/ Methods of data (film/photo) back-up on long trips

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matthewtraver - on 08 Feb 2013
Hi,

I'm wondering if people have any advice/input on the best methods for backing up film/photos whilst away on a long trip? I may be without reliable access to computers/internet for 4-6 months and we will be shooting a fair amount of photo/film (maybe 150GB a week?), so I'm trying to figure out the best methods for backing up our data in-field? I haven't really found reliable sources of information on the net, but some options I'm considering are as follows:

- Small tablet with two USB outputs to connect a card reader and external hard drive or additional card reader. Basically using the tablet as the tool for exchanging/transfering data between the card reader and on to the external hard drive (SSD)/larger memory card. It seems larger memory cards may be cheaper than external SSD drives.
- Using a 'portable card storage back up device' - these seem very expensive and with low storage capacity for our needs.
- Using DSLR/camcorders with dual SD card slots, so we can record/shoot back ups automatically.

I can't really decide what's the most reliable option? Does anybody have any set ups they can recommend or currently use? I figure any storage device has to be SSD as the disk drive (either an external or a large memory card) will get a heavy battering...

Any thoughts appreciated.

Cheers,

Matt
mkean - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to matthewtraver:
4Terabytes?!? A laptop and a bank of SSDs? I'd phone the bank manager now and ask him to sit down ;-)
What Goes Up - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to matthewtraver: Haven't used one of these myself but a tog on a forum I use was recommending these recently: http://www.nextodi.com/product/en_nd2730.html

looks like you can insert a hard drive of up to 2 tb so the unit and three drives might do the job if I've calculated it correctly and you need around 6 tb. Can't imagine it's going to be cheap though. Unit looks to cost around 300.
matthewtraver - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to mkean:

OK, I've overestimated! Thinking back on it... last time a 4 week trip resulted in 150GB between two people - so we're looking at around 37GB a week. Undoubtedly our amount of shooting/filming will rise and fall over the time; but I guess 1TB would be a safe bet :)
matthewtraver - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to What Goes Up:

Hey, thanks for that. Looks interesting. I suppose the only problem with that is its an HDD and not SSD, so maybe not as sturdy against the knocks.

I also just saw that regular 32GB USB memory sticks (like the Sandisk Cruzer) goes for 11 per piece (or so). Amounts to around 350 for a TB worth, so approximately the same cost as other options out there and spreads out the risk of loss across more memory sticks. That could also be an option? I suppose it's going to be expensive regardless :/ but we'll be screwed if we lose our pictures/video, so may need to bite the bullet...

Thanks for any more input :)
Arms Cliff - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to matthewtraver: What are you planning to be doing that is going to lead to your equipment taking such a battering? There are planty of toughened external HDs on the market (eg http://www.ebuyer.com/321937-freecom-1tb-2-5-toughdrive-3-0-f56057) and the drive itself could be stored in a padded bag to lessen shocks.
matthewtraver - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Arms Cliff:

Hey,

Cool - not a bad price for that, thanks for the link. I have a 500GB version of that. We'll be slinging them on and off horses for a couple months, so a lot of jiggling/drops/bumps/shakes. Good idea about keeping it in a padded case/bag. We'd probably pop it in a Peli case or similar. I wonder how much more resistant to loss SSD are over HDD? I'm never really sure how much of a knock is needed to screw up the drive/lose data?
John_Hat - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to matthewtraver:

Personally, I think the easiest thing would be lots of SD memory cards.

Cards are about 50p per GB (1), so about 500 for the trip. No power required and about as bombproof as it gets, and the risk is distributed - not all eggs in one basket. Plus small, light, easy to carry.

However, just a point - do you *have* to shoot in the maximum resolution of the camera. Most cameras these days create incredibly large files, and if 10MP was good enough for us a few years ago will it not still be good enough now?

(1) http://www.cclonline.com/product/36160/SD4/32GB/SD-Memory-Cards/32GB-Kingston-SDHC-Card/RAM6091/
John_Hat - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

Sorry, Matthew, just said exactly what you said.

matthewtraver - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

Hey John,

Thanks for the input. 0.50 per GB is a good way to look at it! I'm guessing flash memory sticks are just as robust as SD memory cards? The seem a little cheaper in price than SD cards, but obviously a little more bulky.

As for whether we need to shoot in the maximum res. - good question - I'd have to say yes because using anything less will make me feel like we're scrimping on quality, even if the difference is of arguable benefit :D Might avoid the RAW format though....
Oujmik - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to matthewtraver: No! Don't avoid RAW, always shoot RAW otherwise you will regret it when you get home and want to change the colour balance or exposure.
Oujmik - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Oujmik: And for what it's worth I normally take a netbook to do my backups. I just use the built in HD but for more storage I'd go with either a couple of rugged 1TB drives (mirrored to reduce risk of data loss) or a bunch of 32GB SD cards. Could get difficult to keep track of 30 or 60 cards though.
John_Hat - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to matthewtraver:

Yes, flash memory is as robust as SD. The disadvantage from my point of view would be that you need some mechanism of transferring from one to the other, which means a computer, or similar, in the middle, which then ups the amount you have to carry and the risks of failure, though equally obviously means you have another storage medium (the computer hard drive).

1TB in 32GB SD cards is 32 SD cards. That volume would fit in the size of a mobile phone, hence easier and simpler to carry, especially if you are on the move a lot.
matthewtraver - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Oujmik:

OK! True point about RAW :) Interesting with the 'mirroring'. Never heard the term before. Will consider that if using drives, thanks.
matthewtraver - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

Good point about the computer/'middle' device increasing risk of failure. I suspect we'd use a tablet of some sort to cut weight. Though if that tablet breaks/gets stolen (not unlikely) then we'll be screwed. Hmmm... maybe two cheap/but decent tablets?

OK a lot of food for thought here. Interesting discussion. Thanks for all the ideas. Do keep 'em coming if there's anything else!
wilkie14c - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to matthewtraver: An acer aspire one netbook would cost about 100 of t'bay and a 500gig hdd about 50, and caddy for the hdd would be about a fiver. So, 170 odd quid by the time you've done P&P but you'd have about 750 gig of storage presuming the acer had a 250 gig hdd. The netbook can be used as a useable internet computer while you are away and if you can find free wifi then you can upload your pics to dropbox in order to duplicate them for safety. When you get back you can get nearly as much as you've paid out by selling on the netbook and hdd again.

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