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Author Topic: Solid State vs Hard Drive storage  (Read 21401 times)
mtselman
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« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2007, 04:24:06 PM »
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Misha - I agree that going for 85 rolls of film or 40 GB is a good compromise on this planning exercise, so let's see how that might work out in terms of cost, bulk and weight for film compared to the electronics he'd have to carry, along with the safety factors of splitting up the storage.
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Irv,

Excellent analysis!!!
Just a few points:

As John is taking his trip in the summer, not right now, it is likely that the cost of CF cards by that time will be at least 30% less, or even better, which will probably make CF route to be also the cheapest solution.
(for example, a year ago I bought a 2GB card for close to $200 and a few days ago bought exactly the same for under $40)
So, John, if you are going to buy CF cards or any other electronics - do that a month before the trip, not right now.
If following a HardDrive solution, for extra security I would buy a cheaper (no-picture-preview) model (they are around $200 for an 80GB unit) as a back up of the primary and would back-up onto it from the primary when near electricity sources. Those are also lighter (around 1/2lb). It can also be used if the main one fails during the trip.
Surprisingly, though, calculations indeed lead to the CF solution as optimal, while I expected that HD solution to be the right one. That will be even more so, as price/GB for CF storage continues to fall.

  --Misha
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feppe
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« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2007, 04:52:41 PM »
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Surprisingly, though, calculations indeed lead to the CF solution as optimal, while I expected that HD solution to be the right one. That will be even more so, as price/GB for CF storage continues to fall.
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Price =! optimal (necessarily). With an all-CF option you don't get redundant backups (unless you have a CF copier, ie. a laptop). With portable HDDs this is an option. And I wouldn't take an extended trip without having 2 copies of every picture in two different locations - one in my backpack, one in my friend's.

Oh, one thing that hasn't been mentioned is mailing your photos to yourself. I don't remember where I read about it - coudl've been on LL - but some pro mails one set of backups to himself and keeps the other copies on him. This way redundancy is increased and the possibility of losing all your shots minimized.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2007, 04:54:42 PM by feppe » Logged

Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2007, 06:12:56 PM »
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CF cards are more durable than rolls of film. Crack the case on a CF card, and it will likely still work just fine. Crack the case on a roll of film, and it is probably ruined. CF cards have survived being laundered, which film would not likely tolerate. And most decent DSLRs can beat the pants off of 35mm film anyway, so why cripple yourself with inferior image quality and a more fragile medium? If a CF card dies you lose more shots than damaging a roll of film, but CF is so much more durable and damage-resistant that overall you're safer with CF than with film. It's just like flying vs auto travel; when a plane crashes more people die than in an auto wreck, but overall you're much safer flying than driving.
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stever
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« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2007, 08:00:15 PM »
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i believe that CF cards for 100% of the expected photo requirement is the reliable way to go - disk drives are fundamentally not all that reliable - if you want to re-use the CF cards, then you need 2 hard drives (which also means downloading each card twice)

even with 100% CF, a professional photographer would demand a second backup (and so would i considering the expense and time put into the trip) - for that i'd recommend the card backup drive that was recently discussed in another thread (whose name i can't remember) as it uses AA batteries and appears to be lighter and more rugged (without the big, fragile screen of the Epson) and presumably doesn't re-number you're images like the epson.  The Epson has a heavy, bulky power supply and short battery life with a battery that can only be re-charged in the unit (at least at the time i bought mine)

you don't say what equipment you're using, but i'd suggest a battery grip so you can use re-chargeable and primary AA cells -- you can calculate and test how long the AAs will last, but i'd guess about 1000 images for a set if you're not looking at the display all the time -- you may decide just to pack AAs and dispense with the charger depending on the expected electricity availability -- the size and weight of a AC/12V charger is not inconsequential, and relying on and screwing around with a solar re-charger does not sound like a pleasant low-risk proposition

what is your backup camera - if you're not taking another body (and at least one backup lens) i'd recommend a point-and-shoot that uses AA cells and CF cards (which today probably means a used camera)
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John Swearingen
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« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2007, 10:40:11 PM »
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The concensus seems to be that a safe bet would include multiple CF's along with a HD backup device.  This would keep down weight and bulk, and assure at least two copies.  The HD backup can be carried by a friend, as well, so spread the risk.

