Do you carry a laptop in your trips for copying data from card?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by geroneemo_geroneemo, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. I am sure this has been discussed before - but couldnt locate a thread for the same.
    A digi-newbie Ques.
    I am new to a digital photography and am going for my first long trip.
    I have a D90 and 4+2GB memory card - that I suspect would not be enough for this trip as I intend to take pics at highest resolution + RAW.
    This is a high altitude backpacking trip - would not necessarily want to carry a laptop along (risk of theft/breakage + cold).
    How do I address the data card copying issue? Was wondering if there are devices like USB sticks that can be hooked up to the camera/card and copy data (without a computer in vicinity)...
    Any advice would help.
    TIA
     
  2. Do I carry my laptop in trips?
    I can't live without it! So YES! Not specifically only to back up but for everything else. I even carry an spare hard drive with the OS install in case my computer crashes. i can change the hard disk in 15 minutes.
    I usually don't back up unless I run out of memory cards. Then I back up into my laptop and also on a USB portable HD. There are some HD for cameras too, like Epson and Canon. They make this HD's and you connect them to your camera and back up everything.
     
  3. Do I pack a laptop, for sure; but I sure as all get-out am not doing "high-altitude backpacking."
    I wouldn't take it along on your sort of adventure, even as wedded to my laptop as I am.
    There are devices for backing up on this sort of trip, but the backpack people will need to fill you in here.
     
  4. I juts remember this thread: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00PmLe
     
  5. I always take my laptop when I am on vacation to down load photos from my camera. But in your case I would forget the laptop, throw away the 4 +2GB memory cards and purchase 4 +16GB memory cards. Four 16GB memory cards will weigh much much less than a laptop. Especially when you are carrying gear on a high altitude backpacking trip. You don't say how long your trip is going to be or how may photos you expect to take so I cannot say for certain that four 16GB cards are enough.
     
  6. Yes, I've traveled with my laptop on every trip I've taken since 2002. It's handy and I enjoy looking at the photos I took that day on the computer. While in London last Fall I was lucky to have a high speed internet connection in the apartment we rented, and was able to upload the photos I took each day online as a backup. When you carry a laptop, the airlines let you carry an extra bag, so that's handy too. I have fantasies of not bringing my laptop with me and just bringing enough memory cards, but that will probably never happen. I have a small Macbook so it's not such a pain to carry with me.
     
  7. Dave: Sorry! That i snot correct: "When you carry a laptop, the airlines let you carry an extra bag, so that's handy too."
    I have traveled to the UK many times on BA (British Airways) and they always aloud me to carry my camera bag and my lap top bag. (2 bags). I flew to London again in April but this time I flew on ANA (All Nippon Airways) and just after I had paid for my ticket I founded out that they only aloud 1 bag and a camera on your hands.
    So I had to buy a camera bag where I could carry my laptop too. Also they had a limit of 10 kilograms on the bag. So I carried my D300 with battery pack mounted and my 300 f/4 to make the bag 10 K. But maybe that was not necessary coz they didn't weight the bag which was exactly 10 K.
    So depending on what airline you are flying the rules change. Check it out before you go or even better, before you pay for your ticket.
    Also, let me add, I am a bit scare of places I don't know, so I make sure I stay in safe places only. I never carry out my laptop. It always stay at the hotel or at my friends house. My advice is also to check what kind of hotel you stay at.
     
  8. Usually do - and two external hard drives. For your particular situation, I would likely just buy a few more cards. There are, however, hard drives with build-in card readers (I have two older ones) - some come with a screen to allow viewing of the photos (mine don't - there is no way to verify that data have indeed been successfully transfered - that's why I no longer use them). Besides, mine copy so slowly that their batteries are already empty after I copied the contents of two cards. Also, the devices with build-in screen are as expensive as a cheap notebook.
    Airline rules regarding carry-on have changed recently - usually one carry-on item (22"x14"x9") and one personal item. The latter was thought to include a camera bag or backpack or notebook bag - some airlines now restrict it to mean "small"
     
  9. I depends. If I really need a computer on the (business) trip I bring it along, but the trip is more of a family holiday, I dont bring the computer - just lots of memory cards...
     
