CF to portable HD for backup while travelling

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VirtualRain, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    Hot on the heels of my thread from yesterday about a suitable solution to dumping my CF card contents to my MacBook Air while travelling, I'm starting to think that my MBA may soon get replaced with an iPad. While the iPad has a camera kit on the way, I don't think I will use the valueable storage in the iPad to backup a day's shoot from CF - especially if I'm on a week long trip.

    Hence, I'm starting to research portable HD's that may have a CF reader built in that will effectively back up the contents of the card, so at the end of the day, I can dump my CF card to the drive and then when I get home, simply attach the drive to my Mac Pro and copy all the images over to my workstation.

    Is anyone using anything like this or come across any interesting products along these lines?
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    Everything I've tried in this regard (CF to HD, CF to CD, CF to iPod...) has been too slow and with too small a battery for any usefulness. In 2002, I could get 2 cards onto my iPod before the battery died, and I could get one card off to 4 CDs before that battery died. Batteries are better now, but I suspect that the device speeds haven't gotten much better. The Imagetank G2, made in 2003 took about forty minutes to copy 4G of data. Newer devices have gotten that down a bit- looks like right around 15m for the PhotoSafe II- that's still slow, and with a battery life of 80 minutes, if you're shooting 8G cards, you're looking at less than 3 cards before it's time for a recharge- I guess what I'm saying is do the math before you spend a lot of money- and understand you're still creating a single point of failure if you then re-use the cards.

    Jobo's Giga Vu Sonic seems to be fast- but I can't find any reliable tests online, and it seems availability is still limited- might be worth watching for though, as well as the Vosonic VP5500, which is slowwer but cheaper.

    I'd actually looked at building a device with a high-speed reader and low-powered drive, but figured I didn't have the time to do it right (Gumstix boards looked interesting.) I gave up in about 2004, and just carried a laptop. Recently, I was just carrying around a netbook until I got my D3x, where I just mirror the cards internally and carry 2x what I need if it's an important shoot.

    Paul
     
  3. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #3
    Yeah that's what I'm finding.

    Some further research has revealed that the current crop of affordable portable HD devices out there are terribly slow at about 4min/GB with a battery life of about 40 min. LOL! I couldn't even backup a single 16GB card on one charge.

    There are newer, faster devices but they cost more than a handful of CF cards rendering them moot.

    So, the best way is to either carry several CF cards, or continue to carry my MBA.
     
  4. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #4
    I've been using a Hyperdrive HD80 (with a 100GB drive in it) for 4 years now and it works great. It copies ~1 GB/min and supposedly can do 80 GB off of one set of AA batteries. I have never let it go that long without charging, but I have done over 40GB on one set of NiMH cells before I preemptively charged them. I have never had a problem with filling a card before the HD80 has dumped the previous one (although I am shooting 8 MP, you may be able to get ahead of it with newer cameras). The HD80 was intentionally designed so it cannot write to the card (and potentially screw it up). The cards must be erased (or formatted) when they go back in the camera to clean off the pictures.

    The HD80 does not display pictures, it has a very basic screen that gives you a smiley face when the copy is done (and it can calculate checksum and compare if you are paranoid, but the speed will drop).

    Hyperdrive customer service was pretty damn good. I ordered the drive early one week, they sent me an email saying they were backordered so they'd throw in 8 AA NiMH cells. It was in my hands by Thursday afternoon. Since then, I have never had a reason to contact them as the thing just works (with the occasional documented hiccup, it doesn't defrag the drive and can only write in free space at the end of the drive, so make sure you defrag or erase the entire drive occasionally).

    Paul is correct, it can still be a single point of failure, so either use a pair of Hyperdrives or don't erase the cards if the pictures are valuable.

    I have never tried the newer Hyperdrives with built in batteries and actual picture display. Personally I avoided built in batteries to allow operation away from power (up mount kenya for example), but the new drives are physically smaller.

    EDIT: At the time, the hyperdrive was very cost effective as I was paying $150/GB for fast CF cards. With cards being so cheap now, the price to benefit ratio is quickly dropping. If I was starting again, I would probably just buy a pocket full of CF cards (maybe the HD as backup as my camera can't do mirroring).
     
  5. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    #5
    Does the Hyperdrive warranty cover tampering by Imperial forces while on assignment?
     
  6. Razeus macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    #6
    This is why I have a $300 Acer Aspire One Netbook.
     
  7. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #7
    If you're just looking to gain more shooting space, then yeah, a handful of CF cards is definitely the best solution.

    If you're looking to backup your photos in the field (in case a card is stolen, lost, dies, etc.) then a cheap netbook and a big external is probably your best bet.

    I backup important photos in camera from a CF card to an SD card so I haven't had a need for a field back up solution. My next camera probably won't have both card slots so I've researched this a bit. I know in the past epson had some pretty cool field backup systems – there's a 40gb one for $100 for sale on fred miranda at the moment – but they probably share the same battery issues as the newer models, which makes me think a netbook is probably the best idea.
     
  8. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #8
    If speed matters, the hyperdrive beats the notebook. It comes with a holster to keep in on your belt, so you can copy cards while still shooting (and without having to go to wherever the laptop is opened up). Obviously the laptop does bring other advantages though.
     
  9. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    #9
    I don't know about the current models, but in the past, the Epson drives were poor excuses for crap. They were ridiculously slow (when I was looking ~100 MB/min) and the battery only lasted for a card or two (something like 8-16 GB/charge). They blew their R&D budget on building a pretty display and completely missed the point that the device is for backing up pictures.
     
  10. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #10
    That's interesting. I hadn't read a review of one since 2005 or so, and they seemed competitive back then. In any case, I think a netbook is probably the best bet.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    I think this is what you are looking for
    http://www.hypershop.com/category-s/119.htm
     

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