Sony GPS-CS3KA brief review
Unit arrived today. Slapped a battery in, powered up and it asked me what my time zone is relative to GMT (-6 here in Southeastern Wisconsin). It took a few minutes to get a lock-I attribute that to first time use and the fact that due to the crummy weather I laid the unit on my floor next to a glass patio door. I expect that it will acquire much faster on next power up. Then turned on my 50D and to my surprise it was still set to Daylight Savings Time. Set the 50D time to match the time shown on the GPS. I then took a shot of a magazine laying on our dining room table.
Now, if you're saving onto SD cards and only shoot JPEG (WHY aren't you shooting raw?) you supposedly can pull the card out of your camera, plug it into the GPS, and the unit will update your files automatically. If you use CF or shoot raw, there is a free and easy solution-GeoSetter. On first run, the software suggested installing the latest version of ExifTool, which it took care of effortlessly after I gave it permission. I then used Geosetter to copy the track file from the GPS to a temporary folder. I copied the raw file to the same folder, and told GeoSetter to sync. It worked flawlessly, and I have no reason to suspect that there would be any problem with a large batch.
Just to verify, I then did a Lightroom import from disk, and did the last step in my workflow-using Jeffrey Friedl's flickr plugin to send a JPEG to flickr. Worked great, and sure enough, the map on flickr was accurate.
Please don't look, for obvious reasons I'm reluctant to broadcast where all my gear lives so I immediately deleted the picture. But take my word for it, I thought I'd be a full day tweaking and tinkering, and it was really a piece of cake!
As for the unit itself-it seems pretty sturdy, certainly sturdier than some mp3 players I've had. Controls are simple and intuitive. There's a Menu button, an Enter button flanked by scroll buttons, a lock switch (to keep unit receiving even if a button is bumped) and a Power button.
The unit has a small but very functional screen. It's very easy to read with the backlight on, not so easy with the backlight off in dim light. But any button press turns the backlight on for about 6-7 seconds. Once receiving, repeatedly pressing Enter switches between three views-the first is a large satellite with reception bars to verify reception at a quick glance. To make room for the large satellite information, only the long and lat degrees are displayed (42N 88W). The second view is a much smaller satellite with signal strength and long/lat information in degrees, minutes and seconds. The third is small date at the top, small signal strength at the bottom, and large time in the middle. After the display powers down, pressing any button brings up the last screen you were on.
It ships with a small carrying pouch with a Velcro closure and strap that could go on a belt, purse strap or camera strap. The pouch looks like it would work well for orienting the unit for good reception. But I don't think orientation will be an issue, as the unit is on my lap as I type this in my home office-the nearest unobstructed window is 12 feet behind me (I am between the unit and the window) and the unit is bouncing between 2 and 3 bars of reception. I can't be sure, but judging by the manual it looks like 3 bars is max, so I'm very impressed!
I also love the fact that it runs on one AA cell. Very nice to not have to worry about proprietary batteries or even worse-non user replaceable rechargeables. I personally would not have bought a unit with a non-replaceable battery, but the available-anywhere AA powered unit provides a little peace of mind.
To sum up, it's a solid little unit that seems to have great reception, and I was able to add geo information to a raw file without opening an instruction manual. As an aside, I haven't installed the included Sony software, and I won't unless I find a good reason to do so (I run Win7. Win2000/XP users may have to install drivers).