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03-24-2015, 05:28 PM   #1
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New at Photography so I bought a K5iis..YIKES

Hi all
I decided to finally get myself a new camera. I splurged on a K5iis. A little advanced for my knowledge base, but I'm a quick learn.
Really enjoy nature shots, especially the macro world. (Note: why is everything backwards in photography? Is everything written in code? Macro=large/big, but not in the P World)😁
I also want to dabble in astro and timelapse.
I'm the buy it now and figure it out later kinda guy. So I need some advice on the type of lens for night sky shots. I don't want to break the bank either.
Any help would be great.
BB

03-24-2015, 06:56 PM   #2
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Hi there, and welcome to Pentax Forums. You have jumped right in with the K-5iis, but help is available here, not to mention in your Manual and Yvon Bourque's books (search in the Forums to find them).

For night sky shots, you generally need to have the fastest lens you can afford, in order to gather as much light as possible. Without going overboard, that probably means a 50 mm F1.4 for a start (manual focus is all you need for night photography of this type) but the field of view will be fairly narrow on an APS-C camera like the current Pentax DSLR range, so you'd have to use panorama-stitching in software to simulate a wider field of view. Fast lenses that are wider can be moderately expensive, but in manual focus there are some (comparatively) inexpensive K-mount (non-Pentax OEM) solutions available. Have a look in the lens database in the Forums for more information.
03-24-2015, 07:41 PM   #3
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I love my fisheye for astro. Not a true projection, but it looks cool.
03-24-2015, 08:22 PM   #4
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Most people are going to recommend a Samyang/Rokinon 14mm f2.8 (or 16mm). I'd say go for the Da 16-45mm f4, you can get it used for less than $200. It's an excellent lens, sharp, contrasty, wide, AF quickshift, all the goodies you need.

03-24-2015, 09:29 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boltonbene Quote
... (Note: why is everything backwards in photography? Is everything written in code? Macro=large/big, but not in the P World)��
...
Think of it as tools and techniques used to make small things "large/big."

Interestingly, although most refer to the lenses as "macro," Nikon calls theirs "micro."
03-24-2015, 09:33 PM   #6
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Night sky photography is very demanding. Even with f/2.8 you are still looking at pushing to ISO 6400 if you want to avoid the stars getting blurry. Modern lenses are also broken by design because they do not lock to infinity focus. If you are a complete beginner you might want to try something simpler to avoid early burn out.
03-24-2015, 09:50 PM   #7
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Pentax sells a gizmo called the O-GPS1 ( Pentax O-GPS1 reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database )that you attach to your hot shoe and which enables the camera to use the sensor to guide star shots, allowing way longer exposures than you normally would be able to pull off without a tracking mount.

I was just playing with mine tonight - this shot was 10 seconds with a 200mm lens and normally would have been impossible to do (I may even have been stopped down to f/5.6 or so, I'm not sure) without the stars and moon trailing.

The unit costs about $200 new unless you get lucky and find it on sale/used, but its well worth it if you're even halfway serious about astro shooting with your Pentax. It also has the added bonus of enabling GPS tagging on your shots if that's something you'd want as well.

03-25-2015, 12:04 AM   #8
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Welcome aboard, enjoy that new camera.

03-25-2015, 12:30 AM   #9
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The Samyang 14mm is great for the Milky Way. If you want to shoot the moon, 500mm is about what you want. The GPS unit is quite nice, but if you want to use a telescope, then an equatorial mount and motor drive are needed for most shots.
03-26-2015, 12:17 PM   #10
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Wow. Thanks all. Some good stuff here.
When I was deciding to buy the Pentax and humming and hawing in the store. I met a professional photographer at that point telling me the wonderful things about Pentax. But he told me that if all the forums he's in, the Pentax blogs/users are the most helpful. The other groups were somewhat snobbish. I was sold.
Everything happens for a reason.
Thanks All.
03-26-2015, 07:08 PM   #11
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I'll share a secret with you, one of the sharpest UWA lenses is the K 24mm f3.5......(don't tell anyone)
04-12-2015, 05:31 AM   #12
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Thanks S.
Just wondering how it works. I looked it up but Im just not getting it.
Does it allow you to pinpoint stars? If so how's that work.
I've taken my first night shot last night with my Pentax DA 18-55. I tried 25s ISO 800 f3.5
I haven't downloaded yet but will do and share.
The sun set 2 hours prior and I was getting red in the horizon.
04-12-2015, 09:27 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boltonbene Quote
Thanks S.
Just wondering how it works. I looked it up but Im just not getting it.
Does it allow you to pinpoint stars? If so how's that work.
I've taken my first night shot last night with my Pentax DA 18-55. I tried 25s ISO 800 f3.5
I haven't downloaded yet but will do and share.
The sun set 2 hours prior and I was getting red in the horizon.
The O-GPS1 uses the camera's shake resistance to physically move the camera's sensor in sync with the rotation of the stars. (Yes, its as awesome as it sounds)

Basically calibrate it (note, this takes a bit of practice to get right), point it where you want it, set it for X number of seconds/minutes (it varies depending on what you're using and where you're shooting) and fire off your shot. I've actually found its easy to blow your shots out if you go for the maximum settings the tracker calls for, in which case you either shoot at a narrower aperture or just lowball what it says you can do.

The caveat of this is if you're including a landscape in the shot, you may need to shoot twice and stitch, as terrestrial objects will then be moving as the camera tracks the stars for you.
04-25-2015, 07:11 AM   #14
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I've done my first night shots in the last couple of weeks. Finding a good spot with little light pollution is the most difficult task. I'll drive aimlessly until I'm far enough in the countryside and preferably in a valley.
I have a 18-55mm @ f3.5 Pentax starter lens which I'm using before I plunge bucks for a faster lens.
It's a bit confusing whether I get a faster lens or a wider angle. How about a faster lens with a wide angle attachment?
Ideally having a fast and really wide angle is a wish I may not be able to afford. So do I sacrifice the wide shot (modify it in panoram in software) and stick to a faster lens (f2 or less)?
Back to my test shots.
I tried the built in interverlometer which works fine. Couldn't fine a way to stop it without powering off (need to read the manual, but just dread it). I also have an external one which allows me to shoot in bulb.
I used the 18mm @f3.5 and tried various ISOs. I wanted the shot to be crisp so I started with 400 and worked my way up to 1600. Finding the balance was the best learning. If I shot bulb for too long, objects streaked. If I shot lower ISO it would capture many objects. Going to higher ISO, I wasn't happy with the quality. Shooting too high ISO, I picked up the glow in the horizon.
I'll upload a couple shots and look forward to feedback.
The astrotracer is on my radar to get.
Thanks
BB
04-25-2015, 08:00 AM   #15
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I really enjoy doin time lapse stuff.....for sunsets I use the 18-55kit set the interval at 15 and 'sunset' scene mode (to maintain balanced exposure) for 120 shots (30minute duration).....if I learn another mode to set a specific aperture and the camera adjust the shutter I would....... when it comes to night sky I use a sears 28/2.8(very cheap lens but I like it) ( want a 14/2.8 but need some dollars first).....typically wide open, cloudy or 3800k WB, 20 sec exposure(since I am composing a star trail), interval is set at 22-23 seconds for 120 shots (40 min duration+)......it's alotta fun and met some nice people as I ask permission to be on private property.....most are perplexed to begin but after showing (giving a print after later on) they 94.28% of the time say you are welcome anytime!!! it's really cool......the link is the latest time lapse
https://www.flickr.com/photos/123743029@N04/17043866387/

Last edited by Aaron28; 04-25-2015 at 08:07 AM.
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