Nikon D800e travel back up workflow

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by peter_macejka|1, May 26, 2014.

  1. I have just purchased a D800e and I'm looking for a current back up strategy for travel.
    Can you give me your opinion of the following workflow or suggest another?

    I plan on shooting raw + JPEG with the intention of viewing jpegs on an ipad while travelling.
    Store raw files on 16gb CF cards and jpegs on 32gb SD card so it can be used on ipad sd reader. (I have read the ipad doesn't accept
    cards above 32gb)
    Backing up the raw files from CF card to 64gb SD cards in camera in the evening or when needed. (Reasoning is SD cards are a lot
    cheaper then equivalent CF cards)

    If this is a viable workflow, do I need the fastest SD cards out there or is something slower still workable?

  2. Peter, It sounds like your going to be paying for numerous CF and SD cards, if your shooting a lot. But it should work. With the D800e you need significant dedicated storage. My method while on the road is that I always back up with a PC note book with flash hard drive storage and then move my files immediately to two external terabyte hard drives before I reformat my cards for the next days shoot. I am using the fastest Lexar 32gb CF and SD cards available but if you don't need the speed then the less expensive but very reliable slower cards will do the trick for bulk storage. I only use my iPad for viewing and prefer the utility of a PC note book in my hotel room for moving files around. I am sure that if you have mastered the iPad then your method will work fine. This past week here in DC I shot a funeral for a friend at Arlington national Cemetery with my D800e and D3s in RAW and Fine JPEG mode. The CF card in The D3s and the CF and SD in the D800e were set as back up mirror images of each other. I sorted the JPEGS out on my PC and printed 20 for my colleague to share along with JPEG discs for family members who were leaving town a day later. I have always been a pure RAW shooter but was very happy with the JPEG results from the D800e. Your strategy should probably work fine.
  3. Too complicated if you aren't shooting action.
    Multiple cards, shoot raw and jpg to the same card, backup periodically, fill cards, go to next step.
    traveling with a laptop and external hard drive (and "cloud" backup) even better.
  4. pge


    Peter M, I wasn`t clear from your posting if you were shooting jpegs just to be able to read them on your iPad, so just in case you didn`t know, your iPad will accept raw files from your D800 for viewing.
  5. Regarding the card speed thing, one word of warning: the D800 (unless the latest BISO update has fixed it and I haven't noticed) locks up after taking a live view shot until the result is written to card(s) - there's no buffer as there is with viewfinder shooting. If you are taking critical shots for which you're worried about focus (which doesn't seem to be an issue at all with my 200 f/2 but has been a major issue with my 35mm Sigma - until I get around to reprogramming it with the dock) then you might want to bear this in mind.
    The price of the fastest cards has reassuringly come down a bit since I got my D800, but I still have a couple of fast cards for when I'm doing action shooting or doing a lot of live view, and some cheaper cards for when I run out of space.
    You might like to bear in mind an Eye-Fi if you're planning to back up in travel anyway. They're not massively fast, but they can be getting on with the back-up while you're shooting.
    For what it's worth, I, too, tend to put JPEGs on the SD card and raw on the CF card, just for speed reasons (though there's not that much in it with fast cards). Even on my D700 I'd shoot raw + JPEG, just because I sometimes need a JPEG for convenience in a hurry, but I use raw as my main workflow.
  6. Copying from one card to another using the D800 isn't the swiftest of exercises. 2GB of files took me around 5 minutes to transfer from CF to SD. So a full 16GB card would take 35 to 40 minutes in my estimation, and will obviously use battery power continuously in the process. You'll probably also want to recharge the camera battery overnight, or better yet carry one or two spare batteries.
    However, a 64GB SD card will hold roughly 1000 RAW+JPEGs. That's quite a lot of shooting in one day for the average tourist. Unless you never take your eye away from the camera long enough to actually enjoy the trip!
    PS. No Andrew, the new firmware update doesn't make Live View shooting any quicker. :-{
  7. Test out your RAW + JPEG settings before you begin your trip. You have to make a selection setting in a Custom Setting to get the JPEG on the right card. And for the camera to take both RAW and JPEG you have to set this too, either on the Menu or or on the QUAL wheel. The first time I tried to take both RAW and JPEG I forgot the last step.
    I believe in tripple backups. I use a Hyperdrive and download my cards to it as well as to a laptop with an external hard drive.
    Joe Smith
  8. I would recommend at least a 32GB CF card for RAW images. The 16GB will fill up way too fast especially in action shoots or if you bracket a lot.
    Check Adorama, they have a great sale on Lexar cards this weekend.
    Otherwise I have my D800 set the way you want to set yours with the same purpose of using the jpeg files (from the SD card) for backup and for iPad reviewing. It works fine.
  9. I always shoot with my cards in backup mode. Based on the importance of the trip/shoot, I then download them to my laptop at the end of the day. From there I transfer to an external drive for later transfer to my desktop at home. I also have a high capacity fast (for a flash drive) USB flash drive that I use on some occasions. I never erase the original cards until my files are on at least three separate devices. When flying, all of these backup devices are with me in my carry-on along with my camera gear. As an added precaution when traveling I also upload the really important shots to my website just in case. A lot of work? Probably. But when it is a once in a lifetime trip or something similarly as important you can't have too many backups in my opinion.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Backing up the raw files from CF card to 64gb SD cards in camera in the evening or when needed.​
    That is a very risky approach, waiting for some bad things to happen.
    When I back up, I always use a computer and do some spot checks afterwards. E.g., I always verify that there are the same number of files in the source and in the backup and they occupy the same amount of disk space. And usually I open a couple of files to check the content.
    Since you are serious enough about your photography to get a D800E, I would suggest traveling with a small laptop computer instead of only an i-Pad. Additionally, in these days even 64G CF cards are not that expensive. Recently I bought a 64G, 800X Lexar CF card for about $100. I don't know how much you are going to shoot when you travel, but 2, 3 of those cards should be able to hold 3000 to 5000 14-bit, lossy compressed RAW from the D800 with no dependency on backup.
    If your images are critical to you, I would should RAW only in the backup mode and use a computer to backup. If they are not so critical, I would buy enough CF cards to hold everything for the trip and use SD for viewing on the iPad.
    One way or another, keep the number of memory cards small. One of the worst advices that pop up on these forums often is to buy many small-capacity cards so that you won't put all your eggs in one basket. I have shot digital for 12 years and have never lose all images on any one memory card due to electronic failures. At the most I have gotten a few corrupted images. However, I have misplaced cards, at home and on trips. Once a card is lost, there is no chance to recover any images on it. The last thing you want on any travel is juggling a lot of memory cards. In particular, I find SD cards very easy to lose due to their small physical size.
  11. Thanks for all your responses, sorry for delay in responding. I'm in Australia, it's just after 6am now.