I'll have a Canon 5D, and will also bring some film and my film body, and a point/shoot digital.

The question now is finding a reasonable solution to batteries.  The HD backup can be done whenever electricity is available and/or as long as batteries are good.  A HD backup that takes AA batteries would certainly be an advantage.

It seems that making sure that the 5D has enough batteries to last a week would be important.  Does anyone have experience with this?  I'm making the switch to digital just on this trip, so I don't have a clear idea of what the 5D will require.

Thanks for all your comments and experience so far!

John
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kbolin
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« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2007, 11:19:55 PM »
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The question now is finding a reasonable solution to batteries. The HD backup can be done whenever electricity is available and/or as long as batteries are good. A HD backup that takes AA batteries would certainly be an advantage.

Why not buy a simple roll-up solar panel.  You can lay it out in the sun run a cord into your tent (or whatever) and recharge your batteries.  My 120Gb Hyperdrive came with a 12V charger.... rewire it so it will plug into your solar panel and voila... power!  It will be a show recharge... but a recharge non the less.

Kelly
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feppe
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« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2007, 11:38:19 PM »
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Why not buy a simple roll-up solar panel.  You can lay it out in the sun run a cord into your tent (or whatever) and recharge your batteries.  My 120Gb Hyperdrive came with a 12V charger.... rewire it so it will plug into your solar panel and voila... power!  It will be a show recharge... but a recharge non the less.

Kelly
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My HyperDrive SPACE came with the car charger and a AA battery pack, so I don't have to rely on the internal li-ion. I'm sure there are other portable HDDs with similarly flexible power options.
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stever
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« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2007, 11:40:36 PM »
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i'd suggest that if it doesn't break the budget, a digital rebel body with BG should replace the film body (and film) and the point & shoot -- this provides the 1.6x crop where appropriate with a 100% digital record -- i started out with a combination of film and digital resulting in a huge editing mess

what lenses are you planning to take?

spend plenty of time testing equipment, and it there's a question about battery life, just shoot however many images are necessary to to satisfy yourself

practice handheld panoramas with panorama maker - it can be done - i've learned to put my hand in front of the lens at the begining and end to eliminate confusion

in short, i'm jealous, as i aborted a trip in 2001 over political concerns and am not sure my wife will sign up to another one
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Iwill
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« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2007, 12:05:25 AM »
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The concensus seems to be that a safe bet would include multiple CF's along with a HD backup device.  This would keep down weight and bulk, and assure at least two copies.  The HD backup can be carried by a friend, as well, so spread the risk.

I'll have a Canon 5D, and will also bring some film and my film body, and a point/shoot digital.

The question now is finding a reasonable solution to batteries.  The HD backup can be done whenever electricity is available and/or as long as batteries are good.  A HD backup that takes AA batteries would certainly be an advantage.
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John, I did some web searching for a card backup drive like the one that Stever mentioned and found what looks like a beauty.  It provides the kind of battery solution that you're looking for.  The device is called the Hyperdrive Space, and it is made for backing up any and all camera memory cards.  It is small, light and rugged.  It backs up at the rate of 1GB per minute, has an internal lithium battery that will copy 100GB on a charge, has an accessory external battery holder for 4 AA batteries, has lots of data safeguards, and the 100GB capacity model costs $279.  The website for this device is at:
               
Hyperdrive Space

Home page:
[a href=\"http://www.hypershop.com/shop/index.php]http://www.hypershop.com/shop/index.php[/url]

Full Description:
http://www.hypershop.com/shop/information.php?info_id=11

Models and cost:
http://www.hypershop.com/shop/index.php?cPath=27

Testimonials:
http://www.hypershop.com/shop/information.php?info_id=7

Review (of previous model HD-80):
http://goeurope.about.com/od/photographyti...rdrive_HD80.htm

I can't help but be enthusiastic about the specs on this backup drive.  It would actually run all the backups you need for your entire trip on one charge of its internal battery, with charge and storage space to spare, but if you also took the AA battery holder and a couple of sets of AA batteries, you'd have excellent spare capacity without the need for any recharging on the trip.

