Pentax has launched an add-on GPS module for its recent DSLRs that allows simple geotagging of images. The O-GPS1 unit attaches to the camera's hotshoe, allowing the camera to add latitude, longitude, altitude, UTC capture time and direction as image metadata. This data can be used to place images in mapping software such as Google Earth or as a means of file organization and retrieval. K-5 and K-r users also gain access to the 'Astrotracer' feature that predicts the movement of celestial objects and uses the sensor shift mechanism to track this movement to give astrophotographs with single points, rather than star-trails. The O-GPS1 unit will be available from mid June at a recommended price of $249.95/£229.99.

Press Release:

A handy GPS unit for digital SLR cameras offering innovative features for effortless geotagging of photos

PENTAX is today pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX O-GPS1. Designed for use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras, this versatile GPS unit not only provides basic location data, but also offers an array of original features that allow users to effortless track and record details of their favourite photographic locations.

By simply mounting the O-GPS1 onto the hotshoe of a PENTAX digital SLR camera,* users can record the latitude, longitude, altitude, universal time coordinated (UTC) and aspect of the location they are shooting directly onto each image they capture. Image files carrying GPS location data, can then be used to track shooting locations and review location data on a PC. GPS location data stored on such files also makes it much easier to sort and file recorded images.

By coupling GPS data with the camera’s SR (Shake Reduction) system, the unit offers a range of unique, advanced applications, including ASTROTRACER, Simple Navigation and an Electronic Compass.

Major Features

1. GPS function for effortless recording of shooting location data

The O-GPS1 can be mounted on the hotshoe of a compatible camera and will record the latitude, longitude, altitude, universal time coordinated (UTC) and direction of the shooting location onto captured images. Using mapping software such as Google Earth™, the user can then easily recall shooting locations and directions on a map. This function can also make sorting and filing recorded images easier.
Note: When the O-GPS1 is used in locations where it cannot receive signals from GPS satellites, location data may be in error or missing.

2. ASTROTRACER for effortless astronomical photography
When mounted on the PENTAX K-5 or K-r camera body, the O-GPS1 also offers the advanced ASTROTRACER function,** which couples the unit with the camera’s SR (Shake Reduction) system and enables users to photograph celestial bodies. The unit can calculate the movement of stars, planets, and other bodies using the latitude obtained from GPS data and the camera’s alignment data (horizontal and vertical inclinations and aspect) obtained from its magnetic and acceleration sensors, then shifts the camera’s image sensor in synchronization with the movement of the objects.*** As a result, stars and other bodies are captured as solid points rather than blurry streaks, even during extended exposures. This is the ideal tool for those interested in astronomy and it makes taking images much simpler, as it eliminates the need for additional accessories such as equatorial telescopes.

3. Simple Navigation to allow photographers to easily find favourite photo locations
The O-GPS1 offers a Simple Navigation function, which calculates the direction and distance to a given destination from the users current position. The user can either locate destinations using location data stored on recorded images, or register and/or assign them by uploading location data created on a PC.****

4. Electronic Compass function to indicate and record direction
The O-GPS1 comes equipped with an Electronic Compass function, which displays the direction in which the user’s camera is pointing on its LCD monitor with great precision. This function works by using geomagnetism detected by the unit’s magnetic sensor and combining this with its GPS location data. The unit will then indicate the aspect of the camera in relation to true north. The user can also record directional data on captured images.

5. Other features
1)  Simplified weather-resistant construction for use in light rain
2)  Independent power source (one AAA-size battery) to eliminate the need to draw power from the camera body

The PENTAX O-GPS1 will be available mid-June 2011, at the Recommended Retail Price of £229.99. 

* Compatible models are the K-5, K-r and 645D (as of May 2011). Some of the O-GPS1’s functions may not be available when used with the 645D.
Note: The camera’s firmware must be updated to the latest version In order to use the O-GPS1 properly with a compatible PENTAX digital SLR camera body.

** This function is available only when the O-GPS1 is mounted on a PENTAX digital SLR camera body equipped with a magnet-driven SR system.

*** The duration of ASTROTRACER operation may vary depending on photographic conditions.

**** At the time of purchase, the O-GPS1 has nine PENTAX international service centers as preset destinations.