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Canon EOS R/RP and others: DIY compatibility

Canon EOS R

In the last year we’ve shipped out many Unleasheds to customers all over the world and the feedback has been great. At the same time, after receiving bug reports and feature wishes, we’ve implemented improvements and 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 and the EOS RP. Another favorite is the 70D, and to make the list complete, the same goes for the 250D, 70D, 90D, 7D Mark II and the 1DX. Unfortunately for us, and for you, Canon decided to mix things up a little, and these cameras either have a new USB-C socket or the arrangement of the USB and HDMI socket is just different from all their other cameras. As a result, the Unleashed is indeed (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 obviously not feasible – at least at this point.

The good news is that just because they wouldn’t fit the camera body directly, doesn’t stop the Unleashed from being compatible. In fact, the Unleashed and its 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 beautiful design of the Unleashed, which normally seamlessly blends into the camera’s design, but if you’re after the featureset and don’t mind the cables, this allows you to use the Unleashed and all its features.

Want to shoot a day to night “Holy Grail” Timelapse with your fancy new EOS R? Geotagging with the 7D Mark II, Long Exposures with the 70D? Wirelessly start video recording with multiple 90D’s on tripods? Well, now you can! And of course all of those things work with any of the Canon EOS R, RP, 1DX, 7D Mark II, 90D, 70D and 250D.

For each 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 cameras, you’ll need a Mini-HMDI (HDMI Type C) extension, and depending on your camera, you’ll need the following USB adapter cables:

  • Canon EOS R: Micro USB socket to USB C plug
  • Canon EOS RP: Micro USB socket to USB C plug
  • Canon 1DX: Micro USB socket to Mini USB plug
  • Canon 7D MkII: Micro USB socket to Micro USB plug ( ie Micro USB extension)
  • Canon 90D: Micro USB socket to Micro USB plug ( ie Micro USB extension)
  • Canon 70D: Micro USB socket to Mini USB plug
  • Canon 250D: Micro USB socket to Micro USB plug ( ie Micro USB extension)

(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.

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 worthwhile 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 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date!

Let us know in the comments what you camera you have and what you think.

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Geotagging with external GPS receivers now possible

GPS receivers: Holux, QStarz, Transystem

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-1000ST
  • QStarz BL-1000GT
  • Transystem GL-770

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, but 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 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!

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Website finally available in German

Brandenburger Gate Berlin Germany

We have finally taken the time and put in the effort to translate our entire website to our native language: German.

There is a Language switcher in the top right corner of the website – hover over the flag and code of the current language to see the available other language. On smartphones, the alternative languages are at the end of the menu. There is another switcher in the footer, at the very bottom of the website – available for both the desktop and mobile page.

Translating the page to German has been on our to-do list for many, many years, but with our limited resources, we always prioritized product development instead. We thought it was enough to keep all information in english – the common denominator of our global customer base. However recent feedback has shown us that we underestimated just how important it is to our customers (and those that would like to become our customers) to be able to inform themselves about our products in their native language. And for many reasons, this is even more true for Germans than it is for the rest of the world. For this reason, combined with the fact that we have a very large customer base in Germany, we have only focussed on a German translation so far. Everything is prepared so that we can add more languages in the future.

We’re very sorry it has taken so very long, and as a small consolation/compensation for that, as well as in celebration for the launch of the German site, we’re offering free shipping for all Unleashed orders to Germany!

Buy Unleashed with free shipping to Germany

The truth is, that the translation of the content was by far the easier part – it was much more difficult technically preparing the website, with shop, faq section and many many other details for translations. Some of you might have noticed that a few parts of the website are still in English, even after switching languages. There are a few places left where we are still working out how to translate them, but we’re almost done. All current content is translated, and we might continue to translate a few of the older, but still relevant posts and pages, as time goes on.

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New Update on shipping of the 1st batch UNLEASHEDs

Drone shot of shipping containers.

As around 800 Unleashed’s have been shipped and another 200 been packed so far, we’re still packing and shipping the rest of 1st batch Unleasheds. So far, we’ve mainly shipped N1 and N2’s, but started with the Canon versions C1 and C2 this week, as well.

In general, we ship depending on the versions, shipping country and order date. As written in the last blog entry, we started with the N1, then N2, then C1 and C2. The distinction amongst shipping countries is necessary as the way of shipping might vary amongst countries and thus the packing/labeling process. So depending on the version you ordered your Unleashed might not have been shipped yet. – But will be soon!

Tracking will be available, but not for 100% of all shipments, and there’ll be varying types of tracking. Some will be available as a link to the customer with full details of every step, some will just be basic tracking, and yet others will use RFID tracking with only a delivery confirmation for us (ie no info for the recipient). What kind of tracking you get depends on destination country and shipping batch. Where available, you’ll get the tracking link in an email once we ship your Unleashed. In any case, you’ll get an email when we ship your device. We can’t give you more details than that before we actually get to shipping your package.

Check out the VIDEO of us bringing the first Unleasheds to the POST and DHL.

In case you already received your Unleashed, check out our TUTORIAL on how to plug it in. More tutorials are in the making and will follow.

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Bad Elf GPS Pro/Pro+ a perfect partner for the Unleashed

We’ve partnered with Bad Elf to bring you a GPS thats worthy of pairing with our Unleashed!

