Backup, backup, backup…

The reality: If you don’t have a backup of your images, you no longer have your images.

The problem: How to backup in the field?

The solution?I mentioned before about the importance of backing up data which is very easy back at base, but what about whilst out in the field? Data (image) loss might not be considered that much of a risk if you’re just out for the day, but what about if you’re away for a few days or weeks? Or shooting an important event like somebody’s wedding? In these situations, the protection and security of your images is of paramount importance. e.g. how would you cope with a damaged, lost or stolen card?

Ive been looking around for some time at portable mass storage that I can use for backup purposes but haven’t found anything I’d really want at the price I want to spend. Dropping a few hundred pounds for a large and portable media device didn’t appeal. True, the featureset looked impressive: large screen that displays RAW images, even from the 5DmkII and lots of other goodies too like audio record and playback, video playback etc. In all honesty though I don’t think I’d really use it for that. No. Its just far too complicated and to me at least is a gadget that wants to solve world hunger.

The negatives with this type of device,  in my opinion are:

  • Too big, bulky and heavy. I don’t want something I have to lug around. I want something much smaller and lighter.
  • Needs to run off standard batteries – I don’t want a proprietary battery to power the device. If it fails in the field through a flat battery that I cannot charge I no longer have a backup system and have no way to recover from this.
  • Does the screen really display the RAW image data? Or does it just show the embedded, preview JPG from the RAW file? This isn’t clear to me and if it is just the embedded JPG it is an expensive way to look at the same image I can see on the camera.
  • There is just too much to go wrong.

Don’t get me wrong here – from what I’ve seen of these devices they look really good and I know several people that think they’re great. I just don’t think it does what I want it to do.

So, what am I looking for in a device???

  • Small and lightweight. I want something I can carry on me without distraction
  • I want it to run on standard batteries. If the set I’m using gets depleted I can easily source replacements in the field
  • Simple to operate. I just want to plug the media card in and forget about it whilst it merrily and silently copies the data over
  • Replaceable hard disk.
  • Cheap. I want something for around £50, not nearly £500. For a £50 price point and a small size I can carry two around. At that price they’re almost disposable.

The solution…

Today I ordered a couple of  Thecus YES N1050 Nano drives: and a couple of 160GB hard disks to go in them. They run off AA batteries and are simple to operate with just a single button to start the copy process. They’re also veyr small too, not miuch bigger than a 2.5″ disk. The down side is they require a USB card reader but I think I can live with that

Hopefully they’ll be here tomorroy (Friday) in time for me to try them in anger at Saturday’s photoshoot. If all goes well I’ll take them to the Big Cat shoot at the end of the month.

Read Part 2 of this post here:

2 thoughts on “Backup, backup, backup…

  1. […] gavin on Feb.28, 2010, under Uncategorized Following on fom my previous posts here and here about in-field backup and in particular the solution I have opted for, today I had the […]

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