Portable Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by phil_burt, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. I am in the planning mode for a trip to the Grand Canyon this next spring. I can of course buy several SD cards (I have a Nikon d90) but I am wondering about a portable hard drive that will read the card and store the photos without the use of a computer. I want to avoid bringing a computer with me.
    Any suggestions?
    Thank you in advance for reading and answering if you do have an opinion,
    phil b
    benton, ky
  2. I've been looking for one of these for a trip I'm taking to Italy next year. I think I'm going to go with the 40gb Epson P-3000. It's not that cheap ($350 at amazon.com), but it's gotten a lot of good reviews. Also with it being able to play back the pictures, including RAW files, the people I'm going with can check out the pictures with out having to handle and pass around my camera. Hope this helps.
  3. The only issue I see with these devices is the capacity and inability to back up your work--burn DVD's or transfer to another HD.
    I just finished a 32 day trip and came back with 200gb's of files. I carried a couple of 250gb hard drives with me, with the computer, and bought a 2tb while on the road. I was close enough after 2-1/2 weeks that I was worried I would run out of space. So, I guess back up and capacity are issues each has to deal with, but I do agree it is a pain to drag around your PC everywhere. On the other hand, I use mine almost every day in any case, so it would come along regardless.
    Backpacking would be another story, to be sure.
  4. Hi Phil, I was going to suggest the same as Bryan. Get one of the Epson P devices. If you're going to shoot RAW, you'll want either the 6000 or 7000 unit. If you just shoot JPEG, in any resolution and size, the 3000 should have plenty of space. I will likely get one of these for my next trip.
    If you have time, hit Bryce and Zion. Neither are too far a drive if you're at the north rim.
  5. I use a Hyperdrive Space. The lcd only display controls for the device, you won't be able to preview your shots. I use it when I'm shooting for a few days out in the field without computer support. Relatively inexpensive.
  6. I bring a laptop onto which I store all my shots. 40GB would not be enough space for me on a trip to Italy. But I know some of the Epson you can actually exchange the HD on for a larger one.
  7. $350 for a Epson image tank seems a lot of money to me. I think you can better buy a Netbook and a usb HDD. Now you can make a backup and you have a nice screen to look to your pics.
  8. Do a search for card reader hdd, I saw a 250 gb for $169 at Adorama.
  9. I would agree with Alvin, the Hyperdrives, for backup-only are a much better value than the Epson units, as the latter have more "consumer" features, such as preview, playback, etc...that you do not need if you JUST want to back-up. MS
  10. SD cards are relatively cheap, take very little space and are less likely to fail if dropped. I would trust several 16 gig cards before I would trust a 250 gig drive. Of course, even on a once-in-a-lifetime trip I rough edit as I go. I can't imagine any trip where I would shoot more that 40 gigs of photos--even shooting raw.
  11. 40GB wouldn't nearly be enough space for me - I filled 60GB on a recent 1 week trip in the Eastern Sierra and to the air show in Miramar. Would have been more than 80GB, had I not missed the air show in San Francisco.
    To me, these Epson viewers are way overpriced. The 160GB version costs $725! For that amount, I can purchase a netbook (that is usable for other things as well) and two 320 GB notebook drives; I would then have more space and two backups instead of one. OK, the size of a netbook and two drives is 2-3x that of an Epson viewer - but it is also 2-3x as useful.
    Any backup device that does not allow to view the images afterwards is useless to me - I would not delete the images from my CF cards if I wasn't certain that I have them backed up safely.
    When I started with digital, I purchased two of those card-reading hard drive enclosures. Not only is their capacity too low, they also turned out to be battery hogs and work very slow - copying one 4GB card would almost completely drain the battery.
  12. I agree with Dieter - for the cost of one of the Epson devices you could get a Netbook and two portable 320 GB HDD's. You could probably even do some editing with the Netbook although I imagine the speed would be painful. On the other hand the Netbook has a much larger screen for viewing your images than the little Epson devices.
  13. i'm using an acer aspire one netbook to type this... it's got a 160gb HDD, SD card slots, and i connect a portable USB drive to it. (my cameras take CF cards, so i carry a reader, too.) it works well for me in a travel situation, although i wouldn't want to carry it all the time. it's waaaaay cheaper than those epson devices, and pretty small and light, considering. i use ViewNX for reviewing (and weeding out) RAW images, but it honestly isn't up to the task of editing. if you really don't want to carry a computer, however, just stick with your SD cards.
