pentax k-70 astrophotography

Pentax K-70 Astrophotography: The Ultimate Camera on a Budget!

Pentax has been a long-term favorite of astrophotographers. In 2016, Pentax came out with its K-70 model featuring pixel shift resolution. 

So, how is Pentax K-70 Astrophotography for a beginner?

The Pentax K-70 is an excellent and affordable entry-level astrophotography camera. One of the key characteristics that set it apart is its weather-proof nature. This nature unlike Nikon or Canon cameras makes it ideal for outdoor shooting. The ASTROTRACER function allows it to go below ISO3200.

That was the gist of the K-70 as a camera. I’m sure you need more of its features and performance to take a decision.

In this article, I’ll discuss the good and bad of the Pentax K-70 for Astrophotography.

Buckle up and let’s see whether the K-70 is a good fit or not!

The Features of Pentax K-70

One of the best Pentax for astrography is Pentax K-70. Take a look at the features of the K-70 below. Because of these features why Pentax is the top performer in Astrophotography – 

  • With its pixel shift resolution feature, it can provide crisper pictures during lengthy exposures.
  • Its completely articulated screen is excellent for framing astronomy images.
  • In comparison to other Pentax models with comparable specifications, it is reasonably priced.
  • -10°C cold-proof, dust-proof, and weather-resistant bodies
  • Vari-Angle LCD monitors on the PENTAX K-70
  • Excellent color rendition can be seen in even a single-shot JPEG image. the Milky Way in particularly stunning images.
  • For cosmic photography, the ASTROTRACER function permits the use of ISO3200 or lower.
  • Comes with an 18-135 weatherproof lens. 

That should tell you how competent K-70 is as a beginner astrophotography camera. Pentax also has amazing technology, ASTROTRACER for tracing celestial bodies and capturing stable images. 

Now you know the reasons behind such beautiful astrophotos of someone using Pentax K-70.

ASTROTRACER Feature of Pentax K-70

Since the ASTROTRACER function was introduced seven years ago, many individuals are already familiar with it. 

This is what takes the cake for taking amazing amateur astrophotos. Let’s a little bit about the technology

Simply said, this feature moves the image sensor of the camera. This is to correspond with the motion of celestial bodies. Enables you to take pictures in which planets and stars appear to be motionless.

Longer exposures may produce streaming stars because the Earth rotates.

The ASTROTRACER function precisely tracks the stars’ motion. It allows point pictures to be taken of them even during lengthy exposures.

Most individuals familiar with photographic equipment envision complex and heavy equipment when they think of astrophotography. However, the ASTROTRACER function reduces the amount of equipment needed to a minimum.

Pentax K-70
Source: Digital Photography Review

Benefits of ASTROTRACER:

ASTROTRACER offers a number of benefits that equatorial instruments cannot, including:

Operational simplification and clarity come first. To properly set up the camera, perform a high-precision calibration. 

Then, depending on the focal length of the lens being used. Expose the image for 30-90 seconds with the ability to shoot the Milky Way and nebulas. Which are difficult to even perceive with the naked eye. You can easily capture stars as point photographs.

The ability to handle low temperatures is what put K-70 above Nikon D5200 for astrophotography.

The second benefit is that you don’t require specialized training or astrophotographic understanding. Unlike when utilizing equatorial equipment. 

Equatorial equipment needs to be polar aligned based on the North Star’s location. On the other side, even in the southern hemisphere, when the North Star is not visible. 

ASTROTRACER’s high-precision calibration can be performed. If you set up the camera using the high-precision calibration, it will remember your settings. 

Even if you turn off the power. The Pentax K-70 settings are user-friendly.

Or move the tripod-mounted camera to recompose the shot. This function is highly useful for field photography.

The O-GPS1 system can be used with a small tripod because it is lightweight. You can even set the camera on the ground when you’re pressed for time.

This is a very significant advantage because unconstrained camera positioning is not possible with equatorial systems. With a 114mm telescope, you’ll be able to see nebulae very clearly.

Image composition is essential, especially when using portable equatorial devices and other tiny photographic equipment. 

Polar alignment mistakes can be brought on. It can happen even in the smallest shift in the equipment while an image is composing. 

