Just before Christmas we finally received the custom made USB-C cables from our supplier. This means that now the Nikon Z7 and Nikon Z6 are officially and fully supported by the Unleashed N2!
Even though the Unleashed N2 was already mostly compatible with the Nikon Z6 and Z7, the optional USB cable gives you access to a few more features, such as photo review. We already had 3 different USB cable types for the various Nikon cameras, but unfortunately, Nikon added yet another USB socket when they released the Z series: both the Z6 and Z7 have USB-C sockets. And while it was possible to use the Micro USB cable with a USB-C adapter, that setup would protrude significantly from the side of the Z series camera. So of course we went and designed another custom cable with a beautiful, tiny, right-angled plugs – one end with our custom plug that fits the Unleashed, and the other end a USB-C plug that fits the Nikon cameras perfectly, without the need for any adapters. Now, it’s finally here!
This means you can now use the entire Unleashed feature-set on Nikons Z6 and Z7! In addition to geotagging, shooting time lapses, remotely changing settings, and starting and stopping video, and all that was already possible without the cable, you can now also get thumbnails transferred to you phone, see a few more setting details, and try out the LRTimelapse-based auto-ramping algorithms for smooth day to night “holy-grail” time lapses! See this FAQ for the exact details.
So now is the perfect time to get your Unleashed for your Nikon Z6 or Z7!
In the last year we’ve shipped out many Unleasheds to customers all over the world and the feedback has been great. Since then we’ve also implemented improvements, new features and have published many app and firmware updates.
Of course, we’ve also received quite a few requests regarding the compatibility of certain Canon cameras that are not (yet) on the compatibility list, most of all the Canon EOS R line. Another favorite is the 70D, and the same goes for the 200 II, 250D, 50D, 90D, 850D, 7D Mark II and the 1DX. Unfortunately, for both of us, Canon decided to mix things up a little. These cameras either have a new USB-C socket or the arrangement of the USB and HDMI socket is different from all their other cameras. As a result, the Unleashed is physically not compatible. All of these cameras are more or less unique in their socket arrangement, so we would have to develop and produce a new Unleashed model for each of these camera models, which is not feasible – at least at this point.
Using the Unleashed with adapters
The good news is that just because they don’t fit the camera body directly, that doesn’t mean the Unleashed won’t work on them. In fact, the Unleashed’s firmware (and therefore all of its functionality) is absolutely compatible with these cameras! The only thing necessary are two adapters or extensions depending on the camera. Of course, you’ll lose the conveniently small design of the Unleashed, which normally blends seamlessly into the camera’s design. But if you’re after the feature-set and don’t mind the cables, this allows you to use the Unleashed and all its features.
Want to shoot day-to-night “Holy Grail” time lapses with your new EOS R5? Geotag with the 7D Mark II, shoot long exposures with the 70D? Wirelessly start video recording with multiple 90Ds on tripods?
Well, now you can! Read on to find out exactly which adapters you’ll need.
List of adapters
For every Canon camera that is not yet officially compatible, we recommend using the Unleashed C1, since it has more space between its HDMI and USB plug than the Unleashed C2 does. On all Canon cameras, except the EOS R5 and R6, you’ll need a Mini-HMDI (HDMI type C) extension. Canon EOS R5 and R6 need a Micro HDMI (HDMI type D) (plug) to Mini HDMI (socket) adapter. Depending on your camera, you’ll additionally need the following USB adapter cable:
Canon EOS R, RP, R5 & R6: Micro USB socket to USB-C plug
Canon 7D Mk II, 90D, 200 II, 250D & 850D: Micro USB socket to Micro USB plug (i.e. Micro USB extension)
Canon 1Dx, 50D & 70D: Micro USB socket to Mini USB plug
(Just for clarification: socket = female, plug = male)
If you already have an Unleashed C2 from another camera, you’ll need a cable with Mini USB socket (and the above camera-dependent plugs instead.
Update from July 2021: We are now selling the adapter sets in our shop! You can find them here or by navigating through Entagged > Accessories.
