After essentially creating the category of GPS loggers for photo geotagging with the GPS-CS1 in 2006, Sony inexplicably let the product languish for three years with only minor upgrades. They fell so far behind I have been recommending other brands rather than the CS1. I had been waiting for a "GPS-CS2" to appear, but they've skipped all the way ahead to GPS-CS3KA.
Some key features:
- built-in Memory Stick Duo and SD card slots,
apparentlyto support hardware geotagging (similar to ATP PhotoFinder)
- LCD display
- 128 MB internal memory
- compatibility with Sony camcorders for geotagging video (it's not clear to me how it does this; there is no video geotagging standard)
- comes with Sony Picture Motion Browser version 4.2 software ("Mac not supported")
It takes one AA battery, but they offer "Long life battery (sold separately) for a one-day trip, up to 15 hours" - the Sony LR6 battery, apparently. Or if I'm reading it right, 7 hours on an HR6 NiMH battery (it lists 14 hours, but that appears to be by using two HR6s, one after the other).
* There is no information about what GPS chipset it is using. (More discussion on this below.)
* There is no indication of Mac compatibility (if it's not, it would be very disappointing - it took a ridiculously long time for the previous CS1 to finally be Mac-compatible)
* List price is at the high end, at US$150
It's not clear if you can use the memory card slots to store GPS tracks, or only for inserting memory cards from cameras in order to geotag the photos they store. It's also not clear if it mounts as a USB drive, like the CS1, or whether it uses some custom serial-to-USB protocol like other loggers.
I wish manufacturers would make it easier to know exactly what chipset they're using, and its sensitivity. An older version of the SonyStyle page lists (rather incongruously under audio - presumably someone was confused by the listing of frequencies and dBm)
* Frequency Response : 1575.42 MHz (L1 band, C/A code)
* Sensitivity : -159dBm or less (average, while tracking)
Screenshot from cached version of SonyStyle.com:
If this is true,
it indicates a modern high-sensitivity chipset, and a dramatic improvement over the
-150dBm of the CS1. (For GPS sensitivity, more negative is more sensitive, and even a single dBm is a fairly substantial improvement.) Unfortunately, the current version of the SonyStyle USA page no longer lists these specifications.
I will try to find out more information about this device.
UPDATE 2009-05-01: I now have the GPS-CS3 so here are answers to some of the above items I crossed out:
* It mounts as a USB drive, like the CS1, and the USB drive is Mac-compatible, so you can download the logs (processing the logs on the Mac is left to you; no Mac software is provided). See my posting Sony GPS-CS3 is a Mac compatible GPS logger for more information.
* The external memory cards you insert cannot be used to store logs, only for geotagging digital camera photos
* The manual lists specs of 20-channels, -159dBm
Images from Sony Image Gallery - GPS-CS3KA Image Album.
Amazon.com is currently (May 1, 2009) showing it in stock.
June 03, 2008 GPS-CS1 reported fixed in Mac 10.5.3
January 31, 2008 Sony announces GPS-CS1KASP, everyone yawns
September 15, 2006 my review of the Sony GPS-CS1 datalogger with photo geocoding