  10. You can`t carry a laptop when weight counts. Buy more cards. A computer risks more damage than a card and I do not erase a on a trip anyway. They are only erased untill they are in my home computer and a back up made.
    Habuka make a very nice shock proof case for 4 cards. Face down means they are used, face up ready for images. Format them ALL in camera a check them out before you go. B&H sells them.
     
  11. Memory card are so inexpensive (sometimes free or close to free after rebates) that Unless you absoultely need your laptop for reasons other than picture storage, I would leave it at home. Memory cards take up less room and are lighter in weight than even the smallest laptops.
     
  12. A high altitude backpacking trip will most likely mean no place to plug your laptop into. After a couple of hours you'll be stuck with a dead weight to carry around for the rest of your hike.
    No doubt extra cards are the answer along with some back up batteries for the camera.
     
  13. I do indeed bring my laptop along when I travel. I have teeny tiny one which looks like an internet netbook, but is actually a full fledged laptop which runs Photoshop and NX just fine.
    I do download the camera to it by USB, but not normally because my card is full. After my feet have given out for the day, I retire to the hotel room and then go though the pictures I took that day. Using photoshop and sometimes NX I fix or clean up the pics a little, then connecting to the internet wirlessly by WiFi I post a few of the day's neatest things to my blog. I also check my email so that when I get home there isn't a distressing, gigantic pile of unopened messages awaiting me.
    Many people are consumed by the "bigger is better" phenomenom, bigger SUV, bigger screen on their latop, etc. So their laptop has this giant screen, is really heavy, and the battery doesn't last long at all. I have one of those too, but it stays at home.
    For travel you need a small lap top with good battery life which you can recharge from 100-250 vac 50/60 hz, the appropriate mains converters for the countries you are going to, as well as a charger which plugs into the car's 12 vdc outlet.
    So rather than sitting in your hotel room (or your bigger-is-better RV) watching TV, you can re-live the wonders of the day and share some of the best parts with your fiends and family. Immediately. Not several days or weeks later.
     
  14. You may want to buy an image bank (basically it's a hard-drive with LCD screen) or a very light laptop, eg. one of a Eee PC series. Image bank would be more handy - it's lighter and smaller.
     
  15. Most of the time my wife and I have brought along a laptop, a very heavy laptop. But this year we have finally gotten enough memory cards that we are no longer taking the laptop, unless we need it for work.
     
    We have something like 28 GB of flash cards at this point in time, which is good for about a week, for a typical vacation. If this is not enough at some point I will buy more memory rather then lug a laptop along.
     
    On the next trip we will be visiting friends and family so we will have access to computers pretty much all the time, so we are just bringing a very light external hard drive.
     
  16. Renee, I don't think that you will have a problem with ANA. My gf just flew Japan Airline and she carried 2 bags with her. They'll allow you to board as long as the bags are small (fit their specified size). I myself flew Japan airline last year with a Lowepro Micro Trekker + 1 carry-on (my laptop was in the carry-on).
    As for the question by the original poster, if you plan to bring the laptop to a foreign country or different locale to do processing right after the hike, then, yes, bring it. But leave it in your hotel or a secure place before the hike. Bringing the laptop on the hike is probably not a very good idea. In this respect, I second the ideas suggested above in getting higher capacity cards or getting a portable HD that can read your CF cards. I think for backpacking in general, you want to shave as much weight as possible on non-essential stuffs. And bringing a 3-5 lbs laptop just for backing up pictures is not really a good idea. If budget is a constraint, I'd get 2, 3 (or maybe 10 :D) other 4GB CF cards rather than a fragile 3-5 lbs laptop.
    Also, is there a point to save as RAW+JPEG for this trip? You don't plan to process and print photos on the trip, right? I think you can save some more storage space with just RAW.
     
