Tips and tricks for using the astrotracer

The "GPS" item of Record Menu #4 of a K-50

The Precise Calibration Menu.

  • The astrotracer function has to be set in "Action in B Mode" so that the Astrotracer comes "On" anytime the  GPS is "On" and the camera mode dial is placed on "B".

  • Precise calibration is a VERY important procedure to insure tracking accuracy.  Here is a LINK to a video on how to do it properly.

  • If stars show trailling, re-calibrate, if stars still show trailling re-calibrate facing a different direction.

 

  • Stars apparent movement is faster near the celestial equator so the tracer's maximum tracking time is shorter in that part of the sky.

 

  • Shooting targets that are near the zenith can be confusing for the compass.  I find that pointing the camera at the object azimuth first at a low elevation and then slowly pointing the camera upward to the target helps improve the accuracy of the tracking.

 

  • Except on the K-r and different versions of the K-5, pressing the Pentax "green" button will switch between Timed Exposure on and off, and when "on" the front e-dial of the camera can be used to set exposure time, without the need to go back to the menu.

 

  • K-7, K-x, K-m and older models are not compatible with the astrotracer.

The camera LCD display when astrotracer is in function.

Astrotracer icon indicating the function is running

GPS icon is actually green when GPS has good satellite lock

Front E-dial controls exposure time when "Timed Exposure" is "On"

© François Quesnel.

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