Photo backup devices for Digital cameras on trips

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by carbon_dragon, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. I'm considering the hard drives with SD Media slots for backing up photos on trips. I'm not sure what to look for. I like the ones with displays but often the user comments aren't complimentary. The ones with no displays are often described as very difficult to use.

    Any opinions on good ones to carry along? Thanks!
  2. I really want to do a few simple manipulations when I travel. I have found that a MacBook Air and a 1 terabyte external USB drive serves me well and adds very little weight or volume to my kit.

    It gives me 1 copy on the original camera card (only when I have filled them all up do I reformat-- I have enough cards to last 1 to 2 weeks)) 1 RAW file on the Air, and both the RAW and jpg file on the HD.

    Of course, I wear a belt AND suspenders.o_O
  3. Most WiFi portable drives also support a smart device app that lets you monitor progress and view images, etc.

    I have a fairly basic 1TB Medion model that was sold on offer by a supermarket chain. It connects to my smartphone and tablet via an app, and offers a lot more options for viewing/transfer/editing than a little LCD screen and a few buttons ever could.

    BTW. I've never managed to get the Near-Field Connection facility working on any of my cameras - with anything. I recommend you set up and test all functions needed before making the trip.

    "Of course, I wear a belt AND suspenders."
    - Mmm, kinky!

    (Suspenders mean something entirely different over here. Which prompts me to ask - what do ladies keep their stockings up with in the US?)
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  4. I take pictures of all of my digital images with a film camera.....
  5. Ah the joys of carrying a bunch of film though airport xrays. Or the fun in finding more on site if you get a little too enthusiastic. All our choices have their own rewards (and penalties). It’s just a matter of what sets of problems you want to handle.
  6. I recommend buying a used beat up 10" "Netbook", back from the Windows 7 "Starter" days or earlier and running Linux Mint on it as the OS. If the battery is (un)dead; just tear it out and leave it at home.
    I'm neither a nerd nor a geek, just your average punk. The advantages I see in a Netbook: It is dirt cheap and undesirable enough to stay in an unattended saddle bag.
    Unlike other devices it will run a USB HUB if needed so you can copy a gazillion cards all night long at once without a need to swap them during each potty break you might take.
    With a real OS like Linux you can handle the oddest file extensions, maybe even run data recovery software in case one of your card bitches and have control full control over what is going on or not. - Standalone card reader drive combos work as they like, if at all and are way more expensive, at least to my knowledge. I would not buy one until I am likely to travel at least for 12 weeks each year.

    In my eyes the Netbooks are ideal for travel. - They serve me well as an infotainment source during rainy days with WIFI access and during mostly offline vacations I can stuff ebooks on them handle a basic music collection type a letter if needed. They really seem worth their tiny bit of extra weight.
  7. I just asked the same questions on a different forum.

    Assumptions: I did not want to travel with a laptop and assume no internet connection for 3-4 weeks (otherwise, the could would have been my first choice).

    I used to have one of those Sanho drives, and I was looking at the WD Wireless Passport Pro. Its utility to me is not worth the price, so I passed.

    In the end, I bought a few additional SD cards (I do not need very fast cards - 80mb/s is good enough for me). The 128gb Sandisk Ultra 80mg/s cards are $30 each on Amazon.

  8. I didn’t mean it that way but that’s a fair interpretation.
    I was making a joke about actually backing up every digital image with a film negative, instead of the usual other way ‘round.
    I’ve been leaving the smileys off lately and that works to broaden the conversation.
  9. I also have these that work well with the iPad Pro for duplication.
    Plug and play 3.0 thumb drive.

    The items in the previous posts allow me to transfer, backup, work in photo software, email and post online from almost anywhere at anytime in a package that will fit in a small bag with my camera.

    And I can talk about how much I like film, online as well.......
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  10. That would certainly be interesting. Even film has its limits though. I bought a book called "The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs" once and it was an interesting read. How some film degrades with light, and others just with time. And some fade where others color shift.
  11. That is the beauty of digital.
    I scanned some color shifted 60’s prints and simply hit “color correct” on a cheap 12 year old Microsoft program and they popped back to new.
    The old print preserved a bridge that digital allowed me to cross into the past.
    I’m a big fan of both.
    carbon_dragon likes this.
  12. For purely backup purposes I bought an earlier model of the present Kingston MobiLite. It sets up as a WiFi hotspot and permits transferring files between an SD card and a USB drive. It's controlled via an App on an iOS or Android device. It also contains enough rechargeable battery capacity to recharge a phone a couple of times. I used it to make backups of raw files from my Canon G15 on a 3 /12 week road trip in 2016. Handily, my iPad Air 2 can import the raw files and display them, as well as control the MobiLite thing (I have a G2, the current one is now a G3.)
  13. questions: The hotspot functionality is just to give iOS devices a chance to control it? Or can you transmit Fuji or Canon files via that route?
    Shooting RAW on CF, JPEGs on SD, for writing speed's sake, I'd be able to save my RAWs which way? - Plugging in an external reader copying CF to SD and that interim SD to an external HDD? or can the device transfer files from an external reader to an external HDD? The MobiLite will power an external HDD? The file shuffleing works on battery or under external power i.e. plugged in too?
    (I'm curious and rather safe than sorry after I failed getting USB OTG stuff working on my late tablet)
  14. As far as I know, the WiFi is strictly a control channel.