  17. I usually take a notebook (10" netbook with 160Gb drive that weighs not much over a kg), but in you situation I probably wouldn't. Media Cards are cheap, especially if you don't need the very fastest version - I can get a 16Gb Class 4 SDHC for about the price of a couple of rolls of 35mm film + d&p, and the card holds more than 10x as many images (as raw files). Like Tuan says, you can save space by shooting raw only. If you process the NEFs in ViewNX or CaptureNX, then by default you'll get comparable results to the in-camera jpegs without having to tweak anything.
     
  18. My solution is an Epson P-2000. Download cards to an external harddrive for backup, and can copy back to yet another card for more backup (I do this for only the very best "keepers""). It's slower than the competition's products, but the screen and easy user-interface makes it worthwhile.
     
  19. I've been bringing my laptop with me on trips for a long time now - probably the last 8 + years. Even overnight horse shows it's come along. I dump my CF cards onto the HD every night - unless nothing has been photographed (very rare).
    This last trip we took was especially such a trip. I even booked motel rooms from night to night on it. Worked very well as we were driving & if we changed our minds about something - then I could easily change things. :)
    Today I would not travel without it.
    Lil :)
     
  20. Hi,
    I am sort of in the same situation. I researched this here on Photo.net forums a few days back and found references to 'Hyperdrive'. It is the portable device that has been discussed above: i.e., has a small lcd screen and one can copy images from memory cards to the hard drive. Apparently the speed is good, and the hard drive can be upgraded. I am not sure if it takes AA batteries. Am still considering the purchase, so I can't talk about my experience with it yet. hope this helps.
    cheers, A.
     
  21. Why not carry an all manual camera like FM2 and film? Look up the sunny 16 rule or carry an incident/spot lightmeter and you're all set. No batterries to worry about. Don't forget UV filters though.
    I agree that lighting can be tricky on backpacking/climbing trips, but unless you've planned in advance for HDR (with digital), results on film will probably not be much worse.
     
  22. I usually take my laptop, an external hard drive for it and a Hyperdrive. The Hyperdrive backs up the CF cards. I am a firm believer in double redundancy if at all possible. Now if the laptop is not possible, than I would rely on CF cards and one or two Hyperdrives, or a similar device.
    Here is a link to the latest Hyoerdrive product line. My advice ss get the largest one you can afford especially if you shoot RAW:
    http://www.hyperdrive.com/HyperDrive-COLORSPACE-UDMA-s/64.htm
    Joe Smith
     
  23. For backpacking, every step means sweat and a breath. Get a handful of memory cards, and deal with problems like copying and editing when you get back home. It would probably help to somehow number or label the cards, so you don't get them mixed up. There's probably some quick-check procedure that you can use. Since you will probably get tired and easily confused, I would just make it a policy not to format any cards while out there.
    I know that it may take a little more self-confidence to wait, but work-wise, it'll be the best solution. If this was a car and a hotel room type of trip, the laptop would be a good answer. Since laptop means another 5 to 7 pounds, it's not a good choice. Meanwhile, go light, handful of cards, and you can check or see what you've got using that LCD viewfinder. If you have to print or export for some strange reason, bring along the cable; there might be someone along the way there or back who could help you out with a quick 15 minute download copy if you need it. Everything else can wait until you get back home.
     
  24. I'd recommend reducing the amount of stuff you take with you.
    When we went on vacation to BC I took my laptop to store images. I travel a lot for work and having the laptop on vacation and staying in hotels felt like a work trip and it wasn't relaxing. Also managing a lot of power cords and chargers was frustrating.
    When we went to Greece, I bought several high capacity CF cards and did not take the laptop. I sold the extra cards when I returned to recoop my investment in the cards. I only took one charger for the camera battery and bought AA batteries for the flash. This was a very relaxing and enjoyable trip.
     
  25. On my last trip out west, I car camped w/ a laptop along. Watching a slide show each night around the camp fire was great. But backpacking is another story. A lap top would indeed be dead weight,IMHO. I'm also of the opinion that carrying lots of memory is the simply solution.
     
