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Portable Photo Storage while Travelling

We've decided to go on a long awaited trip in April! Our plans are: 17 days in Europe, 5 days in Malaysia and 5 days in Philippines. In Europe, we'll be doing a Trafalgar tour, which is a 15 day whirlwind tour through London, Amsterdam, Rhine Valley, Heidelberg, Munich, Innsbruck, Venice, Rome, Siena, Florence, Pisa, Lucerne, Paris and Dover. On the way back, we will be stopping over in my home country and also my wife's. We've been planning this for a while, so I'm very much looking forward to it!

I just know that I'll be snapping lots of photos though, and am a bit concerned regarding storing my photos during the trip. I've only got a 2GB card at the moment, and that won't last me long, so I could either:

1. Bring my laptop - existing solution, no investment necessary, but one extra (relatively heavy) item to carry around. Could be good though, for viewing photos and other things. Also concerned that it might be damaged or stolen during the trip.

2. Buy a portable storage device - one of those things with a hard drive that can download directly from my memory card or camera. I'll need to research this one though - anyone have any suggestions/tips regarding these?

3. Buy lots of memory cards - they've dropped in price dramatically, around 2GB for $50 AUD. For me, a 1GB card can hold about 500 images high quality full res JPGs, and if I budget 200 photos per day, then that would mean 6 x 2GB cards... he he he. By far this would be the most restrictive solution (I'd hate to think about budgeting my shots while on vacation), but it you think about, the cost would probably be around the same as #2.

I would probably rule out stopping over at a internet cafe and burning to CD, because on tour you'll be extremely pressed for time...

Anyway, I'm sure we have some seasoned travelers here - anyone have any travel suggestions or tips on storing photos? What works, what doesn't? Any other travel tips?

Thanks in advance,

That sounds like a fantastic trip, and a great time.

I'm facing the same data problem with my upcoming trip to your neighbourhood. I haven't settled on a final system yet, but I've considered a few options of my own:

- lots of CF cards: I've done a cruise to Alaska with only available memory cards, and it wasn't fun. I was constantly anticipating which resolution I wanted to use (5mp, 8mp, 3mp) and weigh it against future possibilities. Using a camera is enough of a barrier to participation as it is, adding this stress to the photography is stifling. I wouldn't do it again.

- dedicated storage device: I considered this but they're very expensive and I can't see what I'd use it for after the trip. Since I'll be visiting family for the entire time, a good hi-res screen to show my travels to my hosts would be an advantage.

- iPod: cheap and accessible (I already have one), and doesn't involve carrying significant extra gear.

- CD/DVD burner: there are a few battery-powered freestanding burners that would do a good job of archiving photos and only burn complete disks. I could continue to use it as a firewire card reader and backup system when I return, and it provides the safest data storage. For added insurance, I could burn two copies and mail one back, ensuring that theft or lost luggage wouldn't wipe out my images. This is a tempting option, but it's hard to find units with positive reviews and manufacturers are still in business.

- CD/DVD kiosks: same idea as owning a burner, but instead of traveling with an extra piece of electronics, I'd be looking for shops that can burn the disks for me.

I'm leaning toward a hybrid solution. Buy an extra 4b card (I shoot raw, it will hold about 350 photos), a camera connector for my iPod, and look for places to burn DVDs. This suits the minimum-standard best practices from The DAM Book, involving two different media in two different locations - and at a minimum additional cost. (The last one's my bonus.) All I need is enough cards to get to the next place to burn a DVD, and by downloading each card to the iPod as I shoot I ensure that I always have two copies of each image.

I'd also love to hear other people's experiences. • @matthewpiers | | @thewsreviews •

ipod - that is what I use - and it does double-duty as an MP3 player. You will need the iPod photo connector which is cheap and simple to use. I can store 25 GB of photos on my iPod and still have room for all my music (for the long plane ride).

Only caveat - if you are downloading a LOT of photos to the iPod - be sure it is fully charged first - the connector for downloading is the same connector as for charging - you can't have it plugged in and download at the same time.

Cool thanks for the input guys...

My wife got an iPod for christmas so I might look into that option...

If anyone has any other insights though, I'm all ears.. Big Grin

I used a Compactdrive PD7X, but a week before my trip to Singapore/HongKong/Malaysia in 2005, I accidentally left non-rechargable batteries in it when I plugged it in, and it attempted to charge it, causing a leak and stuffing it up.
I managed to buy the PD70X when I was in Singapore, similar to the PD7X, but faster, and I guess a lot more reliable than the PD7X. I liked it because it was very fast, and used AA batteries - and worked as a AA charger when you plug it in.
On my recent trip to Singapore, that's all I brought - the PD70X, not my laptop. When taking photographs at my sisters wedding, I shot with a few cards, so could load them onto the hard disk while shooting with the other card (and sometimes copy the card twice to be safe..!).

