Gen-2 GPS For Digital SLRs Enables Astrophotography

by Mat Dirjish

Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation is launching the PENTAX O-GPS2, a GPS unit designed for use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras that allegedly makes it easy to capture stellar images of the night sky. Succeeding the PENTAX O-GPS1, the PENTAX O-GPS2 promises more reliable and higher-precision positioning data gathered from GPS in the US, QZSS in Japan, GLONASS, and Galileo systems.

When on a compatible PENTAX digital SLR camera body, the PENTAX O-GPS2 enables an advanced ASTROTRACER function, which couples the unit with the camera’s shake reduction (SR) system to facilitate the tracing and photography of celestial bodies. It calculates the movement of stars, planets, and other bodies using latitude obtained from the location data and the camera’s alignment data obtained from its magnetic and acceleration sensors, and  then shifts the camera’s image sensor in synchronization with the movement of the objects. The function also makes astrophotography easier as it requires only a tripod and eliminates the need for an additional accessory such as an equatorial telescope.

Additionally, the GPS unit records the latitude, longitude, altitude, universal time coordinates, and direction of shooting location onto captured images. Image files carrying the location data, are viable to track shooting locations and review location data on a PC. Other features include a simple navigation function that calculates the direction and distance to a given destination from a current position and an electronic compass function that displays the camera’s direction on its LCD monitor.

The PENTAX O-GPS2 will be available later this month for the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $179.95. For more details, peruse the PENTAX O-GPS2 overview.

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