Pentax Astrotracer

  • Posted on: 15 March 2020
  • By: tihomiry

Astrotracer is a great way to take advantage of the Pentax DSLR camera in-body shake reduction mechanism. It is available since Pentax k5 and track celestial bodies by moving the sensor. Here is what is it ablout:

http://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/products/o-gps1/astrotracer.html

It is most suitable for low power panoramic astrophotography with focal lengths from 35mm to 135mm. Thus could be used with longer telephoto lens but it's calibration is a real challenge and it is hard to achieve good tracking result. For wide angle shots this tracking is boosting comma and distortion effects as sensor is going beyond the calculated filed of for the specific lens. Also it is mostly suitable for single shots. After the shot is taken, the sensor is getting back to it's original position and if you need to do a series of shots you need to readjust the camera position. The main advantage of this technology is that very compact and you could have it always with you. Sometimes the best shots are those we do not plan. Here are my examples:

35mm, 120s. Astrotacer On
Milky way center at Sagittarius.

35mm, 500s. Astrotacer Off
star trails

Below is a shot with a 500mm lens:

Nowadays we are so into the globalization and technologies, that I can submit observation plan to a remote, professional observatory at the other part of the word!

This is a comparison of my not modified Pentax k5 DSLR and the same, but modified one without IR-cut filter.

Astrotracer is a great way to take advantage of the Pentax DSLR camera in-body shake reduction mechanism. It is available since Pentax k5 and track celestial bodies by moving the sensor. Here is what is it ablout:

Staying at my home inspires me to make some documentation of my experience. I got a dedicated drive for my astrophotos and start reorganize them by objects. Here is an article of the most recent process I use on my photos. Enjoy: )

For a few months from now Betelgeuse (Alpha Orion) dim so much, that it looks as bright as the stars in the Orion belt. This is not so disturbing and does not mean that cataclysmic events are happening with it.

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