  14. Keep in mind that this takes older IDE drives, but it is a low cost solution:
    You can find, up to 320gb IDE drives.
  15. I used to have a hyperdrive, and man do I miss that thing. I highly reccomend them. If I hadn't destroyed the connection swapping out hard drives, it would be still in service today.
  16. On my trip to Canada I took along a Nextodi Extreme drive. http://www.nextodi.com/en/product/eXtreme_en.html
    It doesn´t have a screen, which I didn´t need since my D700's screen is great anyway, but has a LCD screen that gives you all the info that you need. Furthermore, it can be bought in several capacity sizes. Trust me, 40 gb is nothing in terms of size. If you're a fanatic, you will fill that up in short time, and then what?
    You can even choose to fit in any 2,5" HDD. And yes, that includes a Solid State drive if you want the safest option. It connects with your PC using USB2 or eSata - for serious speed, and has a multi-slot entry.
    It worked flawlessly!
    I spent several hours surfing on the web for a decent memory tank, and I believe this is a very good deal.
  17. The Sanho Hyperdrives are fantastic! I have a Hyperdrive Colorspace with an 80gb hard drive in it and I love it. I took it to Alaska for a 2 week trip and backed up my cards, my wife's cards, my inlaw's cards, and my dad's video and it worked flawlessly. The battery life on these units is far better than any other drive out there and I'm getting 15mb per second transfer speed with CF cards and about the same with SD cards. The Colorspace will transfer 120gb per charge while other units will only transfer 5 or 10 gigs. I have no complaints about the hyperdrive and you can always upgrade the hard drive if you want to--all of the programming is on the circuit board. I'm sure they have newer models, but the Colorspace has a preview and will read raw files so you can double check that the transfer is successful. A little known feature with these units is that you can verify your cards authenticity and fix bad sectors on the card with built in utilities.
    One other thing I almost forgot--the battery is replaceable and is an easy to find 7.2v lithium battery in case you ever wear it out.
  18. This is an area that I've done a lot of trial and error on over the years. I agree that carrying along a laptop is inconvenient (and doesn't have the storage space of a lot of the portable/handheld hard drive viewers if you don't also carry portable hard drives). If you plan to do some editing (other than deleting) on the go then by all means, a laptop is essential, but if not why take it.
    A few years back I bought an Epson P-3000. I loved it at first, but then it failed on me (of course, this is possible with any hard drive, but it was enough for me to get rid of it, especially because as others have noted, it is way over priced compared to the competition). Some might say that there isn't any competition. Certainly the Epson seems to have the best screen but the screen on the Hyperdrive Colorsapce UDMA isn't bad at all and quite sufficient for checking photos and deleting obvious rejects on the fly. It's also faster than the Epson (at least the P-3000 series) at downloading images. And it works with raw images. Price wise the two aren't even close, which brings me to my next point.
    I've lost images in the past from an entire trip and now I do all I can so it won't happen again. So for about the price of one Epson I can get two of the Colorspace units and keep one in my suitcase and one in my backpack just to be safe. I also keep a copy of everything on multiple 16 gig memory cards. As for worrying about running out of space, this is another area where the HyperDrive (and other units like the Joba) have the Epson beat. I believe that the Epsons only go up to 120 gigs whereas the others come in 500 gig sizes. I don't think I would ever need much more than 120 gigs for one trip but you never know.
    Bottom line, if I had money to burn and only needed up to 120 gigs, the Epson is probably the best unit, but for much less money I can get the faster downloading Colorspace HyperDrive UDMA which has a nice color screen to preview and edit raw images.
  19. Get one of these minilaptops and then a USB-powered portable external hard drive. This way you can verify that nothing has gone wrong with the photography and make a backup on the external drive. If you rely on a single hard drive for storage without having either a flash card backup (SD in your case) or a second hard drive, you're inviting massive disaster. Hard drives have problems and you could lose all your work in an instant if you keep just one copy.
  20. Just returned from three weeks in London, Israel and Amsterdam and used my Acer Aspire One for the first time. Solved all my portable storage problems and was able to view them on a decent screen. The downside? Although small, the AAO was a bit heavier and took up more space than expected in my backpack (I never put equipment in checked luggage). Much less than a laptop but still.... Also had to bring a card reader to download the cards. Then again, the AAO allowed for Internet connectivity.
