Need a device to copy SD card to HDD without a computer

dantastic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 21, 2011
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When traveling I tend not to bring my laptop but only my phone, sometimes iPad as well.
I don't have a whole stack of SD cards so I need to copy the data from the SD cards over to a HDD.
For my last trip I had bought a RavPower filehub jobby. It has a SD card slot, USB for external HDD, WiFi and an iPhone app, seemed brilliant on paper. - It didn't work the way I was hoping... :(

It did technically work, but at the end of a day I needed to copy some 100GB of footage over to the HDD I realized the limitation of the device - Dog Slow! 'The system' required the iPhone app to be in the foreground the whole time. The little device would run out of power even though plugged in to USB. It was using more power than it could take charge. So for a few MB it would be fine but....

So I'm looking for a new 'device' of sorts. Something that will allow me to copy data from SD cards over to USB HDDs reasonably fast. Any recommendations? Or any devices I should steer clear of?
 

MRxROBOT

macrumors 6502
Apr 14, 2016
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1011100110
When traveling I tend not to bring my laptop but only my phone, sometimes iPad as well.
I don't have a whole stack of SD cards so I need to copy the data from the SD cards over to a HDD.
For my last trip I had bought a RavPower filehub jobby. It has a SD card slot, USB for external HDD, WiFi and an iPhone app, seemed brilliant on paper. - It didn't work the way I was hoping... :(

It did technically work, but at the end of a day I needed to copy some 100GB of footage over to the HDD I realized the limitation of the device - Dog Slow! 'The system' required the iPhone app to be in the foreground the whole time. The little device would run out of power even though plugged in to USB. It was using more power than it could take charge. So for a few MB it would be fine but....

So I'm looking for a new 'device' of sorts. Something that will allow me to copy data from SD cards over to USB HDDs reasonably fast. Any recommendations? Or any devices I should steer clear of?

Pick this guy up, Sanho HyperDrive ColorSpace UDMA 3 Wireless Storage Device, then throw an SSD in there and you'll be backing those cards up in a flash.


https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1191264-REG/sanho_shdcsudma3000_casing_only_for_udma.html
 

MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
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Atlanta
How many images are you shooting in the field before returning home? I put two 256GB cards in my camera body. That will let me shoot over 10,000 raw images before the cards need to be downloaded. On important or expensive trips, I have two camera bodies. So in theory that means I can shoot in the 20,000 image range. I do not want to touch an SD card in the field.
 

dantastic

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Original poster
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tgara

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Jul 17, 2012
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Connecticut, USA
I used to use an Epson device similar to the Hyperdrive, but no longer. Memory is cheap, so like MCAsan, I just carry large and/or multiple cards, leave the images on the cards and download when I return home.
 

joema2

macrumors 68000
Sep 3, 2013
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...I tend not to bring my laptop but only my phone, sometimes iPad as well....I need to copy the data from the SD cards over to a HDD....at the end of a day I needed to copy some 100GB of footage over to the HDD...Something that will allow me to copy data from SD cards over to USB HDDs reasonably fast. Any recommendations?...
You apparently need to copy at least 100GB per *day* of video, maybe multiple times if a multi-day trip. As already stated, one answer is just get more cards. That works up to a certain point.

In general I'd recommend just getting a used 11" MacBook Air, maybe around 2013. Those are very light and compact and can easily drive a portable USB HDD. They are available on eBay and other places for $350. Unlike a specialized device, it would also allow you to examine your video.
 
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dwig

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Jan 4, 2015
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You apparently need to copy at least 100GB per *day* of video, maybe multiple times if a multi-day trip. As already stated, one answer is just get more cards. That works up to a certain point.
...
There are two reasons for someone to want to copy their cards, still or video, while in the field:
  1. To reuse the cards
  2. To make a backup for security
Simply taking more cards eliminates #1, but fails to solve #2.

Personally, I would recommend both taking more cards, a many as practical to avoid the need to recycle cards as much a possible, and to backup the cards to some other storage device. If you really need to recycle the cards and the files are at all valuable, I would then recommend that you backup the cards to two storage devices before reformatting them for reuse.
 

