Back up NEF files for safe keeping

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by james_milstead|1, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. I am shooting nef ( or raw) images these days with my D70. They are only viewable with the Nikon view software installed on the hard drive of my home desktop computer. I am looking for suggestions on how to back up these NEF files for safe storage in the event of hard drive failure, which as we know WILL eventually happen.
    My thought was to use an external drive and just store them on that, but since the Nikon view software is only installed on the "C" drive I can't view the ones on the storage drive.
    Should I just copy them to the extra hard drive, and forget about viewing them until I want to bring them back to whatever drive has the Nikon view software installed?
    Another option is to just keep them stored on the compact flash memory card I guess, but not sure if that is a good solution.
  2. Why would the Nikon software need to be installed on the same drive as the files?
    You should be able to view/open an NEF file stored on any storage medium (CF card, DVD, back-up external hard drive) as long as the backup media is connected to your desktop computer with the Nikon software installed.
  3. any halfway decent RAW converter will be able to convert the NEF. Also, you can always download the latest copy of ViewNX from Nikon's website directly. So, if you want, save that .exe on the same drive as your .NEFs
  4. It seems to me there is something wrong with your computer/operating system. As long as the OS have access to the NEF files, they can be viewed no matter where they are stored, USB/Firewire devices, flash cards, network drives. NEF is just another file format, can you see other type of documents on your external drive, like Excel or Word files?
  5. Nikon's View NX2 (the current version) is freeely available, and you can install it on as many computers as you want. And you can store your NEF files on as many devices as you want ... and then mount those devices on a computer that's got View NX2 installed, and you're ready to see them. There is no need to install View NX2 on every device that will store the files.
  6. Following on from Matt, if you are thinking long-term archive, and want to make sure you have a viewer that can handle it, you can also download ViewNX and copy that download onto the storage media.
  7. In my opinion one back up is not enough. As you said hard drives can fail, and that includes your external hard drive(s) too. I tripple back up my NEF files onto hard drives. And the most secure way is to have at least one complete backup outside of your house in case it got hit by a flood, hurricane, fire, etc.
    CF cards is not a good option for long term backup.
    Joe Smith
  8. A friend of mine backs up his NEF files with a matching set in DNG format, figuring if future software has a problem with old NEF files he'll still be able to view his photos. I thinks it's overkill, but he'll probably have the last laugh.
  9. Any typical desktop tower case has room for 2~4 internal drives, and all the wiring in place. Food for thought. This coupled with DVD or CD backups, one at home, one away, and you're getting pretty safe.
    Then, a utility for efficient incremental copying will make it easier to accomplish. My pref is XXCopy.
    The main danger, in my experience, is from accidentally deleting the files yourself.
  10. I can open NEF files with ViewNX no matter what drive they are on. No problem at all.
    Sure, a spare hard drive if you have one or more... but if it was me, I would also burn some DVD's.
    Personally, I cheat. I never go back to past images, because there are always so many more to take. So, when I do shoot raw, I commit the photography forum heresy of only saving a high quality full-size JPEG with ViewNX 2, and I actually don't keep the NEF file after that.
  11. You should have they saved in three places..
    Backup hard drive - If you have an olld computeryou can remove the HHD (hard drive) and buy a external ccase with USB cable for $25 from Newegg and backup to their after you format the drive clean..
    Backup to DVD but renew the DVDs ever few years and use a slow speed for burns.. DVDs can go bad after a few years..
    And save on extra desktop computer you can use as a storage server..
    Also you can use your old Memory Cards if you have a Card Reader or portable USB card reader
  12. Joseph is right; backup on an external hard drive and keep this at home (disc failure covered; with Nikon Transfer this is done at download) and then on a second kept at a friend's house (fire and theft covered; retrieve and update it when needed). Storage is cheap, loss is painful. And it can be convenient to keep good edits of 'keepers' in a secure place.
  13. You don't need Nikon ViewNX to view the files at all. The free IrfanView image viewer with its RAW plugin will let you open and view NEF files, as well as the RAW files from almost any other make or model of camera. You could also open the files in Photoshop or Elements with Adobe Camera Raw, Capture One, the free GIMP + Unidentified Flying Raw plugin, or any one of several other RAW reading/editing programs.
    As others have already said, you don't need the viewing software on the same drive as your images. Computer programs, once installed, will be automatically found by the computer's operating system and opened by "association" with files of a type they can read. In any version of Windows, simply double-clicking on a file will open it in its default viewer, no matter which drive the file is stored on or which drive the viewer is installed on.
    For example I have images in NEF, Canon's CR2 and Minolta MRW formats (all types of RAW file) saved over 4 external USB disk-drives. I can click on any of those files and they'll be automatically opened in the appropriate software to view or edit.
  14. PS. You can also write your files to DVDs for permanent storage and keep them in a "fireproof" safe.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I stopped using DVDs to backup my image files years ago. For me, the problem is that I can easily shoot 1 to 2G of image files in a casual shoot. If I use DVDs, I'll have so many DVDs that it'll be very difficult to locate them. Making a complete copy of those DVDs is also difficult.
    Nowadays, I only back up on hard drives which are getting very cheap. I have an organized folder structure so that it is easy to locate any file. I have many backup copies stored at different locations so that I have no concerns about hardware failure or other disasters such as fire, flood, etc.
  16. Are you running Windows Vista or Windows7? Microsoft released a newer version of thier camera codecs for viewing RAW files -
    They will not look exactly the same as what you get with ViewNX because it doesn't add all the processing but it works to find a file when looking through folders.
    IF you are running Windows XP this will work to support the D70 but does not support the newer cameras:
  17. I backup to an external hard drive and also burn the files to DVD. My DVDs are filed by date, marked both with the date and subject matter of what's on them. For long-term storage -- say 20-plus years from now -- it would probably make sense to also make jpg copies. That's on the theory that viewing NEF or any other raw file will only be possible as long as Nikon or someone else makes the conversion software or you have an old copy (like from 2011) that still works, and a computer it still works on. Jpg will also become a "lost" format someday, but since it's more universal than any of the proprietary raw formats, it will likely last longer. I always preach that if you want your grandchildren to be able to see your pictures, make prints. Today's NEF on a thumb drive is tomorrow's Edison wax cylinder.
  18. In 2010, I had 6 external hard drives fail. They ranged in size from 250 GB to 1 TB. One was a portable, 500 MG, I use with my laptop. It just stopped spinning--all data lost. The rest were all part of my backup system for my main desktop. One went bad when I turned it on to reload a year's worth of images. All data lost because all files got corrupted somehow. Fortunately I could recreate that year's images. Another one, 1 TB, just stopped spinning. All data lost. You get the picture. You need more than one backup.
    Two of my friends lost their pcs and internal hard drives when their homes (and pcs) were struck by lightning. This happens more often than you might think. An internal hard drive is not a good back up unless the pc itself is completely shielded from electric spikes, viruses, etc. A power strip does not provide this type of protection. A true battery back up might.
    Joe Smith
  19. If you are that worried about loosing your Images, as well as a copy on your PC, then seriously think about a raid server, something cheap like a Qnap system, this can be configured as mirrored system, so if a drive fails then you still have another copy, and all you do is to replace the failed disk and the system just copys over the original data, If that is not enough then you can plug another external disk into the Qnap server and get that to do an incremental backup every night of the images.