I haven't used this drive, so I can't speak to its performance.  Perhaps someone else on this forum has used it and can comment.

Irv
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feppe
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« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2007, 09:31:01 AM »
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John, I did some web searching for a card backup drive like the one that Stever mentioned and found what looks like a beauty.  It provides the kind of battery solution that you're looking for.  The device is called the Hyperdrive Space, and it is made for backing up any and all camera memory cards.  It is small, light and rugged.  It backs up at the rate of 1GB per minute, has an internal lithium battery that will copy 100GB on a charge, has an accessory external battery holder for 4 AA batteries, has lots of data safeguards, and the 100GB capacity model costs $279.  The website for this device is at:
...
I haven't used this drive, so I can't speak to its performance.  Perhaps someone else on this forum has used it and can comment.
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I got a HyperDrive SPACE about a month ago and love it. Your spec list above is a good list of the best features. Mine came with a promotional battery pack and a car charger, I think you have to pay extra for them now. I purchased the casing only and bought and installed a 2.5" 160GB HDD myself - it was very easy and _much_ cheaper than buying the casing with the drive from HyperDrive.

Instructions are quite rudimentary but workable. The backlit screen is good but the UI is a bit clunky. It works fine after you get used to it, though. The screen is _not_ for viewing, but I've never seen the need for a viewing screen on a portable HDD as SPACE has file integrity verification which is much more reliable than eyeballing the file. Casing is metal and reasonably rugged. There are no weather seals, though. I've been in contact with customer support and they are helpful, courteous and reply within 24 hours.

The best factors are the incredibly long battery life and different verification schemes. You can choose no verification, partial (checks every few files) or full. It copies my Sandisk Ultra II 2GB card in about 2 minutes without verification, a bit over 11 mins with full verification. All you have to do is slap in the card and it does its thing without a press of a button - if so needed.

Oh, and it also functions as an external HDD. I partitioned mine in two partitions, one for CF backups and one for computer use. HyperDrive can access both multiple partitions as long as they have been formatted with FAT32.

In the end, the only minor complaints I have is the clunky UI and lack of weather sealing. Thankfully you don't need to use the UI for almost anything after setting it up - card copying is automatic after insertion and you have to push just one button after attaching the USB cable to a computer. Also, I don't know how effective weather sealing would be in a gadget that has several large ports for different memory cards.

Somebody on this board complained that they bent pins in their HyperDrive's (I don't remember which of their models) CF reader slot and had it returned. I haven't had that problem but I try to be careful as the pin-bending seems to be a problem with cameras as well.

SPACE does everything their advertising material claims and it does it well. I spent a lot of time studying different portable HDDs, and SPACE is, IMO, the optimal mix of functionality, size and price. Next time I take an extended photo trip I'm going to buy another one for double backups.
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Iwill
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« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2007, 10:49:53 PM »
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SPACE does everything their advertising material claims and it does it well. I spent a lot of time studying different portable HDDs, and SPACE is, IMO, the optimal mix of functionality, size and price. Next time I take an extended photo trip I'm going to buy another one for double backups.
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Feppe, thanks very much for giving us your experience as a user of the Hyperdrive Space.  This is definitely what I will purchase for my next photo trip.

Irv
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John Swearingen
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« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2007, 10:59:23 AM »
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SPACE does everything their advertising material claims and it does it well. I spent a lot of time studying different portable HDDs, and SPACE is, IMO, the optimal mix of functionality, size and price. Next time I take an extended photo trip I'm going to buy another one for double backups.
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This is all great information, and I appreciate everyone's excellent input.  The Jobo Digital Vu PRO would be my first choice, but at three times the price it's not in the budget.   However, I do have a friend who might want to buy and then loan me a Digital Vu for the trip, (are you listening, Miguel  ) which would allow me to show the people we're visiting some of our pictures--of them, and also of our life here.

