Saturday, April 10, 2010

JOBO PhotoGPS review

The JOBO PhotoGPS has some cracking reviews, but I’m a bit less enthusiastic, especially now that I am using Windows 7 32-bit and the application, which is supposed to be Windows 7 compatible, stopped working properly leaving me with nothing and hoping that JOBO will release a version of the software that actually works on Windows 7.

The PhotoGPS unit works well enough from the flash shoe of my Pentax and records the location every time I release the shutter. So far so good. I found that it is not recommended to leave the PhotoGPS on the camera while walking around as it keeps falling off the camera. It would have made sense to add some kind of locking to the unit.
The PhotoGPS unit can store over a 1000 locations of photos, and that would be okay for one or two days’ worth of shooting for the serious amateur or professional (and this appears to be the target market), but very little if you are on a vacation trip and don’t want to carry a laptop around. Each location is, after download on the computer, a 129kb file which appears to be a lot for a longitude/latitude, height, a timestamp and possibly a checksum. If the data in the unit takes up as much space, then there is a possibility to optimize this so the number of points kept in the unit can be extended tenfold with a firmware update. Even though the file extension of the data on the computer is SDF, the file format is propriety and has nothing to do with the SUUNTO Data files format which also uses this extension and, at the moment of me writing this, GPSBabel cannot make sense of it.

Before I migrated to Windows 7 and could not longer use the unit, I was quite happy with it for the photos I took on my DSLR; the mapping worked well. I quickly discovered that I could also use the unit on my SLR but the software refused to map the photos taken thus because of the lack of EXIF timestamp in the scanned negatives. I am aware that not everybody is using SLRs anymore, but why limit yourself? Many of the geotagging tools allow you to drag a point onto a photo if it cannot match it automatically, the JOBO PhotoGPS software lacks this IMO elementary feature. It wouldn’t be this bad if the software would have allowed to export the points as a GPX file so I could use a tool like GeoSetter to geotag my photos, but once again, this functionality is missing.


The JOBO PhotoGPS is a cool looking gadget that is hopelessly letdown by the software.