    The Hyperdrives that Zach and John referred to seem like a good option. Card reader and storage in a contained unit. I may have to check them out before my next trip.
    I'd say if Internet connectivity is important, get a netbook. If you don't care about getting online, go for the Hyperdrives.
  21. For $350, you can buy a light, portable ePC with 8 hr battery life and a 300G Hdisk for photo storage. Side benefit: you can use it for your email, browsing, and uploading photos to backup storage. It even runs you favorite image catalog and manipulation software. Downside is a small screen.
  22. John H -- I definitely agree that netbooks are much more flexible but as I said, they are also heavier and bigger. It's all relative of course, just something to consider when packing an already full load.
  23. I use both a netbook (Acer Aspire One) and a Wolverine MVP (120GB).
    The Wolverine allows me to backup CF, SD and xD cards and acts as a USB drive as well.It is about the size of narrow paper back book.
    The netbook with an external DVD burner is used to browse and perform light editing of images and to burn DVDs of images. The DVDs are my backup of what is on the Wolverine and Netbook.
    It is possible to do light editing using Picasa 3 on my netbook. (It handles my RAW images and JPGs just fine.)
    The netbook with an extended battery and external DVD drive cost me about $350 US.
    Have fun.
  24. Another vote here for the netbook & portable HDD strategy.
    I did the "trip of a lifetime" this year - 15 days from San Fransico - G Canyon - Vegas then home.
    I used my daughters netbook (acer Aspire one) which has a 120gb HDD. Took a card reader and each night backup up to the netbook hdd and then to a small and compact portable hdd Western digital 320gb. Both are small and easily manageable compared to the two bodies, 6 lenses and other "stuff" I carried in my backpack.
    I took 8,000 raw images (betweeen 8gb and 13gb each). All worked fine save for about 30 images I lost taken from top of Hoover Dam. I can only guess I screwed up the data transfer. So TAKE great CARE when you are backing this all up at night in the hotel room. Preferable to do this BEFORE the bottle of wine is empty....!
    As others said benefit of Netbook is internet access, "big" screen to review pics on, and you could do it for $400 at todays prices - much more flexible than a 40gb dedicated machine.
    good luck - let us know your decision....
  25. Since many years I'm testing different portable hard drives. There are so many models and types.
    The really best are the hyperdrives. But even at the hyperdrives there are big differences!
    The only two I can advice are: "Hyperdrive Space". with 320 GB space. One akku charge will give you the possibility of a download for 120 GB! Switch of the download control and set speed on "hyper"!
    I use it since 3 years now and it saved me more than 200'000 photos!
    Downloadspedd 2 GB from a CF card 2minutes.
    The second I can advice is "Hyperdrive SpaceUDMA", the new one.
    It is the modell with a color display, where you can watch your photos.
    The downloadspeed of 2GB is only 1 minute from a CF card!
    I Advice the Hyperdrive Space UDMA with 500GB hard drive.
    The most vallue ist definetly the Hyperdrie Space!
    I sold more than 380 of that portable harddrive without any bad report!

  26. Phil has stated that he wants to avoid bringing a computer and is looking for advice on portable hard drives/viewers. The portable hard drives by Sanho, Jobo, etc. come in bigger storage capacity sizes than the average netbook or even notebook computers (without also bringing some sort of additional external hard drive). 40 gigs is on the low end for the portable viewer devices. They go up to 500 gigs and are small (about 5 x 3 x 1 inches). I'm assuming that he either isn't concerned with internet connectivity, or has a phone that handles that need, and doesn't need to edit images while away and view them on a large screen. My vote on the portable stand alone devices is Sanho HyperDrive Colorspace UDMA (which come in 120 to 500 gig sizes). It seems several other people like these devices as well. The well reviewed Epsons are nice but way more expensive.
  27. I use one of the Epsons, and I think it's great. The screen is very good, and it allows you to stop worrying about deleting bad pictures on the camera. That situation also means that if you delete one and then decide that doing that was a mistake, you can download it from the chip again. The battery lasts a long time, and the data transfer seems reallly fast. You can also get a car charger. Epson sent me this accessory free.
  28. Of course a device which is only a hard drive and doesn't have a keyboard or large display will be smaller than a notebook of similar capacity, but does it allow you to make redundant backups? If not, then it's extremely risky unless you are only using it as a backup and keep the images also on the flash cards. Hard drives can fail from day one till they've been used for days and I would never ever rely on a single hard drive as the sole medium for storing images. So at least get two of those portable viewers and make the redundant copies.
