GPS in HX5V explained

Started Mar 14, 2010 | Discussions
ron2000 Senior Member • Posts: 1,208
GPS in HX5V explained

There is very little information from the manual on the GPS. If you have not used a GPS before please read the manual or the internet for the basic understanding of how general GPS works.

This is all about the GPS in HX5V and may help many answer your questions.

When you turn GPS ON, there is "compass" and "satellite" icon. RED arrow of compass points to the north.
Next to the "satellite" you have either a
"A" - "no entry" sign

"B" - "3 accending vertical bars" - one, two or three bars may appear indicating the sighnal strength.
"C" - "nothing"

"A" - You get this when you turn on the GPS from the menu, meaning no position data is available. Flashing dots may appear under it meaning that it is trying to acquire position fix. Photo is not geotagged until "B" appears.
"B" - TRUE position is acquired, photo/movie taken will be geotagged.

"C" - NO GPS position is acquired but position data is available which is taken from the last known position. Photo/movie taken will be geotagged. This feature is very useful if you want all pictures to be geotagged when you enter a building/hotel/museum/theatre etc (where you do not normally get GPS position fix). In order to do this, DO NOT turn off GPS from the menu. You can turn the camera off. The next time you turn on the camera, "C" (nothing) appears and position is there WHEREVER you are. It means that if you turn off the camera in London and travel to New York, you turn on the camera in the hotel and immediately take a picture, the picture is geotaged as in LONDON! To avoid this, turn off GPS from the menu then turn it on again. "A" will appear.

Compass works when GPS is turned on, whether GPS position is fixed or not. It appears to be a magnetic compass.

FAQ:
1. Does the GPS use a lot of battery power?

A. I have not tested it much but I do not think using GPS decreases the battery power significantly. It depends on how many photos you take within how long a period. e.g. if the battery life is 300 shots within 2 hours with GPS OFF, you would probably get 280 shots within the same period with GPS ON. On the other hand, if you take 50 shots in 2 hours one day, and then 50 shots in 2 hours in another day, you will probably get to 100-150 shots with the same battery.
2. Is the GPS on (working) when camera is turned off?

A. There is no mention anywhere but this information should be known. My understanding (educated guess) is "NO". I left the GPS on and turned camera off for 24 hours then turned camera on. Battery indicator seems to be the same. If GPS is ON and working all the time when camera is off, the battery in the camera would last about 2 days without doing anything else. But I'll leave it for longer and see. Therefore I would leave the GPS on when you turn off the camera especially if you want all photos geotagged immediately when you take pictures next time. I doubt it makes any difference to battery life leaving GPS on when turning off camera.

OP ron2000 Senior Member • Posts: 1,208
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

FAQ: How does the GPS perform?
A:

GPS technology is very matured though only starts to be integrated into mass market cameras . You can expect it perform as well as any stand alone GPS. i.e. it acuires position fix quite quickly in ideal conditions (clear open sky) and the position is accurate.
This can also be said for HX5V competitors: Panasonic ZS7 and Samsung WB650.

However, GPS features in these 3 cameras are different.

HX5V is the only one thay has compass but that really is not of much use. It can sync the camera clock with accurate GPS time.

ZS7 has 0.5m location database so it is useful, as is the GPS on screen status.

WB650 has a map mode which display your position on a map (downloadable) in the camera screen and can be used as a conventional GPS with display. It can be useful though I would not think one would make extensive use of that.

So HX5V is the weakest in the GPS feature among the 3.

OP ron2000 Senior Member • Posts: 1,208
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

Actually HX5V has one good feature in that you can still geotagged your photos when GPS position fix is not available as explained in 1st post.

I do not know about the other 2.

Molan Contributing Member • Posts: 976
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

Thanks for the explanation, it seem to work as I expected it would

I hope I'll soon get my HX5V, still waiting though.

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OP ron2000 Senior Member • Posts: 1,208
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

Actually I was wrong that the detailed GPS information was not in the manual. I did looked through many times and somehow I missed it. Only when someone told me that it was there then then I looked again and again and found it.

The table illustrates better than the description:

abl98199 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

I have just acquired my Hx5v. Since the GPS capability was one of the reasons I got it, I was eager to try it out. Results were mixed. When first turned on the display showed the satellite icon with the circle and and slash, but never displayed the dashes under the circle which the manual says should appear when acquiring satellites. After a while the circle disappears but no vertical bars ever appear. The manual says that this indicates failure to acquire satellites, but when I view the pictures in Picassa, the location data are there and seem to be quite accurate -- some of the time. At other times the lack of bars means exactly what the manual says and the pictures have the location of the last time the camera's GPS had successful acquisition.

Has anyone else encountered this behavior? It makes the GPS rather useless since there appears to be no way to tell whether it is locked on the the satellites.

