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Author Topic: Storing images during an multi-week trek (hard drives vs. compact flash)  (Read 4776 times)
bellimages
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« on: December 12, 2011, 04:16:05 PM »
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I am contemplating the purchase of three of these drives for an upcoming trek. I've never heard of Silicon Power gear, but I like its features.

1. It's a portable, self-powered hard drive
2. It's waterproof
3. It's shockproof from a 3' drop

But, I will be trusting a month's worth of shooting to the drives. So having a RELIABLE drive is the most important factor. Are any of you using this drive? If so, what are your thoughts?
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 09:21:03 PM by bellimages » Logged

Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 01:16:58 PM »
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Had never heard of them before your post. There is or used to be a company called 4tress: http://www.4tress.com/ who made HDDs in U.S. military spec cases.
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Ellis Vener
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sbay
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2011, 08:24:29 PM »
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My preference is to simply take enough compact flash memory for the whole trip. I think you can get memory for less than $2 / GB so even 100GB of cards is not that expensive. If I have extra space/weight capacity and can bring a computer I will try to have 1 copy on CF and 1 copy on a laptop/external hard disk. My last preference would be to have say 2 copies of my files on two different hard disks with no CF original.
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bellimages
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2011, 08:39:50 PM »
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I'm curious why having only two copies of your photos, on each of two hard drives would be your last choice.
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Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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bellimages
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2011, 08:41:52 PM »
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FYI, I decided to purchase two G-Tech G-Drives mobile. I couldn't bring myself to buy a brand that I've never heard of, regardless of how well it's shock proof .... and waterproof.
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Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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"Making the simple complicated is commonplace, Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."    Charles Mingus
sbay
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2011, 09:00:13 PM »
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Compact flash is a lot more reliable than a hard disk as they are solid state with no moving parts. Personally, I've had probably half a dozen hard drives fail on me even when used in an office environment whereas I've never had a card failure. So I always try to avoid overwriting my cards during a trip if at all possible. I do try to make another copy of the files as soon as possible though.

I usually only take one laptop with me so that if it were to fail or get stolen, I wouldn't be able to access any external drives I brought with me. So having two hard drives wouldn't help much if I couldn't offload any more pictures to them.

CF cards are also small so I can keep them on my person at all times, hidden away in a pocket so that even if I were robbed, it's unlikely that I would have to give up the cards.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 09:06:52 PM by sbay » Logged

bellimages
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2011, 09:19:52 PM »
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Other thoughts on this?
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Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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"Making the simple complicated is commonplace, Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."    Charles Mingus
kevk
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 05:35:54 AM »
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For trekking I have an old Nexto CF, made by nextodi.com (the current version is ND2730), which is a battery powered hard drive that lets you plug a CF card into it and copy files from the CF to the hard drive without carrying a computer as well.

It came with internal and external battery, which was ample for 2-3 weeks in cold and high altitude (3000m-5000m) and away from power where no recharge possible. So the images were kept of the original CF, and nightly backed up to the Nexto CF.

Kevin
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langier
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 01:46:35 PM »
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Cards are fairly reliable and durable, IMO, and right now, very, very cheap. 16GB CF 400x from both Sandisk and Lexar are under $50 right now, so I'd tend to go this way for your primary storage for a month on the road under less than ideal conditions.

In Sept. and Oct. I was on the road to the Cyclades in Greece. This trip I made without my MacBook, relying on shooting cards once, then backing them to a pair of Hyperdrives and then cherry picking to my iPad.

I shot about 16,000 pix, about 1,000/day. Whenever the card was totally filled, I pulled it, cherry picked a few on the iPad and then downloaded it on each of the iPad Hyperdrives before putting it in the filled card file. I took over 200GB of media cards on the last trip and had but two files glitch on me toward the end of a card. A write error, best I can figure. Nothing I couldn't handle and I didn't really need in the overall scheme.

The Hyperdrives worked well and I was able to download for more than a week on a single charge. I had a back-up AA battery pack thinking I'd need to use it, but the battery in the drive was plenty to last half the trip on each.

I bought just the Hyperdrive case and put my own SATA drives in them since I could choose the mechanism and already had another drive pulled from my Macbook. I've also considered going to SSDs for the Hyperdrives to make them more durable. For a wet environment, this wouldn't work unless you bagged them and put them in waterproof Pelican or similar cases. In this environment, I'd simply rely upon CF and SD cards and small hard/water proof cases, carrying enough to shoot for your trip.

After all, before digital, we simply brought enough film and our back-up was to shoot two cameras and keep the film separated or shipped occasionally from the field. With the price, speed, durability of CF cards, I'm about to leave the support behind and enjoy my evenings on the road like back in the good old days! It's getting closer every day!
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Larry Angier
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