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View Poll Results: Do you make astro tracking images?
Yes I have the O-gps1 for this. So maybe upgrading to the K-3ii makes sence in the future. 2035.09%
I have the O-gps1, but I haven't used it for the past 6 months. 35.26%
The K-3ii would be my start with this and I'm looking forward to this. 1831.58%
I have a different brand or setup for this kind of photography. 814.04%
I'm not interested in this, so maybe the one shot of stars, like I did that one shot of the moon. 1424.56%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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04-29-2015, 08:57 AM   #1
RonHendriks1966's Avatar

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astro tracking photography......

So the new K-3 has this function build in, but with the separate O-GPS1 this was also possible with several camera's. Canon makes a special camera for this and also other brands offer some kind of function or there are professional setups.

The question you use it?

EDIT, and share an image if you can!

Last edited by RonHendriks1966; 04-30-2015 at 12:49 AM.
04-29-2015, 09:01 AM   #2
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No, but I tried once It is harder than it looks but I love the results and plan to spend some nights trying again this summer once the weather changes and the cloud cover lifts.
04-29-2015, 09:05 AM   #3
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I think building it into the K3II is a good thing. I do a little work with the O-GPS1 but it would be nice to just have it available.
04-29-2015, 09:52 AM - 1 Like   #4
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It's been pretty cold here at night for the past six months!

04-29-2015, 11:01 AM   #5

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Needs another option: "I really want to do this stuff, but haven't bought the equipment to do it right yet."

I'd love to get started. Waiting to read more about the K-3II and inclusion of GPS, etc.
Trying to decide whether to get an original K-3 plus O-GPS1, which I could also use on other cameras, or the K-3II, depending on how all the changes and improvements pan out in reviews and real-life experience.
04-29-2015, 02:05 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
The question you use it?
Oh yes, every clear night - - - - - which we have frustring few of here in Denmark. Nonetheless the O-GPS1 is for me one of the best gadgets I have ever purchased.

But I voted yes to the first question only with some hessitation because of the wording: I have the K-3 and I have the O-GPS1 so the K-3ii wouldn't be an 'upgrade', as long as we only speak about Astrotracer (or astrophotography with a Pentax DSLR in general), would it?

Time will show, but for now I have some questions:
  • Is the K-3ii built-in GPS less power hungry that the O-GPS1? (Not that it is too bad, but I really do appreciate the separate battery for the O-GPS1 so that the camera battery isn't additionally drained during a long night's session).
  • Is the K-3ii GPS antenna as sensitive as the O-GPS1 do.?
  • And overall: Is the Astrotracer of the K-3ii as good as that of the K-3 (and the K-5x)?
04-29-2015, 02:18 PM   #7
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I think geotagging would be my most often used feature if I had the K-3 II. I don't usually bother with the O-GPS unless I need it for astrotracking since it catches on my pocket or the camera bag when putting the camera in or out. Having it always available I would turn on geotagging if it didn't drain the battery or something like that.
04-29-2015, 04:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote
I think building it into the K3II is a good thing. I do a little work with the O-GPS1 but it would be nice to just have it available.
This. Sometimes its just a PIA to have to go through with attaching the thing, calibrating it, it takes up extra space atop the camera, etc.

Just having it there (I assume I'll still have to loo like a goof calibrating the thing) would be so much more handy.

04-29-2015, 06:19 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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I love the OGPS-1 unit and my biggest frustration is the lack of clear nights to use it. Here's a shot of Orion using the K5, OGPS-1, Rokinon 85mm f1.4 lens, ISO 400, f2.8 and 60 seconds exposure.
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04-29-2015, 06:21 PM   #10
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I am working on the ultimate barn-door... but would gladly give a build-in astro-tracker a go
04-29-2015, 06:53 PM   #11
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Astrophotography has always fascinated me and the K-3ii would kill to birds with one stone for me - upgrading my K10D and astro-tracer ready out of the box.
04-29-2015, 09:26 PM   #12
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Perhaps I'm too ambitious or not ambitious enough - don't know. I acquired a GPS unit last year, and I do really like it a lot, for both astro, and just having the images tagged and using the map in LR. It is a nice feature. My problem is, I like to include an element of landscape - usually something large (mountain, lake/rock, etc.). I have tried both approaches, with and with out astrotracking, and have given considerable thought about it while the Milky Way was in hibernation over the winter. Worked on my post processing to some degree (which still sucks).

So, I'v decided to take both approaches rather than choose only one. Last week, I punted and ordered a Sigma 18-35/1.8 - it should arrive tomorrow. I want to shoot both approaches, and do some pano/stitching to boot. I also want to include some star tracking both wide field, and now that I found out you can go up to 300 seconds with a 200mm - deep sky. I have some other ideas now as well.

As to the body - I went with the K5IIs last Black Friday, due to the lower noise at ISO 1600/3200 (80% sure). Maybe the greater resolution of the K3 would have been better - I don't know (20% doubt). But, I made my choice, and just thinking that I will continue with it. I made my bed - and I am actually pretty pleased so far. If the new K3II comes out with killer low noise (greater IQ) at moderate to high ISO, but its really got to be great, I might reconsider. I doubt that it will (90% sure), but right now - I feel I am good till at least the K3II replacement (plus a year, for the price to come down). I do feel confident that I can and should be able to capture everything I want to do with my current body.

Now, its just practice, technique, skill, imagination, and most important of all - stop making small stupid mistakes. It's doing 99 things right and screwing one small inconsequential thing up - that always comes back to haunt me. The more I shoot the better I get, until I stop and then I regress - pretty quickly.

Getting back to the GPS for the moment. 300 seconds of tracking - even 200 seconds to ensure that the corners don't start to streak, is a lot of time. Everyone else need to use a tracker (lots more equipment) with polar alignment. The GPS with astrotracking is really wonderful. You really need to understand its limitations and to use its capabilities in the right way. That is the largest thing that I discovered last year. When and how to use it and to start considering how to combine it effectively with other techniques, based on what you are attempting to capture.

A long response to a short survey question......

04-29-2015, 09:41 PM   #13
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I dont live near dark skies and thus only really use my O-GPS1 about once a year. However, each year it delivers a great milky way shot, so it has been worthwhile.
The integral GPS in the K3 II sounds very convenient.

In addition to embedding coordinates into the EXIF, I have used my GPS to plan a couple of moonrise trick shots where I needed to know the altitude from the roof of a building. I went up on the roof where i planned to shoot and determined(via O-GPS1) it was 57m above sea level, which was useful for my calculation.
I also will turn it on when i am scouting for a possible sunrise/moonrise framing and just shoot a pic so it has the azimuth information in the EXIF. Later, I can use TPE or some similar program to figure out what day and time i need to be there to place the sun/moon in the frame precisely.
04-29-2015, 10:09 PM   #14

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My place is totally unsuited for shooting the night skies.

However, there are many occasions I was on photo tours where I could have made good use of it.
Perhaps once to three times a year.
So yes, I am looking forward to it in the coming FF.
04-29-2015, 11:31 PM   #15

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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
and now that I found out you can go up to 300 seconds with a 200mm - deep sky. I have some other ideas now as well.
While the O-GPS is a great gadget, 300s or even 200s at 200mm will require a large amount of luck. Iíve never come close to that. Usually I settle for 15s or 20s at 135mm, as the success rate is much larger if I stack two 15s instead of aiming for one 30s. 30s usually work too, but when it doesnít then I have to throw away 30s of exposure, instead I aim for twice as many 15s exposures.

I wonder what happens if I put a O-GPS1 on the K3II?

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