Fake it ’til you make it!0
neil posted in Travel on July 28th, 2009
neil posted in Travel on July 26th, 2009
I have a book!0
neil posted in Travel on July 24th, 2009
Portable photo backup/storage0
neil posted in Neil, phototech on July 11th, 2009
The requirement for a portable backup device depends on its intended use. Different photographers work in different ways in different environments, which is why there is no single solution. This is an attempt to categorise the way people shoot and the backup device I would use in each case. The assumption has been made here that bandwidth limitations preclude uploading to a backup at home. As things stand I can see two or three distinct categories for which a different device would be appropriate:
1) Hotel room backups, the backup device can be safely and conveniently stored in a secure location and the time taken to backup the images is’nt as important as the ability to do something with the photos once they have been backed up. For this a laptop with the possible addition of external hard drives would work nicely. This solution would also be valid if the shoot was such that a laptop was small change in terms of bulk and mass compared to the rest of the gear being moved or not a great deal of movement was anticipated in the shooting. This is how Joe McNally, Drew Gardener, Steve Frischling and many others appear to operate.
2) Light hotel room backups, where the hotel is’nt secure and the shoot is mobile and relatively “low kit”, however the ability to get on the internet is more important than absolute minimum weight. It is acceptable, in this situation, to link multiple devices together. This allows the use of a netbook (samsung NC-10, 160GB/£290) and a rugged hard drive (LaCie 500GB/£148), a solution favoured by David Hobby or interestingly, the Archos 5 media player (250GB/£255) which provides a usb host, web browser and netbook size hard drive at a very light weight. The downfall here may well be either battery life or speed of the transfer from the card. On trips when I’m stuck with a computer for non-photo reasons, I travel with a 1kg Dell laptop which has an in-built very slow card reader.
3) On the move backups, which requires a single device with prodigious speed and battery life that can be used while shooting on the move. Backing up in this situation precludes things like cables, a boot process and extensive clicking or button pressing. The ideal here is to put the card into a device and press “go!”. This is the world of the Epson P-7000 (160GB/£538) series which are good kit but extremely expensive (review here) or the Nextto Extreme ND2700 (160GB/£163), which is cheaper and claims the worlds fastest transfer speeds. The compromise being that Nextto does’nt allow for viewing of the images and has an unusual user interface. I use an EPSON P-5000 for backups during weddings and longer sporting events.
I fully expect the technology involved to change quite quickly, certainly the model numbers involved increment endlessly. I think that the “light hotel room” backups solution is the one most likely to change with the advent of new gadgets. If someone could make a smartphone that could manage the transfer of data to a rugged hard drive at night, confirm the transfer and maybe upload selected JPEGs then that would appeal greatly, but thats probably a bit niche!