  29. I would suggest a couple of 8 GB Pen Drives and a laptop. Cheap and easy to carry (Errr.. the Pen Drives)
  30. I have used one of the older Hyperdrive units (HD-80) for years with great success. It's battery life is outstanding and I can't imagine the newer ones are worse. I have used it on trips to the developing world where battery charging isn't always an option and good high-capacity rechargables lasted for weeks of downloads.
    For trips where I will be in civilization and have the option to plug in I've started taking along a Netbook (HP Mini) and card reader since it offers net access and other "regular" computer functions in addition to backup capacity for about the same price.
  31. I have a hyperdrive unit and it works well. I also took a netbook and portable HD on a recent trip to Africa, and there were no problems.
    I woldn't count on burining to CD oe DVD if you wnat to make a long term backup. I have some home-burned CD;s that went south in less than two years.
    Bill pearce
  32. I have a hyperdrive unit and it works well. I also took a netbook and portable HD on a recent trip to Africa, and there were no problems.
    I woldn't count on burining to CD oe DVD if you wnat to make a long term backup. I have some home-burned CD;s that went south in less than two years.
    Bill pearce
  33. Buy a laptop, not necessairly an expensive one.
    Buy a partable hard drive.
    Buy enough cards to cover as many photos you will think you will take. So you do not have to erase images while on your trip.
    Buy a waterproof cases to hold your SD cards...one for unused cards kept in your camera bag...one for cards as you nearly fill them.
    When I did this, I used basically one card per day, copied it to the laptop, and backed that up to a hard drive, daily. I then "retired" the used cards to the waterproof case and kept it securely in a shirt pocket. The had drive was kept in my camera case and the laptop in the locked luggage bad back in the motel. Had that been stolen I still would have had a copy on the portable hard drive, in addition to the memory card still with the image. Thoughts were to carry the laptop in my photo backpack but that was too heavy when hking up mountains.
    I did not want to cary a laptop on the trip but tultimately glad I did so. I could check images daily as my son and I took them, in addition to mailing a few images back home for my wife to see. But we were fortunate to find a place with wireless internet to do that. One mistake was not thinking of or taking an adapter in order to plug the power supply into a two-prong outlet. All the outlets were two prong in the motel except for one. So we lucked out there.
  34. I am not a professional photographer but I second Ilkka on this - I would never rely on a single backup. So either one backup device and keeping the cards (that can get quite expensive really quick and is only an option with either large cards (which I don't use either for the "don't put all your eggs in one basket" reason) or up to a certain GB limit. The hyperdrives seem to be more reasonably priced than the Epsons - though two at 500GB still cost a cool $1000. Two 500GB notebooks cost about one-fifth of that and are about the same size (a bit smaller actually). A netbook adds about 2-3 pounds to that. Unless backpacking, this really shouldn't be an issue. I usually have enough cards to last me a day in the field, and then backup in the evening in the tent/motel - the notebook and the drives don't need to be with me during the day.
  35. Dieter mentioned that "two 500GB notebooks cost about one-fifth" the cost of two HyperDrives. Only if you buy them off the back of a truck somewhere. The cheapest 500gig notebook I can find is $600 and most with that amount of capacity are in the $800 to $1,000 range. He also commented that a notebook is "about the same size or a bit smaller" than a hyperdrive. A 500 gig hyperdrive is 5 inches by 3 inches by an inch. A 500 gig notebook is 15 inches by 10 inches by 1.5.
  36. Sorry, typo - I meant to state 500GB notebook hard drives . Should have become clear from the context though - as I mention in the following sentence an "added netbook". It obviously makes no sense to purchase two notebooks and then add a netbook. My apologies nonetheless, shouldn't type faster than the brain can think.
    So to be clear this time around, a 500GB notebook hard drive is around $100 and about the same size as a hyperdrive (smaller actually). A netbook costs around $300-400 and weighs in at around 2.5lbs (I omit the power supply since that one needs to be carried with the hyperdrive or Epson viewers as well) - the size is around 10.5-12" - about the size of the notebook drives side-by-side. The size of the netbook's hard drive is irrelevant since it doesn't participate in the backup scheme - that's what the two external drives are for - though the internal one if large enough can provide additional redundancy.
