Geo Tracker with Canon 7D

Florida Gulf Coast

Now, with the new Geo Tracker system worked out, returning to find 29° 58’51″ N at 85° 30’05″ W, won't be a problem.

Geo tracking with the Canon 7D and WFT-e5a was outlined in my last post

Wireless Wings – Geo Tracks Across the Sky

Here are the modifications and updates I talked about testing and promised to re-post on.

The first issue was a tweak to the Bluetooth size issue.  The test Bluetooth projected out from the Canon WFT-e5a unit a bit too far for my liking.  I knew regardless of he precautions it was simply a matter of time before the Bluetooth was bumped, bent and/or snapped off – a mess if this happened on a flight, where multiple bodies are being shuffled around hurriedly.  The solution is the “IOGear USB 2.1 Bluetooth Micro Adapter GBU421″ below.  Look at that thing, super tiny.  In fact so tiny one could probably build it right into the WFT – hey!?  What a great idea!  Canon???

“IOGear USB 2.1 Bluetooth Micro Adapter GBU421″.

Size of a one-cent coin the IOGear USB 2.1 Bluetooth Micro Adapter GBU421 - perhaps buy a couple, they could be easy to lose in the shuffle of gear.

Ironically the only concern I have about the “IOGear USB 2.1 Bluetooth Micro Adapter GBU421″ is its Lilliputian size – it’s so small I can see losing the little bugger.  So I jumped back on Amazon an ordered a couple extra, at $12 it’s worth it.

IOGEAR USB 2.1 Bluetooth micro adapter in Canon WFT-e5a

Once inserted into the USB port of the WFT-e5a the IOGear USB 2.1 Bluetooth Micro Adapter GBU421 is even smaller - only protruding a scant 10mm from the wireless unit. Also the micro adapter's curved edges makes it like a mere bump: unnoticed by my hands since the WFT body casing actually protrudes further.

IOGEAR USB 2.1 micro adapter in Canon WFT-e5a

Never one to baby gear or fret about resale, I'm considering cutting off the rubber door to the USB port - it now protrudes more than the Bluetooth micro adapter. Seriously, look at that thing - the adapter - there's nothing to it! This is how simple it would be for Canon to build this unit into the WFT so no Bluetooth adapter was required - it would be worth an extra $12 - or more.

The next newly tested item will be a GPS transmitter.  My original tests on a Garmin GPS 10x did not work – I’m testing other models. Honestly the OnCourse tested on the initial flights in the Gulf worked fine, I just have a bit of brand loyalty to Garmin since all the other units of theirs have worked flawlessly for me.

The Garmin GPS 10x. is also small.  Measuring  mere 75mm x 40mm x 12 mm, and weighing virtually nothing, I think will be able to duct-tape this thing just about anywhere.  It has a transmission range of 7+ meters so I can locate it anywhere in the plane, helicopter or boat that I need to.

I will be further field testing this combination in the Gulf over the coming weeks and report back on the result as well as some images from both Florida and SW Louisiana.

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3 Responses to Geo Tracker with Canon 7D

  1. Dustin Meyer says:

    Nice setup with the 7D. I’m interested to hear how the new tiny bluetooth dongle worked when paired with your GPS receiver. New to the hobby of photography myself, and prone to going “all-out” when I jump into new hobbies, I’m trying to really decide if I want to make the plunge and purchase a WFT-E5A. Thanks for all the information.

  2. D Ben says:

    August 30, 2011. I just ordered Canon’s E5A, the required battery and IO’s Micro-Adapter from B&H Photo’s Pro line (NAPP member benefit) for my new 7d. I’ve used the WFT for my 40d for years. It uses a usb 2 cable to attach the WFT to either a Garmen eTrex Legend H (B&W) or eTrex Venture HC. I found my Garmin Oregon did not work.

    One advantage was the gps’ “seeing” the usb connection and automatically drawing its power from the WFT’s battery. Caution: I had to keep the “Auto Power Off” on the “Off” setting, in order to retain the gps lock. I had the gps in a pouch attached to the camera strap, and never had an issue.

    (By the way–if you get tired of having your camera strap slip off your jacket, purchase a UP Strap from I have several, and have found them all to deliver as advertised.)

    Gerry–if you’ve had a chance to do the field test results mentioned in your January post, it would be very much appreciated.

    One problem I foresee with the blue tooth-connected gps is the decreased gps battery time, since there is no usb connection to the big Canon WFT battery. My 40d’s WFT had its own battery indicator, so I knew when replacement was needed. Yes–having to remove the WFT to remove the body’s battery was a pain.

    I wonder how this works with weather sealing in the 1d series. When the crew went to Antarctica, many of the 1d’s which had battery issues were using the extra battery attachment, This raises the issue of just how good the seals were in those cases.

    • Gerry says:

      Hi D Ben

      There are lot’s of issues with the WFT – 7D set up — still trying to resolve those. In the mean time the Canon rep contacted me with the info I place here:

      As soon as they ship me a test system I’ll post the results – to my general photo/travel blog (above) and the new project’s “making-of” blog:

      Regarding seals – I haven’t been back to Ant/Arctic condition with these cameras so can’t give you first hand experience there, but in hot humid Equatorial conditions the cameras/seals have performed flawlessly. The only issue confronted has been over-heating of flashcard compartment – in the field we haven’t found a solution to that except switching bodies – a pain when shooting HD.

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