MCAsan

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Jul 9, 2012
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Every time you add another card, you add another potential point of failure/loss. Granted with a smaller card there would be less loss if the card died.
 
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dantastic

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Jan 21, 2011
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Getting an old 11" Air is actually not a bad idea. Something I didn't even think of. It would be super handy as it can obviously be used for a range of things.

If I'm only going for a few days it's generally no problem. Last time I was away for 18 days this was a huge problem and I'm planning another 3 week trip to be followed by a 2 week trip. Would just be far too many cards.

With a basic laptop I'd be able to prune a lot in the field. Not a bad idea at all!
 
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dantastic

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Original poster
Jan 21, 2011
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Been looking around a bit and to get USB3 you need to get a mid-2012 mba or newer. They still fetch quite a lot of money.
But there's the non-apple option of either a Windows based Ultrabook or a Chromebook. These can be got for well under 100 quid. They can do everything I need so happy days!
 

robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
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I'd get an Android tablet; you can get even a Galaxy Tab for under $300. You can move video on, then to microSD cards for storage. Or even a thumbdrive with an OTG USB adapter. I've even used a hard drive, although you might need a bifurcated USB cable to get enough power to it. Makes it easy to do some reviewing too, and is versatile for other stuff. I just find file management SO much easier on the Android devices than iOS. Cheaper too.

Or for $30 more than the hard drive device listed above at B&H, get a complete laptop with 1TB for $329, https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1260386-REG/lenovo_80sm0059us_core_i3_6100u_6gb_1tb_windows_10_15_6.html. And you could run Lightroom on it.
 

dantastic

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 21, 2011
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Ok, I have finally parted with money.
This was a really tricky one, as you start looking there are several form factors and several alternatives.
At first I though I'd just get another device like the RavPower. These offer little functionality and are all reportedly pretty slow. They are low powered after all.
Then I was looking at getting a MacBook Air, that was just too much money. A similar sized Windows or ChromeOS device could be got for under 100 quid.
Then I started looking at the tablets. I really liked the tablet option but most tablets don't have USB host functionality, even fewer have USB 3.

I finally settled on a jumper ezpad mini3 Windows 10, 8" tablet for just under 100 quid. It has a full size USB 3.0 port.

This is going to be very interesting, I've not touched a Windows computer in many years! But this is the smarter option. I will be able to do some initial pruning on the road. I don't know what else I will be able to use it for but I'm sure once I have it it will be super useful.

While going through this exercise I couldn't help but getting a nit annoyed that I can't just use my iPad for this fairly basic task.
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
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Cornwall UK
yes I agree.

that's why I take a android tablet when I go take photos as android supports usb.

My android tablet has a 128GB SD card in it.
Sadly usb 2.0 only but good enough for photos.

It's due to no native file explorer like finder for ios that stops usb working how many want it to.
great for security but not so good for some users who want usb
 

ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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A photographer friend of mine had a Compact Flash card go corrupt on her during a shoot. She lost all of the wedding photos she took up to that point, which of course are irreplaceable. Now she backs up the SD cards to a photo bank frequently during shoots.

Personally I've had 2-3 SD/microSD cards go bad. Kingston is great about replacing them for free, but I sure don't trust those things with my data for long.
 

elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
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Cornwall UK
A friend uses a wifi SD card.

saves to card and sends to his macbook as well.

although stops burst mode working.
 

guzhogi

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Aug 31, 2003
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Wherever my feet take me…
A photographer friend of mine had a Compact Flash card go corrupt on her during a shoot. She lost all of the wedding photos she took up to that point, which of course are irreplaceable. Now she backs up the SD cards to a photo bank frequently during shoots.

