JOBO photoGPS, A review.

JOBO photoGPS, A review.

Jobo Photo GPS

The topic of GPS in relation to tagging photos is one that seems to be coming up a lot these days. “Is it worth it”  “Is it beneficial” “Why would you?” Then there’s the whole privacy thing “Why would I want someone knowing where I take my photos” some people even going as far as to say “why would I GPS tag my photos, then people would know where I lived and could come and steal all my gear” …well, yes, if you’re daft enough to broadcast on the internet where you hide your pot of gold, someone will inevitably try to take it from you.

I did a bit of a tweet fest prior to putting pen to paper on this one and have come up with a few scenarios in which a GPS / Camera set-up could be very useful. I even took my Jobo Photo GPS Geo Tagging Flash Shoe unit to Oxford with me on a work trip, taking photos all the way, alas – my 24 day old MacBook Pro had a hard disk failure prior to me working out my backup strategy and I lost all of the images and their associated data prior to backing them up… Quality!

  • You’re a surveyor – need I say more? You take your camera out to a location that requires a bridge made (or something!) and you take photos from all of the crucial locations – with the JOBO PhotoGPS attached you don’t need to note anything down, the device captures a reading each time you release the shutter* and it is translated into a map location on your return to your computer.
  • You’re a travel writer, the perfect accessory – I know exactly where I was when I took that photo! – To the point that you could even give people GPS coordinates in your travel write ups.
  • Recently there was a case where a certain large organisation in England asked another certain large stock library to remove around 10,000 images that it says were taken on one or another of its many properties and therefore in breach of copyright. However, if the photographers provided GPS coordinates proving that they were either outside or above these properties, the photos were able to stay in the certain large stock library – GPS in that case could offer some form of proof. As I guess it could with photojournalism, the main factor in a photojournalists story being “the truth”

I only had the JOBO PhotoGPS for a week, but I was using it easily from the minute I placed it on my camera’s hot shoe – with a simple set of lights to tell you if you’re capturing GPS data or not. The software is also very easy to install on both mac and pc. The install process for both my mac and my pc laptop was completed in a couple of minutes with no tricky questions to answer.

Once you’ve taken your photos with the JOBO PhotoGPS unit attached to your camera, you simply upload your images to your computer, import them into the supplied software, attach your GPS unit to the computer with the supplied USB cable and the software matches the images giving you a list of exactly where your photos were taken – including surrounding attractions / facilities etc. I was actually amazed at the level of detail that you were able to see in terms of the information that the software would gather for you from the internet, based on where your images were taken.

Once you’ve matched your images, the software makes “sidecar” files for you that are imported into your photo manipulation software and then embedded in the exif data. Simples!

Sure, there are various people concerned with privacy, so if you don’t want people knowing where you live – don’t take a photo of your £7,500 plasma tv and put it on the internet with your address – common sense will tell you lots.

The only issue I had with the JOBO PhotoGPS was that it was VERY loose in my hotshoe and I nearly lost it overboard into the Thames when I was taking a photo off a bridge – I hope that this was down to it being a well used REVIEW unit, but that’s something to keep in mind.

Alternatively, You could use a GPS / Photo matching application in association with the GPS on your phone / existing GPS device for a lot less money, but then – this is an “out of the box” solution that works and works very well. There is a great comparison table on the JOBO website that points out the main differences between the regular “make shift GPS solution” and the Jobo PhotoGPS – You can see it here The main stand-out for me being the start up time… I have waited minutes for my Blackberry GPS to start, to the point that I’d rather be lost it was taking so long! ha..

Capture time: approximately 0.2 seconds
Memory capacity: around 1000 locations (build in 128MB memory)
Accuracy: 10m
Geodata: via Tele Atlas Map Material (Country, City, Street, POI)
Hot-shoe interface: Standard hot-shoe (ISO 518:2006)
Power source: Internal rechargeable120mAh cell (non user replaceable)
System Information: via 2 LED’s (System Status)
Supported file formats: JPEG, RAW with XMP Sidecar file
PC connectivity: USB2.0
Battery charging electrical source: USB2.0
Dimensions: Main unit without adapter 68 x 20 x 43 mm
Weight: 80 g
System requirements: Windows XP (SP2) and Vista (SP1), MAC available by end of 2008
Included accessories: USB cable, CD-ROM with photoGPS matching software, organizer and viewing software

I love this device, great unit, well built (unless it’s old and worn and your hotshoe lets it fall off into a river!) very easy to use and the software is very good. I give this one a 3.75 stars out of a possible 5.

