Stop blowing money on expensive CF cards: buy SSDs for backups instead?

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,167
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NYC
Over the years I have always spend dollar on dollar for super fast CF cards.

I'm always thinking I need a faster card which do speed up the importing of my photos just in case. I'm always needing higher capacity for a newer camera or need more capacity when I'm on a trip and I want to retain a backup of my photos apart from the set already imported into my computer.

I've never thought twice about this. Today I have realized this: Prices are ridiculous. I am ashamed of myself to say the least.

I could have bought that spanking new lens or even upgraded my camera body instead. Instead I blew it on some dumb memory card.

Too bad I need the memory capacity I just bought (not to mention the really fast import speed) or I'd return it already.


Anyways, this got me thinking: Would it be better to start investing in SSDs for backup? I could buy a 512GB SSD, put that in an external and use that for backing up my photos on trips (BTW the 512GB SSD would be cheaper than buying the new 128GB CF cards). Sure a lot speed would be wasted, but the added shock resistance of solid state memory would surely be advantageous.

Thoughts on this?
 

mikepro

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2010
424
17
Buying a 512GB SSD external drive seems like yet another way for you to waste money. They are huuugely expensive, and will be wasted in your application.

You.. already have a backup of them on your computer? If you really feel the need to get yet another redundant copy of them just get a regular cheap external. They are sturdy enough to be your third tier backup.

Don't waste money on the fastest, largest CF cards either. Just get a reasonable capacity one (or 3) and dump the pictures on your computer/external and then wipe the card. If you run out of space when shooting, swap in a new card. I would never use more than a 16 or 32GB card. And, so what if it takes a few extra seconds to import the pictures onto your computer? As long as the card is fact enough to capture pictures or video at the rate you are taking, that's all you need.
 

Designer Dale

macrumors 68040
Mar 25, 2009
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Folding space
I don't know if you can just hook a portable HD up to a card reader and import photos directly to it. Portable HDs draw there juice from the computer battery.

They make portable photo backup drives with card readers built in for this application. They aren't cheap.

Here's one with an SSD on B&H

Dale

Edit: I have Class 10 and 6 SD cards for my XSi and can't tell the difference between the two without looking at the receipts.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Original poster
Feb 9, 2008
22,167
1,212
NYC
Buying a 512GB SSD external drive seems like yet another way for you to waste money. They are huuugely expensive, and will be wasted in your application.

You.. already have a backup of them on your computer? If you really feel the need to get yet another redundant copy of them just get a regular cheap external. They are sturdy enough to be your third tier backup.
I'm looking for ruggedness, which is something SSDs can offer whereas regular HDDs something fail at.

I've had a couple external fail, luckily backed up onto optical media, but failed none the less.

Don't waste money on the fastest, largest CF cards either. Just get a reasonable capacity one (or 3) and dump the pictures on your computer/external and then wipe the card. If you run out of space when shooting, swap in a new card. I would never use more than a 16 or 32GB card. And, so what if it takes a few extra seconds to import the pictures onto your computer? As long as the card is fact enough to capture pictures or video at the rate you are taking, that's all you need.
It was sort of a rant. I feel sort of stupid buying these expensive memory cards.

They make portable photo backup drives with card readers built in for this application. They aren't cheap.

Here's one with an SSD on B&H

Dal
Thanks for posting that.

I have something like that. I recently had one of those HDDs fail, but luckily still had a copy in my CF cards. That's mainly why I'm wondering if I should get an SSD.
 

-hh

macrumors 68030
Jul 17, 2001
2,528
323
NJ Highlands, Earth
...Anyways, this got me thinking: Would it be better to start investing in SSDs for backup? I could buy a 512GB SSD, put that in an external and use that for backing up my photos on trips (BTW the 512GB SSD would be cheaper than buying the new 128GB CF cards). Sure a lot speed would be wasted, but the added shock resistance of solid state memory would surely be advantageous.

Thoughts on this?
I don't know if you can just hook a portable HD up to a card reader and import photos directly to it. Portable HDs draw there juice from the computer battery.

They make portable photo backup drives with card readers built in for this application. They aren't cheap.

Here's one with an SSD on B&H
Back when even slow memory cards were still quite expensive, the "digital wallet" that I bought at the time was the Sanho Hyperdrive.

Mine are the now-discontinued HD-80 model, which had a crude B&W screen and took PATA 2.5" drives. It was self-powered from four (4) removable AA rechargable batteries (NiMH?).

Looking at that model's replacement and for the contemplation of SDD's, I'd suggest going to their website to order an 'empty case', to which you could add whatever brand/capacity of 2.5" SATA drive (HDD or SDD) that you would desire. They're fast (30+MB/sec) and its internal battery is reportedly good for 200+GB worth of transfers between cards...FWIW, I did find (way back) that the battery life on some products being sold were a weak link.

FWIW, I chose to buy a pair, so that I'd be able to make redundant backups before erasing my CF card. That's probably another consideration for any backup-in-the-field data management plan.


-hh
 

danahn17

macrumors 6502
Dec 3, 2009
384
0
I could be wrong, but it seems to me you have two separate needs here.

One is you don't like your import time of your CF cards. The other is another need for backup.

In terms of import time, when you import, do you hook up your camera to computer? Or do you take out your CF card and insert it into a card reader hooked up to your computer? A good card reader will be considerably faster at importing compared to hooking up your camera to your computer.

In terms of backup, the SSD will provide you with some more ruggedness, but for me, the cost combined with the smaller available storage space makes me opt to use multiple HDs (I have 2 externals I back up to and also store my completed/edited photos on smugmug.com).
 

Designer Dale

macrumors 68040
Mar 25, 2009
3,950
100
Folding space
I could be wrong, but it seems to me you have two separate needs here.

One is you don't like your import time of your CF cards. The other is another need for backup.

In terms of import time, when you import, do you hook up your camera to computer? Or do you take out your CF card and insert it into a card reader hooked up to your computer? A good card reader will be considerably faster at importing compared to hooking up your camera to your computer.

In terms of backup, the SSD will provide you with some more ruggedness, but for me, the cost combined with the smaller available storage space makes me opt to use multiple HDs (I have 2 externals I back up to and also store my completed/edited photos on smugmug.com).
The OP is looking for a portable solution to backup cards in the field without the need for a computer.

Dale
 

VirtualRain

macrumors 603
Aug 1, 2008
6,304
114
Vancouver, BC
I once considered buying just a couple of high-end CF cards and using an in-the-field HD solution to back them up. But I couldn't find anything really elegant to do this... all the portable HD solutions with integrated card readers were so slow that they would drain the battery before they could transfer the contents of a 32GB card. :rolleyes: And, they were not cheap... around $500 for 500GB of storage.

So in the end, I opted for reasonably priced CF cards... These 32GB Transcend are incredible value at $50 each and they are highly rated amongst photographers. They are also reasonably fast. Not the fastest, but fast enough for me. Full disclosure: I had one go bad after 2 years, but Transcend replaced it no questions asked. It cost me $1 to mail it to them and I was without it for 10 days. But I have 3 :)
 
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