Thursday, 9 May 2013

Backup Options for the Traveling Photographer

My Nexus 7 and Nikon D600.

I was going to write about the Fuji X100s today but I'm going to hold off. Instead, I'm going to talk about a problem I ran into when planning for this trip and offer some potential solutions.

RAW files from modern high megapixel cameras like the Nikon D600 come in at around 25-30 megabytes. That's a lot of data for one image. Put another way, using an 8 GB card, that's only around 150 snaps of that delicious tapas you stuffed your face with. Not a problem if you're a short drive away from home and have a computer waiting. But what if you're 8,000 km removed from your abode and have no intention of lugging around a heavy laptop? Luckily for the click-happy photographer, options abound:

1. Buy more cards. Perhaps the simplest solution and reasonably cost effective depending on the brand and type of card. Unfortunately, I don't do simple. I ruled this out since I feel it a waste to buy a bunch of 16 and 32 GB cards knowing I would likely never use them again. I tend not to use large cards anyway. Seems to me, putting all your images on one card is inviting disaster.

2. Use online backup and storage services. This could work if you are travelling in an area with good internet access. Putting aside the issue of finding a suitable and affordable storage site (Dropbox will give you 500 GB of room for around $50.00 a month), the hassle of overseeing the upload is not something I'd want to deal with. Remember, we're talking about gigabytes of data here and I have no idea what the internet in the different Spanish hotels will be like. Next!

3. Find an internet cafe and use a computer to burn CDs. No. Just no.

4. Buy one of those photo storage devices with a preview screen. Way too much money for a device that will get extremely limited use.

5. Use a tablet and a combination of memory sticks or an external hard drive. Now we're getting somewhere. I own a Nexus 7 and have discovered that combined with a few apps, a memory card reader, an OTG cable, and an external hard drive, the tablet makes for the perfect backup and storage solution for my travel photos.

Next week I'll outline the details of how to get photos from your camera into an external hard drive using a tablet. 

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