Apart from the Compactdrive PD70X (which I think they may have a newer model now), there are the different portable storage devices that look really nice (with features such as a screen to view the photographs if you wanted!). These include the Epson P-3000 (or P-2000, P-4000, P-5000), Vosonic Multimedia Viewer/storage device as well as a nice device by Creative. They look really good - but all I need for my purposes was a simple one which I could dump photographs to.

I think Adrian might have done a writeup somewhere here Big Grin
I like the portable storage device option - it's not too big, and works Smile

ah, here's the post:
maybe a bit outdated, but still good to read!
ahhh, where's Adrian gone? or maybe because I haven't been around myself... lol

Hey ST - I will be in the Philippines in April as well (my wife is from there). Where will you be and what dates will you be there. Maybe we could catch up over there?

I will be there from the 4th to the 24th of April - mainly in the southern half of the Philippines. I will also be overnighting in KL both in and out.

I am taking my iPod to use as portable storage. But I have quite a bit of CF as well (19GB). That will still only give me around 1500 RAW photos on the 5D.



Canon stuff.

Hey Chris, I think I might be just missing you... Sad I'll be there about the 2nd week of May...


When will you be in Malaysia? I will have an overnight stay on the 23/24 April. But by the sounds if it you will not be there yet.

Have a great trip.

Canon stuff.

Doh, again we'll be missing each other... I'll be in Malaysia around the first week of May... Sad

A thought crossed my mind today - maybe I could use a Palm LifeDrive, which has a built in SD card slot. Then I realised that it only has a 4GB hard drive... pity. I would have been great with a 40G hard drive or something similar...

I've researched more into this area, and I think I'll be getting a dedicated portable storage device, as opposed to using my iPod + adapter. I heard the iPod copies around 0.5 Mb/s which works out to about 60 minutes to empty a 2G card? Is that correct? Dedicated portable storage devices copy around 5 times as fast - about 2.5 Mb/s or more, I've heard, which means around 15 mins to download a card.

The other reason is that I will then be able to use it as an external HDD as well to store photos at home.

At this point in time, I'm considering either the Digimate III (around $250 for 100g drive), or a Thecus YES Nano N1050 (around $180 for 100g drive). Any one had any experience with these? The Digimate has a built in card reader for CF, SD, etc., while the Thecus requires that you plug in your camera's USB cable (or any other USB storage device) and it'll just suck all the data off it.

That is correct - an iPod is slow and it needs to be fully charged as you cannot charge and copy at the same time. I suggest it because you can use it for other things as well. If you don't mind the redundancy, a dedicated fast drive is preferable.

Hey Jules,

As Adam mentioned, I have looked into portable storage devices. I ended up buying a Vosonic VP6230 (which would be completely outdated now), and overall I've been very happy with it. I never hesitate taking it on trips where my laptop is going to be a hassle, and it means I've never had to buy more than two memory cards (I'm shooting with one while downloading from the other).

It takes a regular 2.5" laptop hard drive, and I bought the empty version and stuck a 60Gb drive in myself in about 30 seconds. It has a screen and playback features (it even allows me to view RAW files from my 30D!). It also plays music and video which can make plane trips more endurable, and has A/V outputs so you can plug it into a TV to review pics and video. It even has a remote control!
It uses rechargable Lithium Ion batteries (compatible with some Fuji camera apparently), which is both a good and a bad thing. Just make sure you take the charger and have an adaptor to use it in the countries you are going to.
The hardware is great and it transfers fairly quickly, but the user interface is a bit thrown together and clunky. Don't expect an iPod quality user interface.
Mind you, mine is about 2 years old - they should have improved all that stuff by now.

There are also a few other options, such as a Noontec(?) external 3.5" drive enclosure which plugs into a regular TV and has both AV outputs plus a card reader. This is like a regular full-size external HDD enclosure, but it also lets you simply plug it into the wall socket and into a TV and download straight to the hard drive (and watch movies, etc).
The main problem is that the version I have seen is extremely clunky and only allows you to copy files one at a time from the memory card!!!! :mad: :mad: But they are cheap at around AU$75 for the enclosure alone (and everybody has an old 3.5" drive lying around).

Your trip sounds awesome by the way. I'm jealous!

Adrian Broughton
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"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.

Hey guys, thanks for your suggestions...

I've placed an order for a Nexto CF OTG (ND-2300) with a 80g drive - I read lots of good stuff about it in terms of transfer speed, battery life and reliability. It has a CF reader built in, but can also suck data from USB storage (cameras, thumb drives, card readers), and has two functions which not many others have (verify, and last transfer status after power off).

I ordered from eastgear - it had free international shipping and should be here withing 3 to 4 days... I'll let you know how it goes once I get my hands on it! Big Grin

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