Thinking about a DSLR

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Kryz11

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V
Also other numerous point and shoot/dslr like cameras.

I love takings pictures but as you can all see I am using regular point and shoot. So far my collection as over 19k pictures in my collection and growing. I am slowly deciding to buy a DSLR. With my Cyber-shot that I bought about 2 years ago has pretty decent quality but suffers with speed, on many occasions I miss the shot I wanted to take. But for few hundred bucks I can't complain about it.
I have little idea about Cannon vs Nikon vs Sony. I tried doing some research but at the end I got more questions.

I do know that new Sony DSLRs have the transparent mirrors to have high FPS shots but may perform very noisy at low light situations. So maybe Sony out of the question... but just maybe.

Canon vs Nikon. All I know that Canon is good for more steady shots while Nikon for more Sporty shots (true or not?).

About lenses, If I buy Nikon body can I fit a Canon lens on it or vice versa? If I buy a lower end Canon DSLR body, will all lenses from Canon work on that body? Any alternative companies that make good lenses for Canon or Nikon?

From what I would like to start with is a cheaper body, and have a nice lens but not too expensive, both in 3 figure mark if possible.

Any recommendations?

Thanks


PS. Left888 I do enjoy the bird pictures. Very nice!
 

TB

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So we don't clutter up the Gear thread I've copied your post to a new thread. :)

In answering your questions, I'll try to not let my Canon-love show through too much. :D
Canon vs Nikon. All I know that Canon is good for more steady shots while Nikon for more Sporty shots (true or not?).
While there's more to shooting "sporty shots" than simply frame rate, that's what I'll focus on. Example cameras were chosen at random, based on similar price points.

Nikon D5200, up to 5 frames per second
Canon T4i, up to 5 fps
Sony A65, up to 8/10 fps

Based solely on this criteria, the Sony is the clear winner. Between the Nikon and the Canon, it's a wash.
About lenses, If I buy Nikon body can I fit a Canon lens on it or vice versa?
With an adapter, yes, but you'll potentially lose features like autofocus. Don't quote me on that last part, though.
If I buy a lower end Canon DSLR body, will all lenses from Canon work on that body?
Yes. A Canon T4i, for example, can accept any Canon EF or EF-S mount, meaning that pretty much any lens produced in the last 20 years will work with it.
Any alternative companies that make good lenses for Canon or Nikon?
This is where my lack of knowledge of Nikon lenses will be abundantly obvious so I'll just stick with Canon glass. There are a few pieces of non-L Canon lenses that are very good but as a general rule, if your looking for incredible pristine shots, stick with the L-line. If you're like me, however, and don't need that level of clarity, there is an entire world of lenses at your disposal from Canon (obviously) Sigma, Tamron, etc. Sigma and Tamron make lenses for Nikon, as well.
From what I would like to start with is a cheaper body, and have a nice lens but not too expensive, both in 3 figure mark if possible.
As the "3 figure mark" is pretty vast (100-999), could you narrow that down a bit? :lol: Just an example, not necessarily a suggestion, a quick search shows that a Canon T4i with an 18-55 and a 55-250 lens package runs $899. Note that if at any point you go for a full-frame/pro camera, these EF-S lenses won't work. Personally, my suggestion is do what I did - pick up a DSLR with a kit lens and make sure that any additional lenses you purchase are EF mounts, ensuring they'll work with the entire line of Canon bodies.

All that said, the most important thing you can do is go to a store and actually see how the camera fits in your hands. Look through the menus and the button layouts and choose the one that you like the best. Going from a point-and-shoot to pretty much any DSLR, you really can't go wrong.
TB
In answering your questions, I'll try to not let my Canon-love show through too much. :D
I didn't do a very good job there, did I? :lol:
 

wfooshee

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The semi-transparent mirror isn't necessarily the source of any noise in Sony's pictures. The Sony dSLRs are VERY well received.

Nikon and Sony don't really have a differentiated line of lenses like Canon has with their Ls. My brother (Canon) asked me (Nikon) once, "If you want the good lenses for your camera, how do you know which ones they are?" Well, Nikon doesn't make it obvious as with a separate designation, but the price point is pretty much just as obvious. So if I want the good lens, I don't look for the 100-dollar one.

I understand that there are adapters to mount Nikon lenses on Canons, but you lose everything about the lens that makes it useful. No metering, no data, no auto-exposure. There are no adapters for the other direction, because the Nikon mount is farther from the sensor than the Canon mount. That difference (barely) leaves room for the adapter on a Canon body, but an adapter for a Canon lens on a Nikon body would place the lens too far away to be able to focus at infinity. It becomes a very short extension tube.

