Sony GPS-CS3KA: A Device Even Your Mother Can Use

Chase Jarvis’ opening keynote statement at Photo Plus Expo this year in New York was tremendous when he stated that “right now is the most exciting time in the history of the world to be a photographer.” Cameras have become as ubiquitous as Starbucks in every other corner and something equally enticing as people sharing their photographs is them having the ability to share the exact location of where they were taken.

As a photographer, sometimes it’s that where? element of a photo that interest me. Aside from people inquiring about which camera was used, the second most common trait viewers want to know about a photograph is where it was taken and by geotagging your photos, you can provide them with a visual map when uploaded to services or software that recognized the extra synced data.

With the Nikon D90, I currently use the Solmeta N2 to geotag all my photographs. When attached, the unit easily embeds the latitude and longitude coordinates straight into the metadata of every photo taken. My brother is not as an avid photographer as I am but in our recent family vacation, he wanted to be able to accomplish the same using his Canon PowerShot SD1100.

Review of the Sony GPS-CS3KASmall, stylish & effective GPS device.

There’s isn’t any straightforward geotagging device that I’m aware of that attaches to any point & shoot but the Sony GPS-CS3KA seemed to be a simple and reasonably priced ($99) unit that would get the job done.

Tell Me About The Sony GPS-CS3KA

What’s attracting about this device is that it’s very reminiscent of something that Apple would develop. It’s small, it’s white, it feels great in your hands and it blends well into your daily routines without having to make any drastic changes to justify carrying it with you. What’s unattractive about the device is the confusing combination of numbers and letters Sony used to distinguish this model but that’s another story.

I’m normally not big on reading instruction manuals but there’s a saying that if something is easy to use, even your mom can get the hang of it. Such is the case with this egg-shaped device.

Review of the Sony GPS-CS3KAThe GPS comes with a nice clip that you can attach to your hip or on the camera strap if using a DSLR.

This is essentially a clip-on GPS receiver for photographers. Setup and operation is simple. You’re to first synchronize your camera’s clock to the one on the GPS unit and within a few minutes it’ll situate your location and quickly begin tracking your movements by recording where you go on your pho­to­graphy trips.

At the end of your trip, you uncover the back of the unit to slide your memory or SD card into the device and it will instantly add the corresponding coordinates to each photograph without having to wait and complete any of this on your computer. You also still have the option to plug it via USB and get the same results.

Review of the Sony GPS-CS3KADemonstrating where the battery goes and how to sync your photographs to the recorded coordinates.

The device runs on one AA battery which from my experience lasted 2 entire days when kept on all day. The unit comes with Sony’s own GPS Tracker software which is only Windows compatible. Not an issue any Mac user should fret about because you’re much better off using iPhoto, Aperture or my personal favorite Lightroom 3 to manage all your photographs. This GPS logger does exactly what it’s suppose to do which is the crucial selling element.

Anything You Didn’t Like About It?

The device performs as advertised so the fact that you can only tag up to 60 photos at a time is passable for me. If you have more than 60 photos on your SD-card, you have to eject the card and slide it inside again to continue the geotagging process. Not a big of a deal.

Review of the Sony GPS-CS3KASynchronizing the time before using it.

Having spent an entire week using the device on vacation, I was determined to purchase one of my own to use with the Canon G11 but that thought was completely shattered when I found out that your photographs can’t be geotagged if you’ve shot in RAW format.

It only works with JPGs. Not a big deal for casual photographers who are not familiar at all with the distinction between the 2 formats but it’s a deal-breaker for someone who is acquainted with the lasting value of shooting RAW.

Aside from those 2 points, the Sony GPS is a worthy companion for those point-&-shoot owners who wish to instill more geographical meaning to their photographs. When sharing my photos with friends, I personally enjoy using the iPad because they get a kick out of seeing that the photos become like virtual push pins highlighting all the places we visited.