Geotagger

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BE2_9910
The GPS system mounted on a D3

Contents

Introduction

The geotagger/GPS device presented here is a simple and cheap device which can be connected to most recent Nikon DSLRs. It can be found under different brand names, like Polaroid (the version tested here) or Opteka, to just name two of them. The biggest advantage of this device is to accurately record positioning information in the EXIF of your pictures (geotagging), at a very reasonable price. Next to the geotagging possibilities, there is also a standard wire remote control, something very useful when shooting on a tripod, to avoid any vibration.
GPS satellites acquisition can take some time. If you are in a "crowded" area, like between buildings in a city or close to trees, it can take minutes to acquire a signal, if you get any. In an open space, it will take at least 30 seconds before pictures get geotagged. While the signal is being acquired, a green LED will blink on the top of the receiver, and the GPS icon will blink on your DSLR top display (not on all bodies). When the GPS is fully operational, the LED stays green and GPS stops blinking on the top display.

Additional pictures

BE2_9905
The box
BE2_9909
The main unit
BE2_9911
The pro 10 pins connector
BE2_9920
The GPS type connector for the D7000
BE2_9919
Mounted on the D7000
BE2_9915
GPS activity shown on the top display

Box contents/specification

  • the small and light unit, hot shoe mountable (no contacts)
  • small carrying handle
  • cable for pro bodies
  • cable with GPS connector for other bodies
  • the remote control
  • simple user manual
BE2_9906
Box contents

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • incredibly cheap (around 40 USD/EUR vs 200 USD/EUR for any "brand name" solution)
  • accurate positioning
  • works on the DSLR battery (no need for specific power source)
  • added remote control functionality
  • cables for both the pro bodies and the lower end bodies (like the D7000)

Cons

  • build quality is not perfect (small on/off switch seems fragile)
  • not always easy to find
  • drains power from your main DSLR battery
  • relatively long acquisition time (up to a few minutes to be operational if not in a totally open area)

Conclusion: highly recommended

Example pictures and localization

BE0_0187
An example picture with geolocalization
Position as shown in flickr using Google maps
Position as shown in flickr using Google maps


Interesting links

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