Basically, there are no magic bargains with one brand over another. I went with Nikon back in the early auto-focus film camera days because Nikon didn't change their lens mount, just added to it. Canon and Minolta (now Sony) changed their mounts completely for AF, making all previous glass instantly obsolete. Enough time has elapsed that that early AF lenses are "old" now. Still, I have a lovely pre-1977 85mm f:1.8 lens that mounts on my Nikon D7000, and I would never have found a lens from that era for a modern Canon camera.

Back to what's what. All the brands have consumer cameras (cheap, or "affordable,") pro cameras (thousands of dollars) and many in between. Whichever brand you go with, you'll be with that brand forever unless you start from scratch. Lenses don't fit each other's bodies.

Keep in mind also that dSLRs may only have a 3 or 4 year life, at the outside. Back in the film days a good camera would last you 20 years, because shooting on film is just shooting on film. The cameras improves with metering, flash, auto-focus, exposure modes, but a camera wasn't obsolete within months the way digitals are. Digital equipment progresses quickly. I started 5 years ago with a 6-megapixel sensor that had a maximum ISO of 800, and you couldn't give me that camera today and expect me to use it. I expect my D7000 will be long in the tooth in a couple more years. It was bleeding edge for advanced consumer cameras in 2010, and it's perfectly satisfactory today, but when 24 or 36 megapixels gets affordable, along with useful 6-digit ISO ranges, this thing will be looking pretty clunky.

That said, lenses last forever, unless you just destroy them somehow, or your manufacturer obsoletes them by changing the camera mount. So I've upgraded cameras pretty often, but one of my lenses has been with me the entire time, and another one actually predates my digital stuff.
 
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Jiggins99
I have an A65, and it's fantastic for me. What are you going to be photographing? I really recommend the A65 for outdoor sports. Although it performs badly in low light conditions and having a small support of lens, I think it is great. 👍

Here's an example of what its capable of, note there is a little post editing.
 
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Sprite

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I'd mirror other suggestions and say decided what you are going to photograph. I have a DSLR and it's great for wildlife shots because I can use a long zoom and not disturb my subject. But it's heavy, cumbersome and when out and about its not very inconspicuous.

I recently got a Fuji X-E1 and it destroys my Canon in low light (Canon is an old camera now) it's easy to handle and can be taken on the streets without many people looking at me like I'm a nutter. This camera though isn't going to be great photographing wildlife or sports.

Concentrate on what you want to shoot and base your purchase around that, with interchangeable lenses you can always pick up others if you fancy a dabble shoots something else when cash allows.
 
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I'd mirror other suggestions and say decided what you are going to photograph. I have a DSLR and it's great for wildlife shots because I can use a long zoom and not disturb my subject. But it's heavy, cumbersome and when out and about its not very inconspicuous.

I recently got a Fuji X-E1 and it destroys my Canon in low light (Canon is an old camera now) it's easy to handle and can be taken on the streets without many people looking at me like I'm a nutter. This camera though isn't going to be great photographing wildlife or sports.

Concentrate on what you want to shoot and base your purchase around that, with interchangeable lenses you can always pick up others if you fancy a dabble shoots something else when cash allows.

This. Oh and I absolutely love my Cannon T3i if it means anything. I got a great deal that came with 2 tri-pods, 2 lenses (wide shot and zoom), an upgraded memory card, and a bunch of other smaller stuff that I can't remember at the moment. I payed just about $800 for all of that and it's a great DSLR to start with.
 

Kryz11

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Thanks guys
Yes I found from Canon website with the specs of each camera and what lens they take.


I would take photos of people, scenes, museums, parks, some neighborhood birds, dogs, deer, not too much into wild life (maybe in the future). Not much of racing or sports either. I do need some good low light images since a lot of museums won't allow me to use flash. I was not happy with my point and shoot images being bad because of this.

Price tag. I would say $999 and below for body and glass combo. But if its worth spending little extra and buy a $999 and below for the body and a good glass will it be worth it?

Sprite, the Fuji is a mirror-less camera right? I hear good things about size of those lil camera but someone told me that mid to higher end mirror-less are just like a good lower end DSRL, is that correct?

Internets was raving about some new Canon EOS-b camera to come out soon? What will it be?
 