Personally I've had 2-3 SD/microSD cards go bad. Kingston is great about replacing them for free, but I sure don't trust those things with my data for long.
That's one reason why I'll never do weddings: there's nothing like an angry bride.
 

righteye

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2011
337
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London
A photographer friend of mine had a Compact Flash card go corrupt on her during a shoot. She lost all of the wedding photos she took up to that point, which of course are irreplaceable. Now she backs up the SD cards to a photo bank frequently during shoots.

Personally I've had 2-3 SD/microSD cards go bad. Kingston is great about replacing them for free, but I sure don't trust those things with my data for long.
Why photographers who are taking once only photos don't use cameras with two card slots amazes me, instant back up in camera keep one card and get assistant/friend to back up again from one of them.
 
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joema2

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Sep 3, 2013
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Why photographers who are taking once only photos don't use cameras with two card slots amazes me, instant back up in camera keep one card and get assistant/friend to back up again from one of them.
The OP was shooting video, not photos. Very few multi-card cameras can record simultaneous max resolution video to both cards.

Over the past seven years my documentary crew has shot over 200,000 stills and hundreds of hours of video, totaling about 10 terabytes. In that entire period we had a single Sandisk SD card failure in the field, and recovery software got back 98% of the content for us. I had a Lexar SD card fail during initial testing but it never was deployed.

Some of our video cameras use external HDMI recorders which themselves do not have multiple cards. Some video cameras can record simultaneously to internal and external HDMI storage, but not all.

Even for the cameras that can record at full rate to two cards with no limitations, having two cards is not guaranteed backup. The biggest cause of lost data is human error and unpredictable circumstances, not card failure. E.g, improper camera settings (exposure, focus, etc) which records the same poor data to both cards. Or having the dual-card camera get stolen on site -- poof! both cards are gone.

While I'd rather have dual cards than not have them -- assuming the dual cards did not cause some limitation -- IMO the best backup is multiple cameras, stringent on site backup procedures and careful data stewardship. E.g, duplicate all data on site and don't leave all the cameras and cards in a single vehicle or location.
 
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MCAsan

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A photographer friend of mine had a Compact Flash card go corrupt on her during a shoot. She lost all of the wedding photos she took up to that point, which of course are irreplaceable. Now she backs up the SD cards to a photo bank frequently during shoots.

Personally I've had 2-3 SD/microSD cards go bad. Kingston is great about replacing them for free, but I sure don't trust those things with my data for long.

That situation should be addressed first by having a camera body that writes to two cards in parallel....especially if you do something like shoot weddings. Be leary of a pro photographer who can not explain the redundancy plan for shooting a wedding.
 
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fmarzocca

macrumors newbie
Jun 12, 2017
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I have made a device to run this behaviour on my new Raspberry, from the smartphone or iPad. No need for internet. Just plug an HD and a SD in the Raspberry's ports, then control the application from smartphone.
 
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TheDrift-

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Mar 8, 2010
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That situation should be addressed first by having a camera body that writes to two cards in parallel....especially if you do something like shoot weddings. Be leary of a pro photographer who can not explain the redundancy plan for shooting a wedding.
Things can always go wrong...but I would expect a pro photographer to have a body that writes to two cards....and a spare body as a minimum.
 

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
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I bought a WD Passport Wireless Pro 4TB a few months ago, used it during a week long shooting trip and had no problems. The SD card ingestion process happens independently, it doesn't need control or processing from another device, and judging by the time it took to transfer, it ran at USB3.0 speed or above. After the images are already inside, the unit can either act as a 5/2.4GHz WiFi ad hoc hotspot to be accessed via iDevices for viewing and full sized importing to iOS (which can be very slow if you shoot 36MP RAWs), or if plugged into a real computer with macOS/Windows then it simply acts as a regular external DAS drive which is at USB3.0 speed.
 

MCAsan

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Jul 9, 2012
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Atlanta
Things can always go wrong...but I would expect a pro photographer to have a body that writes to two cards....and a spare body as a minimum.
Not just a Pro. The wife and I each have two E-M1 II bodies each with dual cards. That not only provides for redundancy in the field but also lets you quickly use another lens without a lens chance in the field.
 
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