Portable backup
February 26, 2008 5:23 PM   Subscribe

How to take lots of photos while abroad for a long trip?

Yes, it was covered in this thread, but that's almost 2 years old.

Any new ideas? Is there any way of hooking up digital cameras to a portable hard drive?
posted by jedro to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Nowadays you'd probably do best just to buy big SD cards for your camera if you're not shooting in RAW. Cheap solution and the cards will come in handy in the future. Also, no hard drive to fail and no paying for internet time for an hour while you upload the photos to a server.

If not, back them up to an Epson P-4000 or to your iPod.
posted by mamessner at 5:33 PM on February 26, 2008

Yea. Cards are cheap enough to make this a mostly non-issue. I would buy several 1 gig cards so your chance of losing all images in a catastrophic incident are minimized.
posted by FlamingBore at 5:39 PM on February 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Where are you traveling?

If it's Europe, you can get by having a few SD cards (or whatever) and some blank CDs/DVDs and offloading them when you get to your hostel or hotel, or find an Internet cafe that lets you burn CDs (lots do). This ends up being much faster than trying to upload large images on sketchy Internet connections. If you're traveling light, you can mail the discs back home to yourself.

nitsuj's handy travel tip of the day: snap a photo of your name and address and set it as your camera's LCD wallpaper in case you lose it.
posted by nitsuj at 5:40 PM on February 26, 2008

The 2 year old thread answers your question. I suppose the only thing available now that might not have been around then is the advent of Wi-Fi enabled cameras, but that kind of stuff is pricy. Either buy a ton of memory cards, or buy a photo vault, ie a hard drive/memory card reader combo.
posted by Brian James at 5:43 PM on February 26, 2008

Eye-Fi can upload to your laptop, or directly to Flickr, Picasa, et al.

Wifi access req'd and JPG only.
posted by jasonweaver at 5:44 PM on February 26, 2008

Eye-Fi can upload to your laptop, or directly to Flickr, Picasa, et al.

But Eye-Fi still requires a laptop -- it can't upload from any hotspot.
posted by nitsuj at 5:46 PM on February 26, 2008

How long of a trip? If you're going for more than a year, I'd invest in a portable hard drive. If not, just buy cards.
posted by dmd at 5:46 PM on February 26, 2008

There are several portable card downloaders available at B&H. I got one for my Dad last Christmas for about $100. Had an 80 gig HD in it and automatically downloaded all your photos. Also had a little viewing screen and options for saving and deleting and such.
posted by sanka at 6:11 PM on February 26, 2008

Sorry, I meant to link to something like this.

There are several more in the "Stand Alone Data Storage" section.
posted by sanka at 6:18 PM on February 26, 2008

If you have a supported iPod and camera, the Apple iPod Camera Connector might be worth looking at.
posted by The Deej at 6:47 PM on February 26, 2008

Also, just a note: You may get better answers if you let us know how long "long" is, and what kind of camera you have. Also, an idea of how many total photos you think you might take. The answer will vary widely if you are gone for 2 weeks and take a dozen photos a day, compared to being gone 2 months and taking a couple hundred photos per day.
posted by The Deej at 6:50 PM on February 26, 2008

I actually upload them to my ipod and that has worked great.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:18 PM on February 26, 2008

I was just on a trip with people who were very fond of their Epson Viewer.

If you're trying to guesstimate how much memory you need: I took two high speed 4 GB cards (total ~$130) for 2 weeks because I wasn't sure how many shots I'd take. After 1,947 photos in the highest quality JPG resolution using a Pentax K10D plus a couple in RAW, I still had enough memory for about 500 photos. I copied off my memory cards to my laptop every day (but didn't delete off the cards) so I had a backup, just in case. And I recommend multiple cards rather than one really large one, again, just in case.

Also, the iPod Camera Connector does NOT work with the iPod classic.
posted by weebil at 7:23 PM on February 26, 2008

The Internet is everywhere. I would take lots of memory cards and back them up to flickr or your FTP dump regularly. Alternatively, every once and awhile burn your photos to a CD / DVD and send them home. Double backups are great. Also, you can always copy them to an mp3 player that doubles as a portable HD. The less moving parts the better.
posted by maxpower at 8:05 PM on February 26, 2008

SD cards are a lot cheaper now then they were 2 years ago.

Otherwise, and for backups, get a cheap ($10-30) USB external card reader. Google the model to see if it's a standard Windows (down to 98, if you're traveling in less developed places) driver. That way, you can plug it into basically any CD-burning capable PC (internet cafe, some random restaurant owner who you befriended and has a computer in the backroom) to offload the data on your cards and onto optical media.

Or get something like this.
posted by porpoise at 9:32 PM on February 26, 2008

16GB SD cards average around the $80 range from amazon and other retailers.

I'm pretty sure most recent digital cameras should support SDHC cards.
posted by jjb at 9:39 PM on February 26, 2008

It's my possibly unfounded belief that files from a modern camera are at least as secure on a modern memory card as they are on a disk of any kind. By "modern" I mean products that are at most around three years old or newer.

I never cease to be amazed at the way card prices are dropping, and I'd join the chorus and suggest you get as many as you need.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:40 AM on February 27, 2008

Uploading from an internet cafe might be pretty slow, depending on where you're traveling. Moving a gig of files into a Flickr account could take several days, and if you're paying for the seat by the hour, that gets crappy in a hurry. On the other hand, you might be going to Japan...

Moving files from a camera into a USB storage device like a hard drive is the express function of a USB bridge device (discussed earlier). Of course, that hard drive is a theft target too, so how do you plan to back it up?
posted by Myself at 5:49 AM on February 27, 2008

100 pictures/day * 30 days * 3MB per picture = ~9GB.

Do you really need more than that?
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:39 AM on February 27, 2008

If you're going on a trip longer than a couple of months and/or places where luggage theft would be a worry, I would....

1.) Buy a couple of 4GB memory cards.

2.) BACK UP YOUR PICTURES. The easiest way to do that would be to burn two DVDs of each memory card, keep one set of DVDs in your luggage separate from your camera, and occasionally mail the 2nd set of DVDs home.

Don't bother with an iPod camera connector. I used to use one of those and they are unbearably slow.

You can find cheap Internet cafes to burn DVDs in just about every country in the world.
posted by alidarbac at 8:06 AM on March 2, 2008

Response by poster: Just a thought to answer my own question - the Asus EEE.
posted by jedro at 12:48 AM on March 4, 2008

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