Sprite

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There are some fantastic cameras for low light images. The Fuji x-1 pro and X-E1 also Sony RX1 and the like. Some of the shots I've seen comparing the Fuji against a Canon and for low light and high ISO and its impressive.

I think though that when it comes to cameras you may find people pick a company and find it hard to look at other companies. I've always been a Canon person starting with the G2 then DSLR and film cameras. It was hard to look at other cameras but I chose the Fuji based on technical reviews, real world reviews and asking people here on GTPlanet and other places.

I would recommend looking through Flickr at images taken with the kit your considering and see what people are doing with it and the image quality. Also don't get hung up on technical reviews alone, these will only tell you so much but what they won't show is how well a camera handles and how it compares in real life situations. Find blogs and threads on forums of people using the kit.

Make sure your also investing in something that has a future or you can see it lasting you some time. If you pick a mirrorless camera decide on cost and quality. There are some good places to look like Steve Huff he does some great reviews of kit, especially in mirrorless and rangefinder cameras and kit for them. One thing is there is no perfect camera and they all have quirks and issues.

DSLR is also great for the photos you want to take and no matter what you go with there are huge choices in lenses and equipment to get the look and shots you want.
 
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Kryz11

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Thanks guys, the link is helpful :)
I found few more good sites and good comparing between each camera. Makes the choice tough, but I already got some attention to few Nikon cameras and few Cannon cameras.
Today I found a article Cannon reviled a new 100D as well 700D. Both seem really nice I'm curious for the 700D. Maybe its good timing to buy some cool fresh cameras that will come out soon :D
 
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mikeybc
If your deciding between Nikon or Canon I would go to the store and pick which has the best ergonomics and handling for your preferences, both have great systems....I found my brothers Canon 7D menu system to be very confusing, but then again I am used to Nikons layout.

I believe the Canon for nature and Nikon for sports theory came about due to Canons pro full frame DSLR having a little better resolution than the comparable Nikon which shot at a higher framerate, I haven't looked at the specs or image comparisons for the newer models so that may have changed.
 

Centura

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I believe the Canon for nature and Nikon for sports theory came about due to Canons pro full frame DSLR having a little better resolution than the comparable Nikon which shot at a higher framerate, I haven't looked at the specs or image comparisons for the newer models so that may have changed.

I thought it was the other way around? When watching sporting events, I only see Canon. Very, very rarely Nikon.
 
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mikeybc
I thought it was the other way around? When watching sporting events, I only see Canon. Very, very rarely Nikon.


I guess it depends on what era were talking about,
When introduced 3 or so years ago the Nikon D3S's exceptionally clean high iso, meant you could shoot indoors sports under artificial light at over 1/1000 second shutter speeds, that ands its fast AF system made it a favorite among many sports photographers. That may be different today as I think Canon and Nikon introduced new models , I stopped paying attention around 3 years ago. The sports/nature debate shouldn't really be applied to the brand itself but to specific models of camera regardless of brand.
 
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Kryz11

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Yes I will try to get my hands on few different cameras I already have some ideas for few models. I would LOVE Full frame, but cheapest from Nikon and Canon is over $2,099 USD! I think I would scale down to around $1,000 or lower for a combo deal. The new Canon T5i 18-55mm is about to be released, It seems to be same as T4i but with few more menu options. Which Nikon will be comparable to T5i/T4i, will it be the D5200 or D7100?
 

wfooshee

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If you can spend a thousand bucks on a body, the D7100 will be very hard to beat. Yes, it's a crop-sensor camera. What's more, it even adds a "crop mode" to that! Whatever for?!?!??!

Lens reach. Pure and simple.

The 7100 is a clear and sharp 24 megapixels, and its crop mode uses the center of the sensor for 2x lens reach (a 200mm lens = 400 in 35mm film) and is still about 15 megapixels.

The autofocus system is right out of one of Nikon's top pro cameras, and surpasses the AF system in my D7000. To tell you how good the D7000 is, I shot over 1400 frames at an air show last November over 2 days, and not a single image was off-focus. This is with 6-fps shooting of 700-mph subjects. It tracked, and it tracked perfectly. And the D7100 is better!

Lens reach is more important to me than full-frame image quality. I believe the IQ of smaller sensors is good enough on these new ones to face any critique, and for my 300mm lens to act like a 450 or even a 600 is just wonderful when trying to catch birds in the wild, or race cars on the track, or aircraft in an air show.
 

Kryz11

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Thanks wfooshee

with the 7100 will all Nikon lenses work? Or is it like Canon when some lenses are EF some are EF-S etc.