Additionally, the entire photographic system may be out of alignment. If you attempt to force a challenging composition and knock the equipment off balance. In either case, the image will show streaks rather than precise, sharp stars.

Pros of Pentax K-70 with ASTROTRACER for Astrophotographers

Here are the pros of Pentax K-70 you will enjoy as an astrophotographer – 

  • A 60-second exposure duration can capture stars appearing as point images and drifting clouds.
  • Up to a 135mm focal length is offered for telephoto photography.
  • As long as the battery is inside the camera body, high-precision calibration data is preserved:
  • While the camera and O-GPS1 are powered off, modern PENTAX lenses can be swapped.
  • The insertion of focal length information is necessary for manual lenses without lens information contacts;
  • When you are waiting for the skies to clear, the ASTROTRACER function is quite helpful;
  • You might need to redo the high-precision calibration if you relocate to a brand-new place. 
  • To recompose the picture, you can move the tripod-mounted camera. This is a very significant advantage for astrophotography;
  • The camera can be set down on the ground;
  • In areas where the North Star does not appear, high-precision calibration can be performed;
  • The southern hemisphere is where ASTROTRACER is most useful;
  • When you’re rushing, you can finish your astrophotography in just 10 minutes.
Pentax K-70 with ASTROTRACER
Source: Camera Jabber

Cons of Pentax K-70 for Astrophotography

Pentax K-70 works amazingly as a budget astrophotography camera. However, it still has some limitations – 

Single Exposure Is Not Possible:

When shooting a foreground or when you wish to take single exposures, turn off ASTROTRACER. 

ASTROTRACER cannot be used to capture (sharp) single exposures. The ground will always appear blurry. Because your foreground is not moving while the camera sensor is, therefore it is a given.

Limited Exposure Time:

The camera sensor has a limited range of motion that it can go through. This range of motion severely reduces the amount of time you can expose yourself. 

This is especially true when using longer focal lengths. Because stars and other moving objects appear to move faster when photographed with greater focal lengths.

The sensor’s physical restriction on movement in the case of ASTROTRACER leads to substantially shorter exposures. With a maximum exposure time of roughly 5 minutes. And frequently less than 1 minute for focal lengths greater than 50mm.

Difficult To Work In Wide-Angle:

Additionally, wide-angle lenses do not perform well with ASTROTRACER. The ASTROTRACER function works best for Astro-landscape photography. When it’s between 24mm and up to 200mm due to wide-angle distortion (or more.)

To overcome such issues, you can buy wide-angle lenses for Pentax K-70. Some of the best lenses for Pentax K-70 are listed below.

For sharp wide-angle astrophotos, try the Pentax K-Mount HD DA 70mm lens. You can check the price on Amazon.

With exceptional image powering, you get a detailed astrophoto with an HD PENTAX-D lens. You can check for availability on Amazon.

A great zoom lens is Pentax HD-DA Fish-Eye 10-17mm lens. You can check the price on Amazon.

Remember to choose the right Pentax K-70 astrophotography lens for different situations. That way you can enhance the astrophotos.

Pentax K-70 astrophotography lens
Source: PHOTOGRAPHIC CENTRAL

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Pentax KP Have ASTROTRACER?

Yes, it has ASTROTRACER built right in. Without an equatorial platform, it’s simple to precisely trace the celestial bodies using the ASTROTRACER function. The new ASTROTRACER Interval mode for the Pentax KP makes it simple to take astronomical photos. Not just KP, Pentax K-70 also has it built-in.

Is The Pentax K-70 Good For Astrophotography?

Pentax K-70 has a full-frame sensor and an integrated version of the ASTROTRACER mode. The Pentax K-70 is the ideal Pentax model for those who are new to astrophotography. It’s an excellent budget camera for beginners. Plus you can add a GPS receiver to activate the ASTROTRACER function.

Does Pentax K-70 Have GPS?

The PENTAX K-70 offers an automatic tracking feature for astronomy photography by adding the GPS Unit. Based on GPS information gathered by the device, the camera determines the motion of celestial bodies. And moves its image sensor to match that motion. Helping you to take better shots.

Conclusion

That was my take on the Pentax K-70 Astrophotography camera for astrophotographers. 

For a beginner astrophotographer, it will provide you with everything and grow with you as well. 

What do you think? Would you give this camera a try? Let me know!

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