    I agree that multiple backups onto laptop and external hard drives is better than just my work flow, but I was trying to keep
    the weight and bulk down for backpacking.
    Phil, yes the jpegs were mainly to view on ipad and not for backup. I only have the 16gb ipad air, so could I view the raw
    files without downloading them onto the ipad? Otherwise I don't think I'll have the space.

    Rodeo joe, thanks for the warning of how long it would take to backup in camera, something to consider. I have 5 spare
    batteries from my d7000 that was stolen, so hopefully not an issue.

    I also like the idea of cloud storage, but how long would that take even if I had my laptop? I could maybe just upload my

    Thanks again, I will re read your answers when I'm at work (in my break of course) :)
    I'll try and respond to the few things I have missed
  12. If it were my choice, I would not waste space on the JPEG, nor would I carry the weight of an iPad as it will be of very little value to you for pictures (I take one, but only for reading). I would shoot with 64GB CF and SD cards with the RAW files on each card. Once full, I remove both cards and put new ones in. Store the full cards in two different locations that are safe. Depending on how and what you are going to shoot, I would take enough cards. On my trip to Africa and Peru, I took about 400 GB of pictures/video, but if you are hiking/backpacking, you might not take nearly that much.
    If you are planning on video, at least on the D800, the video is only written to one of the two cards, so that might be a serious issue.
    At least where I have gone, internet access (i.e., cloud of any type) is terrible, unreliable and I would never include it as a strategy to protect my pictures, UNLESS, I was highly confident in its availability and performance.
    In reality, when I travel, I take my laptop and two WD passport drives. One drive is partitioned to contain a bootable copy of my laptop plus 1.5 GB of back up storage. The second WD drive is primary storage. Once loaded (I use Aperture to load and rename the files), I immediately back it up to the 1.5 GB of backup storage. On the laptop, I would have two or three card rescue programs, just in case. I figure that if I have spent many hours planning a trip and mucho $$$ to get there, why take the risk of loosing it all.
    BUT I also have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) as it comes to my pictures.
  13. I take one camera and only 2 cards, and they aren't very big: CF Sandisk Extreme Pro 32gig; and SD Sandisk Extreme Pro 16gig.
    I also take my 11 inch (small) MacBook Air and download the day's shots in the evening.
    I shoot raw only, no back up, on the CF card and overflow to the SD card.
    Perhaps I'm taking too much of a risk, but I trust this equipment. It would be different if I was shooting professionally.

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