How to connect a Holux M-241 in 64-bit Snow Leopard over USB

I took me quite some time to figure this out (again). Actually, the solution was already provided in one of my posts from 2008 but I had completely forgotten about it. I recently downloaded the new 64-bit USBtoUART SiLabs driver (the package contains a 32-bit driver too) to hook up my Holux M-241 GPS logger to a USB port on my Mac. Every time I tried to connect the GPS client software BT747 to the Holux data logger I received the following exception: Continue reading

Review: Geotagging with Easytag GPS module (Nikon GP-1 compatible)

If you’re an avid geotagger and own a Nikon GP-1 (or compatible) on-camera GPS receiver, you may have found yourself in a situation where you had to take a photo even though your GPS unit wasn’t ready, thus leading to inaccurate or even missing latitude/longitude coordinates in your photo. A GPS receiver usually needs at least 30 to 40 seconds to acquire an accurate position fix in the open once you turn the camera on. Depending on your subject, that can be quite some time. An on-camera GPS unit like the Nikon GP-1 also puts quite a strain on your camera’s battery life.

On the other hand, if you’re using an off-camera geotagger like the Holux M-241 there’s always some sort of more or less complex post-processing workflow involved to store the GPS readings in your photo’s metadata header. I sometimes forget to switch my Holux M-241 on when I’m outside with the camera or even worse: I usually forget to take it with me at all. Doh!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a GPS unit that sits on the camera (so I don’t forget it at home), runs on its own power but still is able to immediately store GPS readings in your photos whenever you take them? Running on it’s own power has the advantage that when you’re outside with your camera, you can simply forget about hot/warm/cold startup times or draining your camera’s battery and just concentrate on the non-GPS-side of photography.
This is where the Easytag GPS module (a.k.a. Easytagger) comes into play. The Easytagger is a hybrid between an off-camera and an on-camera GPS logger. Judging from the product description, this thing seems to be the jack of all trades:

  • Stores GPS info directly to a photo’s metadata header (no matter if NEF or JPEG)
  • Data logger mode: Ability to log a trail (a series of GPS readings) to a microSD card using the popular NMEA format
  • 2-axis magnetic sensor to record heading
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Built-in rechargeable 500mAh Li-Ion battery, and in case it’s emtpy, draws power from the camera
  • Unique design to allow mounting on flash accessory shoe and the built-in flash to be used at the same time
  • Multi-model compatibility: simply use the appropriate data cable. 10-pin: Nikon D200, D300, D300s, D700, D3/D3s/D3x, D2/D2x/D2xs/D2Hs. 8-pin: Nikon D90, D5000
  • No setup required, just plug and play!

But does the Easytagger really live up to its expectations? I’m going to have a close look at the Easytag GPS module from a Nikon D700 and a Mac user’s perspective. Continue reading

Apple Aperture 3 flickr upload lacks GPS data… not!

Ever since the release of Aperture, Apple only half-heartedly supported metadata in exported photo’s. I don’t know why but Apple decided not to export extremely useful metadata information like lens model and many others as well. Unfortunately, this is still the case with Aperture 3 :( Lens type is still not included in any exported JPEGs or when directly uploading a photo to flickr. When I tried to upload a photo to flickr using the new flickr button in Aperture 3, even location data from “Places” wasn’t included. Commenter Connor had the solution: I needed to check that checkbox in Aperture’s preferences web tab (see screenshot below). Continue reading

Apple adds GPS Geotagging support in Aperture 3

The new Geotagging features in Aperture 3 are pretty cool – and very simple to use too. Just like in iPhoto, Apple doesn’t use the term Geotagging but calls it “Places” instead. There’s support for the popular NMEA format which I’m able to export from my Holux M-241 GPS logger using BT747. Aperture Places is also able to read the latitude/longitude data embedded in a photo’s metadata and displays the location on map. Places is able to show the track log if you want to see the route as well. It’s so nice to finally have Geotagging support within Aperture. This simplifies the Geotagging workflow when using a GPS logger a lot. It’s even easier if you use an on-camera GPS unitContinue reading

Geotagging with YongNuo GPS receiver for Nikon D700 (GP-1 compatible)