OP ron2000 Senior Member • Posts: 1,208
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

abl98199 wrote:

I have just acquired my Hx5v. Since the GPS capability was one of the reasons I got it, I was eager to try it out. Results were mixed. When first turned on the display showed the satellite icon with the circle and and slash, but never displayed the dashes under the circle which the manual says should appear when acquiring satellites. After a while the circle disappears but no vertical bars ever appear. The manual says that this indicates failure to acquire satellites, but when I view the pictures in Picassa, the location data are there and seem to be quite accurate -- some of the time. At other times the lack of bars means exactly what the manual says and the pictures have the location of the last time the camera's GPS had successful acquisition.

It must have acquired the position during in one instant (without you noticing it) and then it was lost.
That was enough to have subsequent photos tagged with that position.
It seems normal.

The condition must have been less than ideal so you did not get position fix consistantly.

Has anyone else encountered this behavior? It makes the GPS rather useless since there appears to be no way to tell whether it is locked on the the satellites.

You already can tell and you understood it correctly.

abl98199 New Member • Posts: 2
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

Thanks ron2000 for your reply. However, I don't believe the problem is as you describe. I tried the unit at two locations more than 10 miles apart with similar results. In one instance, I strolled around covering about 3 miles in about as many hours with time off for lunch. During that time the unit was switched off multiple times and the GPS function was switched off and on 3 times. At no time were any vertical bars displayed. Later at home, when I displayed the pictures with Picassa, I found that the Hx5V had been faithfully updating position with very acceptable accuracy. The only exceptions were when I entered a building for lunch. I took a picture inside and the result was as you describe - the picture was tagged with the last position outside. The position did not get updated when I went back outside until I forced the camera to reacquire the satellites by switching GPS off and on via the menu. Of course, I didn't actually know this until after I viewed the pictures with Picassa, since I never had the vertical bars indicating a lock .

So, the display on my camera is apparently malfunctioning and I'll have to return the camera to have it checked.

John NA87 Senior Member • Posts: 1,643
Don't forget to UPDATE GPS regularly!

Makes a HUGE performance difference in GPS performance! My HX5V now indicates 3 bars of reception within 10-15 seconds of power-on.

It is typical for the very first GPS 'connection' to the satellites to take 15-20 minutes. This is just the way that all GPS units work.

The HX5V has a function to download (and store) satellite position data. This speeds up satellite acquisition times drastically.

In order to use this function, you have to periodically connect the HX5V to the computer and let it download the satellite position data. This takes a few seconds, and must be done at least once a month. It even tells you when the downloaded position info "expires".

Ashwin Ram New Member • Posts: 7
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

I have just acquired my Hx5v. Since the GPS capability was one of the reasons I got it, I was eager to try it out. Results were mixed. When first turned on the display showed the satellite icon with the circle and and slash, but never displayed the dashes under the circle which the manual says should appear when acquiring satellites. After a while the circle disappears but no vertical bars ever appear. The manual says that this indicates failure to acquire satellites, but when I view the pictures in Picassa, the location data are there and seem to be quite accurate -- some of the time.

I just acquired a HX5V. When switched on, it shows satellite icon with circle-and-slash, never displaying dashes or dots or any other indication (just like for you).

But, circle-slash does not disappear. The pictures taken do NOT have location data. They don't show location in Sony's own PMB application, nor in iPhoto.

Anyone know what's wrong? Camera is brand new (and my iPhone shows the GPS signal just fine, so I know there's a signal).

Northernlanes Forum Member • Posts: 90
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

might be faulty .. mine gets a signal very easily. see if you can swap it or atleast try another one to compare

Ashwin Ram New Member • Posts: 7
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

Update on my issue (might help others). Went to the store, tried another camera, same behavior.

Was trying various things, did the figure-8 compass adjustment. This seemed to "force" a GPS update, and the searching behavior was initiated.

Now the camera is working fine. Weird, but whew.

Compact Fan Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

I've had an issue with GPS not finding a signal. Going in the menu, selecting gps off, immediately followed by gps on, and then exiting the menu let the GPS aqcuire signal in less than a minute.

But I had to do this every time I wanted to use the GPS. Later I uploaded new assist data and that solved the problem - no need to go in the menu now.

D Lynch Senior Member • Posts: 2,908
Re: GPS in HX5V explained

Good to hear!

The gps receiver is a radio, with an antenna that receives signals from satellites. Some receivers are more sensitive than others--better radios. Some antennas work better than others. I trust Sony has chosen well and built a good gps receiver.

Tree coverage and other features will reduce the signal from the satellites. Standing under trees you lose signal strength and may lose satellite signal completely with some gps units.

My first gps receiver had a terrible time receiving satellite signals downtown where tall buildings created "multipath distortion". I tried for over 1/2 an hour to lock on with that unit; I had to go elsewhere to receive a clear signal, and then it was fine.
There are many gps related sites. Suggest one is gpspassion dot com.

I hope this description helps some have more fun using their Sony camera.

DaveL

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D Lynch Senior Member • Posts: 2,908
Re: Don't forget to UPDATE GPS regularly!

Thanks John! Great explanation.
DaveL

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