So any other Nikon is better over D7100 if I paid a lil more? Or stick to 7100?
 

Azuremen

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Thanks wfooshee

with the 7100 will all Nikon lenses work? Or is it like Canon when some lenses are EF some are EF-S etc.

I believe Nikon has crop sensor and full frame specific lenses, not exactly how it works with them exactly. With Canon lenses, EF lenses will work on a crop sensors and full frames, while EF-S will only work on crop sensors.
 
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mikeybc
The d7100 will work and meter with any manual focus AI/AI-S lens or auto focus lens from the late 70's and up as is has the built in screw drive focus motor, many DSLR's don't. You can use full frame lenses on a dx body but the 1.6x crop factor would make a 28-70mm the equivalent of 44-112mm or a 70-300mm a 112-450 mm, if you can live without wide angle it will work fine. However If you use a dx lens on full frame body you'll get severe vignetting on the wide end so it's pointless.
 
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Personal preference is the biggest thing. Specs are close, and if one's ahead now, the other will be in a year or two.

The reason so many Canon lenses are still on the sidelines at sporting events is that the majority of photographers at them work for international agencies that own dozens or hundreds of high-end supertelephoto lenses, which cost upwards of $10k a piece. You're talking six or seven figures to switch systems at that point. There was a huge migration to Nikon when the D3 came out and blew everything else that had ever existed away, especially since the 1D3 was a problem-riddled disappointment that had many Canon shooters frustrated, but it was among photographers that owned their own gear and smaller publications and agencies that were willing to make the switch, or ones who were due for new gear anyway. I shoot motorsports, and very few photographers at the events I go to are using agency gear, so the ratio is just about 50/50.

As for AF, the greatest test is with a close-range subject that's on a path directly toward or away from you, and I've found that there's a clear advantage with any flagship pro body compared to lower-end cameras of the same era. I own a D3s and D300s, which share the same AF sensor, but the former blows the latter away thanks to its extra CPU power, which also helps with tracking subjects as they move across the frame. With Nikon, pro bodies also have a much more powerful focus motor, which means non-AF-S lenses are much faster. In general, I've found that Canon bodies tend to find initial focus noticeably more quickly than Nikon, but Nikons are a little more accurate and track subjects better once focus is locked on.
 

wfooshee

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The D7100, like my D7000, will mount and meter and auto-expose with any Nikon lens since the AI system was introduced in 1977. Earlier lenses that have been converted to AI will also mount and meter and auto-expose correctly.

These early lenses will only work correctly in aperture-priority auto-exposure and manual exposure control, but not shutter-priority or program modes. The camera has a menu location where you can input data about up to 10 old lenses you may have or use. You input the focal length and the maximum aperture and the camera figures out from the mechanical metering links what the lens is doing, and records the information in the image's EXIF data.

Of course these lenses don't auto-focus, but the rangefinder dot in the viewfinder shows when the image is in focus at the selected focus sensor. Manual focus can be difficult without the split-image viewfinder the manual focus cameras had.

For auto-focus lenses, the D7100 and D7000 will work 100% with ANY Nikon AF lens. The older lenses relied on a motor in the camera body, which these cameras have, while the newer lenses have the motors in the lens. Some Nikon bodies (D40, D3x00, D5x00) do not have the focus motor in the body and will only auto-focus with newer motorized lenses.

Nikon calls their crop-sensor format DX, and the full-frame sensors on some pro cameras FX. Lenses for either system work on the DX cameras, and while DX lenses will mount and function on FX cameras, they will show dark corners. Some of Nikon's pro FX cameras will auto-crop when a DX lens is mounted.

Nikon's lens compatibility runs the other direction sometimes, too. My F4 film camera (Nikon's first AF pro body) works perfectly with my modern AF lenses, using all functions except VR (vibration reduction.)
 

Kryz11

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I've already read and watch some reviews and previews of the Nikon D7100, One guy noted as of now its the best camera for the price.

So If i do pick up this camera from the store should I go with the 18-105mm kit?
So FX and DX will work on this DX body and if I buy FX lens it will mean I have bit more zoom. OK. What exactly is AF-S compared to regular AF? Also when looking at lenses should I look for any specific symbols or letters? Lets say the kit lens is a 18-105mm VR, what is VR for?
 
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mikeybc
AF-S lebses are the lenses with a built in focus motor. The older AF and AF-D require a focus motor built into the body of the camera. Most of the newer cheaper DSLR's don't have this motor built in and require AF-S lenses to auto focus.