A mini HDMI extension is actually quite hard to find, however, there is a 90 degree adapter available that we found, and can confirm that works. It’s called: “Manhattan 353458”. The only alternative we have found so far are so called “FPV HDMI cables”, but even here HDMI C Socket to HDMI C Plug are not commonly found.
Here’s what the Manhattan Adapter and a USB extension cable look like:
We know it’s not ideal and we would love to have a perfect Unleashed model for each camera! However, for now, we believe it’s definitely a solution/hack/work-around worth looking at. Of course, for some of the newer cameras, we’re also working on dedicated Unleasheds, so stay tuned for those! Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know, or follow us on social media to stay up-to-date!
Let us know in the comments what you camera you have and what you think.
A few weeks ago, we released app and firmware updates that enable a handful of external GPS receivers to be paired directly with the Unleashed, to provide GPS location data for geotagging without the need of a smartphone.
This is great news for those customers that were unhappy with their smartphone’s location precision, or simply prefer a more independent geotagging solution. This might be to extend battery life of the smartphone, or to enjoy longer battery life of external GPS receivers, especially on long trips off the grid.
The compatible GPS Receivers are:
Holux M-241 Plus
QStarz BL-818GT *new*
After pairing one of these GPS receivers with your Unleashed through the app (Menu->Your Unleasheds->Edit Unleashed->Accessories), you will see new GPS Modes in the first picker of the GPS settings. In addition to “OFF” and “Smartphone”, you will now also have the options “External GPS only” as well as “External GPS with smartphone fallback” (We hope the new icons make it clear which is which). The first new option will exclusively use GPS data from the external GPS, and not of the smartphone, whereas the second option will use the external GPS while it’s available and providing valid data, but will automatically fall back to using the smartphone location otherwise.
We’ve also added a few new LED colors/sequences to make using the Unleashed without the app a little easier:
Lightblue: when an Accessory (such as a GPS receiver) is connected, but the app is not connected, the led will slowly pulse lightblue instead of turqoise.
Red blink: alternating with the normal sequences, the Unleashed will blink red to show that there is an error, until now mostly GPS related errors. You can then start the app to see details about the error, or simply check that the the external GPS receiver has a Fix and is connected. Some of these errors are:
External GPS receiver not connected (even if it then uses Smartphone fallback)
GPS data not valid (even if using last known position)
GPS accuracy too low
Comparing the receivers
The Holux has the Unique feature that it uses a single AA battery, for which you can buy replacements anywhere in the world. At the same time battery life is not as good as with the rechargeable Li-Ion batteries of the other options. The QStarz devices provide a little more data than the other two receivers [update: Transystem caught up], and we’ve implemented a neat little feature where you can use the POI button on the Receiver to trigger the camera. But they are also the most expensive. We recommend the BL-1000ST rather than the BL-1000GT, since the Unleashed will not make use of the 10Hz update rate, so it is not worth the extra cost. The BL-818GT doesn’t support the triggering functionality, as it lacks logging, and thus the button is not for POI saving. The Transystem device is more affordable than Qstarz, while providing just as precise position data, but has a quirk that it uses a non-standard USB-A to USB-A charging/data cable. So don’t lose that!
Right from the start, we had planned to make the Unleashed directly compatible with external GPS receivers, but technical challenges forced us to decide against pursuing backwards compatibility to GPS receivers using Bluetooth Classic. Unfortunately, at the time of Launch that basically left us with no options, since virtually all GPS receivers used Bluetooth Classic. However, in the past few years, the above devices were released, so we put a lot of effort into making the Unleashed compatible with external accessories in general, and added support for each of the GPS receivers one after the other.
While we had to reverse engineer Holux’s Bluetooth Protocol (and we got the Date portion wrong for a while), QStarz was kind enough to provide documentation that allowed us to implement support for their devices much more quickly. Transystem went one step further: They used a standard protocol defined by the Bluetooth SIG, and when we found a small issue with their implementation and had additional wishes, they swiftly made changes and added support for those in a firmware update. So a big thank you to both QStarz and Transystem for your support!
So, finally, the Unleashed now enables direct geotagging with external GPS receivers for Nikon as well as Canon DSLRs!
