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Nikon GP-1 Review: Accessory GPS Unit
for Nikon D90, D200, D300, D700 and D3


Nikon D90 with Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit

Nov. 12th, 2008

 


We recently had the opportunity to test out the new Nikon GP-1 GPS positioning device, a Nikon digital SLR accessory which provides a “Geotagging” feature when connected to a supported camera. By tagging your photos with geotags you will not be left wondering down the road "Where was that picture taken?"

The Nikon GP1 works by receiving signals from a number of satellites in space. Through triangulation, the camera will “know” where it is on the surface of the Earth and record the latitude and longitude and altitude in the meta data on pictures. Once the GPS data is stored, images can be plotted on a map in Nikon View NX software or on-line at myPicturetown.com, as well as many other programs and web sites.

The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit is compatible with the Nikon D90, D200, D300, D300s, D700, and the Nikon D3, D3x and the D3s (also: D2Hs, D2X, D2Xs) digital SLR's. The unit is slated to be available at the end of the month for a manufacturer's recommended retail price (MSRP) of $275 Canadian. (12/11/08)

Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit  

The Nikon GP-1 unit attaches to a camera’s accessory shoe or a camera strap via the supplied strap adapter GP1-CL1. Power is supplied from the camera.

There are three connection ports found on the Nikon GP-1, one (marked 'CAMERA' on the top of the unit) to connect via supplied cables to a supported camera, one (marked with remote graphic icon) to connect the new Nikon MC-DC2 remote release cable, and one USB type connection to a computer (found on the back of unit).

The Nikon GP-1 comes supplied with two types of camera cables, the GP1-CA90 that allows connection to the Nikon D90, and the GP1-CA10 for connection to the 10-pin remote terminal of other compatible cameras, including the Nikon D200, D300, D700 and the D3, and the older Nikon D2X, D2Hs, and D2Xs.


Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Cable for the Nikon D90
 

Nikon MC-DC2 Remote Release Cable

An optional accessory that plugs into the accessory terminal of specific Nikon SLR cameras (currently only the Nikon D90) and allows the shutter to be released without making direct contact with the camera body. Use of this cable can help avoid camera shake when shooting with a tripod, and it can be used to activate long exposures (bulb).


Nikon GP1 GPS Unit Major Features

  • Geotag: image positioning information of pictures such as latitude, longitude (Geodetic System WGS84) can be added to the image.


  • Correlation between pictures and maps is supported by GPS function in conjunction with ViewNX version 1.2 software (no-charge download from Nikon website) and my Picturetown.


  • Acquired data: Latitude, longitude, altitude, time information


  • Time required for satellite acquisition: Approx. 45 sec. (cold start), approx. 5 sec. (hot start)


  • Power source: Supplied from camera body (or computer using USB connection)
  • In order to use the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit with the Nikon D90, there are a few steps that first have to be followed. To begin we connected the supplied GP1-CA90 cable between the "CAMERA' socket on the GP-1 and the "GPS" connection port found on the side of the Nikon D90. The GP-1 GPS unit simply slides into the hot shoe connection of the camera for secure placement. You can also attach the Nikon GP-1 unit to the strap of the camera with the supplied strap adapter.

     


    Nikon GP-1 LED receiving indicators:

  • Red blinking (GPS data not recorded)

  • Green blinking (GPS data recorded utilizing three satellites)

  • Green solid (Four or more satellites detected, GPS data is more accurate)


  • Testing the Nikon GP-1 Accessory with the Nikon D90 SLR


    Nikon D90 SLR Setup Menu   Nikon D90 GPS Menu
         
    In the next step we set up the camera by selecting the GPS option found under the "Set Up" menu on the Nikon D90.   The GPS menu on the D90 offers two selections: "Auto meter off" and "Position". It is recommended to set "Auto meter off" to OFF, since the Nikon GP-1 draws its power from the camera. The camera could otherwise enter sleep mode while using the Nikon GP-1.
         
     
         
    In order to activate the Nikon GP-1 and establish a GPS connection you select the 'Position' option in the menu.   Once the Nikon GP-1 receives GPS signals, the 'Position' coordinates (Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, UTC) show up in the menu display.
         

    In our tests using the Nikon D90, the GP-1 was able to determine a location in as fast as 40 seconds when used in an open area.

    It took almost 60 seconds to get a signal when we tested the GP-1 closer to tall buildings.

    Once we took an image we were able to verify the geotag data directly on the camera in playback mode.

    The Nikon GP-1 does not provide a Compass heading.

      Nikon D90 GPS meta data in playback mode

    The below screen grab shows the original tagged image as seen when opened in Nikon View NX software viewer.

    Nikon ViewNX Screen view

    Using Nikon View NX software there is a tool bar that provides a dedicated "Geo Tag" button. One click of the button and the software will automatically load a Google map (internet connection required) and show the location were the selected image was taken.

    Nikon ViewNX tool bar

    The software extends the usual Google Maps application offering a Map, Satellite or a Hybrid view of the position. A thumbnail of the image is displayed at the corresponding location on the map. File name and top line meta data is available as well.

    Nikon D90 with Nikon GP-1 GPS device

    From our experience testing the Nikon GP-1 GPS unit with the D90, we would have to say that the unit performs as promised. In all of our test shots the GP-1 tagged the picture with the correct data and managed to pin point our location in most cases to within 10 meters.

    The Nikon GP-1 GPS unit earns a recommended rating and should provide a useful accessory for keeping tabs of those family vacation photos, as well as serve as a practical working tool for business applications, law enforcement, geotaggers and geocachers alike.

    From the US? Buy the Nikon GP-1 from Amazon. See the Nikon GP-1 accessory deal

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