I don't own one but I've read the 18-105 is a good lens, I do have a 18-200 VR on my wife's camera and its a very versatile walk around lens, but if you don't need the extra reach is also look at the 16-85 VR which is a very good lens and a bit sharper. the extra 2 mm on the wide end does make a difference.
 
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wfooshee

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An FX lens doesn't have any more reach than a DX lens. If I had an 80-200 DX lens and an 80-200 FX lens, they would be identical on a DX camera, but the DX lens, while its magnification is the same as an FX lens, might not fill the frame on an FX camera.

When I talk about added reach, what I am talking about is that for DX cameras, the smaller image sensor gives a picture that would happen if you took a full-frame image and cropped the edges off. A DX sensor has what we call a 1.5x crop factor, meaning the image produced by any lens is about the same as a full frame image with a lens 1.5 times as long.

A 200mm lens on a DX camera is still a 200mm lens, but when compared to a 200mm lens on an FX camera, the DX image looks "closer," and compares to what a 300mm lens would produce on an FX camera. Whether the 200mm lens is FX or DX is irrelevant to its focal length. The FX or DX spec on a lens merely specifies how large an image sensor the lens will fill. FX lenses are fine on a DX camera, but not vice-versa.

The AF vs AF-S question is answered in the post above mine. AF-S lenses have the motor built in and work on all Nikon dSLR bodies. AF lenses require a motor in the body, which the cheaper bodies don't have, so those lenses would not auto-focus on those bodies. If the lens is AF-S, it uses its own motor whether the body has a motor or not.
 

Kryz11

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Ahhh thanks guys!

I cant find if D7100 has built in motor or not in the body, but it says AS and AS-F lenses are fully supported.
 
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mikeybc
Yes it has the motor,

And wfooshee is right a about the fx/dx reach thing. It's the crop factor of the DX sensor that make the image "appear" to be closer. Basically the image is cropped by a factor of 1.5 (Nikon) or 1.6 (Canon) compared to a full frame sensor.
 
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wfooshee

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Ahhh thanks guys!

I cant find if D7100 has built in motor or not in the body, but it says AS and AS-F lenses are fully supported.

For auto-focus lenses, the D7100 and D7000 will work 100% with ANY Nikon AF lens. The older lenses relied on a motor in the camera body, which these cameras have,

Tried to tell ya.... :sly: And it would be AF and AF-S, for the non-dyslexics.
 

Azuremen

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@wfooshee - regarding the tighter crop sensor mode on the D7100, couldn't you achieve the same result by simply cropping the image from the original size? Same number of data points if you crop down to a "smaller" sensor size, if I'm understanding this correctly.
 

wfooshee

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Exactly. It's what I usually do in my images anyway, crop down from the full frame. You could also say that a DX image is no different than an FX image that's been cropped.

Thing is, the "crop" mode in the D7100 does a couple of other things: Since there is less sensor data to process, the camera can speed up, and the continuous frames-per-second shutter trip goes up from 6 to 7, and you can shoot 1920x1080 video at 60i instead of 30p (50i instead of 25p in the PAL world.)

Also, the 51 AF sensors cover the "cropped" mode entirely. There is no part of the screen that can't be selected for AF.

But comparing to my D7000, cropping the middle part of a frame, when the full DX frame is 16 MP, could easily put me down into 10, 8, 6, or even fewer megapixels. Fine for posting, but maybe not for enlarging or publishing, if that's where you want to go. The "crop" mode in the D7100 is still over 13 MP.
 

Kryz11

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Ok guys I think my last and final question.

A lot of Canons and Nikons don't have built in GPS. I do like the D7100 and I've seen some reviews of the Nikon GPS units.. they are TERRIBLE! What where they thinking with putting it on top of the body so I can't use flash or other addons and having such a long cable on side of the camera just waiting to be catch and ripped off by pretty much anything!

I've seen some companies like Aokatec have solutions such as Bluetooth plug to work with numerous GPS receivers.

Any recommendations?
 

wfooshee

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I've never thought about GPS on the camera. If I want to know where I was when I took a pic..... well, it's not that hard, really, since I was there taking the pic. Right?

But.. I found these modules which sit in the camera's GPS port and receive data from a separate Bluetooth GPS receiver they would be paired with, and they feed the same kind of geocaching data to the camera that the Nikon GPS does. Pricey, though. Especially since it's just the Bluetooth interface for the camera, and you still need a Bluetooth GPS device.
 
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