I'd love to have this in my next camera!

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
VirtualMirage
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I'd love to have this in my next camera!
7 months ago

While reading some other threads, I decided to do a little research digging on other cameras. Upon my research, I stumbled across a feature found in the Pentax K5-II(s) (and some of their other cameras, I believe) that I would love to see in the next A-mount camera:

Astrotracer

I read several camera articles and reviews that cover almost all makes and models that involve cameras with interchangeable lenses and I am surprised that I somehow overlooked this feature.

Pentax achieves this through the use of their option GPS module along with the built in image stabilizer (I believe they use a 3-axis solution). Once calibrated, the sensor actually moves with the rotation of the earth to minimize star trailing.

While it is by no means a complete replacement for dedicated astrophotography mounts that are used for astrophotography (such as the iOptron SkyTracker or the Vixen Polarie), it certainly would be a big help for those doing exposures no longer than a minute and stacking them. Doing some looking online, the results are pretty impressive.

Combine this with a built in intervalometer and you would have a great camera to use for astrophotography.

Being that the current A-mount cameras are using a 2-axis sensor stabilization method, I can see that it wouldn't be possible with those. But if 3 or 5 axis sensor stabilization is implemented in the future cameras, it should then be pretty easy to implement.

Would anybody else out there other than me be interested in seeing this in their next camera?

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Paul

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BertIverson
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Re: I'd love to have this in my next camera!
In reply to VirtualMirage, 7 months ago

Sounds pretty neat but most of us do not photograph planets/stars/galaxies. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with cosmic or BIF or micro/macro or time-lapse photography etc. Each is kind of a specialty.

Cheers,
Bert

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VirtualMirage
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Re: I'd love to have this in my next camera!
In reply to BertIverson, 7 months ago

BertIverson wrote:

Sounds pretty neat but most of us do not photograph planets/stars/galaxies. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with cosmic or BIF or micro/macro or time-lapse photography etc. Each is kind of a specialty.

Cheers,
Bert

But if the hardware is already there, no harm in putting it to good use. 

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Paul

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BertIverson
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Re: I'd love to have this in my next camera!
In reply to VirtualMirage, 7 months ago

VirtualMirage wrote:

BertIverson wrote:

Sounds pretty neat but most of us do not photograph planets/stars/galaxies. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with cosmic or BIF or micro/macro or time-lapse photography etc. Each is kind of a specialty.

Cheers,
Bert

But if the hardware is already there, no harm in putting it to good use.

Good point. That's true if the GPS is already there.

Bert

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Chimere
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Re: I'd love to have this in my next camera!
In reply to VirtualMirage, 7 months ago

For the occasional long exposure night landscapes, some short star trails may not be noticeable, long trails actually might be more interesting instead. For serious deep sky photography this feature is next to useless. For good pictures of the planets one needs a good and powerful telescope, a long tele alone will not do as it will produce only mediocre images. I can not imagine this to be a deal maker for many of us. Hardly anybody will become a backyard astronomer because the camera has this odd feature. Serious stargazing amateurs will buy equipment specializing on their hobby. It appears to me to be desperate move, looks like some manufacturers are running out of features to punch into their creations.

Chimere

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Allan Olesen
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Re: I'd love to have this in my next camera!
In reply to BertIverson, 7 months ago

BertIverson wrote:

VirtualMirage wrote:

But if the hardware is already there, no harm in putting it to good use.

Good point. That's true if the GPS is already there.

Bert

Well, you need GPS. And then you need electronic compas, electronic level and most important of all: An image stabilization system which can rotate the sensor instead of only shifting it.

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Nordstjernen
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Why not a trcking platform - much better!
In reply to Chimere, 7 months ago

Chimere wrote:

For the occasional long exposure night landscapes, some short star trails may not be noticeable, long trails actually might be more interesting instead.

Tracking the stars will be perfect for astrophoto, but a foreground landscape will be blurred.

For serious deep sky photography this feature is next to useless.

True.

There also are many compact and lightweight tracking platforms out there, so if one intend to do some short focal length astrophoto (wideangle to medium telephoto lens) such a platform would be way better than sensor shift frature.

Two nice star tracking plattforms: AstroTrack TT320X AG, Vixen Polarie Star Tracker,

Or build one yourself: http://www.garyseronik.com/?q=node/52

Hardly anybody will become a backyard astronomer because the camera has this odd feature.

True.

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Steve West
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Re: Why not a trcking platform - much better!
In reply to Nordstjernen, 7 months ago

Thanks for the link to building one yourself!

