I'm looking for stand-alone storage recommendations.
June 29, 2005 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Have you used a stand-alone storage device for downloading pictures from your digital camera? I'm looking for recommendations.

I'm going to take an extended trip (2 weeks) where I'm going to be taking a fair number of pictures with my D70. I'm looking for something like the Epson P-2000 to store pictures so I can reuse my CF cards. I have a laptop that I could bring, but it only has 5GB free and I'd prefer to leave it at home. I'm also considering getting an iPod and either the Belkin reader or the camera connector but that sounds like a less than optimal combination. What device(s) would you recommend?
posted by bshort to Technology (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If the Popular Photography forums mean anything then the P- 2000 is certainly popular. The main advantages seem to be the nice large screen and the ability to view raw files. (Check that Nikon format is supported.) I have an older Archos unit that I use. It works pretty well and they have several newer models. I'd check them out, but from a purely photography standpoint I think the Epson will be better. I have read that the Ipod + Belkin solution is not good. Apparently this combo sucks down battery power like mad, making copying large cards impossible. I don't have an Ipod so I can't say for sure.

Now, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't spend the extra money on a device with a screen to let me see the photos. I just don't use that feature. There are plenty of cheaper "digital wallet" solutions. Another option is to just buy more CF cards. For the price of the Epson reader you could get 7 or 8 1GB CF cards. Do you need more space than that? Also the CF cards will be more reliable. You'd hate to loose 2 weeks worth of shots if your storage device fails.
posted by sevenless at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2005

My GF got an iPod photo with the adaptor to plug a USB cable from a camera into it and download the pics for her trip to Asia. It seemed to me like it was working great. I would reccomend it for basic picture storage needs.
posted by garethspor at 11:01 AM on June 29, 2005

Yes. What I read was problems with the regular Ipods. It makes sense that the Photo ones would be better at this.
posted by sevenless at 11:58 AM on June 29, 2005

I use a 60 gig iPod Photo for this - works very well. It has the added benefit of also being able to store other files (when used as disk mode) and music, of course. I like the Alton Brown kitchen philosophy - no single purpose devices.

It also drives me nuts that every few months they come out with yet another memory card format.

And skip the Belkin device and use the photo connector - tiny and cheap.
posted by cptnrandy at 1:01 PM on June 29, 2005

Previous AskMe thread on this.
posted by Caviar at 1:27 PM on June 29, 2005

Response by poster: cptnrandy - Are you able to copy over an entire card's worth of image before the iPod runs out of power? What size cards are you using?
posted by bshort at 1:37 PM on June 29, 2005

For my four week trip to Costa Rica I used a 4G iPod 20GB, which was hooked up to a Belkin Digital Camera Link, which was in turn hooked up to a SanDisk CF card reader (Model SDDR-92-A15). It worked quite nicely as a repository for the 3000 odd photos I took down there. The typical set-up is to connect the Camera Link directly to one's digital camera, but the CF card reader worked a little faster and helped to lessen the strain on my digital camera batteries. I was advised to make sure I got the latest version of the Camera Link as it had a number of firmware updates that improved transfer reliability. The set-up was a little bulky, but I already owned an (non-Photo) iPod, it was nice to have music on my trip, and it was decently fast.
posted by Mercaptan at 1:45 PM on June 29, 2005

There is also devices out there that you can plug two USB disk devices to and it'll copy files from one to the other. With a CF reader or USB cable for your camera and a HD in an USB enclosure your good to go. I'd go with a desktop drive rather than the smaller laptop drives myself just because of the increase reliablity.

That roadstore in Caviar's link looks perfect though, what was the cost?
posted by Mitheral at 1:58 PM on June 29, 2005

The Archos Gmini 400 is probably one of the smallest PSDs, downloads fast (couple of minutes for 1Gb, 10x faster than any iPod-Belkin or iPod-connector combo), gives you the possibility to visually verify your .jpgs, has enough battery power for at least 10Gb downloads and even plays some popular audio&video media (with regular firmware updates).

It costs a bit more than a dedicated PSD (but a lot less than the P-2000), accepts only CF or an (expensive) adapter for other flash memory, can not display RAW and has only 20 Gb.
And it looks like a game boy... but it's small enough to fit in any D70 camera bag.

The older Gmini 220 has no color screen and plays no video.
There are some rumors of an upcoming Gmini 402. Other available USB-On-The-Go devices currently only feature USB 1.1 host speed.
posted by Akeem at 3:32 PM on June 29, 2005

I use one of these on my extended trips and it did the job. They've probably come down in price too.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 3:44 PM on June 29, 2005

I used a generic Chinese-made "portable storage" device, basically the same thing as an Xs-Drive that TheGoldenOne linked to. It has all the memory slots on it, doubles as a card reader, runs off USB voltage, etc. The internal batteries are rechargable off of AC or USB current. I can't say enough good things about it.

Mine doesn't have a screen to view images, but I didn't miss that. I would fill up my card, copy it to the device, then format my card and keep shooting. Saves a lot on memory cards, and I trust hard drives much more than I trust flash cards or microdrives. (I have an IT background, so if a drive goes on the fritz, I have some idea how to go about recovering it. Flash cards are a different ballgame.)

Mine included an 80GB hard drive for less than $200 on Ebay, quite a deal at the time. It uses notebook hard drives, so when it fills up it's easy to swap it out for a new one, or if hard drive prices plummet and you want to upgrade it, etc.
posted by Brian James at 4:06 PM on June 29, 2005

Have fun on your honeymoon! Take lots of pictures and post them somewhere nice!!
posted by zpousman at 6:38 PM on June 29, 2005

I've had a Vosonic X-Drive II for this for a couple years. The big downside of it is that it's very slow to download... something like 20 minutes for a 1GB card (regardless of card speed). Some people like uber-functional devices to fit this, but my photos are too precious to trust to overfeatured, undertested firmware. My X-Drive has two buttons: power and copy. Plus, it was $80 for the enclosure and $120 for a 40 GB drive. Note that if you buy a drive separately, you'll get a longer warranty on it (up to three years, depending on brand) than you will on something that includes a drive (3-12 months). I've drooled over the P-2000 too, but when it comes down to it, the ONLY thing I want the device to do is store pictures reliably, especially when lost photos mean lost income.
posted by disser at 10:17 PM on June 29, 2005

Response by poster: zpousman - Thanks! I'll probably create a flickr set.
posted by bshort at 8:18 AM on July 1, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the advice! I ended up ordering a CompactDrive because of its size, the ease of use, and because I can easily upgrade it as storage gets cheaper. Also, it's battery powered via 4 AA batteries, which is sweet.
posted by bshort at 7:59 AM on July 6, 2005

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