1 Star off because it’s another $156.00 that you have to spend if you’ve already got a GPS device and .25 stars off for almost falling into a river! (That said, it hit the ground twice, bounced and kept working just fine)

Get the Jobo Photo GPS Geo Tagging Flash Shoe at Amazon.


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Sime (aka #gtvone) is the customer support manager for dPS, and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He's a Melbourne based photographer, and please feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Some Older Comments

  • Georg Kaudewitz December 19, 2009 02:57 am

    I bougth the the Jobo device under an other brandmark the only difference is that it has a little bit more of memory. I think its the best way tagging photos with a Canon 400d if the real manufacturer (u-blox) will do some changes to his software You don't need any software from u-blox that directly taggs the pictures.
    The best way would be only simply converting raw gps-data to a format that is commonly used by gps-tracking-devices as you can handle these data with commonly used geotagging-software. The way you just do it using other devices. There is a SDK sold form the manufacturer but I did not found any software yet that is based on this SDK.

  • Chris Happel June 5, 2009 04:30 am

    I love geotagging for aerial photography, and have (so far) been using the track log from my aircraft gps and RoboGeo software. Tomorrow I'm upgrading to a Nikon D700 (with plug-in GPS support), and am considering getting a Garmin eTrex HCx and the appropriate wiring (MC-35 - plus some magic cable from Garmin).

    I've heard consistently great things about the HCx - particularly that the receiver works even under heavy tree canopies, inside cars (and planes), between buildings, canyons, bags, etc - I fear the dedicated hotshoe-mount GPSs may have weaker receivers.

    I like the idea of using the direct GPS hook-up to the camera, but I don't like having to spend $110 or so on just CABLES, not to mention what kind of a tangled cludge you end up having hanging off your camera.

    Anyone have experience with camera-to-MC-35-to-adapter-cable-to-GPS? A comparison of receiver sensitivity between the dedicated camera GPSs vs a regular handheld?

  • KNBD May 26, 2009 07:56 pm

    I tried out my new JOBO photoGPS. It works well and is very very fast at picking up your location. Typically, I switched on the camera, took a quick shot using automatic settings and it still got the location. It seems to do this even when you are in trees.

    OVERALL: I like it. It is expensive but does the job effectively. The software does work 'straight out of the box' but needs improvement.

    So, Pros are:
    1) Fast to pick up location.
    2) Light, small.
    3) Actually identifies the true position at which you took the photo because of the use of the flash shoe to identify the moment of shutter press. This avoids problems associated with time synchronisation.
    4) More than enough memory and a long battery life that is suitable for the requirements.
    5) Uses USB power which is near universally available and charges fast (10 mins approx from empty).
    6) Tags intermediate photos with the same location as ones which were shot with the PhotoGPS installed.

    1) Falls out of flash shoe far too easily (and has a double adaptor as well, which makes it even more easy to lose).
    2) Software won't work tag photos without an internet connection.
    3) Can only tag all photos imported. There is no easy way to avoid tagging specific shots. You might want to ensure security by not tagging your home, so this is a problem.
    4) Software does not update the modify date of the picture file.
    5) Software's location mapping details are not as good as those of Google Earth.
    6) When software encounters a bad file it won't let you tag any of the shots in that folder. It does not tell you which file is the problem which is tedious.
    7) The Google.KML files created by the software won't work in Google Earth if your picture names have special characters in them (e.g. &).
    8) Why does the software insist on an immediate download when you use the CD? It should be able to install direct from the CD as well.
    9) Can't use the camera's built in flash while using phtooGPS.