  26. I was just thinking a laptop would be about as useful out there as a nine pound bowling ball, if you're going on the kind of trip I think you're going on. I see others concur about ditch the laptop. Handful of memory cards and a set of spare batteries.
    I wanted to say, also, that I recommend being familiar enough with your camera's functions to pick settings that conserve electricity. Like, there's a function on my K200D that lets me turn off the "automatic playback" on the LCD monitor. I know I just said to use the LCD, but I mean, occasionally. I keep my auto-playback turned off. Use the button. That little automatic picture that comes up after you make a shot; turn that off. Unnecessary electricity use.
    If you put it in the pack, maybe pull batteries or reverse polarity; keep the camera from turning on when it's not wanted. On my K200D, there's another setting that lets a user pick the "automatic off" time. You set the time, and when the buttons aren't being pushed, the camera goes to sleep. Use one of those. May have to surf around in the menus to find it.
    Also, some types of file settings may tend to consume more electricity than others. Know your stuff, flip through the manual, and pick some electrical settings that make sense for your plan. You don't want to get five feet from the summit of the Matterhorn and get one of those annoying "Battery Low" warnings.
     
  27. I carry a Hyper Drive Space for that. And when I get the chance, go to a cybercafe, and burn the data to DVD for backup. If I had a driving license and had a car, maybe. But for trips where I hoof it, my hyper drive goes.
    Alvin
    PS: If I were in your case, and if it were an important trip with no outside backup opportunities, I may actually bring two portable storage devices with me....
     
  28. I carry
    I carry a laptop with me for one simple reason: so I can dowload and look at the photos (looking at them on even the best camera LCD monitor is not going to give you an accurate representation) and go back and redo the shot if necessary. I leave the laptop in the hotel room and download at the end of the day.
     
  29. "I leave the laptop in the hotel room" - this could invite troubles...
     
  30. I just returned from 16 days in Europe SANS laptop, took over 6,000 pictures. Since many were "snapshots" i did not use raw all the time. i have my d90 function button set to convert to Raw+fine when pressed and i used it when i know i was going to have some difficult shots and no time to compose, tweak and adjust (we were in a tour and they would not wait for the perfect setup i have no idea why!) i brought 12 cards totaling 70 gig or so and came home with one card empty. multiple cards are also a safeguard if one goes bad you only lose the pics on that one card. Bring 2 or 3 batteries. i had 3 and kept one charging and carried an extra with me at all times. You mention cold. Batteries don't like cold, bring more or keep them close to your body. maybe a solar charger would be a good idea. I have seem them built into backpacks or maybe just attached to one. Have fun. show us the pics. :)
     
  31. Some of the new netbooks are tiny and can be had for a couple of hundred dollars. Sure beats what they are asking for the photo backup devices. Some of them will even run photoshop.

    It might be worth looking into.

    As far as protecting the netbook, OP/TECH makes a tight-fitting Neoprene case for laptops , the same stuff as diving suits are made out of. You could put it in one of those and put it in your backpack, and it would probably travel fine.
     
  32. Don't worry about the notebook.
    I see this all the time, someone is so worried about photo equipment that they make life miserable while seeking the photo. Backpacking with a laptop would suck.
    Take more than what you will need (Memory card wise). Keep your cards at 2GB size, if you were to lose or damage ... you'd lose only a fration of the total. Take protective packaging for the cards. HAVE A BLAST.
    One thing you'll hate is not being able to see the results til later. If the D90 can play photos on TV ... try this until you get back, if you'll have access to a TV.
     
  33. You guys are awesome! So many thoughts, so many views, and each one has its merit!
    This is a 2 week trip - I'll probably just take lots of mem cards. Shoot only RAW. And come back and see them. I'll miss not seeing them the same day though.
    Thanks again to everyone!
     
  34. Try the Epson P5000 or a mini-HP with card reader, both very useful and very light.
     

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