K5iis with o-GPS v. 645 with nothing


Link Posted 05/02/2015 - 17:36
OK, there aren't any 645 photos cos they were rubbish (my fault, essentially)
So here's the story.
I took off onto the high moors to take advantage of the moon, snow and clear night with a plan to use the K5 and GPS to take long exposures at low iso and the zed to try stacking short exposures and high ISO.
In short the o-GPS wins hands down, but it's clunky and you have to remember to take a normal shot if you have static ground in the shot. The stacked shots - 1 second at 6400 ISO lost too much detail and colour to compete with one good shot from a tracking K5.
Time to buy a mechanical tracker for the Zed! oh my poor wallet

and the K5 demonstrating it can handle the high iso too

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Link Posted 05/02/2015 - 17:47
Lovely images - how do you combine the static foreground shot with the tracked star shots?


Link Posted 05/02/2015 - 18:09
I didn't on these. They were short enough exposures to just sharpen the ground separately.
It was my first go with the GPS. I'm not even sure if it works in portrait mode. But I guess it does.
Photoshop's shake reduction can handle small movements in stars, but undo it from the ground
When you're up a windy tor in the snow at midnight, it's easy to forget the correct workflow and find yourself fixing stuff in PS
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Link Posted 07/02/2015 - 10:33
I'm curious. An excellent, but self-confessed sighting shot of a bug, elicits 3 pages of comments, but these shots above, that took 2 hours on top of a frozen hill and required all sorts of interesting gear to achieve, get one comment. I would have thought this post was a great talking point, which is why I posted it.
I'm not fishing for compliments; the photos aren't posted because I think they are especially great, I posted them as an interesting account of my first attempt at stars and indeed full moon/snow photography and using totally opposing techniques and cameras.
Also really pertinent to the whole FF debate in that the best shots came from the venerable K5.
I'm really bemused
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Link Posted 07/02/2015 - 11:07
Agreed - it does seem strange. I am not in the realm of even entertaining a Zed, but it is good that the K5 is more than able to hold its own. If I understand correctly many are of the opinion that the sensor even though ageing now was a high-point of APSC progress.
For me its good to see that the OGPS tracked and the stars and that you have got away without having to overlay a static foreground.


Link Posted 07/02/2015 - 17:06
It doesn't actually surprise me. I know how good the K5 is at low iso long exposures. I noted a comment from Mark Littlejohn a former user who rates the K5 better in certain ways than the Nikon D800 and Df for these kind of exposures.

Without the astrotracer then the only way of getting a top quality image like this is at high iso with one of the low pixel density sensor, such as Sony A7s or the aforementioned Df. However, given the right choice of foreground to allow the overlay without impinging on too much sky detail then the K5 could well top the lot.
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined


Link Posted 07/02/2015 - 19:09
Is that North Hessary Tor and Princetown by any chance.


Link Posted 07/02/2015 - 20:07
Princetown yes. But I think that is Beardown Hill in front of me.
Thanks for the comments Doc.
Btw, the saturation on these is essentially 'normal'. The sky was simply beautiful.
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Last Edited by Darkmunk on 07/02/2015 - 20:07


Link Posted 08/02/2015 - 10:17
For what it's worth, here's one of the high iso/short exposure shots (single exposure) from the Zed. It is an almost exact comparison with the selfie at the top of the thread, which had more or less the same settings, but on the K5.
You can see that even crunched down from 51MP, the high ISO is technique is no good (even stacked to average out the noise, which I didn't do on this one).

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Link Posted 08/02/2015 - 10:29
Don't get too distracted. No one said a Z is easy to master. It can impress one minute and bite you the next. What you can achieve with a K5 IIs you can do with a Z. If not, why not?

I'm still on the learning curve and fortunately its an uphill curve.

Best regards


Link Posted 08/02/2015 - 10:43
The Zed can't do the tracking without a mechanical tracker, so at the moment the K is winning.
People seem to think the Zed can work miracles in low light, but it is just not true. The new FF will likely be the same - unless they specifically make it for high sensitivity. I'm just putting real-world, honest examples out there.
I still love it and I'm actually taking it out as a walk-around camera now, which says it all really. incredible quality in tightly controlled situations, right up there with any MF system and still versatile end user-friendly enough to walk around with.
Have you got your mechanical tracker yet? I'm not sure I can justify that here, the weather and light pollution being what it is.
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Link Posted 08/02/2015 - 11:11
Mark, its a bigger picture.

The K5IIs with the 0-GPS 1 is a compromise. It's a side benefit of the gps and sensor shift, no put down in any form.

Serious star tracking will need the likes of an AstroTrac TT320X-AG which is why I bought one.

I'm also using mine as street cam (testament that Pentax made such use a reality) but it shows up user errors (in my case).

I have the AstroTrac TT320X-AG but I need another mount below it as I don't want a ball mount between the tripod and Astrotrac.

My biggest issue is finding this "diluted" South pole! Trust me it's a pain.

There is no point in comparing a Z to and ZPS-C camera. No one did with a Blad and we should not do it with a Z.

To date your work is really top class and this is the first time I've seen you stray of the straight line.

Trust yourself and your technique. I see this as more of you putting out your "try this /that" efforts.

You have so much more to offer.

As for astro in the UK?

At least your in a less densely populated area of the UK. Would I buy one in the UK, probably not. Why not?

Because there's so much more available material to shot and the UK may not be the best location for astro work.

You have to work with what's available and to date, you manage that so well.

Best regards


Link Posted 08/02/2015 - 11:42
Thank you. I guess you're right
I'm getting the distinct impression that if people don't see a work of pure genius from the Zed, they just right the post off as all the gear no idea without considering the wider picture (sic).
I haven't had a lot of work recently, really slow month. So I am tending to just mess about with it!
was meant to be at a proper shoot today but the model has only just woken up (11:30)! So she has just blown it and I am kicking my heels again. grr.
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Link Posted 08/02/2015 - 11:58
Never right Mark but raises a reasoning.

Just enough to for you to consider self assessment maybe?

Best regards
Last Edited by K10D on 08/02/2015 - 11:58


Link Posted 08/02/2015 - 21:55
Nice images
K10D, K5 plus plenty of clueless enthusiasm.

My Flickr site link
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