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VirtualMirage
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Re: I'd love to have this in my next camera!
In reply to Chimere, 7 months ago

Chimere wrote:

For the occasional long exposure night landscapes, some short star trails may not be noticeable, long trails actually might be more interesting instead. For serious deep sky photography this feature is next to useless. For good pictures of the planets one needs a good and powerful telescope, a long tele alone will not do as it will produce only mediocre images. I can not imagine this to be a deal maker for many of us. Hardly anybody will become a backyard astronomer because the camera has this odd feature. Serious stargazing amateurs will buy equipment specializing on their hobby. It appears to me to be desperate move, looks like some manufacturers are running out of features to punch into their creations.

Chimere

I didn't say I wanted to use this for deep sky photography.  Having done some of my own astrophotography, I know the limitations this has but can also see its benefits for those that don't have dedicated equipment or don't do astrophotography enough to warrant the more expensive, dedicated equipment.

Yes, star trails CAN be interesting when you want them.  But if you want to do a fairly detail wide field photo and the landscape is of no concern, this would be a great option for those that want shots of the milky way or of certain clusters.  Since photo stacking is quite useful in astrophotography, this would be quite a given to get the most out of it.

As for deep sky photography, this still has its uses.  Here are some shots I found through Flickr of people that used the AstroTracer feature.  Since they are not my photos I will not be posting them via the picture option, but will be linking to them instead:

Andromeda Galaxy (M31), stacked

M42 Orion Nebula, stacked

Orion Nebula, Flame Nebula

Orion Nebula

Milky Way, Grand Canyon

There are plenty more good examples out there.  Seeing these makes me think you may not know the full capabilities of it and assume it is not much more than a gimmick.

Again, I am not saying this a replacement for a Polarie or Optron, but we already have most of the tech in our current cameras for this so it wouldn't be too unrealistic for the rest of it to be available in the next gen of cameras.

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Paul

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VirtualMirage
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Re: I'd love to have this in my next camera!
In reply to Allan Olesen, 7 months ago

Allan Olesen wrote:

BertIverson wrote:

VirtualMirage wrote:

But if the hardware is already there, no harm in putting it to good use.

Good point. That's true if the GPS is already there.

Bert

Well, you need GPS. And then you need electronic compas, electronic level and most important of all: An image stabilization system which can rotate the sensor instead of only shifting it.

A77 and A99 and many other Sony cameras already have GPS.  They also have electronic levels.  The electronic compass is either already implemented but not really referred to much or wouldn't be much effort to add in.

The big one, which I mentioned as well, is an image stabilization system that moves across more than two axis.  At minimum a three axis system is needed, but a five axis system would be even better.  Seeing as what Sony and Olympus have together now, it wouldn't be too unrealistic to see an improved image stabilization system in the next gen cameras.

So really, when you think about it, the only thing we would need to make this work is the improved image stabilization system.  The rest of the needed technology is something Sony has already implemented in many of their cameras.

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Paul

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linzdoctor7d
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I agree with you Virtual!
In reply to VirtualMirage, 7 months ago

VirtualMirage wrote:

Chimere wrote:

For the occasional long exposure night landscapes, some short star trails may not be noticeable, long trails actually might be more interesting instead. For serious deep sky photography this feature is next to useless. For good pictures of the planets one needs a good and powerful telescope, a long tele alone will not do as it will produce only mediocre images. I can not imagine this to be a deal maker for many of us. Hardly anybody will become a backyard astronomer because the camera has this odd feature. Serious stargazing amateurs will buy equipment specializing on their hobby. It appears to me to be desperate move, looks like some manufacturers are running out of features to punch into their creations.

Chimere

I didn't say I wanted to use this for deep sky photography. Having done some of my own astrophotography, I know the limitations this has but can also see its benefits for those that don't have dedicated equipment or don't do astrophotography enough to warrant the more expensive, dedicated equipment.

Yes, star trails CAN be interesting when you want them. But if you want to do a fairly detail wide field photo and the landscape is of no concern, this would be a great option for those that want shots of the milky way or of certain clusters. Since photo stacking is quite useful in astrophotography, this would be quite a given to get the most out of it.

As for deep sky photography, this still has its uses. Here are some shots I found through Flickr of people that used the AstroTracer feature. Since they are not my photos I will not be posting them via the picture option, but will be linking to them instead:

Andromeda Galaxy (M31), stacked

M42 Orion Nebula, stacked

Orion Nebula, Flame Nebula

Orion Nebula

Milky Way, Grand Canyon

There are plenty more good examples out there. Seeing these makes me think you may not know the full capabilities of it and assume it is not much more than a gimmick.

Again, I am not saying this a replacement for a Polarie or Optron, but we already have most of the tech in our current cameras for this so it wouldn't be too unrealistic for the rest of it to be available in the next gen of cameras.

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Paul

If you don't want to use the feature don't turn it on. There people on this forum who would use features like this that is why I don't understand some members who are against everything they think they don't need. I want my camera crammed with features just like this. I would use them. The Pentax K3 is crammed with features Sony only offers in Apps for the E-mount cameras why can't I have the same for the A77 or A99?

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