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DCWatch reports on Pentax's Astro Tracing function using the O-GPS module

By dpreview staff on Jul 8, 2011 at 19:36 GMT

Japanese website DCWatch has published a test of the star tracking feature of Pentax's O-GPS module. The Astro Tracer mode uses the GPS coordinates to calculate the camera's movement relative to the stars, then utilizes the camera's image stabilization system to shift the sensor to track that movement. The report, which is a little tricky to follow in its Google-translated form, includes several example images, showing the system's effectiveness. (From DCWatch)

Click here to read the Google translated version of DCWatch's O-GPS Astro Tracer report

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Comments

Total comments: 20
honemastert
By honemastert (Aug 8, 2011)

The max exposure time is 5 minutes (depending upon focal length)

In practice, I tried a 500mm mirror lens (one of those cheap Rokinon's) and it came back with about a 90sec exposure time.

The time also varies with 'declination' e.g. how many degrees from horizontal, you have the camera angled on the tripod.

I've not measured the impact on time when pointing the cam. straight up (overhead)

I still need to do that, it's just been too cloudy in the Phoenix, AZ metro area to attempt astro shots as of late.

Misplaced my Pentax IR remote.. so need to try the K-5 tethered with PK_tether. K-5 should be able to do an indefinite exposure time. I dont like how you are limited to 30secs in bulb mode unless you use some sort of "remote" So I've not really gotten the chance to put it through it's paces yet.

0 upvotes
newpotty
By newpotty (Jul 10, 2011)

I'm just getting intro astrophotography. Canon has been the DSLR of choice for years. But from all reports (such as on DP Review) the new Nikons (D7000, D5100) have superior low-light low-noise sensors than Canon. Since this Pentax has the same sensor, wouldn't it also be a prime candidate for astrophotography (the astro tracing function not withstanding)?

0 upvotes
mali ivica
By mali ivica (Jul 10, 2011)

it would
actually, since it has bigger DR at ISO 80, it may be even better

3 upvotes
Ivanaker
By Ivanaker (Jul 9, 2011)

what does this actualy do?

0 upvotes
nosnoop
By nosnoop (Jul 9, 2011)

Here are some official sample images in Pentax Japan web site, and this is the Google translate version:

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pentax.jp%2Fjapan%2Fproducts%2Fo-gps1%2Fastrotracer.html

The translation messed up the formatting a little bit. So for example:
Photographic Equipment: K-5
Shooting data: / F6.3 / s ISO800/300
DA40mmF2.8Limited

The "s" should be behind the 300:
Shooting data: ISO800/300 seconds/F6.3
DA40mmF2.8Limited

0 upvotes
newpotty
By newpotty (Jul 9, 2011)

Very innovative idea!

Unfortunately, if you take some of the full-res images from the Pentax and play with them in Photoshop, the noise really jumps out quickly. I'd love to see this technology paired with a low-noise higher-sensitivity sensor, like in the Nikon D7000 or Canon T3i.

0 upvotes
DrewE
By DrewE (Jul 9, 2011)

The Pentax K5 and the Nikon D7000 both use the same Sony sensor and (predictably) have very similar noise and sensitivity levels.

8 upvotes
newpotty
By newpotty (Jul 10, 2011)

Egg smack on my face.

1 upvote
glastoria
By glastoria (Jul 10, 2011)

Furthermore, you need a build in vibration reduction system for moving the sensor, which neither Nikon nor Canon has...

3 upvotes
MostlyHarmless
By MostlyHarmless (Jul 10, 2011)

Most astophotography involves image stacking to remove random and systematic noise (and vignetting) because the SN ratio is so dire - looking forward to some examples that do that.

0 upvotes
shigzeo ?
By shigzeo ? (Jul 9, 2011)

Wonderful technology from forward thinking engineers. Really cool. I've Heard of nothing of the sort outside the K5 and am very impressed.

2 upvotes
justin23
By justin23 (Jul 9, 2011)

Yes the pentax SR system compensates for rotational movement as well as standard horizontal and vertical movement.

I can't wait to get ones of these for my K-5. I'm guessing noone cares about the GPS, but the astrotracing feature which requires in body stabilisation is one of the few ingenius things to come from a camera company in a while.

3 upvotes
Witstert
By Witstert (Jul 9, 2011)

I'm sure it is wonderful but for me clicking "there" results in a blank white screen. Wish I could see whatever it is.

0 upvotes
ric S
By ric S (Jul 9, 2011)

It seems that the sensor can rotate.

Direct infos from Pentax : http://www.pentax.jp/english/news/2011/201107.html

You may go up to 5 mn under 50 mm or at 200 mm in good conditions. Amazing.

0 upvotes
Martin Datzinger
By Martin Datzinger (Jul 9, 2011)

First of all I have to again salute Pentx for their innovative thinking. I'd love to have something like that on my Nikon. But I have one question: Does the sensor shift system also allow to rotate the sensor? Or how is that system supposed to function with wide lenses?

0 upvotes
Magnus W
By Magnus W (Jul 9, 2011)

One of the features of Pentax' recent sensor-shifting is that it can rotate the sensor, yes. This was introduced in the K7 (although this astro mode isn't usable with that camera).

2 upvotes
ric S
By ric S (Jul 8, 2011)

Looking at the picture, one is 60 s à f=100 mm, an other one is 75 s f=43 mm. Quite impressive.

IMHO the tester is not aware of astrophotography, indeed the results are already good. With my Olympus E-510, I accumulate shorter views (60 s) with smaller focal length (50 mm) using an home made equatorial mount.

0 upvotes
allenrob108
By allenrob108 (Jul 8, 2011)

I tried to read the review but the translation is, shall we say, different. Couldn't really understand it but I got the impression he liked it and it worked well.

2 upvotes
ianimal
By ianimal (Jul 8, 2011)

Looks like a useful feature for "hobby astro shooters". I did not read the report so don't know what time limit there is and how it is related to focal length and position on earth. But a nice addition.

0 upvotes
mrjamesabels
By mrjamesabels (Jul 9, 2011)

One benefit would be portability and low price compared to motorized equatorial mounts.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 20