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Thread: Hot shoe mount GPS unit for 5DsR

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    Member Babu's Avatar
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    Hot shoe mount GPS unit for 5DsR

    I am considering buying a GPS GP-E2 unit to use with my 5DsR as I've found the data logging from my 7D II to be quite useful in EXIF and Google Maps.
    I know that it is physically larger than the Nikon unit some of my travelling companions have been using but it has some advantages: it doesn't draw power from the camera battery as it uses an onboard AA cell and it doesn't require a USB cable if used with a body more recent than a 7D or 1DX I. The 1D II has GPS built in.
    Can anyone tell me whether it is a serious piece of kit or just clunky bulky junk on top of my camera?

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    Ausphotography Regular Hamster's Avatar
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    Sorry, I don't have experience of that unit but thought I'd offer an alternative idea. If you have Lightroom I believe you can just import a GPS file and it will add the GPS locations to the images by using the time stamps on GPS and photo and then importing the coordinates from the matching time into the EXIF.
    So what this means is any GPS device that outputs files in the appropriate format can be carried in your pocket and then the data added to the photos in LR. Seems a better solution to me than spending $300 odd for something that needs to sit on an already heavy piece of kit.

    Edit:
    Here you go, a free phone app producing a GPX file for use in LR
    http://www.geotagphotos.net/
    Last edited by Hamster; 31-03-2016 at 2:27pm.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I tried what Hamster suggests, and I couldn't live with it.
    I didn't use Lr tho, I used a dedicated (free) piece of software to do the coordinate output to the files.
    It kind'a worked, but it's never 100% accurate as to where exactly the image was shot. That is, it's hard to keep the times perfectly synced all the time.

    Anyhow, the problem with Lr tho is not that the time sync is a pain, nor that it's another piece to add in a workflow that may already be convoluted .. the real issue is that Lr won't add the GPS data to the raw file(well it doesn't for Nikon NEF files.
    It only adds the data to the catabloat .. I mean catalogue. So you kind'a need to use DNG for the GPS data to be added to the file.

    There are millions of reasons why this can be important .. no need to list them all here now, but just to point out the deficiency.

    ** the program I used to use, is called Geosetter if you are curious. it does the same thing as Lr with using a PGS tracklog, but the program uses ExifTool to add the GPS data directly into the raw file.
    This way you're not tied to the one program to locate files on maps .. etc.

    Anyhow .. as for the hotshoe mounted GPS.
    I used to use the Nikon type(but I used a Phottix device) .. same thing different name. 1/3rd the price
    But it was a tedious setup. At first it's great having the real GPS data entered directly into the raw file in real time. So if you move 1 meter or so to the side for a better perspective it knows this exactly. Tracklogs can be OK .. but like I said timings are usually out.
    The Nikon GPS battery issue was a nightmare.
    I used this on the D300, which normally gave about 800-1K exposures on a single charge. With the GPS connected, and set to turn off with the metering system(about 4sec or so) and manually turnign off the camera with extreme prejudice to preserve battery drain, I could manage about 300-ish .. and down to less that 200 sometimes!
    On a days worth of shooting .. just not acceptable.
    But the real annoyance was the bulk and gangliness of the setup. Wires here and then there and so on .. not cool, and easy to trip up/knock over!

    I don't know how the GPS system works for Canon, does it connect via the hotshoe, or is it only mounted there for somewhere to mount?
    That is, do you set it on the hotshoe and then cable it to somewhere else?
    (I'm reading it that on the 'newer', ie. 5Dsr type cameras the feed is via the hotshoe )
    If so, that should be fine, in that it won't be as annoying as having cables all over the place.

    On the Nikon side of things, I gave up with the cabled setup and went with a much more portable bluetooth receiver and GPS unit setup.
    The bluetooth dongle sits on the 10 pin port, out of sight and way out of harms way, and I use a bt GPS receiver to send the GPS data to the camera.
    GPS is always in pocket .. and you wouldn't know it was there .. in fact even using the camera you wouldn't know it was there!

    if your Nikon friends use the prosumer/pro type bodies(Dx Dxxx type bodies with 10 pin port) this is the way to go.
    It's less discreet on bodies with a side loading accessory port tho as the bt dongle protrudes out from the side of the camera .. but still better than cables.

