di-GPS ECO Pro-F Geotagger in practice test

The latest GPS receiver from Dawntech comes with some promising features. How well the Geotagger beats in practice, clarifies the test.

di-GPS Pro-F

di-GPS Pro-F

With the new GPS receiver of the ECO series Dawntech fulfills two frequently mentioned wishes of the users:

Even with active Geotagger remains on the one hand the hot shoe free and on the other hand, accessories can still be connected via the standard socket. The expectations are so great. The practical test has to show if they are fulfilled.

First impression and assembly

Scope of delivery ECO Pro-F

Scope of delivery ECO Pro-F

The GPS receiver for Nikon SLR cameras is one of the numerous alternatives to the Nikon GP-1 Geotagger. In addition to the standard geotagging data longitude, latitude and altitude, the ECO Pro-F has a coordinate buffer.

A compass for the viewing direction and a logger for recording the photo tour are not installed.

Splash protection thanks to rubber seal

Splash protection thanks to rubber seal

The Geotagger is delivered with the safety line in a neoprene bag. The case looks very stable and high quality. Towards the camera, the plug is protected against moisture with a rubber ring. So the splashing water resistance of Nikon professional cameras is retained even with GPS.

Threaded bushing

Threaded bushing

At the front is the carried out accessory socket, protected by a rubber cap. This allows existing accessories to continue to be used.

The installation of the ECO Pro-F is very simple: attach the safety line to the eyelet of the strap, insert the Geotagger into the 10-pin accessory socket, and you’re done.

Mechanical properties of the ECO Pro-F

Far protruding housing

Far protruding housing

Immediately after plugging in, the Geotagger sticks out quite far. Although has the advantage that all buttons, especially those for the flash, remain easily accessible. But the problem is the long lever when stowing in the camera bag or when laying aside. Damage to the camera or Geotagger is possible.

Due to the lack of screw mounting the Pro-F is not very stable in the accessory socket. The enclosed safety rope should be attached in any case.

Pro-F with remote control

Pro-F with remote control

Accessories to connect to the performed socket works. I tested this with a radio remote control. In that case, the lever arm gets even longer and the construction even more unstable than it already is. The Nikon 17-55 2.8 lens obstructs the addition of the zoom ring.

Reception characteristics ECO Pro-F

After switching on, the green flashing LED on the Geotagger signals the search for satellites. In my tests I had a position fix after 5 to 40 seconds.

If reception is available, there is absolutely nothing to complain about the accuracy. On the contrary, the coordinates are very good. On the map you can find a photo with location.

Photo with shooting position in map

Photo with shooting position in map

ECO Pro-F in practice

ECO Pro-F in action

ECO Pro-F in action

On a long city tour through downtown Munich, I tested the GPS receiver for suitability in “urban canyons” and for travel photographers.

Due to the poor attachment to the camera, the Geotagger has slipped out five times within a few hours and hung on the suspension line. Now it’s clear why Dawntech even includes a replacement fuse. This is absolutely vital.

Since the Geotagger is switched off each time the camera’s exposure meter goes into sleep mode, a new position must be taken before the next photo. This took too much time in the city (about 20-30 seconds), in nature with optimal reception conditions the re-fix worked within 3-10 seconds.

One solution is to keep the exposure metering on permanently via the GPS setting in the camera menu. But then the battery is very fast empty. Here Dawntech should improve and keep the Geotagger always active. The power consumption is as advertised low enough so as not to burden the camera battery too much.

To which cameras does the ECO Pro-F fit?

Basically, the di-GPS ECO Pro-F Geotagger fits all Nikon cameras of the professional line with the 10-pin accessory socket.

  • D2XS, D2X, D2HS
  • D3, D3S, D3X
  • D4
  • D200
  • D300, D300s
  • D700
  • D800, D800E
  • Fujifilm S5 Pro

Technical data di-GPS ECO Pro-F

GPS chipset MTK MT3339
coordinate buffer  
GPS logger  
compass  
power consumption 17 mA to 19 mA
size 40mm x 25mm x 22mm
mass 14 grams

Before the conclusion, an important note:
Despite the fact that it comes from the same ECO series, the Pro-F is hardly comparable to the Pro-S. Because the prosumer device is significantly better at crucial points than the variant for Nikon professional cameras.

Close fitting housing and switch on the ECO Pro-S

Close fitting housing and switch on the ECO Pro-S

So the case of the Pro-S is much closer to the camera, as this picture shows. In addition, the Pro-S has a built-in switch that keeps the Geotagger active even when the camera’s light meter goes off. Due to the very low power consumption, this also poses no problem for the camera battery. According to test of the company gps-camera.eu had the battery after 48 hours of continuous GPS operation still about 50% residual charge.

Personal conclusion

Enthusiasm about a compact geotagging module with an installed accessory socket disappeared during the test. Both the constant refix in photo breaks as well as slipping out of the socket are annoying.

Dawntech must necessarily improve the case mounting. In addition, a switch is missing to run the Geotagger permanently.

The GPS reception power, the compact design and the performed accessory socket are great.

Unfortunately, the unstable attachment and the constant reboots with the associated waiting times prevent a recommendation. Let’s hope that Dawntech will make a quick fix and release a version 2.

I like that:
  • Accessories socket available
  • Good GPS reception
  • Hot shoe remains free
I do not really like it that much:
  • Is too far off
  • Attachment to the camera
  • No “permanent ON” position