  • Fredshome May 22, 2009 08:12 pm

    I actually prefer the Wintec WBT-201. It Cost me $94 and with its super small size, it can fit in my bag or pocket. It’s even bluetooth enabled.

    This type of device seems to be much more versatile. It leaves your hotshoe free, with a bit of gaffer tape you can just stick it to your strap or something.

    After that the question is, how easy is it to talk to that thing... For users of exotic systems (as in "not Windows", or even "not Mac OS), the ideal system would be to see it as a mass storage unit and to see the log as a text file (in whatever format) that could be imported in processing software. In other words if no specific software was required, it would be perfect (some such units are designed that way).

  • David May 22, 2009 07:27 pm

    I think the Jobo is great device but the software is terrible. If you take one photo using the GPS but take 20 photos during the shoot. It tags all the photos with the GPS location. clearly this is a fault.

    The GPS data is not stored in a file that is easily used by other Geotagging software. so you can't just swap software to solve the problem.

    I have asked support but they do not reply. If they upgrade the software then it will be a wonderful device.

    Also as a brand new Jobo it is not as tight on the hotshow as it could be. Not sure why they did not put a locking device like they do on flashes.

    Execept for the software I am quite happy even though customer non-support will not respond to the software issue.

  • Michael Hummel May 20, 2009 12:07 pm

    I actually prefer the Wintec WBT-201. It Cost me $94 and with its super small size, it can fit in my bag or pocket. It's even bluetooth enabled.

  • Rolling Stone May 20, 2009 07:03 am

    I have the GP-1 for my Nikon D90. It's just under $200US and needs no software. Embeds cordinates in EXIF of each photo automatically. So when I upload pics into flickr, it is already there in my EXIF. The only con I have had with it is not being able to get the GPS to work in some areas. Like in the woods, etc. You need to be in an open area. Other than that I enjoy it a lot. Fits nice and snug in my hotshoe also.
    When @ home I simply don't attach it to my camera. No worries there.

  • hannu May 20, 2009 04:48 am

    Very fast to acquire position.
    Light weight - so will be taken with you when you move.
    Only uses battery power when taking a picture -> certainly enough for the 1000 pictures it stores

    Big minus (and the only thing that really harms this): On Mac the GPS data information cannot be read with any normal GPS data reader. Raw pictures have to be downloaded to disk, then tagged (.xmp files) then converted to DNG and then imported to Aperture. Would be wonderful if one could just read the GPS information directly from the unit in any standard GPS format.

    Small minuses:
    Only 1000 picture locations stored.
    Has to be charged with USB.
    Slips easily out of socket - use something to tighten it a bit
    If timezone on camera not right, pics will be matched incorrectly.
    Cannot be used with a flash currently as occupies the flash socket.

  • losingcontrol May 20, 2009 03:23 am

    I usually don't comment on these reviews, but...
    I really don't see how this is a great product, except maybe that it works. There is a ton of freeware out there, that will allow you to sync a fully functional gps, with the clock on your camera to achieve the same result. Maybe it's in the software, but for $156, you can get one heck of a gps that will not only geotag your photos, but get you in and out of the woods or city, and find you a place to eat dinner. I looked at their website for their comparisons between the JOBO and a normal GPS. They stated it "takes 5-30 minutes for a normal gps to aquire a fix?" I would respectfully suggest that they need a new gps.. "Device attached on hot shoe (ideal positioning of antenna)" -- I guess for their antenna... I usually just drop mine in my photo bag. Works fine. I think a great article would be a comparison of the different gps devices, as well as a comparison of the software solutions.

  • Sime May 20, 2009 03:22 am

    Thanks for your comments... I'm not all that fussed by Scott's review - as this was my review, not his. I wasn't out shooting Tiger Woods, I was headed home after a day at work with the JOBO, I do have an internet connection and plugged the device into my laptop to upload the data, thus charging the device... Anyway - thanks for your comments. Each to their own


  • Sime May 20, 2009 02:50 am

    Ned, with respect - you popped up, first comment picking apart my overview of the product, inserting information of your own with details that were just not correct, then clearly above I asked that we not discuss the whole NT and not ten minutes later you had started a discussion on just that... I'm sorry I came across as rude, but please - pay a little attention to what others are saying around you and to the information you're posting on the internet - people actually rely on some of it.

