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Author Topic: Portable backup devices.  (Read 3803 times)
sposch
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« on: March 11, 2006, 12:23:50 PM »
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I'm going on a 6 week trip to Alaska in an RV this summer and am considering purchasing a digital storage device. I would like a portable solution and am leaning toward a battery powered DVD burner such as JOBO's Apacer CP300. This would allow me to stash multiple DVDs and if my equipment were to be stolen I would still have the DVDs with my images. The JOBO CP300 has a small LCD display so image transfer can be confirmed. Other options I'm considering include the hard drive based units but I'm not sure I trust storing everything on a harddrive as they are more susceptible to damage or theft. Of course I could also upgrade my laptop to one with a DVD burner or use an external burner but that wouldn't be portable enough for future hiking trips.
I'm using a Canon 5D and shoot in RAW so a CD burner won't do, I need the capacity of DVD's or a mid sized harddrive.
Does anyone have experience with portable (battery powered with card reading slots) DVD burners ? How long does it take to copy a 2GB card ? How many DVDs can be burned on a charge ?
I see JOBO has a new CP330 model but the only difference in the specifications from the 300 I can find is that the new 330 has an optional battery and the battery in the 300 is included ?
Of course I could just buymore CF cards for Hiking trips and purchase an external DVD burner for my current laptop. I just purchased two more 2GB Ultra IIs at Costco for Cdn$99.99 each,  I now have three 2GB cards which each hold around 130 RAW images.

Thanks. Steve.
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Pelao
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« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2006, 08:53:17 AM »
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Steve

As an overall point, I suggest you do not rely on just one copy of your images. Whatever the media used, it can become lost, stolen or damaged.

Generally, a well made hard drive is less prone to damage than CD or DVD. In addition, if using CD/DVD make sure you buy the best, such as Delkin, who make archival quality discs.

In the long run, hard discs are less expensive, and prices keep coming down. Ideally, I would suggest having 2 external drives. Load your images onto your laptop. Check them quickly. Then copy to each of the external drives. At this point, empty your CF cards. Leave the drives in 2 separate places.

A useful option is to have one of the external drives as a viewing device, such as one of the Epsons.

However, I would be wary of a key risk - when in the field, if you download your Cfs to any device, then reformat, and the device is lost or damages, you have lost your images. Better to download to the device, but have anough CF cards so that you do not reformat until you have backed up the download device.

Burning to discs is a lot slower, and somewhat less secure.

You can get external drives for about US$220 for 80GB - thats a lot of space that can be reused endlessly. Some cash up front, sure - but worth it.
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Jazsax95
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« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2006, 03:52:34 PM »
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Hi,

I'm sure you are planning your trip well, but I just thought I'd mention that so much of Alaska is not accessible by road.  Obviously the state is collosal and most of hasn't been touched, let alone paved.  I lived on a cruise ship that went to Alaska last summer.  I remember tour guides and locals talking about how the only way to get in and out of many places is by small plane or boat.  So make sure you have your route planned out!! Sorry I don't have advice on storage; I'm lacking in that department myself.  Good Luck!

Sam
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pathfinder
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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2006, 01:55:12 PM »
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Burning a pair of DVDs each evening to b/u my days shooting takes too long.

I agree with the poster who suggested using external hard drives - Firewire or USB powered.  Much faster and easier, and I think probalby more reliable than shlepping a number of DVDs around while travelling.  
 
In an RV, you will have more room than travelling by car, but  I think you will find dealing with a pair of hard drives, which are about the size of a deck of cards, easier and faster, than writing to two seperate DVDs each evening at the end of the day.
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Dave Carter
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2006, 02:15:13 PM »
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Steve,
You might look at Fortress Portable Hard Drives.
See:  www.moosepeterson.com/gear/fortress.html
I have seen Moose bounce his off the floor several times and then continue to use it.  They sure look safe.  But I must add that I do not have any personal experience with them.
Dave
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larryg
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2006, 05:24:58 PM »
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I use smartdrive  (pocket drive)    3 x5 "   very small and much quicker than cd's or especially dvd's.
I tried the Cd's for a while.  I spent the entire evening (I would rather do something else after a long day of walking and shooting) burning the days worth of images

I now  have the following workflow.

In Camera  4gb cf card

Download to the computer hard drive in a folder with the place (then inside the place folder are dates for each day)
I then copy the folder to a smartdrive and then to another smartdisk firelite.

I then have three untouched folders of that days work.

I then can play with the images on the hard drive (or even make copies to play with).

I load them into a viewer on my computer i.e. Picasa 2 or the like. so that I can see a slide show or more of all my images.  


Hard drives fail so I now carry an extra small harddrive.

You will be happier with this system rather than dvd's  unless you have a lot of down time?

