Geotagging your photos is very useful because it allows you to display your pictures on a map helping you remember where you took them. Furthermore, you can use reverse geocoding to automatically add location information (country, nearby places) to your image by using a webservice such as geonames.org.
The good stuff
The Solmeta Geotagger N2 makes it very easy for you to add geographical information to your images. It’s a small GPS that you slide into the flash shoe and connect directly to your camera. Every time you take a photo it writes the coordinates directly into the Exif header. Furthermore, it also records the height and the direction using its contained electronic compass. This works perfectly and the big advantage over a separate GPS device is that you don’t have to synchronize the location data with your photos later with specialized software. The manual is also pretty extensive and helpful.
Since I have never owned any other GPS, I can’t compare the technical details such as precision or speed of acquisition (cold start/warm start) of the signal with another device. To me, the Solmeta N2 seems precise, fast enough and does what I need. I press the shutter of my Nikon D300 to focus and then take my shot. Within a second the N2 reads the satellite signal and writes the data to the image file.
What I especially like about the N2 compared to the Nikon GP-1 is that it has its own batteries. It only drains power from the camera when they are empty. The batteries are rechargeable over USB. Unfortunately, they can only be replaced by a Solmeta technician.
The annoying stuff
The socket where you plug in the connector cable between the camera and the N2 can be covered with a rubbery flap to prevent the intrusion of dust. So far so good. But the flap is faulty in design. It’s not possible to move it out of the way enough, so it always gets sandwiched between socket and cable.
The bad stuff
The switch to turn the Geotagger N2 on or off and to control power management is not easy to set and is rather cheaply made. It has three positions which can be set by sliding it into the wanted position. But setting it to the middle position (Auto) is difficult because the mechanism to snap it into position is way too weak and wears out quickly. As a consequence you always slide it too far.
What is really disappointing though, is the poor quality of the cables which come with the N2. The head of the plug that goes into the Solmeta N2 to connect it with the camera is half plastic and already bent after a few uses.
Even worse is the head of the plug which is used to connect the Geotagger with a USB port. It is completely made of plastic! Why on earth save a few cents on a cable? I would even be willing to pay a little more for an otherwise great product!
Where to buy
I bought mine directly from Solmeta in China. They are very friendly and even sent the N2 customs free (you know how that works…).
You can also buy it from MBK Sicherheitsdienst Elektronik GmbH.