OK, I'm planning for a 3+ week trip to Europe in May/June. I want to geotag my photos. I posted about using my iPhone, but decided to investigate other options. The best straightforward option seems to be a unit made by a German company Columbus, the nGPS. The two downsides seems to be a lousy connector cable and that it sits in the hot shoe. (I often use fill flash outdoors.) It's reasonable in price and has a number of pluses, if Amazon reviewers are credible - fast satellite acquisition, direct addition of GPS info. to the metadata, and an on/off switch so it stays on and ready if the camera is turned off. I'm thinking or ordering, but also waiting to hear from the company that makes the Blue tooth connector to the iPhone. Does anyone have an suggestions for other products to look at to accomplish what I want. I'm looking for economy and simplicity but also reliability.
I have found the Foolography (www.foolography.com) products useful and reliable. The module (quite small) plugs into the camera port. It is a receiver, not a gps device per se. It works with pretty much any gps device that will transmit NMEA data via bluetooth. It even works with MKS devices which generally have a problem with Nikon cameras due to a standards squabble. You don't use the shoe, the gps device (with blue teeth) sits in your pocket, no dangling cable.
One downside is that you can't get directional info, just lat, long, alt. This, of course, is because the orientation of the actual gps device is not tied to the camera.
There are other similar gadgets, but I've found that the German made Foolography product is the best designed of those I've played with. By the way, one advantage of being able to use MKS chipset gps units is that they seem to have quicker start up and satellite lock than the SiRF units. The direct connect gadgets (e.g., Columbus, Solmeta, Shenzhen,...) generally are SiRF based.
BTW, Foolography will sell just their module or there is the option of a module already paired with a bluetooth gps unit. I already had the gps device, but pairing is easy. I will mention that, unlike other similar units, the pairing is specific, not promiscuous. Hence, your module is not confused by the gps unit in the pocket of the person next to you.
My gps unit is a Holux M-1000C, which is the same as one of the choices listed for pre-paired devices. It has long battery life and recharges via a USB charger. The battery is removable and is a commonly used cell phone battery. Extras and stand alone chargers are readily available.
I found an iPhone App that I'm testing. It seems well-designed and works for NEF (RAW) files. It's called Geotag Photos Pro. So far so good. You synchronize the time on your phone to the time on your camera (important). Then hit run on the app. You can select various location sampling frequencies: continuous or minutes or even hours. You can also record a location at any time manually by pushing the green pin. The tradeoff is between location sampling frequency and battery life. So you walk around with the app running in the background of the phone and take your pictures. The phone must be linked to the Geotag Photo website and when you are finshed recording you upload the "trip" to their website. Then when you have access to a computer you log on to the website and their software automatically enters the GPS data into the photos. The good news is that instead of paying over $100 for a dongle, it's $4.00 for the app. The key thing now that I have to test out is how it affects the battery life of the phone.
I would note that, if you want to go the post-processing route, any gps track recording unit that can produce an exportable track file can be used. There are any number of for fee and free software products that will process your photos and track files to produce the required EXIF data. In most cases, you don't even need to sync the clocks; you just need to know the offset. You might consider these products if the battery impact on the phone is excessive. Not all will handle RAW files, but some will.
In my own lazy experience, I got tired of the post processing step and changed solely to direct record.
I am also looking for the best solution, any advice will be greatly appreciated. I need a system that does not use my hot-shoe, but so far I have been unable to find anything which will also allow my D7k accessory door to be secure, and not just hanging loose, and open.
The Foolography looks like a quality system, but would leave my accessory door just hanging out in the breeze, and I can just see it getting knocked off?
TIA for any help.
