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01-16-2016, 03:53 PM   #1
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Camera clicking during astrotracer exposure

Hi folks, I'm looking for some help about a problem I've had, and while I've heard about the thing a couple of other times, I've never seen an explanation or a solution.

I'm using a K-3 II to learn some astrophotography, and I've used a series of lenses. The short ones are fine and take pretty good shots.

My problem is that when I use either my Sigma 150-500mm (at any focal length) or my Tokina 70-220mm M42 to get closer, I hear a clicking sound from the camera body once per second while the exposure is taking place. The photos themselves are all over the place - the stars not only leave trails, but the trails are like spaghetti, not smooth, so I'm thinking that the clicking is also shaking the camera slightly. I'm using a pretty heavy Manfrotto tripod.

I've disabled the optical stabilisation on the Sigma (the old Tokina doesn't have any such technology), so it's not that.

The precise calibration hasn't been a problem, so it's not that either.

Does anyone have any ideas what this is, and how I can stop it?

01-16-2016, 05:18 PM   #2
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My K50 has done this once, only for 1 frame while doing an astro shoot. It's only a few months old and hasn't done it since.
01-16-2016, 05:30 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
I had a similar problem with my K-5 that was caused by the IBIS starting to fail and stick. It seemed to happen a lot more often when using the astrotracer but occurred occasionally during normal shooting as well. I ended up just moving on to a new body, since by that point I was at around 100k shots on the shutter and was out of warranty.

If yours is still under warranty, it might be worth sending it in for repair.
Thanks for the suggestion.

The body is pretty new - only with about 2800 shots so far. The clicking isn't like the video posted at https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/58-troubleshooting-beginner-help/226032-k...ml#post2398894, it's a quiet click once per second - you have to listen for it.

---------- Post added 01-16-16 at 05:32 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Grippy Quote
My K50 has done this once, only for 1 frame while doing an astro shoot. It's only a few months old and hasn't done it since.
Thanks Grippy.

Was the shot you were making using the AstroTracer?
01-16-2016, 11:20 PM   #4
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AstroTracer clicking - more information

On a hazy Sunday afternoon I decided to do some daytime tests with the AstroTracer and a variety of lenses to see if the clicking I've been hearing is there for all lenses.

It is! It's very quiet, and you have to put your ear right next to the camera to hear it. It's a quiet pop, exactly once per second. I can't tell if it shakes the body or not.

So I'm not certain what to do now - is it something that the internal AstroTracer just does in the K-3 II, or is it something that just my camera does (in which case it's a problem).

If any other K-3 II owner has the opportunity, can someone set up a short AstroTracer shot and repeat this test? (It doesn't need to be longer than 10 seconds) You'll have to do the precise calibration, and listen carefully to the camera as the exposure is taken (with the cap on during the day if you like).

Finally - some opinions. With the Sigma 150-500 on and extended, can people advise whether this setup is stable enough to take an AstroTracer photo?

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01-17-2016, 05:09 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by skogpingvin Quote
Thanks for the suggestion.

The body is pretty new - only with about 2800 shots so far. The clicking isn't like the video posted at https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/58-troubleshooting-beginner-help/226032-k...ml#post2398894, it's a quiet click once per second - you have to listen for it.

---------- Post added 01-16-16 at 05:32 PM ----------


Thanks Grippy.

Was the shot you were making using the AstroTracer?
Sure was, 1 frame out of about 50, it freaked me out a bit, hasn't happened since though luckily. I think it was the sensor shifting about randomly.
01-18-2016, 04:50 AM   #6
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The SR isn’t absolutely silent, but it usually generates some kind of grinding noise.
02-22-2016, 12:57 PM   #7
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A little late to the party, but I remembered this thread while practicing with the Astrotracer this weekend for an upcoming trip to Bryce Canyon.

The weekend full moon didn't make for ideal conditions and I only had my 31 mm and 560 mm lenses with me, both used on the K3ii. I too noted the second hand click with the 560 (only allowed a 30 second exposure) and silence with the 31 mm (allowed two minutes). All images came out fairly clear even with the clicking noise.
02-23-2016, 02:48 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by riseform Quote
A little late to the party, but I remembered this thread while practicing with the Astrotracer this weekend for an upcoming trip to Bryce Canyon.

