in the frame and no issues.

11-02-2022, 08:46 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcshellyg Quote
I thought you could just input the focal length of the telescope you were using.
That is really the key thing but as mentioned tracking time gets lower with longer lenses/scopes.

QuoteOriginally posted by jcshellyg Quote
I also read recently that you can't have land in the frame? I shot the Milky Way a month ago or so and it was working fine even in some windy conditions.
I usually don't shoot night landscapes with astrotracer (type 3) so have never tried it. I likely would do it but again the shot would mostly be sky. If the moon is in the frame it really struggles probably because of the gigantic bright round thing in the sky. I did that when I was trying to figure out how and why it fails and was using my 200mm and 300mm lenses. Type 3 astrotracer seems to be pretty good at picking out stars as with the full moon just out of the frame in my heavily light polluted backyard it still managed to find stars and correctly calculate how to track.
11-02-2022, 12:48 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kobie Quote
You can have a bit of land in the frame. My experience has been 1/4 or less land in the frame and no issues.
Thanks so much for the verification.

---------- Post added 11-02-22 at 02:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
That is really the key thing but as mentioned tracking time gets lower with longer lenses/scopes.
OK So mainly tracking times issues. Thank you for the help. I am a total newbie to any kind of astrophotography. Trying to figure out how I want to go and if I want to get a telescope or not. Appreciate the insight. Maybe I just need to spend the money on a better lens. The one I have has coma issues.
11-02-2022, 01:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcshellyg Quote
OK So mainly tracking times issues. Thank you for the help. I am a total newbie to any kind of astrophotography. Trying to figure out how I want to go and if I want to get a telescope or not.
As far as where to start go join the Astrophotogrophy group. We are a friendly lot and are pretty good about answering questions and providing feedback and tips.

To get a scope or not for astrophotography is something I would advise against for a beginner. There is a lot to learn and mast starting out without having to fiddle around with the narrow view and likely dim view that a scope would offer. There are lots of things that can be photographed nicely with lenses in the 200mm to 400mm range on an APS-C format camera. Orion is coming into prime time now, the Plieades too. There is also stuff in Cassiopeia. Prime lenses are king and even wide stuff like a 28mm, 35mm, 12mm can produce some great results. If you want some idea of what different lenses can show I have an astro album and other post shots in the astro group frequently.

11-03-2022, 11:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
As far as where to start go join the Astrophotogrophy group. We are a friendly lot and are pretty good about answering questions and providing feedback and tips.

To get a scope or not for astrophotography is something I would advise against for a beginner. There is a lot to learn and mast starting out without having to fiddle around with the narrow view and likely dim view that a scope would offer. There are lots of things that can be photographed nicely with lenses in the 200mm to 400mm range on an APS-C format camera. Orion is coming into prime time now, the Plieades too. There is also stuff in Cassiopeia. Prime lenses are king and even wide stuff like a 28mm, 35mm, 12mm can produce some great results. If you want some idea of what different lenses can show I have an astro album and other post shots in the astro group frequently.
Thank you so much, I did not see there was an Astrophotography Group. Your photos are wonderful and what I would strive to obtain even something close to that! I see you are using a SMC PENTAX FA 645 400mm. Forgive my ignorance but do you need an adapter to use this with a K3III? As I mentioned, my lens isn't the greatest and I am looking for something better if not a telescope.
11-03-2022, 01:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcshellyg Quote
SMC PENTAX FA 645 400mm.
Actually I am not using that lens. I am using the even faster SMC A* 400mm F/2.8 which is a regular (exceptional quality though) full frame K-mount lens. A 300mm f/4 lens would be a good starter lens or even one of the old Pentax 200mm f/4 lenses. The 300mm I have is the Sigma 300mm F/4 APO Tele Macro and I got it from my local camera shop at the stole it price of $130. When I suggest one of the old 200mm F/4 lenses I do mean old. I have and use the M42 mount SMC 200mm F/4 Takumar and I know others have used the M and A versions as well and those lenses really want to be run at F/5.6. I can usually find one locally for between $60 and $90 dollars in optically great condition with varying features and wear on the lens barrel. Lenses like a good 200mm or 300mm will open up a lot of good starter deep sky objects. Also if you want wider get one of the old Pentax 50/1.4 lenses, I run the M42 mount SMC 50/1.4 Takumar and like basically all the Pentax 50s it really wants to be run at F/2.8 for astro. Again old ones work just as well as newer ones and can be had for less than $100 in good shape. Wider and cheaper still you could get the old M42 mount SMC 28mm F/3.5 Takumar and for astro it gets great at f/4 and mine I got for $80 but it also had the case for it, the hood, and the hood case but was also basically immaculate.

Apart from the A* 400/2.8 the lenses I've mentioned above are not exceptional, are not hard to find, and are not expensive.

My other bit of advise is to get the biggest heaviest tripod you can find. My biggest one is this wooden monster but that is probably overkill however it only cost me $50 and an afternoon with some power tools. The other tripod I use for astro is an old Manfrotto 3058 tripod with the Manfrotto 3057 head that I picked up for $110. For astro you really want big, heavy, and ridged as that minimized vibration and quickly dampens it.
11-04-2022, 08:02 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote

My other bit of advise is to get the biggest heaviest tripod you can find. My biggest one is this wooden monster but that is probably overkill however it only cost me $50 and an afternoon with some power tools. The other tripod I use for astro is an old Manfrotto 3058 tripod with the Manfrotto 3057 head that I picked up for $110. For astro you really want big, heavy, and ridged as that minimized vibration and quickly dampens it.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share information about lenses and such! I really appreciate it. My mistake on the lens, must have been when I Googled it, I got that instead of the one you are actually using.

As for the tripod, I have that covered. My husband is into antique cameras and we have a huge metal heavy one for old large format cameras like a 16X20. It has a great head on it for astro as it can do slight up and down so it's great as objects move in between shots. Thanks again

Last edited by jcshellyg; 11-04-2022 at 08:04 AM. Reason: Forgot something.
11-15-2022, 09:32 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcshellyg Quote
As for the tripod, I have that covered. My husband is into antique cameras and we have a huge metal heavy one for old large format cameras like a 16X20. It has a great head on it for astro as it can do slight up and down so it's great as objects move in between shots.

That sounds like a good tripod so you have that covered.
11-16-2022, 07:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MossyRocks Quote
That sounds like a good tripod so you have that covered.
It is. On your suggestion I looked for a cheaper but good old lens and found a SMC Pentax-M* 300mm F4 which got a 10 for sharpness on the Pentax forums. I took it out last weekend and tested it on some birds and I was suitably impressed. I have just been waiting for clear skies and less wind. Even with the heavy tripod we have been having 25 mph winds here.

Thanks again for your help. I have been lurking in the Astrophotography group too. Thanks as well for that suggestion.
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