30th of September 2016:
Against all odds, the Foolography office in Berlin Mitte is filled with over 50 people. Not employees, but friends and family who want to celebrate the successful funding of the new Unleashed on Kickstarter. 186,723 €, more than 300% of the initial funding goal. All achieved by a couple of people committed to a dream and passion. Honestly, we could have never imagined of the amount of support we got – from the people around us, and especially from the Kickstarter backers and supporters who also believed in what we were trying to achieve.
11th of April 2018:
Looking back today, we’re still amazed by the journey we are on and the development of Foolography and its employees. Being finally able to ship the Unleashed in a couple of weeks, we decided to give people the opportunity to be part of that journey: The journey of the Unleashed.
In this three part series we want talk about crowdfunding, what it’s like to be and run a hardware startup and where we see Foolography in a couple of years. The goal is to give you valuable insights, tips, dos and don’ts and hopefully encouragement to chase your dreams and hang in there – whether you have or want to start a business, are a photographer yourself or just interested in what we do and wondering how we do it.
This is the question we asked ourselves two years ago when we decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the new Unleashed – a smartphone DSLR remote control. And to be honest: We’re still asking us this question today from time to time. Clearly, crowdfunding is one of the best things that ever happened to help you to turn ideas into reality. Kickstarter puts it this way: “Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life.” However, what many people don’t know or at least underestimate: Doing a crowdfunding campaign is a lot of work – before and after it. Especially after it.
Maybe you didn’t know, but there is a Berlin hardware startup community. And many of those startups actually started off with a successful crowdfunding campaign. This is great and was especially helpful to us when we were playing with the idea of doing a Kickstarter campaign ourselves. We met with people who were further along the journey and absorbed all infos and insights we could get. Even though Foolography has been around for a couple of years at this point, doing a crowdfunding campaign was definitely a step into the unknown.
After a couple of weeks we had our “whys” and essential reasons why crowdfunding could be helpful and, what is even more important, why it might be the right next step for us. This is why we launched the new Unleashed on Kickstarter:
1. Money for production.
Marc Andreessen, a pretty famous investor, once said: “Hardware is hard”. Well, we couldn’t agree more. Building a technology hardware company is by far much harder than building a software company. There are many reasons why that is and one of the biggest is: In order to deliver the product to your customer, you need to produce it first. Meaning, physically produce it. Including finding the right parts, producing the PCB, the casing, the packaging, taking care of the assembly and much more. All things you don’t really have to worry about when having a digital product. And those things mentioned are usually pretty expensive and most important: You have to pay for it in advance before you are actually able to sell your product. So crowdfunding definitely is a big help when it comes to production of your product.
2. Proof of concept.
Whenever you have an idea for a new product it is wise to find out if there is a market for it. What do other people say about it? Are people already signing (or lining) up to get your product? And with people I don’t mean your grandparents or close friends. I’m talking about people who don’t know you but who could potentially be your future customers. Do you have a proof of concept? The cool thing about a good proof of concept is that it not only helps you to understand whether there are people out there who want to have your product, but to understand whether people like the way and method how you present and sell your product. See, the proof of concept is not a single yes or no. It’s a commitment to pay for what you offer. And usually that happens – yes, because of the greatness of your idea – but also because of how you marketed and sold it. So a proper proof of concept not only confirms your idea but also helps you to find a the right go-to-market strategy. Crowdfunding definitely is a good tool for that since people are supporting you not only with words but with money.
3. Building a community.
Having a community (or even customers) when you start shipping your product is one of the best things you can have. It literally is a kick-start. You will have people talking about it, testing it and in best case recommending it. And in the end, this is something worth more than thousands of online ads: People that recommend and advertise your product to their friends and family, in their own personal and unique way.
How to do crowdfunding?
You can find thousand of infos, you can read hundreds of articles and you can talk to dozens of people on how to approach this whole crowdfunding thing. And to be honest, I believe all of that is good and necessary. Because as it is with most things in life: Preparation is the key. So you actually can prepare a crowdfunding campaign and you actually can increase your chances of getting funded. We did all of the things listed above and they definitely helped us. But nonetheless, people still keep asking: “What are the biggest tips you can give me, when I want to do a crowdfunding campaign?” So here are the top ten of, I believe, most important things to consider and prepare well when doing a crowdfunding campaign.