    As for allowing your post - I'm not sure which post you mean, I've not been in to the moderated comments, but will check now.

  • Loerincz May 20, 2009 02:49 am

    First of all, I have never used this gadget, but, on the flip side, I would never buy it either!
    For that kind of money, once can get a decent GPS receiver and use it for the same purpose and even more!
    I have a GPSMap 60 Cx which I carry with me almost everywhere. Aside from navigation (even in my car), it allows me to record tracks. I only need to set the time in my camera the same as the GPS, and I am set! Nothing on the hotshoe, I can still use a flash, if needed, nothing to loose either. When I get back home, I download all my pictures and I add the *.gpx track file, then I run the free Geosetter, which adds the coordinates to the file.
    Works perfectly every time! For those who already have a GPSr, instead of paying for another gadget, make use of what you have! Or, at least, give it a try!

  • Ned May 20, 2009 02:41 am

    Final comment. Why do you not permit my earlier post on GPS to get out of moderation. It is on point, it is accurate, it is informative.

    You will not here from me again. You are too rude to worry about. Bye

  • Sime May 20, 2009 02:16 am


    Which bit of "Regardless, let’s not discuss it here" did you miss?...

    I don't want this to be about that - just that a GPS device could have ultimately told NT where the images were taken - no grey areas.

    Moving swiftly on...

  • Ned May 20, 2009 02:05 am

    On the Alamy subject, the problem goes much deeper than the National Trust claiming they own all pictures on their properties of their properties, and I don't want to discuss the merits of the National Trust claim, not know what UK laws have been specifically enacted with regard to NT property.

    To me, a much bigger problem in this fiasco is that Alamy has, in order to comply with NT directives, apparently deleted photographs taken of NT properties from public highways, public walkways, and properties and viewpoints outside the legal property boundaries of NT properties. Moreover Alamy apparently deleted tens of thousands of images taken of properties near NT properties. These photographs can not be controlled by the NT and can be exhibited, sold or published without constraint, and with no need for NT permission.

    This apparently occurred because of the heavy-handed approach to the deletions used by Alamy when they used a key word search of NT property names, and without culling through the photos, or trying to identify which photos might be legitimately claimed by the NT, just hit the delete button for them all.

  • Ned May 20, 2009 12:59 am

    A good possibility for Canon DSLRs is the di-GPS USB by Dawn Technologies.

    Scott Kelby reviewed the Jobo. He liked it less then I did.

  • Sime May 20, 2009 12:47 am

    Sucks the big one - I'm sure you agree. Regardless, let's not discuss it here


  • Paul May 20, 2009 12:29 am

    I wonder wtf the justification for that is, since architechure and permenent art displays in public can not be controlled by copyright under UK law...

    I take it that you can't/won't tell us what the organisation is. :) Can you tell us at least if they were complaining about indoor or outdoor photography?

  • Sime May 20, 2009 12:23 am

    @Paul - Yes, we all hope that it's wrong - but sadly not. Photos taken from any of the properties owned by this certain company are in breach of their copyright... Ask Getty... :-)

    @Eric - I didn't like it / the idea until I used it either... People are bound to have their own variations on the whole GPS theme, and that's OK... The JOBO worked really well for me - aside of the hot shoe thing...


  • Eric Mesa May 19, 2009 11:32 pm

    Seems to be a lot of hate for the jobo. I was thinking of picking it up soon. Anyone like it? (Besides Sime)

  • Paul May 19, 2009 10:33 pm

    Can I ask which large organisation it was, because that's not how copyright should be used in the UK...

    The only exception would be if it's an art gallery with relatively modern works in it...

  • Maciek May 19, 2009 08:47 pm

    I think this device is more or less useless, especially for this price!

    Why? First of all you can grab a decent GPS receiver with much better accuracy, large color display, and electronic maps for less than $150. You can even have a built-in compass, or car navigation somewhere around $200. I have got Garmin Vista HCx ($230 on amazon) and this is high-end all inclusive receiver. Simpler models are much cheaper (can be also cheaper then JOBO, while still offering more). You can carry it in your pocket or in the camera back, or hanging at your neck (so you can easily take a look at the map).