John
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dwdallam
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« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2007, 02:45:27 AM »
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Thanks for the cost analysis of film/digital storage. Do remember that, unlike film, digital is reusable. If the photographer goes on two trips, the cost of digital is slashed in half compared to film. Just something to keep in mind.

Phillip
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And what about White Blanced film also. Do film users only carry one white balanced type film, and then scan them in and WB in software? If not, then one would need to add even more film for different lighting situations. And then even more film when you have to take a roll out unfinished to replace it with anotehr roll with different WB properties.
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dwdallam
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« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2007, 02:53:51 AM »
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There are no weather seals, though.
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You can buy a small Pelican Case, which is waterproof and airtight. www.pelican.com
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dwdallam
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« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2007, 02:55:29 AM »
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Thanks for the input. I'm going to Death Valley here soon, and since I sold my laptop, was looking for something like that. I think I'll get the HyperDrive choice too.
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feppe
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« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2007, 09:48:31 AM »
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You can buy a small Pelican Case, which is waterproof and airtight. www.pelican.com
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Heh, I never thought about a low-tech solution  Thanks, best ideas are usually the simplest!
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jani
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« Reply #36 on: January 12, 2007, 07:53:23 PM »
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Another suggestion:

Purchase two portable hard drives w/built-in CF readers, like the HyperDrive, and make backups to both of them.

That way, you won't have to purchase too many CF cards, and can retain a reasonable amount of redundancy.

And, for the record, two samples of the Epson P-2000 had no failures due to the height in Tibet (3600-4000 meters) in October 2005, but were much appreciated. Unfortunately, this is only anecdotal, and no real evidence of reliability at those altitudes.
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Jan
John Swearingen
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« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2007, 10:30:03 PM »
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Another suggestion:
Purchase two portable hard drives w/built-in CF readers, <snip>
And, for the record, two samples of the Epson P-2000 had no failures due to the height in Tibet (3600-4000 meters) in October 2005, but were much appreciated.
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Two portable HD"s is a good idea. The cost per GB of storage for a portable hard drive is about a tenth of the cost of a CF card.  Iwill's calculation of solutions earlier in this thread included, a card reater/viewer, the Epson P5000. That solution was Islightly cheaper ($100) than film and much cheaper ($400) than multiple CF cards. The down side is that with all your pictures on one device, if the device fails, all is lost.

If I want to forgo the viewing and MP3 features, I can get two Hyperdrive SPACE's with batteries for less than the cost of the viewer, providing duplicate storage that can be carried by a friend.

Since I'm not going be  photographing for long periods away from electricity all the time, I might want to resell or return extra or unused storage media.  The cards would be easy to resell, but I'm not so sure about the SPACE. There isn't as large a market, but I'm sure I could find a buyer at a good price.

I think, now,  that altitude will probably not be an issue.  As someone mentioned earlier, there are many computers functioning quite well at cyber cafes in Nepal and elsewhere.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #38 on: January 16, 2007, 12:35:00 AM »
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Nice example!

Having the Epson viewer you can even check your pictures and possible even see the dustspecks on the sensor that need to be cleaned. The solution I used when on Island was to have an Epson P-2000 and a 'no name' portable harddrive, so I had my pictures on two storage devices. But I was not hiking but traveling by car.
Erik


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Misha - I agree that going for 85 rolls of film or 40 GB is a good compromise on this planning exercise, so let's see how that might work out in terms of cost, bulk and weight for film compared to the electronics he'd have to carry, along with the safety factors of splitting up the storage.

I've taken all prices from the current web pages at B&H Photo:

THE FILM SOLUTION:

Film:  Fujifilm 135 36 exp. Velvia 100 @$5.29 ea. x 85 rolls = $449.65
Processing:  Fujifilm slide processing mailer @$4.49 ea. x 85 mailers = $381.65
Total cost of film and processing for 85 rolls of 36 exp. = $831.30

Weight of 36 exp. film roll = 1 oz. x 85 rolls = 85 oz. = 5.3 lbs.

