Foolography Unleashed Bluetooth GPS for Nikon DSLR in test
Geotagging without cable. Only a small Bluetooth receiver on the camera and a GPS receiver in the backpack. Geotagging in its most carefree form.
Already at the photokina in 2008 I was able to examine the prototype of the Unleashed geotagger. In comparison to the then still current adapter cable a great solution for internal Geotagging. The signals from a Bluetooth GPS receiver reach the suitable Nikon and Fuji cameras wirelessly and are integrated directly in the camera into the Exif data. Now I have a test device and the opportunity to put the system through its paces and send it to the standard round of geotagging systems.
The full name of the Geotaggers manufactured by the German company foolography is Unleashed D200 + . This model is compatible with Nikon cameras with the 10-pin accessory connector.
Attention, with the Nikon D800, D800E and D810, the model presented here no longer fits. One corner of the housing is to be modified . There is also a ready to buy “Unleashed D800” model.
First impression and functionality
The first thing that came to mind when I opened the package was “Will you be my geotagger?” Finally, the small module will be delivered in a noble black jewelery box.
The replica of the Unleashed from Far East (AK-4N) I had already tested . Therefore here again and again one or the other indications of the differences between the two devices.
The smaller size of the Unleashed, unlike the AK-4N, is superb. What make up a few millimeters here. You can easily get to all buttons and switches. In normal operation, you do not realize at all that an additional module is plugged in.
The original Unleashed also has an indoor lock function. This means that the last determined position max. 30 minutes is saved. Thus, even images in buildings can at least reasonably be provided with geodata from the entrance. Helps very well with short GPS interruptions in street canyons or in dense forests.
With replica and original the remote release socket is the same. Matching all Canon compatible shutter release with 2.5 mm jack. Existing 10-pin connector systems will not work with geotagging at the same time.
An LED installed in the Unleashed informs about the current status. And there are some of them. More detailed inform here the neatly made manual which is offered in German and English.
The power consumption is extremely low. I did not notice any change in battery life during the tests. Everything moved in the context that I’m used to from the D300.
A camera-side problem also occurs here, as soon as you trigger the camera directly from hibernation for a snapshot. Then the camera has not made any connection and the image remains without geodata although GPS reception exists. This delay is within the perceived range of less than one second. That’s because of the camera. All GPS receivers are struggling with this problem.
- Size: 18.5mm x 13mm x 11mm
- Weight: 5g
- Range:> 10 meters
- Bluetooth® 2.0 Core Specification
- Operating temperature: -40 ° C to 85 ° C
Bluetooth GPS receiver
Fortuna Clip-On and Unleashed
This geo-tagger is not done with the purchase of the camera-side receiver. You also need a GPS receiver that sends the received satellite data via Bluetooth. I used a Fortuna Clip-on GPS Bluetooth mouse.
A disadvantage of two independent systems are two separate power sources. As a user, you now have to monitor both the battery of the camera and the battery of the GPS receiver. The camera is no problem, as usual. But with the logger, which is usually stored in a bag, that can be problematic.
Foolography and gps-camera.eu offer besides the single receiver also sets consisting of Unleashed module and Bluetooth GPS. These sets are already paired and can be used immediately.
Connecting Nikon D300, Unleashed and Fortuna Clip-On:
foolography unleashed on Nikon D300
Insert the Unleashed into the 10-pin socket of the camera. That’s it with mechanical coupling. Not quite. If you want, you can attach an additional safety line to the Bluetooth module and connect it to the camera strap. So it is optimally secured against losing. Although it sits much firmer than the cheap replica (which I slipped out) but sure-is-safe.
The coupling of the Bluetooth devices is a bit more involved than with replicas, but this is the Bluetooth specification. And it has another advantage: If later several Bluetooth GPS receiver are in range of reception, the Unleashed always selects “his” GPS.
GPS settings on the D300
The menu item GPS is available in the system menu.
Nikon D300 GPS hibernation
About idle state can be decided whether the light meter is to go as usual after the set time in the idle state (ON) to save power or GPS reception if this idle state should remain disabled (OFF). Meaning makes hibernation in my opinion only if it is a directly connected GPS device which interrupts the GPS reception as soon as the hibernation occurs. The Bluetooth GPS mouse still receives satellite data in this combination even with the camera off. In this case, after a restart (regardless of whether it is from idle state or switched off), only the BT radio connection must be rebuilt. The lengthy GPS fix is eliminated.
Recommended setting: Sleep ON
Another menu item is Position. This is only active when the GPS receiver is connected. Latitude, longitude, altitude, compass bearing and UTC (world time) are displayed here.
On a compass also foolography gave out. Therefore the bearing field remains empty. An improvement for the next version?
On the test round again the Fortuna Clip-on GPS Bluetooth receiver served as a partner. Again, no track could be recorded. Therefore no Garmin reference track. The quality of the positions should not be used for the quality assessment of the Unleashed. The position accuracy depends only on the GPS receiver.
The mode of operation of the indoor function is best recognized by the picture from the underground car park. The position is indicated near the entrance. The next picture shows again the exit. Here again the current value was used.
Conclusion foolography Unleashed
The original Bluetooth geotagging module “Made in Germany” beats the cheap replica by far. It’s smaller, not much, but crucial. It sits much tighter and can be additionally secured. The Bluetooth pairing is a bit more involved but safer in later use.
200 euros plus GPS mouse are first a proud price. Whether you want to use a system for direct geotagging, everyone has to know for themselves. If you have decided against retroactive geotagging and an internal Bluetooth solution, the Unleashed is certainly an excellent choice.
I like that:
- No rework on the computer
- No danger to the image data. The entry is made 100% according to the specifications of Nikon
- Deviations between GPS time and camera time are irrelevant
- no noticeable additional consumption of electricity
- Last known position is saved (indoor function)
I do not really like it that much:
- In addition, a Bluetooth GPS receiver is needed. Surcharge about 40-75 €
- In addition to monitoring battery of the GPS receiver
- No track for additional presentation options
- Existing cable releases can not be used