The GPS Pro and the brand new GPS Pro+ were already great before we got in contact with Bad Elf – they’re MFI compatible, have a display for seeing all the details of your GPS status, they have excellent battery life, and up to 10Hz logging. The GPS Pro+ even supports Glonass as well as GPS, and tops it all off with a barometric altitude sensor. But the best is that we worked together with Bad Elf, to bring excellent new features to the GPS Pro/Pro+ when it’s paired with our Unleashed(s):

  • You can use multiple Unleasheds with a single GPS Pro/Pro+ simultaneously, and/or iOS and Android devices too. up to 5 simultaneous connections are supported!
  • When an Unleashed (or more) is connected, you can use the GPS Pro’s physical buttons to remotely trigger your camera(s) via Bluetooth! – So the GPS Pro is not only a great GPS source for the Unleashed, it’s also a Bluetooth remote!
Bad Elf GPS Pro as Remote trigger Bad Elf GPS Pro+ [foologic-shop-product id=’1004′]
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Nikon Df – add GPS with Unleashed Dx000

Nikon launched yet another DSLR, just weeks after the D610 and the D5300. Catching up to the retro trend the Nikon Df (which stands for Digital fusion) looks similar to the classic FM/2 and the F3, but internally is on par with Nikons current flagship cameras. It contains the 16MP full-frame sensor and Expeed processors of the D4, and the AF system of the D610. Read more about the specs and features on nikon.com or dpreview.com.

Nikon Df in Silver

The Df does not have built-in GPS, but it is compatible with our Unleashed Dx000, which will sit nice and flat on the side of the Df, adding GPS capability to the Df, without adding bulk or cables, or getting in the way when you take photos, very much unlike the Nikon GP-1 :-)

Nikon Df with GP-1
The Nikon GP-1 on the Df – “less than ideal”

One more thing: there is no GPS icon on the top LCD, and the one on the info screen on the main LCD has changed to this: Df GPS icon

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Canon EOS 650D/Rebel T4i announced – GPS support for GP-E2

Canon today announced the EOS 650D/Rebel T4i. You can read about all the other great features in the usual spots, as usual, we’ll concentrate on the geotagging features.

Canon EOS 650D/Rebel T4i

Just like I thought It seems they’re sticking to the same GPS Support via the hot-shoe, which they introduced with the 5D Mark III. That’s great news for us, as it will greatly increase the chance for us to create an Unleashed for Canon.

Here’s the corresponding paragraph from their press release:

“The EOS Rebel T4i is also compatible with Canon’s previously introduced GP-E2 GPS Receiver that can be mounted to the camera’s accessory shoe. The GPS unit was created to serve outdoor photographers; it records shooting locations including latitude, longitude and altitude, as well as camera direction. A Logging function can tell how far a photographer has traveled as well.”
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Nikon D3200 compatible with Unleashed Dx000

Today Nikon announced the Nikon D3200. With its 24 Megapixel sensor and high resolution LCD, it’s really quite a step up from the entry-level D3100. That’s probably why Nikon is claiming that it’s not a replacement for the D3100, but rather an addition to the lineup.

Nikon D3200 with GPS port

From our point of view, the greatest news is that Nikon is sticking with the socket for GPS devices they introduced with the D90, which they’re now including in all their consumer DSLRs. We’re happy to be able to tell you that our Unleashed Dx000 will be compatible with the D3200!

Nikon D3200 ports with WU-1

Apart from this, I’m also looking forward to how well the WU-1 wifi-adapter will work – and how it will differ from the excellent wft-e5 for the D4. The latter works remarkably well, and allows camera control including liveview from any browser. I’m glad the WU-1 is so small – that way it won’t interfere with the Unleashed Dx000, and both can be used at the same time.

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Nikon D4 released without built-in GPS

So the rumours were mostly true. Nikon released the D4 today, and it meets all expectations. What an amazing camera!

Nikon D4

I won’t go over the spec’s again, you can read those on dpreview.com, engadget or any other gear-site. One thing you might not read much about on other sites, are its GPS capabilities:

The Nikon D4 does not have built-in GPS. This might be unbelievable to some people, but I completely understand Nikon’s decision. Yes, there are plenty of other cameras that have built-in GPS, and that cost a fraction of the D4. But before I’ll try to give you some pointers as to why Nikon might have decided against GPS functionality. But first, the good news:

Our Unleashed D200+ is compatible with the Nikon D4

That means that you’ll have the possibility of adding what some people call “the next best thing to built-in GPS”, but we consider it to be even better than built-in GPS: our tiny Bluetooth Module on the camera, connected wirelessly to an external GPS of your choice. You can choose the GPS you prefer, whether it’s the cheapest you can find, or a sub-meter Trimble or Leica GPS that may well be worth more that the camera itself. And the greatest advantage: you can easily upgrade that GPS without having to upgrade the whole system.

Continue reading Nikon D4 released without built-in GPS
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Christmas Special 2011

It’s almost Christmas and foolography will be giving gifts again, though this time we’ll step up our game. For every Unleashed (D200+, D90 or Dx000) purchased through our online-shop in December 2011 and the first half of January 2012 we will give you:

One FREE GPS receiver by Visiontac!

Alternatively, if you do not want the free Visiontac VGPS-500 (e.g. you prefer to buy one of our Holux receivers or already own a compatible GPS receiver), we will donate 20€ of your purchase to the charitable NEHEMIA Foundation in Albania.

NEHEMIA Foundation

Further information here.