best way to backup pics while on vacation

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Keebler, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    Hey folks,

    I"m headed to southern europe in october and i'm struggling with different ways of saving my photos. I have 1 2 GB card and i'm going to buy 1 more (either a 2 or 4 GB card).

    From there, I can't decide if I should buy/rent any of the following:
    1. a photobank
    2. rent a macbook (if i store already said they don't have any to rent)
    3. maybe a refurb ipod video to connect to my camera?
    4. maybe the new ipod touch <drool>

    some other way?

    ultimately, I'd like the laptop so I can erase any of the crappier ones to pare the good ones down to edit when i get home. I know you can see the pics on some of the photobanks, but on a small screen, i know i won't see the pics as well as I would like before erasing.

    my trip will be scenic and w/o kids, so i envision plenty of photo opportunities.

    any ideas/suggestions?


    PS. of course, I also have to consider getting an international power source (of which i'm talking to CAA about).
  2. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    If you're open to other laptops, ave you tried going to Rent-a-center and renting a dell (or gateway, I forget what they have) laptop for the month? You can view pictures and delete them, then when you get home you can work on the images.
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    A notebook computer is the best. If an Apple notebook is to pricey buy a used Compaq or something for $300 and put Ubuntu Linux on it. Ubuntu is mac-like enough that you can use it without thinking about it. Then you can put the images in the hard drive revie and make a first edit pass and burn some CDs. You need multiple backup copies so a CD burner is useful.
  5. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    They're slow and they suck batteries, so get one with an AC adapter and some conversion plugs, but something to burn the cards to CD is your best bet- burn two copies, one to keep with you and mail one home each time, that way you can't lose your pictures.
  6. Keebler thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    thanks for all the feedback. i'm weighing the options so any more suggestions are welcome.
  7. Dafke macrumors 6502


    Mar 24, 2005
    I used my iPod once to back up photo's on a holliday but the iPod crashed and couldn't be repaired! Luckily the images were still on the memory card...
  8. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    I'd go with more than just two memory cards.

    In general, my comments/suggestions are tempered by you being much closer to civilization (gives you more options) and by the general question of how many photos you're expecting to shoot (thus, how much storage do you need). For example, I just returned from a 12 day business trip in Europe (Belgium, Germany, Austria) and didn't even fill 1GB, but this is partly due to most of my time being spent in meetings instead of sightseeing, plus this was an old 4MP camera shooting JPG's, so consumption per image wasn't all that high.

    Insofar as your options:

    #1: I had bought a pair (for redundency) of Sanho HD80 HyperDrive's in 2005 for a trip...used them in 2006 for my two weeks in Tanzania. I was quite satisfied with them, particularly their battery life. However, while they're small, they're pretty darn heavy and in order to get data redundency you need two of them, so you'll probably looking at a $500 investment. In general, I think that digital wallets are most suited for when you're away from civilization and really need a battery-powered device other than a latop.

    #2: I'd not rent. You'll be travelling around, so there's damage & theft potentials. If you do pursue this route, if the laptop is lost/damaged, you'll lose your only copy, unless you also have an external HD to make another copy do, or are bringing with you a stack of DVD's to burn backups to.

    #3: I think that an iPod video might be a reasonable way to go, but do make sure in particular that you can have things set up with both the iPod and the digital camera running on wall (plug) power...don't do it if you're running off of batteries. Main reason for this is the notoriously slow transfer rate.

    #4: I don't think that the iPod Touch has enough storage capacity to be worth bothering with.

    #5 (other): If you're going to be packing light and you don't think that you'll be taking too many thousands of photos (particularly if you're not shooting RAW), I'd be inclined to just recommend buying "X" GB worth of memory cards...they're getting quite cheap today.

    "Southern" Europe sounds like Italy to me. They use the standard European 240v plug (two round prongs). France, Germany & Austria are the same, and while Switzerland claims that they are too, in some instances I've found that the Swiss use a slightly smaller diameter round prong in their plug, and one of my adaptors fits fine but the other doesn't fit.

    For power adaptors, be aware of two major things:

    1) A lot of electronics these days support automatic 110/220v switching, so no heavy transformer is required...just a plug adaptor.

