Astrophotography with the Pentax K1

Astrophotography with the Pentax K1

After a whole lot of research and deliberation I recently pulled the trigger a new toy for an upcoming trip to Iceland (two weeks, can’t wait!). I chose the K1 for a few reasons;

  • Price ($1800 which is dirt cheap for a modern full frame DSLR)
  • The 36mp Sony sensor (same as the A7r an Nikon D800)
  • WEATHER SEALING (Iceland is notorious for unpredictable weather and I have had cameras fail on me due to rain before)
  • Nifty external led lighting (less fumbling in the dark to change lenses/settings)
  • In body 5-axis image stabilization, (every lens now has IS woo!)
  • Pixel Shift (this is crazy and I probably won’t use it very often but it’s nice to have for certain things)
  • Built in WiFi and GPS (you’d be surprised how useful this is)
  • Articulating LCD Screen (also super useful)

One feature that I wasn’t sure that I’d ever use but will definitely be using a lot of now is the Astrotracer function. Essentially the K1 uses it’s GPS and ability to manipulate the position of the sensor (used for image stabilization typically) to follow the path of the stars according to where you are in the world and the direction the camera is pointing.

This is incredibly useful for long exposure astrophotography because in a typical 30-40 second exposure (as I used for the photos below) the earth rotates which will slightly or heavily (depending on the length of your exposure) blur the stars in your photo. Of course now the foreground of your long exposure will be slightly blurred because of the sensor motion but that’s a small sacrifice for the clarity you gain with the stars.

Anyways here are the first few shots I took using the feature during the Perdeids meteor shower last week. I’m very new to this style of photography, hopefully I’ll get some stronger images while I’m in Iceland (Northern Lights!)…

Milky Way (Pentax K1)

Milky Way (Pentax K1)

Milky Way (Pentax K1)

Milky Way (Pentax K1)

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