> 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:

When we have a new newton telescope we shroud avoid touch the collimation of the secondary mirror as we may get into troubles.

You no more need large sensors and heavy equipment to do good general photos. The recent development of image sensors put silicon chip capabilities to it's limit by

Knowing what you are looking for is more then half way to achieving it. Breakthrough Listen is a SETI kind of project that listen for artificial signals from 1700 nearby stars up to 160 light years.

Some shots from Sofia. A very bright sky place. Zenith sky brightness info (2015): SQM 19.13 mag./arc sec2 Brightness 2.41 mcd/m2, Artif. bright. 2230 μcd/m2, Bortle class 6.

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