Size of 35mm film roll = 1.25" x 1.25" x 2" = 3.125 cu. in / roll
3.125 cu. in. x 85 rolls = 265.6 cu. in. = 0.15 cu. ft. = approx. 4" x 6" x11"
ELECTRONIC SOLUTION 1:

Sandisk 4 GB Extreme III Compact Flash card = $122.95 x 10 cards = $1,229.50

Weight of 10 compact flash cards = negligible.

Size of 10 compact flash cards = negligible.

So the compact flash card solution costs about $400 more than film, but has the least weight and least storage size, and requires nothing more to carry.
ELECTRONIC SOLUTION 2:

Epson P-5000 portable storage viewer = $679.95
Extra battery for above = 59.95
Total for P-5000 plus extra battery = $739.90

Weight of viewer plus charger plus extra battery = approx. 1.75 lbs.

Size of viewer plus charger plus extra battery = approx 96 cu. in.
= approx. 0.05 cu. ft. = approx. 4" x4" x 6"   

So the P-5000 solution costs about $50 less than the film, weighs about 1/3 as much and takes up about 1/3 the space of film, but weighs more and takes up more space than the flash cards.

Another point for the electronic solutions is that you can continue to reuse both of them for future shooting, while the film cannot be reused.

On the other hand, since safety factors are a concern for these once-in-a-lifetime shots, let's look at redundancy.  If one of our storage units is lost or damaged, we would lose one roll out of the 85 rolls of film, and a little over 1% of our shots would be lost.  If one of the 4 GB compact flash cards were lost or damaged, then we would lose 10% of our shots.  If the Epson P-5000 viewer were to suffer a catastrophe, then we would lose all (or almost all) of our shots.  So in this case, the film would be the safest, the compact flash cards the next safest and the the Epson P-5000 viewer the riskiest.

Since John's expressed concerns were safety for his images and light weight and small size for him to carry, I would have to say that carrying 10 each 4 GB compact flash cards seems to be the best of the three solutions considered here.  The cards would add virtually no weight or bulk for the photographer, would not risk the loss of too many shots if one card were lost (although 10% would hurt!), and could easily be sold afterward to recoup most of their initial cost.

The choice would be more difficult between film and the Epson P-5000 storage viewer.  The Epson is a bit cheaper, and is quite a bit smaller and lighter than the film.  However, if it fails up there, everything on it is lost, and no further transfers can be done from the camera card, so most of the shots of the trip would be lost.  Considering the cost and time and effort of this trip, that risk seems to be higher than I would like to take without secondary backup, which would add more cost, weight, bulk, etc.  If I had to choose between the two, I'd take the film.

Now we haven't looked at how many camera batteries he'd have to take in order to shoot for a week between recharging, but I believe that that would be doable.  A film camera does have the advantage of shooting way more than 85 rolls on one battery, and if the expedition were going to go for a month without possibility of recharging, then digital might not be practical.  In this case, with only a week between charging, a few extra batteries would probably do the trick.

I've learned that my initial reaction (film is the answer here) doesn't actually turn out to be true for this situation.  The electronic solution with compact flash cards for the storage medium seem to have a definite advantage over film.

I also agree that digital has a clear advantage as an icebreaker; film simply can't do that (unless you take a Polaroid along!), and that can have great advantages for getting the kind of pictures you want.

Irv
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dwdallam
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« Reply #39 on: January 16, 2007, 01:40:45 AM »
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There is one option that would make the Hyper Drive almost perfect: Hot swapable connections for the 2.5 inch drives. They state on their website that they do not recommend plugging and unplugging hard drives becsaue the connectors are not made for that type of thing--about 50 connections and reconnections and they are worn out. This is ike the connectors that are inide of your computer. They are lightweight and made to be plugged in and forgoten--except for a disk replacement. The HyperDrive would also be excellent if it had a plug for an external 2.5 inch in your own external drive holder connecting with a USB cable. The 2.5 inch drigves are capable of being powered through the voltage in the USB cable itself. It's not that there isn't enough space on an 80GB hard drive, but the redundancy factor as you have all pointed out.

I just ordered one BTW. It's suppose to be here Wednesday.
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