    I can see that a hyperdrive might be more convenient if backup in the field is required - for me that has never been an issue as I carry enough cards for one day of shooting - backing them up in the evening. Of course there is a small risk that a card gets damaged or lost during the day - but I figure that cards usually fail while in the camera and I store my cards in hard cases - when I need a new one, the one from the camera takes its place in the case (and no, I have never mixed them up new and used ones). So, I don't have an urgent need to carry my backup solution with me at all times, maximizing portability and minimizing weight hence aren't that important to me. YMMV.
  37. If you are at all worried about dropping this equipment or maintaining it in a dusty gritty environment, please consider a solid state drive. That's what NASA puts in space - solid state. That means no spinning parts to harm, no places for dust & grime to jam up. They are becoming affordable, and they are practically bulletproof. It's what I would want to use in the field.
  38. I like the netbooks better. I tried one of those handheld readers and it was way too slow for my Canon 5D Mark II files. I guess they are not UltraDMA capable yet. I use a small 3.5" external drive on mine so that I don't have to transfer again when I get home to my main computer. Don't like long transfer to Card Reader then another transfer to computer before ai can burn a CD. With a netbook I can do some editing, print or burn CD on the spot.
  39. I've just checked out and Bhphoto has 8Gb Sandisk Extreme III SD @ 55$. With 220$ you'll get 32GB of space in a very tiny format, i.e. no additional weight to carry around.
    Finally if you're running out of space you can always delete the bad shots: I really don't think you (me, everybody of us) can shot 32 Gb of photos (means about 2700 shots in RAW) and all of them are worth a print or to be post here on Photo.net.
    By the way I've two 4GB Sandisk CF cards for my D300, and by now it's enough. If needed for a trip I'll sure consider to buy an 8GB or more card but not something bigger and heavier.
  40. While I have a Hyperdrive Space and a Nexto Extreme unit for backup and am very satisfied with them, I would probably go with a netbook solution these days, since they're way more versatile (e-mail, etc). On the other hand, the netbook is still significantly bigger than the Hyperdrive or Nexto. Personally, I would not chose the Epson or Giga Vue units, I think they are way overpriced for what they can do, but of course your mileage may vary.
    Have a nice trip,
  41. bmm


    Another user happy with the Sanho Hyperdrive Colorspace. I don't use the unit frequently, but when I do go on a long trip and don't want to take my PC it is a god-send.
    However I do think that the latest generation of small netbooks will soon make these obsolete.
    I also can't help but think that, these days, buying say 10 or so 8GB/16GB cards is not so expensive and very, very light and small compared to any of the above devices.
  42. The last 1 terabyte drive I owned was a Sun disk array system the size of a fridge, used 3 phase power and cost $1m 1998. My daughter just bought one the size of a book for $150. And this is just for photos? What wasteful technology.
  43. I also recommend the Hyperdrive. I have the older model, the HD 80. If you shoot RAW, 80 GB is not big enough for a long trip. I would buy the largest GB you can afford especially if you shoot RAW. Ideally, you should have two of them, or one of them plus a laptop with an external hard drive. You should always have two copies of each image in case there is a drive failure, loss of a drive, etc.
    Joe Smith
  44. Ilkka said:
    "If you rely on a single hard drive for storage without having either a flash card backup (SD in your case) or a second hard drive, you're inviting massive disaster. Hard drives have problems and you could lose all your work in an instant if you keep just one copy."

    Absolutely. Last time I looked at these dedicated back up devices, I was amazed that none of them offered the simple and indispensible attribute of being able to attach a cheap usb external drive so that you have a second copy of the data. Obviously there are power consumption issues if the external drive's usb-powered, but without a second copy of the data, a single "backup" device is close to useless - unless you're someone who trusts hardware never to fail, which could only apply to someone who hasn't used much hardware.
  45. Be well Aware...I have the misfortune to own both Epson-2000 & an Epson-4000, and they only read normal "old" SD card's..they cannott read the new style SDHC (high capacity) card's...the resolution of the Epson's is unequalled..the colour is stunning. However, both of these units read Extreme4 CF cards just fine...but high capacity sd cards are a no no...ok?
    I have just purchased the Samsung N140 notepad...160GB, 11 hours battery life, 10" screen & only 1.2kg in weight...you dont even know you'r carying it, and for luck it has bluetooth and an SD card slot...google it & see for yourself. In South Africa it cost R4000-00, which would be, I beleive in $'s about $350 to $400

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