    I had a quick search for GPS units for Canon, and Solmeta has one model too .. a bit expensive for a thirdparty model .. but worth looking at too.

    I had a quick peek at the places I know sell Nikon specific Bt devices, but they don't have Canon models.
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    Ausphotography Regular Hamster's Avatar
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    I didn't realise LR didn't put the data into the raw file. That IS a pain.
    I keep meaning to add this step into the workflow but, like you say, there's already plenty to do. Sometimes I drag a load of images onto the map module, but rarely.

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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babu View Post
    I am considering buying a GPS GP-E2 unit to use with my 5DsR as I've found the data logging from my 7D II to be quite useful in EXIF and Google Maps.
    I know that it is physically larger than the Nikon unit some of my travelling companions have been using but it has some advantages: it doesn't draw power from the camera battery as it uses an onboard AA cell and it doesn't require a USB cable if used with a body more recent than a 7D or 1DX I. The 1D II has GPS built in.
    Can anyone tell me whether it is a serious piece of kit or just clunky bulky junk on top of my camera?
    I currently have this set up, and until this week have only played around testing it. I am in Japan this week planning to photograph cherry blossoms so I can give you more feedback in a week or so how it works. My initial thoughts after testing is, if you are after GPS attached to your photos it is the least cumbersome and easiest method. I bought it because I travel so much and do not remember where I took every photography - this will help me remember. I bought it second hand in Singapore for $150 so it was less than a dedicated hand held GPS device anyway, and it will work on both my 5DsR and 1Dx bodies.
    www.kjbphotography.com.au

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamster View Post
    I didn't realise LR didn't put the data into the raw file. That IS a pain.
    I keep meaning to add this step into the workflow but, like you say, there's already plenty to do. Sometimes I drag a load of images onto the map module, but rarely.
    If it's important to you to to have the location data in the raw file itself(that's my priority) .. then Geosetter is better .. and you can load whatever maps you like into geosetter if you're that way inclined.
    But like I said, it uses ExifTool to then embed the location data into the raw file.
    Way back in 2007 when I couldn't add a GPS to the D70s, I tried to use ExifTool manually (following the how to info to the letter) .. and Exiftool corrupted the test NEF images I was using for the test of adding location data to the raw file.
    That was one reason (of many) I 'needed' to update to a D300, as all my shooting was out and about in various parts of the state.
    Later that year Nikon added ViewNX2 into their software stable and it allowed the ability to add GPS info and save it to NEF files too .. ripper!
    The issue for me was and has always been the ability to safely add the data and save the raw file with integrity.
    I have tried both Geosetter and Exiftool again every now and then just to see how it's data integrity issues are going and have never seen the corrupted raw file issue again .. so maybe my initial problem was my own doing.

    But like I also said, having tried both methods, tracklog supplemental and in camera hard coding .. the GPS on camera method is always dead on to within a meter, or less, when referenced with more competent maps than the silly Google maps you usually have access too .. whereas the tracklog method(still better than nothing tho!) can be out by a long way.

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    Ausphotography Regular Hamster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    If it's important to you to to have the location data in the raw file itself(that's my priority) .. then Geosetter is better .. and you can load whatever maps you like into geosetter if you're that way inclined.
    But like I said, it uses ExifTool to then embed the location data into the raw file.
    Way back in 2007 when I couldn't add a GPS to the D70s, I tried to use ExifTool manually (following the how to info to the letter) .. and Exiftool corrupted the test NEF images I was using for the test of adding location data to the raw file.
    That was one reason (of many) I 'needed' to update to a D300, as all my shooting was out and about in various parts of the state.
    Later that year Nikon added ViewNX2 into their software stable and it allowed the ability to add GPS info and save it to NEF files too .. ripper!
    The issue for me was and has always been the ability to safely add the data and save the raw file with integrity.
    I have tried both Geosetter and Exiftool again every now and then just to see how it's data integrity issues are going and have never seen the corrupted raw file issue again .. so maybe my initial problem was my own doing.