    And as for the software, there is plenty of it over the net. Even Picasa can do this or there is a Lightroom plugin. Google 'geotagging'. One of my favorites is (actually I use a different one that can write geotags into raw files, though it does not have a graphical interface). all you have to do is to download a file with your track (the manual of every GPS receiver should explain how to do this) and select it in the software.

    So a good advice from me: forget about jobo and go and grab some decent GPS receiver.

  • Yngve Thoresen May 19, 2009 05:50 pm

    Personally I use a program on my Windows Mobile enabled phone (HTC Diamond atm) to track my position when wanting to geotag images. The program, called GPS Cycle Computer, is free and works great. The developer made it to use for tracking bicycle routes, but it works great for almost any GPS use. the only downside is the heavy drain on battery.

    After reading a lot of guides and reviews like this on geotagging opportunities, I believe the best solution is a GPS tracker that I can put in my pocket or bag, while shooting images. It need to have a lot of battery, allowing me to track for a long time, maybe even several days.

    The JOBO PhotoGPS would be ideal for me, if I could put it in my bag while shooting (my hotshoe is often occupied), and position my images without being online.

  • Photos May 19, 2009 03:32 pm

    What if you need to use a flash?
    Anyway, i use the m-241 from holux, which works on a single AA batt, works with all gps software, looks great and weighs little. And it works even if you don't press the shutter - so you can use it to track your bike rides, etc, regardless or whether you have camera on you or not.

  • Ned May 19, 2009 10:27 am

    When I got mine they threw in a free remote and a free AC adaptor. I got mine at the Nikonians store.

    Clearly it's not for everyone, but great for many Nikon DSLR owners.

    Nikon is about to have their own Nikon GP-1 GPS Unit out soon.

  • Sime May 19, 2009 09:03 am

    $250 bucks!... Nice one (With respect)

    Jobo - $156
    Dual Hotshoe - $21.95
    Gaffa Tape - $2.00

    Oh and... "Compatible with Nikon D3, D700, D300, D2XS, D2X, D2HS & D200,D90, Fujifilm S5 Pro"

    I have a Canon :-)

    And, um... The instruction manual for the SOlmeta says the following...
    Package Contents
    4. One USB charging cable

    Optional Accessories (Available from Solmeta)
    AC adaptor

    Am I missing something?...


  • Ned May 19, 2009 08:43 am

    With respect Sime, I give the JOBO PhotoGPS an F-. Frankly if their was a lower grade available, I would assign it the lower grade. Here's why.

    1. It doesn’t come with a power adapter to charge it. You've got to connect it to the USB port on your computer to charge it.
    2. The darn thing keeps falling out of the hot shoe. One of these days it won't survive and it's a pain in the neck to keep retrieving it.
    3. You've got to be online to use its software to match locations to photos.
    4. The GPS information is not embedded into the Raw file, but instead it's in a separate sidecar file. Worse yet, if you shoot RAW and you have an XMP sidecar file already holding other data, it doesn't write the GPS data into that file, but instead creates and stores its GPS coordinates into a second XMP file.
    5. Since you've got to use your camera's hotshoe for this unit, kiss your popup flash goodbye if you have one and want to use it, or even a separate flash. That's a bummer for wildlife photographers, for example, where a GPS device is a big plus.

    To me the JOBO PhotoGPS is a major waste of $170. I much rather pay more for a solution which actually works the way a GPS/camera combo should work.

    For my own Nikon DSLR I have a Solmeta Geotagger N2 which directly connects to my Nikon through the 10 pin connector. The unit can be charged directly via a wall outlet. The unit sits snuggly in the hot shoe, or can be attached to the neck strap. The GPS coordinates are inputted directly into the EXIF data at the time each photo is taken. You don't need any software whatsoever. You can even use a Y-connector with the unit so you can plug in another device into the 10 pin connector along with the GPS. It has other great features too. The Solmeta costs $250, but to me it's very much worth it.