    As for storing them on a DVD, waste of time, as you cant get many raw files these days onto them. Hate to think how long it would take to burn DVD's that i would need for 35,000 Raw files. 225Gig!
    My current system is exactly that, Main images on PC for speed of acccess,editing etc.
    Auto backup onto the Qnap server, and then every 2 days, an incremental backup of the server.
    Why you might ask back up the server, Servers do fail, very very rarely, but they do, the individual disks fail but the server is designed to cope with that.

  20. Online storage is also an option, but it comes with a cost, depending on your volume. The issue I have is that some services treat RAW files as a special case and charge more (smugmug, for example). And of course the online provider could go away ....
    I have had serious storage failures in the past so I now have a 3 way backup. I have my images cataloged on my main PC with duplicates simultaneously copied to a dedicated external drive. Then I have a daily backup routine which backs up both. Now that 2 and 3TB external drives are so cheap it makes sense. But, it also makes sense to have an off site backup which I have not yet fully realized. I also tend to (now) buy replacement drives for older drives I have used and these older drives have become non-used archive drives.
    Ultimately I wait for a cloud solution that makes sense, but so far I have not been overly impressed or convinced. But for me it seems like the ultimate answer if you can get data protection and reliability assurances while still retaining the relevant intellectual property rights etc etc.

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