    But like I also said, having tried both methods, tracklog supplemental and in camera hard coding .. the GPS on camera method is always dead on to within a meter, or less, when referenced with more competent maps than the silly Google maps you usually have access too .. whereas the tracklog method(still better than nothing tho!) can be out by a long way.
    Thanks for that. Googling seems to bring up Geometer as the go to app.
    I wonder why the track log method is less accurate, I would have thought it depends on the accuracy of the GPS device, which these days is pretty good, and has no real reason to be less accurate than the receiver being used in a hard coding device. Which tends to suggest the error is introduced when adding the coordinates to the exif .

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    Ausphotography Irregular Warbler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamster View Post
    Thanks for that. Googling seems to bring up Geometer as the go to app.
    I wonder why the track log method is less accurate, I would have thought it depends on the accuracy of the GPS device, which these days is pretty good, and has no real reason to be less accurate than the receiver being used in a hard coding device. Which tends to suggest the error is introduced when adding the coordinates to the exif .
    Part of the reason will be the interval between pings for the device you're using to create the track. Don't quote me, but I think the more expensive on camera GPS devices will ping when the shutter is pressed, so matching the image to a ping location is not a problem. Some of the handheld GPS devices only ping every minute. Some of us can take a lot of photos in a minute and if you are in a bus or car, you move a long way in a minute too.

    Some cheaper devices don't record altitude or direction that the device is facing either. The expensive stuff does. Remember the GPS shows where you were standing when you took the picture, not where the landmark was located. That may change in future as some bright spark works out the direction, focal length, camera tilt, and the focusing distance to give an approximate location of the landmark from the GPS device.

    Like Arthur, I have also used GeoSetter with the same issues (other than corruption) when using a GPS track file.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    The tracklog itself is not less accurate in terms of GPS accuracy.
    Things that can affect the tracklog.

    how is the GPS setup? Is it set up to capture points in 1 sec, 5 sec 60sec intervals .. etc.
    How is it setup when you have stopped moving.
    Each GPS device works differently so you can't assume the same setup for every device.

    I'll give some examples of how it can create inaccurate coordinates.

    Some GPS devices can be setup to anchor to a point when the device is not moving. When the device is not moving, don't assume that it's fixed to that point in terms of coordiantes. Some devices drift wildly and this drift can be hundreds of meters off, especially in areas where signal is a touch weak.
    You see this in your tracklog as wild spikes in your tracklog when you should be sitting in one point.
    If the timing is 'just so', it could work out that a photo you took just happened to be shot at the moment that one of those wild spikes were recorded putting the location out.

    In terms of tracklog logging points, some devices can be set to log a trackpoint every few minutes, every second .. whatever.
    First thing I look for in a GPS is what chipset is uses, and can I get 'better' software to configure it as I'd prefer too.
    Most GPS software that come with the device are very limited in what you can/can't set.
    For most folks this tracklog update issue may not be important, but the way I tend to use it, I set my tracklog to the least frequent update value I can do. I think on my current GPS it's 600sec(ie. 10 mins) .. and the only reason is that even with 200K+ track point capability, I always run out of space on the GPS after a few days(on the road). So I need less frequency to achieve a longer period of track logging.

    The other issue that can arise is, where is the GPS in relation to the camera.
    The camera can be setup(say for a long exposure) in spot A, but if you keep the GPS on yourself and (eg.) walk back to the car for a drink/rest/'nail in the coffin' .. or whatever which can be a few hundred meters away, the coordinates may be accurate for the GPS, but obviously not for the camera!

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    Ausphotography Regular Hamster's Avatar
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    Hot shoe mount GPS unit for 5DsR

    I have a logger that I use on the racetrack which logs at 10 hz (I don't have any choice in this)and is nice and accurate. I'm actually only interested in rough positions as it would just be used as an aide memoire for when I'm old and senile. So 50-100 m is fine for me. I don't spend days on the road without the ability to download or charge.
    So it sounds like I can get what I want; I guess I need to suck it and see. It would be good to do it for an aerial shoot maybe, as for this it would be useful to have an accurate track, and my logger would have the hertz rate to cope with the speeds.

