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06-23-2018, 11:59 PM   #1
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Pentax K-70 can't get astrotracer to work

I was wondering if anybody has a set of detailed instructions (including a list of dos and don'ts) on how to get astrotracer to work. It seems that it's a temperamental beast and I have had no success to date. Equipment I have is Pentax K-70 (I have tried both the 18-135 mm lens and a the pentax 12-24 ultra-wide angle zoom), Pentax o-gps1 unit and tripod. When I set up, everything appears sweet - gps unit acquires 3D position, I run the precise calibration and it says it is calibrated, turn on atrotracer (bulb setting) and it tells me tracing is good for up to 4 minutes (at 12 mm zoom) - but I still get star trails even at 1 minute! I am beginning to think it won't work in the southern hemisphere! (joking though). One thing that occurred to me is whether or not I should switch off shake reduction (which is what I have been doing) - although I'm sure I've tried it both on and off. I noticed on another thread that someone used a "bulb timer" on the K-1, but I don't know that the K-70 has that feature (can't find it). I have just been triggering the shutter remotely on bulb setting (bulb option type 2).
Any suggestions/instructions/ list of dos and don'ts out there?
cheers
Bill

06-24-2018, 02:06 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Landy Quote
I was wondering if anybody has a set of detailed instructions (including a list of dos and don'ts) on how to get astrotracer to work. It seems that it's a temperamental beast and I have had no success to date. Equipment I have is Pentax K-70 (I have tried both the 18-135 mm lens and a the pentax 12-24 ultra-wide angle zoom), Pentax o-gps1 unit and tripod. When I set up, everything appears sweet - gps unit acquires 3D position, I run the precise calibration and it says it is calibrated, turn on atrotracer (bulb setting) and it tells me tracing is good for up to 4 minutes (at 12 mm zoom) - but I still get star trails even at 1 minute! I am beginning to think it won't work in the southern hemisphere! (joking though). One thing that occurred to me is whether or not I should switch off shake reduction (which is what I have been doing) - although I'm sure I've tried it both on and off. I noticed on another thread that someone used a "bulb timer" on the K-1, but I don't know that the K-70 has that feature (can't find it). I have just been triggering the shutter remotely on bulb setting (bulb option type 2).
Any suggestions/instructions/ list of dos and don'ts out there?
cheers
Bill
We recently did a write-up on this topic:


O-GPS1 vs Built-in GPS Guide - Astrotracer Calibration - In-Depth Articles
O-GPS1 vs Built-in GPS Guide - Astrotracer Reliability - In-Depth Articles

A few takeaways:
-Calibrate multiple times, while sitting down, slowly along one axis at a time. It may take a few attempts for the accuracy to increase.
-4 minutes is not realistic, somewhere in the 30-120 second range is generally going to be the sweet spot, from my experience

The k-70 does have a bulb timer. Set the mode dial to B, then I believe you press either the green button or the exposure compensation button to switch to the timer. The proper button will be indicated on the status screen, along with a little timer icon.

Adam
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06-24-2018, 03:27 AM   #3
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Thanks Adam!
09-23-2018, 08:52 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Landy Quote
I was wondering if anybody has a set of detailed instructions (including a list of dos and don'ts) on how to get astrotracer to work. It seems that it's a temperamental beast and I have had no success to date. Equipment I have is Pentax K-70 (I have tried both the 18-135 mm lens and a the pentax 12-24 ultra-wide angle zoom), Pentax o-gps1 unit and tripod. When I set up, everything appears sweet - gps unit acquires 3D position, I run the precise calibration and it says it is calibrated, turn on atrotracer (bulb setting) and it tells me tracing is good for up to 4 minutes (at 12 mm zoom) - but I still get star trails even at 1 minute! I am beginning to think it won't work in the southern hemisphere! (joking though). One thing that occurred to me is whether or not I should switch off shake reduction (which is what I have been doing) - although I'm sure I've tried it both on and off. I noticed on another thread that someone used a "bulb timer" on the K-1, but I don't know that the K-70 has that feature (can't find it). I have just been triggering the shutter remotely on bulb setting (bulb option type 2).
Any suggestions/instructions/ list of dos and don'ts out there?
cheers
Bill
It seems to be finicky from what I've been reading. I'm new to the K70, too.
I've read the following:
1) Do a 'regular' GPS calibration (under wrench menu 3, GPS/E-COMPASS item)
2) Then do a 'precise' calibration (under camera menu 3, ASTROTRACER item, or hit the exposure compensation button as a precision cal shortcut). I'm not sure both are necessary, but I'm playing it safe.

3) Hit the green button for the Bulb timer. (There's no mention of this in either manual, at least that I could find)

Do the calibrations where you're going to shoot. I haven't found out if a metal tripod has any effect on cal or not, yet.
I took me 2 days to find out the above, the O-GPS1 manual was written before the K70 came out, and hasn't been updated.
The K70 manual is sketchy on astrotracer, and has just about nothing on the O-GPS1. I didn't know there were 2 different calibrations.

You'd think they'd take the opportunity to provide updated info on using O-GPS1 with this camera in the K70 manual, if they're not going to update the O-GPS1 manual, right?
I hope this helps, and saves you the time I had to spend finding out.

GOOD LUCK!

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