    Enh, that sounds beyond what the configuration can handle, Although besides a slightly larger battery -- and USB 3, I think, I'm not sure what, if anything, the G3 offers that my G2 doesn't have. The MobiLite can read/write one SD card and one USB drive, but doesn't backup to internal memory, etc. When I've used it, I've simply copied the contents of an SD card to a USB drive. Some Q&A exchanges on that B&H site seem to indicate on the G3 a USB drive can include SSD and external HDs.

    This whole business of backing up on the road seems quite a moving target. My current laptop is ancient, slow, a crappy display, and has only a 50GB hard drive, but I could run Canon's DPP on it and convert and view raw files. Since I long ago retired I have almost no need beyond personal playtoys to have a fancy laptop, I was curious about raw conversion on the iPad Air series tablets; much smaller, lighter and reasonably adequate for the normal web and email uses on the road. The lightning interface is a bit frustrating, apparently a power issue (at least that's the error report), but a lightning to USB adapter doesn't like USB memory cards, though it can see files on a camera. Then there's an SD to lightning cable that can read SD camera cards. To my slight shock and amazement, plugging the USB ("camera") to lightning adapter into my Canon EOS 40D SLR (with CF card) allowed me to see, and even import with conversion (at around iOS 9.3, IIRC). For some reason this Win7 desktop sees the 40D as a drive but won't let me at the files directly (I normally use the EOS Utility).

    Years back I used to sort of treat memory cards like film and put in a fresh one frequently so if something went wrong with one (or it disappeared) I'd have most of my pix from a long trip. As such, I didn't worry about backups. But now that you can hardly buy an SD card below 16GB, that seems a wasteful procedure.

    (I understand Steve Jobs disagreed, but considering the memory capacity of mobile devices these days, it would sure be nice to have a "real file manager!")
  15. Garter belt. A friend of mine hooked up with a Russian lady who used a Russian/English (as in England) dictionary. They had many misunderstandings! "What did you call it"?
  16. Like Jochen, I have a nasty little old Samsung Netbook with Win 7, and a 1 TB USB drive. There's some room on the computer for some files, and it's able to run a couple of basic programs that are good enough to process files for emails and the like. It's slow and its display is not very good, but it's not awful, and it's been reliable for several years, and the battery even still holds some charge, enough to do some on the road emailing without plugging in. On trips I transfer the files nightly to the USB drive, put at least some earlier ones on the computer, and leave them on the camera cards as well. After downloading the pictures to the drive, I move them to a second folder on the card so copies are not duplicated next time. When a card fills I flip the write tab and store it. Once I get home I transfer the contents of the USB drive to a couple of others, and can then erase the traveling one, so it always has space. I've done this for the last four years, on multiple trips, and it's worked well.

    I've thought of getting a faster and newer computer, but even the smallest ones now available either have ridiculously small memories (i should say drives here) or are just a bit too big for comfort. I wish someone would make a modern equivalent of that netbook, with just a little faster processor and a decent-sized SSD. My current rig fits handily in the back space of a Lowepro 350 backpack, which almost always fits under airplane seats, or a smaller one for places like Africa where space is tighter, and it seems to be robustly made.
  17. I'll just bite the bullet and bring the Macbook Air along. I won't process the images, but it will work to transfer the data to the laptop as a backup. I guess it's silly to buy a whole separate device just for my hotel room. You guys were right to point out that a laptop is probably the better choice (or rather the better choice is what you already have repurposed to what you need).
    Jochen and Moving On like this.
  18. I'm guessing that even a small tablet or smartphone that supports USB-OTG would do the job when coupled with an external USB drive.

    Powering the USB drive might be an issue though. Nobody seems to make small external drives with a power socket anymore, but it wouldn't be rocket-surgery to design a 5V PSU with a USB input/output splitter.
  19. There used to be some USB hubs that used an external power supply. Maybe one of those can be found. They turn up in yard sales and thrift stores and the like from time to time.

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