NEAR SPACE BALLOONING - STRATOSPHERIC PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTOS

LAUNCH 6 : ARIZONA TO COLORADO

Compared to Launch 4, the photos from Launch 6 were disappointing. Not only that, but two of the cameras, a Powershot SX260 facing down and an A4000 setup for portraits, were accidentally switched off.

In Launch 5, the Pentax K-01 took a few fine photos, but the sensor malfunctioned due to cold. This time around I placed an air-activated hand warmer directly under the camera body, and a smaller adhesive backed toe warmer on the flash mount. It worked. In spite of -50 degree F temperatures, the camera took pictures for over four hours. However, for the most part, the detail, color, and sharpness of the resulting images were unsatisfactory. Perhaps it was the older, fixed focal length 28mm K-mount lens, or an issue later uncovered with the f-stop. Apparently, with manual focus lenses, the K-01 will always open up the aperture when in Av/auto ISO mode. But with a bit of tape over the lens mount contacts, your manual f-stop setting will stick. While a bit on the heavy side, the K-01 seems like an ideal camera for near space photography. It is lighter than a DSLR, has better battery life, includes a large CMOS sensor, is mirrorless, and supports interchangeable lenses. It also includes a built-in intervalometer and saves in RAW format. So far, however, the Canon Powershot G12 beats the K-01.

Unlike the Powershot A3300s used in past launches, the A4000 doesn't have a "Landscape" mode. I put it in "Program" mode and set it to infinite focus. The clarity and sharpness were not impressive.


K-01 (16 MP) [MILC], 28mm SMC Manual Focus Lens

Landscape View



A4000 IS (16 MP)


Landscape View


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