Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
11-07-2015, 04:12 AM   #1
Billk's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 341
Calibrating the astrotracer on K3ii

I'm terrible at reading operating manuals and getting the instructions right but I can't get the astrotracer to calibrate.

Can somebody explain the steps more fully than what is in the manual? Or is it just a trial and error thingy?

Here's a shot of the stars from my back door step shot on manual. I'm keen to see what I can get on bulb with the astrotracer on.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3 II  Photo 
11-07-2015, 05:30 AM   #2
Billk's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 341
Original Poster
Here's a shot taken on bulb and, as far as I could tell, with the astrotracer on.
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-3 II  Photo 
11-07-2015, 10:02 AM   #3
Loyal Site Supporter
Loyal Site Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,537
Several things come to mind here....
  • The first image was at ISO 100 while the second one was 400. Boost the ISO up to 1600 to start. The night is really dark, and you need as much light capturing capability as possible.
  • You need to be in bulb mode for the astro-tracking to work properly. - Well at least for my K5IIs with the external GPS unit - the K3II may be a bit different.
  • Google some videos for the gps calibration of the K5 with the O-GPS1 unit and follow those instructions to start.

11-07-2015, 11:44 AM   #4
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 49,793
A bit of trial and error, or at least multiple attempts, may at times be necessary. Try keeping the camera as steady as possible when calibrating and make sure you're only revolving it around one axis at a time.

Adam Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography) server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover these costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, KEH, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

11-07-2015, 11:49 AM   #5
Otis Memorial Pentaxian
Loyal Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 38,862
I don't own the K-3II , but I did take a look at the GPS/Astrotracer instructions. This is what I gleaned:
  • There is a general calibration for the GPS
  • Astrotracer requires a second, "precise" calibration if the location has changed since its last use. This precise calibration is done in the same manner as the general calibration...rotating the camera in three axis at least 180 degrees for each.
  • Astrotracer is turned on using the GPS menu and engages when the camera is in "B" mode
  • B mode with Astrotracer enabled operates in what is traditionally called "T" mode, meaning that the shutter opens with one press and closes with a second press
  • It is good to remember to turn Astrotracer off when not being used
My understanding from posts on this site and elsewhere is that the effectiveness of the Astrotracer feature depends on the section of sky being sampled.

11-07-2015, 07:16 PM   #6
Billk's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Posts: 341
Original Poster
Thanks for all the great suggestions peeps. I'm guessing I just didn't rotate the camera with sufficient accuracy. Would doing it on my back door step - close to sources of EMF - be a potential problem too?

BTW: The K3ii is a huge upgrade from the K7 in IQ and versatility, regardless of the subject matter.

Edit: Still no luck after a few more tries. Other new K3ii owners should probably be prepared for a bit of experimentation, rather than relying on it to work first try.

Last edited by Billk; 11-07-2015 at 07:47 PM.
11-07-2015, 10:10 PM - 2 Likes   #7
Just1MoreDave's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,800
My handful of suggestions:
  • The strap will just get in the way.
  • It shouldn't matter what lens is on the camera when calibrating, so I use a short lens.
  • I try to keep the camera in the same point in space and rotate each axis around one point.
  • I restart from the beginning if the camera doesn't say "OK" right after the third axis, assuming one rotation wasn't right.
  • Rotating the camera three ways in the dark is a great way to drop the camera. Be careful.

I have the K5IIs and separate O-GPS1, which is probably somewhat different. I just discovered that one option for reprogramming the RAW/Fx button is to go directly to the GPS menu. That saves me a lot of menu fumbling.
02-07-2016, 01:24 PM   #8
Junior Member

Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 29
sorry to bring this thread back to life. But i have fallen in this issue. I cant get precise calibration to succeed.
I have attempted the accurate calibration process like 40 times, never succeeded. The non precise calibration worked like a charm.
I have tested it outdoors, pointing to different places, with gps on, off, 20 meters away from houses and nothing seems to work.
Any idea?


  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
astrotracer, camera, pentax help, photography, shot, troubleshooting
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Which Support for K3II Astrotracer or Pixel Shift Feature Use C_Jones Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 33 11-25-2015 12:40 PM
K3II & Astrotracer 'odd' behaviour cloudwarrior Pentax DSLR Discussion 4 11-01-2015 09:35 AM
Put Pentax FF on hold for the K3II Dlanor Sekao Pentax K-3 30 04-27-2015 06:11 AM
Pixel Shifting Samples from Pentax on the K3II mikeodial Pentax DSLR Discussion 99 04-26-2015 05:00 PM
Calibrating everything for lenses on the K-x? TMoneytron Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 13 08-06-2012 10:25 AM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:16 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]