1. Have a working prototype.
Oh yes. Something that is super important (probably the most important) and non-negotiable. Before you go public on a crowdfunding platform, have a working prototype of your product ready. (This is something we will discuss more in detail in part two of this series.)
2. Talk to people who (successfully) did it before.
I mentioned this before and cannot emphasize it enough. Reach out to people who did a crowdfunding campaign before and get as many insights as possible. Come prepared and ask questions.
3. Have a strategy, including a Plan B and C.
This seems to be an obvious thing to do, but it is those simple things that you forget or don’t do properly. Take enough time to write down your vision, goals and strategy. Try to sharpen your product’s USPs, verbalize them and get feedback.
4. Have a CI. Or at least PI (Product Identity).
It should be clear who you want to reach out to and what people perceive when getting in contact with your business or product. This includes a logo, slogan and everything you learn in Marketing 101.
5. Have a website or landing page outside of Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
You could argue about that point, but I personally think it’s necessary in order to be able to provide further information, have an official point of contact and most importantly to build trust.
6. Have a (large) newsletter list before.
This is something that can determine whether your campaign is successful or not. Having people that are ready to support you at the very start will push you forward in many ways. One way could be that the faster you get a lot of support, the more you become interesting for press or the crowdfunding platform itself. And this in return will generate awareness of your campaign.
7. Have a good video.
When looking for tips on the internet this is one of the things you will find the most. And yes, it’s very important. But what makes a good video is such an enormous topic for itself. Write us if you want further infos. ;-) Maybe we do an own article just about that – let us know in the comments if this is something you’re interested in.
8. Spend time on an appealing crowdfunding page.
The page of your campaign probably is the first or second point of contact for your potential customers. Make sure it’s visual, appealing and nicely structured. For example, remember to not overload it since most people will only have a look at the first few paragraphs and just a few will scroll down to the bottom.
9. Have a PR strategy.
This is something that certainly needs quite a bit of preparation in advance and is something we definitely could have done better: Have a good press release prepared and a well chosen list of people ready that potentially could write about you. If possible send product samples to those people beforehand.
10. Think about (but not necessarily do) online advertisement.
We didn’t do it, but could have done it and certainly would have gotten a bigger funding. Have a strategy and decide whether it’s helpful and possible due to production, pricing and production cost.
Well, this is it for now. There are certainly more things that are important to consider when thinking about doing a crowdfunding campaign. These, however, are some things that we learned along the journey and are telling most of the people who ask us about our campaign. We hope this gives you a little insight and helps somebody. We’ll continue with this series another time and will then talk about what it’s like to build hardware and what challenges can occur along the way – and how to overcome them.
Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get exciting news on Foolography, photography, videography and other interesting topics. Scroll down to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter to stay up-to-date and become part of the Fools. ;-)
After the new Unleashed was successfully funded on Kickstarter with more than 300% of its funding goal, we are constantly asked whether there is any chance to still pre-order the Unleashed. After thinking about it we now decided to give people the option to pre-order the new Unleashed for a special price and to be part of one of the early production rounds in order to be one of the first to receive it.
Starting today, you can pre-order the new Unleashed through the InDemand program on Indiegogo. Check the compatibility list at the bottom of our Indiegogo page, choose a perk (that’s how Indiegogo calls the rewards or product bundles) and select your shipping country. As with our Kickstarter backers, we’ll send out a survey of which camera model you want the new Unleashed for some time in spring, and you can make the final choice shortly before shipping.
Receiving all these mails and requests, we hope and believe this option will make many people happy who just missed the Kickstarter campaign, want their photographer friends to have the Unleashed as well or just want to support us. So have a look at out Indiegogo page and send the link to all your friends who are jealous that you got your Unleashed on Kickstarter and forgot to tell them about it. ;-)
We are proud to announce a cooperation between foolography and Triggertrap. That’s right, we’re making our Unleashed compatible with the Triggertrap app, and the Triggertrap app compatible with the Unleashed! So every one of you backers can use both our app as well as all the cool triggering features of the Triggertrap app that you might already be used to, but now wirelessly with your Unleashed!
