I just read an interesting interview by imaging-resource with Nikon’s General Manager of Design: Toshiaki Akagi, amongst others. After talking about several aspects of the D4 and other general topics, they got to the topic of why there is no built-in GPS in the D4:
Dave Etchells, Publisher, Imaging Resource: We had a number of readers, also, asking about GPS, and why you can attach a GPS receiver, but people are saying why wasn’t GPS built into the camera?
Toshiaki Akagi: We always have a GP-1 GPS accessory, then we want to use a GP-1, and if we include a GPS function in the camera, the camera would be bigger. And GPS still has a little problem, so for example indoors, we cannot get GPS data, then we are considering now to adapt the GPS to the next model, in the future. While you are indoors, the performance is not stable, so that’s why we gave up to install the function in the body as of now.
We were at PMA@CES, exhibiting our products. On a slow morning I wandered over to the CES, heading straight to the Nikon booth. After admiring the D4 for a while, I seized the opportunity, to gather proof for everyone, that our Unleashed D200+ is compatible with the D4. I took my favorite GPS, which managed to keep a fix even inside the Convention Center hall and plugged an Unleashed into the D4. It fits beautifully.
After 3 seconds, the Unleashed had connected to the GPS, and the GPS icon on the LCD lit up:
Took a photo, and what do you know: it’s geotagged with our location in Las Vegas!
So there you go: Proof that our Unleashed D200+ is fully compatible with the new Nikon D4!
PS. I went to see Canon’s GP-E1, which they announced 3 months ago! They did not have one with them! Can you believe it? I certainly couldn’t! On top of that, no-one at the booth had any knowledge about it, other than having heard it exists.
So the rumours were mostly true. Nikon released the D4 today, and it meets all expectations. What an amazing camera!
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:
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.