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Old Jun 1, 2011, 7:20 PM   #1
daz
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Default GPS for newest Pentax DSLRs

Here is the Pentax press release. It doesn’t say anything about RAW files but is does say interesting things like a limited star tracking using the onboard SR. It also has an on board compasses. MSRP 249.95 but this should go down.

http://www.pentaximaging.com/about-u...20110531150210

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Old Jun 1, 2011, 10:31 PM   #2
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I noticed that it says "images" rather than indicating a format. I'd suspect that it won't matter what format it uses. I've used software programs to geotag dng files so I would assume that they are going to use the same fields.

There's several cool things I noticed about it - it includes a compass and will include what direction you are facing in the file. I think that's a very cool feature, one that I might actually like to use for all my travel photos.

If I didn't already have a tracking GPS that I use for other things I'd probably be really tempted by this one when the price stabilizes. It would be a whole lot easier to use than software and making sure I've synchronized my camera to the GPS.

And the astrophotography uses might be interesting, though I do wonder how useful it will be. The sensor only has a limited ability to move. I've got zero experience with such things so it's not a feature I'd be likely to use, but could see how it might be excellent for the occasional astronomer.
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Old Jun 2, 2011, 12:19 AM   #3
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I am hoping that that “images” is all file format and that, as it is from Pentax there is no reason to not have all file formats supported.

The compass does add something that no other system GPS system adds. There is also something about having access to the information from the back of the camera that may make things even more interesting.

As for already having a GPS tracking system, I have looked at several GPS systems and have not been at all satisfied with any of them. Issues with sidecar files, using multiple programs and just having it be much more work then it needs to be have stopped me from using them. Having a system that I just plug in and turn on when I want the GPS is much better then any other GPS system for Pentax I have seen to date.

For something fast moving like the moon you may only get 2-3 seconds but for stars/planets you could get maybe 30 seconds. With even a simple telescope with no motorized mount you could possibly get some photos of the moon or planets with a system like this.

If Pentax can play these kinds of games with the SR maybe they can also use it to up the resolution by taking multiple photos and more the sensor a little between the photos. There maybe more in the next firmware upgrade for the K-5 then just adding the GPS system. My K-5 will be here on Monday.

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Old Jun 2, 2011, 2:09 AM   #4
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From my perspective on this, they indicate that the new GPS unit attaches to the hot shoe. So it is an auxiliary appliance to the camera body. The camera body determines the format (RAW or JPG) of the image, and the EXIF file has essentially the same meta data regardless of format. So their use of image format is probably more correct than anything else.

More intriguing is the celestial body location data for both astrophotography purposes. Essentially, it uses the SR capability so that the sensor becomes a star tracking system. This is very neat indeed.

The unit records latitude, longitude, altitude, and universal time coordinated (UTC) which is standard. The use of terrestrial-based Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) for highly accurate positioning essentially provides accuracy to about a +/- a foot or so. The compass is a nice touch. Essentially taking an image with this information should provide a program like Google earth the ability to lay down the image and over lay it exactly on the map in terms of the viewing angle. Also, Microsoft has developed a program that when this additional data is added, it becomes very easy to integrate any number of images together to essentially provide an integrated 3D view of structures and geographical features. It should be very nice indeed.

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/...vm/phototours/


Last edited by interested_observer; Jun 2, 2011 at 2:12 AM.
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Old Jun 2, 2011, 10:08 AM   #5
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Hmmmm! I've never thought that something like this would interest me, but I'm having second thoughts. I never had a need to know where most of my shots where taken, as I remember taking them, but I do get turned around often, concentrating more on likely subjects as opposed to where I am or where I'm going. I've have had situations where I've gotten lost in a very minor way while out in the woods. I've never considered a GPS unit as I have too much to carry normally anyway, but this should be pretty compact, and it's ultimately justifiable because it's camera gear after all. . .! With my health seeming to be getting more fragile, I can also consider it a safety device. . .

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Old Jun 2, 2011, 6:24 PM   #6
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Here is some info from Japanese press release. The times are much longer then I thought they would be.

[ ASTROTRACER Tracking Time (approx.) ]
K-5
Declination............... Focal Length
......................200mm 100mm Under 50mm
90...................300sec 300sec 300sec
45...................160sec 290sec 300sec
0.....................110sec 240sec 300sec

K-r
Declination............... Focal Length
......................200mm 100mm Under 50mm
90...................300sec 300sec 300sec
45...................80sec. 200sec 300sec
0.....................80sec. 170sec 300sec
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Old Jun 2, 2011, 9:56 PM   #7
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When I was teaching Marine Ornithology and photographing birds at sea (on film), built-in GPS (such as my Sony a55 has) would have been a godsend, because the sea is a featureless place and there is no way to remember (or even know) exactly where you were when you recorded something, unless you watched the radar screen constantly and wrote extensive notes - time of day, latitude, longitude, none of which there was time for without detracting from your observation time. Now that it is built into a digital camera and recorded in the EXIF, I am retired and no longer doing that.
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Old Jun 3, 2011, 9:59 AM   #8
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I love electronic computerized toys, have several GPS units, lots of computers, e-book readers, smart phones, cameras, mp3 players, etc... and I do geo tag some of my images using flicker but for some reason am not attracted to a on camera GPS. Some of the new P&S cameras offer in camera GPS and my first thought was do I want all of my images GEO tagged, I don't think so. Some of everyones images end up on the net having a GEO tag may not be wise especially grand kid shots. Maybe I am just paranoid.

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Old Jun 3, 2011, 10:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hnikesch View Post
Maybe I am just paranoid.
Your not but this is not the same thing. Most of the people that have cameras that automatically imbed the GEO data (i.e. most cell phones) into the photo don’t even know it is doing it and have next to no idea how to not have the data go out to the world. This on, the other hand, you have to actively choose to have the GEO data add to the photo and most that would use a system like this know or could easily find out how to strip the data off if they want. Have the data is not in itself a bad thing only the ignorance of always have the data and not knowing the risk is a problem.

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Old Jun 3, 2011, 10:27 AM   #10
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I did play around a bit with a geo tagger, and in the end stopped with it. There was to much work getting the file geo tagged. Now it this would geo tag the raw image I might be tempted. Most of the images I upload at flickr I geotag manualy.

Hans, I understand your concerns, I would not like it at all if all my images would be geotagged. There is already to much data from everyone floating on the net and finding someones home would be just looking at the images and see where most images where taken. But you can turn the tagging of.

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