Along with the D5, Nikon also announced the D500, their new DX Flagship camera with all pro features. While many have been hoping for this D300 successor for many many years, most had given up waiting, and settled for the very capable D7x00 lineup instead.
After skipping the D400 (we still don’t know why), and all the rumors focussing on the D5, Nikon really surprised everyone with the D500, but only positively: It inherits many of the D5’s features and sports 153 point AF system, 10fps up to 200 shots, 20.9MP, ISO 51200 expandable to 1640000, Hi-Res Touchscreen and 4K UHD Video – all in a compact but pro-grade DX Body, but you’ve probably already read more about those here, here and here. However, what really sparked my interest was that Nikon finally added Bluetooth to their DSLRs, with their “Snapbridge” feature. Unfortunately, Nikon did not consult us on this, so you won’t get the features you’re used to from our Unleashed just built-in. You’ll be pleased to know that our Unleashed D200+ with the D800 modification will continue to work on the D500 as well, and can co-exist with Snapbridge – the two technologies will not interfere with each other!
Snapbridge on the D500 is an always-on Bluetooth Low Energy connection to your smartphone, transferring low-resolution images as you shoot them, so that you can easily share those on Social Media. It’s also possible to sync the smartphone’s time and location with the Camera. The wording in the marketing info is not 100% quite clear whether this is just for updating timezone settings as you start using the camera in a new location, or whether this means that the photos will actually be geotagged with the smartphone’s location. We’ve mentioned a few times, that this is not to be compared with using a “real” GPS, as you can with our Unleashed, but is a nice feature nonetheless, if Nikon manages to get it right, that is. Unfortunately, this is not something that I have very high expectations for, judging by the current “WMU” app, I used with the D5300 and its built-in wifi, or the D7100 with the WU-1a Wifi-adapter. Nikon also called this Snapbridge, by the way! The Wifi connectivity is only a very small part of this problem, but the app itself is just a little more than unusable. Lets hope Nikon hired some great app developers for the new Snapbridge. In any case, I am looking forward to testing it, and will keep you updated when I do.
So Nikon finally put an end to all those D5 rumors, and revealed their new Flaship FX DSLR at CES 2016, delivering even more than everyone reading the rumors already anticipated! It really is a beast of a camera, and trumps the D4s in all the important specs: 20.8MP FX Sensor, EXPEED 5 Processor, Native ISO up to 102400, extendable to Hi5 (3280000 – yes, 3.28 million!), brand new 153-Point AF System, 12 fps continuous shooting incl. AF (up to 200 shots), new 180k RGB pixel metering Sensor, Hi-Res Touchscreen, and 4K Video, just to name a few! I’m sure you all know the details, or will want to read up on dpreview(hands-on), nikonrumors, engadget or from official sources: nikon.com.
The D5, like all other current Nikon DSLRs does not have GPS built in, but we’re pleased to tell you that our Unleashed D200+ (with the D800 modification) will work on the D5, giving you the best direct geotagging solution currently available.
This year is the first time since many years that we are not at CES, so unfortunately I was unable to test compatibility personally. However, I have received confirmation from a customer that the Unleashed D200+ with the D800 modification fit the D5 well physically, when he tested it. Since it was indoors, he was unable to verify the functionality. I’m very sure there will be no issues, as the D5, just like the Nikon’s Pro-DSLRs remains compatible with Nikon’s own GPS product, which our Unleashed is electronically compatible with. However, once we get our hands on a D5, we’ll be sure to test it extensively and update this post with our results.
Nikon is on a roll! Just weeks after the D5500 and D810A, Nikon just announced the D7200 – the successor to the D7100. Little seems to have been changed from the D7100 (read here and here), but this can also bring advantages: Our Unleashed Dx000 will fit, just like it did on the D7100!
A special Version of the D810 was released by Nikon at CP+ in Japan: the D810A. There is little difference to the D810, except that the sensor and the range of some exposure settings have been changed to be more suitable for Astrophotography. Read more here and here.