Canon’s GPS Unit – It’s About Time!

The old saying goes something like this; “good things come to those that wait”. In the case of Canon shooters, this old saying should say “good things come to those that wait and wait and wait and wait some more”.

Canon quietly launched their first foray into the geotagging market earlier this year with the introduction of the GP-E2 hotshoe-mounted GPS unit. This unit gives “some” Canon shooters the ability to geo-tag their images with latitude and longitude data in the EXIF fields, a feature that Nikon shooters have had for several years now. For now, the GP-E2 unit adds this much-requested feature to the EOS-1D X, the EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS 7D cameras only, but Canon promises compatibility with future models as well.

Canon 5D Mark III with GP-E2

Features
For simple and accurate recording of time and location information, this compact GPS receiver is the perfect complement to the EOS 5D Mark III for landscape and wildlife photographers. The GP-E2 records location information such as longitude, latitude, elevation, direction and Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) as EXIF data, while also serving as an electronic compass on camera or off. Connectivity options include hot shoe connections with the EOS 5D Mark III and the EOS-1D X but USB connection only with the EOS 7D. The smart design and rugged construction ensures reliability plus the ability to be used as a standalone GPS logger.

Build Quality
To be able to endure a photographer’s travels, Canon designed the GP-E2 with much the same rugged and durable exterior construction as the EOS 5D Mark III DSLR body while still remaining compact and lightweight. Able to withstand harsh weather conditions, the GP-E2 is a great addition to the EOS 5D Mark III for those who take their EOS system out into even the most remote environments. It offers the same level of dust- and weather- resistance as the EOS 5D Mark III when connected to the camera’s hot shoe, but weather-resistance decreases somewhat when connected via the USB cable.

Canon's GP-E2 GPS Unit

Geo-Logging
Additionally, the GP-E2 can be used as a standalone GPS logger. It can be carried in its included case or users can wear it comfortably on their waist. The location information is automatically stored on the GP-E2 at specific intervals and logged information can be added to the EXIF information at a later time using the supplied Map Utility.

Batteries
The GPS Receiver GP-E2′s uses readily available AA batteries, so users can easily power up the receiver without worrying about recharging. Given that AA batteries are perhaps the most widely available power source anywhere around the world, I think Canon has made a good move here. Because the GP-E2 has its own power source, photographers can still get hours of continuous use with the camera because the GP-E2 will never drain the camera’s battery.

Canon's GP-E2 Top

Compatibility
Automatic geotagging when shooting is supported by EOS-1D X and later cameras such as the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 7D. Manual geotagging after shooting (from logging information) supported by all EOS digital cameras.

Conclusions
Canon shooters have waited impatiently for GPS capabilities while watching their Nikon friends enjoy the benefits of a hot-shoe mounted GPS unit for several years now. With the introduction of the Canon GP-E2 and now the new EOS 6D, it seems like Canon shooters are finally on par with their Nikon brothers and sisters. All I can say in conclusion is “it’s about damn time!”