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!
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!
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.
So, just in time for CES, Nikon announced the D5500, successor to the D5300. The D5300 was Nikon’s only DSLR that had GPS built-in. Its successor, however, no longer does. It seems the function was either not popular enough, or did not work as well as it was supposed to. My guess/experience: Both! (The worst was the battery drain). As usual, you can read the details on dpreview.com or engadget.com
At CES, I went over to the Nikon booth, to test our Unleashed on the D5500 there. Luckily, one of the guys there was curious enough himself to let me test it – even though they were just prototypes, and he wasn’t supposed to let me.
The good news: the Unleashed Dx000 works on the D5500 (see the GPS Satellite icon)
The bad news: I was unable to properly test how well it fits the D5500, but can tell you it’ll be tight!
It would have been necessary to remove the rubber flap to insert the Unleashed Dx000 completeley, and of course was not going to do that on Nikon’s prototype. The socket is a little more recessed than on other cameras, so I cannot yet promise that the Unleashed can be plugged in all the way, and therefore get enough contact to work properly. I will update this post when I know more – if you’ve tested it, let us know in the comments!
Just ahead of photokina, Nikon released yet another FX DSLR. Placed somewhere between the D610 and the D810, the new D750 adds a few extras: built-in wifi, a tilting screen, and a slimmer than usual body.
What they didn’t add is built-in GPS! Thankfully we have a solution for that, and our Unleashed Dx000 is compatible. I will personally go and test it at photokina when I find the time.
One last thing: just like with the D600/D610/Df, the rubber flap covering must be completely removed for the Unleashed Dx000 to fit. There’s an almost almost completely reversible method described here.
[Update 2014-09-25] I got a chance to visit the Nikon Booth at photokina, and test the Unleashed Dx000 on the D750. It works very well, as expected, and easily fits under the eyelet for the camera Strap.
However, this eyelet will block the remote release socket on the top of the Unleashed Dx000. This is needed for pairing (only once), so you’ll need to run the pairing routine on another camera, or purchase a pre-paired bundle.
It is possible to use the Unleashed without removing the rubber flap, but I would recommend removing it. The flap pushes against the Unleashed quite strongly, and could eventually push it out.