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MY SETUP Nikon D7000 with zoomNIKKOR AF-S DX 10-24mm f3.5, Tamron AF 18-270mm Macro f3.5 Di II VC LD and Tamron AF 180mm f/3.5 Di SP A/M FEC LD (IF) 1:1 Macro Nikon R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System, ZacutoEVF Pro Two SanDisk 32GB EXTREME PRO SDHC-UHS-1 (45MB/S) viewNX2 captureNX2 NIKCompleteCollection Ultimate Photo Mechanic 4.6.6 Annotate Pro Vegas Movio Studio 10 Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 14
Hey Tex, You've summarized my dilemma exactly. I don't like the idea of stuff hanging off the camera, doors hanging open, and plus I don't want to give up the hot shoe,either. I guess that's an advantage of a "pro" body - these things plug in the front rather than the side. As far as I know, there is no good solution. Perhaps the next generation of bodies will have built-in GPS. Personally, I would rather have GPS than video.
Unfortunately, if you want real-time recording of the geo data, the accessory door is going to be open (or removed), or you're going to have to modify the camera. All of Nikon's current production DSLRs accept gps input and I believe all of them have some sort of cover over the port. Even if you use one of the cabled units, the accessory door will be open because the cable goes in the same socket the Foolography unit does.
By the way, all of the cable attached units I am aware of can be hung on a strap instead of stuck on the shoe. In fact, I think most come with a clip for that purpose. I still find them awkward.
Post processing, as noted previously, is an option. I really think that about exhausts the choices.
Thanks Bill for the suggestion. The Geotagging software also accomodates an "offset", but I didn't mention it. So technically, clock-synching is not required.
I have a Garmin device I use for bike riding and other athletic endeavors. It records a GPS track but have not idea how I would integrate it. I normally upload my rides via Garmin software. Do you happen to the the type of file that would work? I know the battery works for multi-hour bike rides and it keeps locked on the satellites very well. It's small and if I could adapt it to phototagging it might be the way to go.
Final question: What device did you choose to direct record?
Well, one piece of software I've used is HoudahGeo. (Did I mention that I use a Modern Age Computer? I know there is similar software for Primitive Computers, but I'm not familiar with it. ) At any rate, the Houdah product lists Garmin as one of the types of devices it supports. As I recall, other software mentions Garmin as well.
For direct record, are you referring to what I use with my Foolography unit? That's a Holux M-1000C. Or are you referring to a track record for post-processing? If so, it has been long enough since I did that I can't recall. I have a bunch of these toys that I've played with over the years.
BTW, you referred earlier to pro bodies with front connectors. The D3s still has a little door that is left open when things are connected. Earlier models (e.g., D200) had a stupid little screw on cap which was specifically designed to be lost.
No problem. I think a lot of the tracking gadgets record tracks in the same way -- just a series of point records. As I recall, some units have a problem in that they strip timestamp info if the track log is saved. (Ancient concern about saving space?) At any rate, whatever is used has to have time and date data.
Is your Garmin unit eqiped with a USB interface? If you can connect it to your computer, several of the programs I've used will recognize certain gps loggers and suck the data right out of them.
If you are using a Mac, other possible programs are GPSPhotolinker (free), Photolinker (same author but for fee), and JetPhotoStudio (for fee). None of these are what I'd call expensive. As the other gentleman mentioned, there are options for Adobe products and, as I recall, Aperture can do something. Don't recall what. The last two are, of course, EXPENSIVE and expensive respectively.
What about using the Eye-FI SD cards? You can purchase geotagging after buying the card, and I believe a "Wireles" card is coming out this week. I've used the X2 and puchased geotagging via the website. It's not perfect, but does the job ok.
I have the new 8GB Eye-Fi Pro X2 SDHC card. It usually GeoTags my photos. I did not purchase anything else. It will transfer to my computer thru wireless network, AD-Hoc directly to my LapTop and to the Internet thru access point.
I'm leaning toward a gps tracklog, since I have two devices which I think are capable of doing this. One is my iPhone, the other a Garmin Edge 305. Since I see from your smugmug page you are a biker(?), you may be familiar with the Garmin. It is designed for bikers and runners to record their workouts. I've used it for several years and it works great.
If you know if it works for geotagging photos, I'd appreciate a response. I also have an App for my iPhone that does the same thing. I've tested it and it works. The question there is how it affects battery life. I think I"ll end up using one or the other. Battery life on the Garmin is pretty good.