    2) Adaptor plugs do not need to be expensive, nor do they need to be ones that are a single complicated box that flips out to support every country. I've used both and strongly prefer the KISS adaptor that's specific to that country/region. I'll usually carry more than just one adaptor, in case I misplace one.

    TIP: What you'll also want to do is to hit up your local Radio Shack store (or website) and buy the 6 inch long extension cord that they sell. These are great in that you can use it to put 2-3 devices through onto a single adaptor plug.

    TIP: the typical Apple power adaptor brick with the flip-out plug is not particularly compatible with some of the above adaptor plugs and/or Euro wall outlet plugs even with an adaptor. For example, one of my adaptor plugs has had one of its sides nibbled away with a pair of toenail clippers because I really wanted to get that iPod recharged :D Overall, this is why I really like those Radio Shack 6" cords.

  9. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    When I went to Italy last summer, I took my 60GB 5G iPod and the iPod Camera Connector. It worked pretty well.
  10. BanjoBanker macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2006
    Mt Brook, AL

    I used my 5G iPod as a back up for my shots on my last vacation. It worked well for me. I also took 4 2Gb cards and did not erase the images after loading them to the iPod. I kept them as a secondary back up. I love the 6 inch extension cord suggestion, I am going to stop on the way home and see if I can grab a couple.
    Have a good trip.
  11. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Are you looking to back up or are you looking to edit? Those are two different things, obviously, and different solutions are appropriate.

    If you're truly looking to backup, who cares about how could the computer interface is so long as it can read your cards. A cheap Dell will be fine as a backup, as could an iPod or image tank.

    If you want to spend part of your vacation editing, then get a computer you would want to edit with. Personally, I'd just wait until I'm home to do all the editing. Spend your travel time seeing new things.
  12. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Here's an amusing anecdote, well at least I find it amusing.

    Back in 2002, I spent 19 days in Europe with my then fiance (now wife). We had just bought a 3.2MP digicam and two 128MB Memory Sticks. Along with the included 16MB MS, I felt we were set.

    Well, I initially took photos at the max resolution (~2000x1600) and soon realized that I would run out of space. So I took the following steps. I started shooting at 1600x1200 and deleting the bad shots. If I knew a particular shot was going to be a "special" one, then I bumped it up to the highest resolution.

    A few things I noticed after the trip.

    1. I really wished that I had more cards with me.

    2. The 1600x1200 shots were OK, but they don't print as well.

    3. This is the amusing one. It seems that I'm a much better photographer than I realize since every shot is good to very good. In essence, deleting the lousy shots really makes a difference.

    Nowadays, I have an additional card and I don't have 19 open days to spare, so my portfolio of shots aren't as impressive. This is because I keep every lousy shot I take.

  13. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    I went to Vietnam last january and came back with about 2200pics, weigthing about 10meg each (RAW).

    My solution was to use a portable HD that also acted like a card reader. I dont remember the name (stupid me) but its main feature was that I could unload a 2gig card in less than 3mins. It is not like I ever was in a hurry, but it really saved a lot of battery power. In a one month trip, I never had to recharge the battery!

    Things to look for if you go that route:
    - take a HD that accepts various card format so you can backup other peoples card (you never know)
    - buy a pelican case for it. It is the safest way to carry it around
    - get one that has integrated battery charger
    - get one with fast read-write capabilities to save battery
    - stay away from plastic, go with metal enclosure

    If the hotel has a safe, store your HD there when you leave your room.

    Putting all your pics on a single HD requires a lot of courage since it can fail or brake so you might want to go with another HD to mirror eaverything or simply buy 5x4gig cards. I should be enough ;-)

    The biggest problem when you have almost unlimited storage is that you take a lot of pics and when you are back home, you have to sort them all... That isnt much fun when you are a freak like me who tags every pics with at least 4-5 tags...
  14. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    quae tangit perit Trump
    Something I did worked very well. Bring a couple of CF cards and when you're close to filling them up, go to an internet cafe and simply send them to a website (Flickr, .Mac, or just a SFTP). This way even if you lose you camera or bag, you don't lose your photos, and you don't have to carry extra gear.
    When I travel, I travel light.

    Now, I use my iPod and the little camera connection, which works pretty well to off-load the photos and clear out the CF card.

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