    Edit-that previous post of mine I meant that Geosetter was coming up on Google. Geometer is something my iPhone made up and I didn't spot.
    Last edited by Hamster; 02-04-2016 at 11:10am.

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    Ausphotography Regular Hamster's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link , Hamster.
    This looks like an offer worth pursuing!

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    Ausphotography Irregular Warbler's Avatar
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    Just got hold of a 7D Mk II as a replacement for a dead camera. I see the GPS in it allows it to check with the satellite every second, or less often. It contains a digital compass for direction, and also calculates the tilt of the camera, but it does not calculate the distance or bearing to the subject, even though the EXIF fields allow this to be recorded. Maybe some of the more expensive Canon add-ons do. Perhaps someone who has one could tell you. Oh, the 7D Mk II also has a setting for recording a GPS track, meaning that I can now use GeoSetter to put that GPS data into my other cameras' images. It'll flatten the battery pretty quickly though as it records even with the camera switched off. Here's the manual for the unit you're looking at:

    http://gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/9/030000...pe2-im2-en.pdf
    Last edited by Warbler; 13-04-2016 at 2:37pm.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warbler View Post
    ..... It contains a digital compass for direction, and also calculates the tilt of the camera, but it does not calculate the distance or bearing to the subject, even though the EXIF fields allow this to be recorded. Maybe some of the more expensive Canon add-ons do. Perhaps someone who has one could tell you. Oh, the 7D Mk II also has a setting for recording a GPS track, meaning that I can now use GeoSetter to put that GPS data into my other cameras' images. It'll flatten the battery pretty quickly though as it records even with the camera switched off. Here's the manual for the unit you're looking at .....
    As for the ability to track: batteries will die in minutes, not only due to the GPS tho.
    If the GPS is set to keep the camera's metering active too, then this will drain batteries even quicker.

    So(I guess) you'd want for the GPS to isolate itself from the camera's meter, so that the GPS tracking stays on(if you desperately need that), but set to let the camera's meter switch off.
    Don't know what settings Canon use, but on the Nikon's GPS menu(where available), there is a setting where you can let the camera turn off the metering system as per normal(eg. 4 sec) or you can set it to always stay on to keep the GPS active(searching for satellites).
    That's the major issue with Nikon using the camera's power to maintain power to the GPS! Both Pentax and Canon's external GPS accessories are better thought out(in that they use batteries in the GPS).

    But just be weary of keeping the GPS active in the 7D(where it's built in) as it may also keep the metering active too.

    On the point of distance and bearing tho .. it's strange to hear that they aren't recorded into exif. Maybe the software you use is the issue there?
    Do you use 'thirdparty' software or Canon's software to check that info?
    Is the info 'allowed' to be recorded in a general/public area of the EXIF, or in maker notes? .. could also make a difference.

    But the bearing to the subject is simply the reading of the electronic compass(which is almost certain to be inaccurate by about 5° or so, I reckon) .. and distance to the focused subject will be whatever the focused distance is(up to a point).
    My (SUUNTO) watch has an 'electronic compass' .. I use quotation marks to describe it, because while it kind'a works like a compass .. it's accuracy isn't compass like! It's about 5-10° off most of the time.
    It loses calibration about every month or so .. maybe a bit more.. can't remember exactly. But it does have an easy way to calibrate it, and when that's done(eg. before a trip), it's accurate enough to about 1° or so.

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    Ausphotography Irregular Warbler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    As for the ability to track: batteries will die in minutes, not only due to the GPS tho.
    If the GPS is set to keep the camera's metering active too, then this will drain batteries even quicker.
    No, the metering is off. I checked battery usage with the camera switched off and the GPS logger on. It used 12% of battery life in two days. I haven't shot a full day yet with the GPS on. I'll give that a go soon when I have some work to do with that camera.

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