The weekend full moon didn't make for ideal conditions and I only had my 31 mm and 560 mm lenses with me, both used on the K3ii. I too noted the second hand click with the 560 (only allowed a 30 second exposure) and silence with the 31 mm (allowed two minutes). All images came out fairly clear even with the clicking noise.
Thanks for that, yes a "second hand click" is a very good description of it. i don't think it's responsible for any shake, but I think my tripod maybe isn't heavy enough for the 500mm setup. I've decided to change tack and use a Meade LS6 (1560mm f/10) for deep sky stacked long exposures, and have also ordered a Pentax 10-17 from B&H which I'm assuming will be a lot less probe to shaking on the tripod and get me nice whole-sky shots with the AstroTracer. Looking forward to the delivery.

02-28-2016, 03:36 PM   #9
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I have a K-3 which I bought last year second hand. never had any problems with stabilization. I got the O-GPS1 module for Christmas, didn't have much time to test it properly.
I also have the faint clicking sound along with the faint "grinding" sound of the stabilization working. Actually it is more like a little gap in the sound of the stabilization "grinding".
So far my tests showed trailing but it was very close to the minimum operating temperature of -10°C, the trailing was mostly north-south direction. I also have 10°deviance for the south direction after doing careful normal and then precise calibration. I don't know if 10°is acceptable or not. I would be much happier with 2-3°deviance maximum.
I'm kind of worried if that clicking is showing something at fault but it is very orderly, precisely doing it at every second of the Astrotracer exposure. No such clicking when I wiggle the camera a bit in Live View with SR on, only the louder movement of the sensor position reset.
Maybe we could do a collective complaint to Pentax on this issue even if they tell us it is normal.

---------- Post added 02-28-16 at 04:34 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Sterby Quote
I have a K-3 which I bought last year second hand. never had any problems with stabilization. I got the O-GPS1 module for Christmas, didn't have much time to test it properly.
I also have the faint clicking sound along with the faint "grinding" sound of the stabilization working. Actually it is more like a little gap in the sound of the stabilization "grinding".
So far my tests showed trailing but it was very close to the minimum operating temperature of -10°C, the trailing was mostly north-south direction. I also have 10°deviance for the south direction after doing careful normal and then precise calibration. I don't know if 10°is acceptable or not. I would be much happier with 2-3°deviance maximum.
I'm kind of worried if that clicking is showing something at fault but it is very orderly, precisely doing it at every second of the Astrotracer exposure. No such clicking when I wiggle the camera a bit in Live View with SR on, only the louder movement of the sensor position reset.
Maybe we could do a collective complaint to Pentax on this issue even if they tell us it is normal.
I forgot to mention the faint "clicking" is exactly one second no matter if I'm using 16-45mm lens, 35mm lens, 50-200mm lens or a 400mm lens. It is also present regardless where I point the camera (north, east, south, west, directly upwards etc...)
03-01-2016, 02:54 AM   #10
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Yes, after having changed lenses about 10 times and listened carefully, the second hand click does seem to happen on all the lenses. The grinding sound is the IBIS when you pick the camera up during live view and it works really hard.

I haven't really done much testing on one lens and then re-calibrating before taking a second exposure, then repeating ad nauseum, but I feel that the calibration doesn't last all that long - maybe a half hour before it could be improved by doing a new precise calibration. I also notice some trails around the edge of the frame, which I think is probably normal. Having said that, some of the photos taken by jamas79 (from the other side of the planet from me) are excellent, with the stars being nice points with no trailing obvious.

As to strategy, I'm of the opinion that because AstroTracer seems to work better at the short focal length, so I'm going to play to this strength using a Pentax-DA 10-17 and getting some near whole-of-sky shots. The deep sky objects like M42 (which in this context means the Orion Nebula) I'll use a Meade LS6 instead. I just have to wait until those pesky clouds move away...
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