I’ve always fancied the Nikon GP-1 GPS on-camera receiver for its ability to directly write geotagging information to a photo, including the Nikon .NEF RAW format, thus greatly reducing the complexity of the post-processing workflow involved when using an off-camera GPS logger like the Holux-M241. The Nikon GP-1 still costs around USD 200 which IMHO is a bit overpriced. Continue reading

D700 firmware v1.02 introduces new GPS related options for Nikon GP-1 GPS receiver

In the just released firmware version 1.02 for the D700, Nikon added an option to sync the GPS time to the camera time and a new option to allow the camera more time to acquire GPS data. I’ll be doing a review on a Nikon GP-1 compatible on-camera GPS receiver for the Nikon D700 (and the Nikon D3, D3X, D90, D200, D300, D900 as well) later this month, so keep watching this space if you think the original Nikon GP-1 is a tad too expensive for what it delivers. Continue reading

Aperture 2.1.3 fixes (some) missing EXIF export tags…and more!

Yesterday, Apple released a new version of it’s photo management and raw conversion software Aperture. The issues addressed include:

  • Nikon images imported using a direct camera-to-computer connection now display thumbnails correctly in the Import window.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause duplicate image versions to be created after rebuilding a library.
  • Fixed a library issue that prevented operation of the Relocate or Consolidate commands in some circumstances.

The fixed import-thumbnails issue is great news for Nikon D700 users. Finally, we’re able to see what photos we’re about to import from our camera. I also checked if they fixed an annoying EXIF metadata export issue when exporting a photo – and to my big surprise, they did!

EXIF data

EXIF data

As you can see in the screenshot above, EXIF Viewer displays the latitude/longitude metadata information in an exported Aperture photo when using Aperture 2.1.3. The master image was a raw camera file which I exported as a JPEG. Unfortunately, lens information is still missing in the exported photos :(

Aperture doesn’t export all EXIF header info

While playing around with the new geotagging Places feature in iPhoto ’09 I was pretty stunned by the fact that Aperture 2.1.2 doesn’t export the full EXIF header info when exporting photos from an Aperture project. I already found out that Aperture doesn’t include all EXIF fields for its preview pictures but I expected it to write all EXIF fields when doing a full-size JPEG-export and the Include Metadata option is selected in the export options. Continue reading

Review: iPhoto ’09 face detection limited but still useful

Even though I’m preferring Apple Aperture over iPhoto to post-process my RAW format photos, the new “Faces” feature in iPhoto ’09 (part of iLife ’09) sounded interesting enough to me to give iPhoto another try. To get some photos in iPhoto without having to duplicate them, I set it up to reference Aperture preview JPEGs in iPhoto’s preferences instead of copying them to the iPhoto library. The preset for Aperture preview JPEGs is 1/2 size of the original photo. Now I’m able to reference Aperture projects by dragging them to iPhoto using the Show Aperture Library menu in iPhoto’s File menu.  Continue reading

Review: DSLR photographers tools for iPhone

Here’s a review of iPhone and iPod touch apps that can be very useful to DSLR photographers. On one hand I was looking for iPhone apps which calculate sunrise and sunset times for a given location or even calculate the so called “blue hour”. On the other hand I was looking for apps that calculate depth of field, hyperfocal distance and flash exposure. I also had a look at some GPS coordinate tracker apps but due to (deliberate) limitations in the iPhone OS most of these apps don’t really work great. More on that later on. Continue reading

Holux M-241 GPS Logger field test

We just returned from a two week holiday in Scotland. I hauled my complete photo gear (which added almost 10kg to my backpack…aww) with me because I planned to spend quite some time photographing. It turned out that the scottish weather can be rather challenging to the passionate photographer but that’s another story. Of course I took my Holux M-241 GPS logger with me because I wanted to geotag all our photos. I also decided to take my small 13″ notebook with me, just in case the GPS logging device runs out of storage. As it turned out at the end this wouldn’t have been necessary. More on that later on.

Continue reading

Nikon D80 RAW .NEF GPS geotagging workflow on the Mac

I already wrote a few articles about how to use my preferred GPS logging device, the Holux M-241, on the Mac. In this article I’m focusing on the linking process between the GPS data and the photos. This process is called a geotagging workflow. Most of the time I’m taking pictures in RAW mode so the workflow is optimized for this type of images. I’m using a Nikon D80 but the workflow should work with almost any other (Nikon) digital camera like the Nikon D200 or Nikon D300 too. Continue reading