Hope this has been helpful

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1639621,00.asp

Found this drive in Best Buy for $139  (80gb)

also it is powered by the pc all you have to do is plug in the usb cable
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2006, 06:19:40 PM »
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I download the CF cards to my Epson P-2000 as the cards fill in the field, so there is an immediate two copy solution on hand; then in the evening I copy the files via the laptop from the P-2000 to a LaCie Mobile Porsche Design 80GB hard-drive, after which I empty the CF card and have two copies of each image. So far so good, but slow because of my obsolete laptop (Pentium 2-333Mhz, Win98SE year 2000) being confined to USB 1.1. A laptop up-grade would make a night-and-day speed difference if I decide I need it. The LaCie Mobile is a sleek, small and light unit, well-priced, works fine (so far), but not a Fortress hence much cheaper.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
cmburns
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2006, 11:47:08 PM »
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I spent a couple of months last summer hitting all the national park hot spots of the western usa. I had a decent amount of room so I went crazy on the backups.  I had two 120gb external drives, big 3.5inch size ones. I had 1 40gb notebook drive that was in a USB enclosure. And I had an externalUSB 2.0 DVD burner. Just a regular dvd burner in a USB enclosure.
If I was camping out for several days then I would shoot, dump to computer hard drive, copy to small usb drive that ran off the computers power. Then when I stayed in a hotel I would cull through the pics, copy to a big hard drive, and burn 2 dvd's of everything. By the end of the trip I think I had 30 or so DVD's x2. Even though I used a good quality DVD, burned them at single speed, and put them in clamshell cases, when I got home and copied off the DVD's I had a few that wouldn't read right. Those I reburned, as my storage at home is 1 set of dvd's here, 1 set at another location, plus everything on a hard drive.

This summer i'm going to Europe for a couple of months and i've made some changes. I have a Hyperdrive ordered and am going to put a 100gb drive in it. I figure with this I can bang away if I have to at sporting events and keep dumping the chips off to it. I totally don't care to look at my images on something like that, I just want speed, dump the chip as fast as possible and tell me it's ok. I figure on shooting into the Hyperdrive, then copying to laptop at the hotel at night. I guess for a while there i'll be counting on the hyperdrive, but I also don't erase a chip until I have to so i'll always have something if it fails.
After copying to the laptop i'll cull out the duds, and copy the good stuff to my tiny USB2.0 drive that i'm also upgrading to 100gb size, and back to the Hyperdrive. This will give me 3 sets of backups until I fill the laptops drive up, and then still 2.  
I'm a little nervous not having the DVD burner, I even thought about buying one for my notebook, but the blank dvd's just take up too much room, and it does take a lot of time to do it. Really though, what else are you going to do at night in Alaska.
If I was running off just batteries then I would forget burning or even culling, just copy to computer, and then out to another USB or firewire drive. 2 copies should be good enough.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2006, 08:29:56 AM »
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Make sure you test your hyperdrive VERY carefull before you rely on it. I bought one, had problems with it and returned it for full refund. Fortunately, the issues with the unit were the kinds of things one detects before getting into the field. The Company was responsive in trying to help resolve the problems and they were also cooperative with accepting return and refund, so I can't complain about the service. The problems were (1) the software that controls recharging indicated full charge when in fact there was no charge (this self-corrected after a few attempts); (2) the battery does not last for as many recharges as they advertise and when it gives out there is no warning - unlike what the book says, copying just stops and you need to work to find out what happened and what you have on the disc from what you dont have; (3) the well for inserting the CF card is poorly designed, as a result of which you need to be extremely careful inserting and removing cards, otherwise you can (and I did) bend a pin which makes the whole thing unusable. On the plus side, it does download images very quickly, and the process of transferring images from the unit to the computer is seemless. This is a product that has some very good attributes, I have no reason to doubt that large numbers of them are sold and used without incident and the company is responsive; however I am conveying my own experience not to discourage purchase, but simply to sound a note of caution about the importance of testing it thoroughly before your trip and being very careful using it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
John Camp
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2006, 09:43:51 AM »
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I drove all over Alaska a couple of summers ago; my #1 recommendation for photographers is to take a headnet, thin gloves and insect repellant.

As for photo backup, if you're in an RV, you should have regular 110 outlets. If not, buy a converter for the 12-volt plug-in so not only can you keep everything charged, but you also don't have to buy battery-powered backup drives. If I were you, I'd buy a couple of inexpensive hard drives (they are now very small and reliable) that you would keep in the RV with your laptop, and run off the 110, plus four-six gigs in memory cards, or however much you'd need for a day's shooting. Four gigs would get you, what, about 200 shots? You could cull on the run, to some extent, so practically, you'd have more than that...

I have the Epson P2000 which would be very handy if you were planning multi-day hiking trips away from the RV, but otherwise might be overkill. It has a nice screen, and all, but all you can really do is store your photos, confirm that they're there, and then download them...At current prices, I'd rather have a pocket full of CD cards...

You'll be surprised, when you get to Alaska, at the relative lack of roads, given the size of the state. You can drive the full length of practically every highway in the state over the course of a week; which is not something you could do in, say, Iowa. You'll also be surprised by the cost of gas, especially in an RV...

JC
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