Thursday, May 14, 2009

Camera goodies - geotagging and eye hood

I have a Nikon D80 (which is a great camera in spite of all the negative reviews). It was, without doubt, the best birthday present I ever received, from my parents. My wife bought me a Thinktank Photo Airport Addicted, which comes up second. The photo's I take are on my gallery; I don't think they're very good.

Anyway, I noticed in the iPhoto 09 feature list the inclusion of geotagged photo support. Now this is cool. It means you can tell, on a map, where you took a photo. Very handy when you take lots of photo's that are similar, and/or outdoors. But all the "neat" on-camera solutions expect you to have a D90, D200 or higher. I'm not changing my body for the once-a-month photo expeditions I go on.

So, I stumbled across a fellow D80 user who ended up using the Holux M-241 GPS logger, and Ovolab Geophoto. The Holux showed GPS time (which was cool to set your camera), but looked like a bannana-coloured suppository and required some serious shenanigans to get data off onto a Mac.

I found reference to a driverless GPS, the Amod AGL3080, which is essentially a very simple GPS, that starts logging in 1, 5 or 10 second intervals as soon as it has a satellite lock. It works, very well. I've used it in some testing, and it works exactly as advertised. Logs the data, which is stored as a file on the device. The construction is cheap, the manual is crap and the unit doesn't look like it'll last if you're not gentle with it. But for my purposes, perfect!

I ended up using HoudahGeo to actually tag the photos. The two big reasons to use this over Geophoto were

  1. No CPU-crunching spinning globe on startup
  2. Ability to associate multiple GPS tracks to a photo group as opposed to only one

So far so good.

As an aside, I also bought a Hoodman Corp Hoodeye, which sounded great, except it looks like crap and feels worse. And their website made my eyes bleed.

I'll be using both on a shoot at the Johannesburg Zoo this weekend; I suspect I'll have a negative review of the Hoodeye afterwards. Lets hope I'm wrong.