Solmeta is a « small » brand making inexpensive GPS units for DSLR. It seems to be mainly Nikon compatible and I see no references to Canon DSLRs.

The fact is Nikon GPS is really easy to build and most of the GPS chip you can buy out there for few $ may be sufficient to work. Your ship juste have to output data on a serial line. The data format is standard, NMEA 0138 ASCII.

I bought a Geotagger N2 two years ago for a two months travel to Quebec (Canada) and west coast USA.

The N2 is a small box with just a on/off/auto switch, a cable plug and a jack input for a wired remote controller (included) and a bicolour led for status.
The pros are : cheap, small, light, almost unbreakable, relatively precise, easy to use
The cons : the cable is annoying, the plug is weak, GPS acquisition is SLOW

Actualy, I was unable to use the GPS most of the time of my two months travel. I was really pissed. Even in the Majav desert in Utah the N2 was unable to lock GPS signal after a whole day with out moving…

Once back at home I emailed Solmeta which gave me a RMA.

The new unit was working fine… but not for long. It took me some time to take care of it, but again, impossible to lock GPS signal, even outside standing still for days. That was enough.

I called Solmeta again, and again, they offered me a replacement unit. The warranty lasts for two years, which is quite good though, maybe longer than the official Nikon GPS….
In the meantime, Solmeta released the Geotagger N3 GPS. The most obvious difference is a faster GPS, said to lock faster ! Great !!!

I explained the two RMAs and the cost of the shipping and the frustration… and they offered me a discount on the N3. Great again !

Conclusion  may be that they are aware of the business and they are doing it well. Great support, fast answer, great offer.

But actually, Solmeta have something else to offer… The PRO 2 GPS unit.

  

Introducing the Pro2

Unboxing…

Actualy the Pro2 looks exactly like the Geotagger Pro, expect the name on the face and a golden line around the LCD screen.

But inside, the PRO2 is a whole new GPS.

  • New LCD panel with more contrast
  • Based on a MT3329 chipset (used in the N3) it can track up to 66 satellites and refresh up to 10Hz frequency.
    What does that mean ? Well… it seems only 20 satellites are flying around the earth…
    In practice, that means almost instantaneous GPS locking… Sometimes real life does not catch the science… :)
  • It track 3-axis data, meaning (one day) you will be able to explain precisely the location and sight position of the picture… but for now, as far as I know, even Google Maps does not know how to handle the pointing direction of the GPS data.
  • It features a 2.4GHz remote trigger… yes, no more wired remote control !
    Actualy, I’m not sure this is a good thing. Wireless trigger means you need to have a remote control with batteries. Sometimes you just can go with a wire… And one of my projects is to build a time-lapse remote controller with Adruino, something like the one explained here. So, how do I wire this ?
    For the moments my old 2.4GHz remote trigger does not work with it.
    The PRO 2 will come with a trigger that will be released during summer. I’ll get mine then. I already asked to know if any other remote controller or trigger will work with the PRO 2, to be able for example to keep my setup where one controller trigger at the same time the camera AND a deported flash light. Waiting for the answer…
  • GPS movement tracking with 2GB of RAM.
    This is quite bigger than the 8MB of the old Geotagger PRO
    The data are recorded in a range from 1 second to 30 minutes, in steps like 1, 5, 10, 15, 30 seconds, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 or 30 mins.
    No need for a software to extract the data. I imagine a « usb disk » will show up on the desktop… Haven’t been able to test that for now.
  • New cable. The old one was too long and always in the middle, leading to a break or at least bad contact.
    This one fits perfectly. Having the big round Nikon plug on the top instead of the side make it less risky. I really like it.
  • Transport bag
    The N2 came with a nylon bag. The PRO 2 comes with a larger neoprene bag. I know the PRO2 will be in security inside.

Conclusion

This is a first roundup of the new features.
I’ll keep updating this article when I have the new features working… All I can say is that the GPS locking is terribly FAST and accurate.

Solmeta did a really GREAT job and surprising offer. The really good two years support make it a real professional alternative to the old Nikon GPS unit.

Expect the PRO 2 to be available in late summer for around $250 US.

Please note I paid my PRO 2 GPS and I have no other link with Solmeta beside being a satisfied customer.

And a GPS tagged picture…

 

News :

I finaly got an email from Solmeta to upgrade the firmware of the GPS.
The bad side is I had to send the unit back to china so they can perform the update. Shipping + update + return took almost one month.

The GPS is now compatible with Mac OS X and, once plugged, work like a memory stick where you can find the data logger files. No driver needed.

They also sent me the 2.4GHz remote control. It is small, thin, light. There is a 3 color light at the top.
Light green when you press half way, red when full way (take picture) and blue when « working ». This means the remote knows the real state of the camera. For example, if you have a 30 seconds exposure, the blue light will stay ON for the 30 seconds + the time the camera write to the memory card.

The only bad side there is that the remote trigger can’t be locked for long exposure in bulb mode. you have to keep pressing on the trigger.

Finaly, I am really pleased with this GPS . Thanks Solmeta.