Steven NY

A Backup question

31 posts in this topic

I will be going to Tanzania for a week in mid-September.  I am really psyched about my first safari.  I have a Canon 70D and will be buying a new 80D.  I have a Sigma 15-600 and a Sigma 18-300.  I think I am pretty well covered there.  I will also bring a bunch of 64Gb and/or 32Gb cards.  I do not know what to do about backup.  I have read countless posts about the need to back-up each day.  However, with the weight restrictions I am concerned about keeping my stuff limited.  I will carry a small duffle for clothes and sundries and a backpack for the photo gear and electric stuff.  

I do not own and will not bring a laptop.  So, what do I use for backup?  I need something reliable and I need to know the backup is complete.  Without connecting to a laptop, how can I be sure?  I see a Canon wireless backup which can also be used for connecting to hdmi for viewing.  It is around $250 and I can get it in a package with my 80D.  It weighs over a pound, so that is adding to the weight.  I am so concerned about the 33 pound weight limit (I'll be taking 3 bush flights during my trip) that I am leaving my Sigma 10-20 (great for wide shots at the crater and night sky shots), and a small tabletop tripod (again for right sky shots) at home.  I'd love to bring them, but I am paranoid about any hassles with weight.  I may go over the 33 pounds by a few, so I do not want to be put in an uncomfortable situation.  

Any suggestions for backup equipment and a good backup protocol?

 

Thanks - Steven

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I would not be too concerned about going over the weight restrictions by a little bit - especially if you are flying Coastal aviation internally on safari ........  

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Thanks for your reply.  Yes, it is Coastal Aviation.  Nice to know they won't too strict about the weight.  I assume I put the duffel in the hold and take the backpack with my camera equipment on the plane.  

 

Any suggestions on backup solutions?

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just for emptying your memorycards onto a harddrive/external harddrive you don`t need to spend much on a laptop, i would really recommend it if you can :-) It does not add much weight, and also, many allowes 1 handluggage + one additional laptop-bag, and the weight of that is not included in the 7-8 kg or whatever that your handluggage are allowed to weigh. Just a tip :-) 

 

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It would be copying onto a hard/external drive.  How do you operate an external drive if you don't have a laptop with you?  I don't use laptops, I have a desktop iMac.  Seems expensive to buy one just to copy onto its drive.

 

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@Steven NY 

 

I have a 250GB NEXTO DI portable hard drive, it’s a few years old now so the current models may not be exactly the same and I’m not sure of the cost now and it would in any case depend on the size of the hard drive you chose to get. Basically you just switch it on slot in your card and press the button and depending how long you press it for, it will either just copy the files or copy them and then erase them from the card. It’s purely a storage device once the photos/videos are on it I can’t view them until I connect it to my PC at home, so I’ve no need for a laptop unless I wanted to edit photos in the field. I do actually have an iPad but I can’t connect the NEXTO to it. Unlike mine with the latest versions you can view a thumbnail of your photos but the screen is pretty small so I'm not entirely sure what the advantage of this is. If all you are really looking for is storage then it does the job, it’s up to you whether you want to take enough cards to keep the photos on them and just copy them to the NEXTO as backup so you've got two copies or whether you want to have fewer cards and reuse them after you’ve transferred the photos to the NEXTO and just have one copy. The latter strategy is obviously a little risky but I’ve not had any problems with either of the two that I’ve used, I only bought a second one because the hard drive in the first became too small and it didn’t have an SD slot. My current one has both an SD and a CF slot and if need be I could open the case remove the hard drive and replace it with a bigger one should 250GB ever prove not to be enough. It has an internal battery and you can buy a separate external battery to ensure it doesn’t run out, with the extra battery I reckon I can probably go a whole trip or nearly without having to recharge as long as I full charged it at the start. Transferring the photos is pretty quick but if you are using large capacity cards and I have some 32GB cards then it does take more than a few minutes to get the job done, but not too long.

 

Here’s a link to their website and to current version of what I have. NEXTO DI

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It looks like a good solution.  It is fairly expensive.  Not sure I'd want to spend that for what will probably be a one time use.  Found some other similar products.  each seems to have a limitation or poor reviews.  I'll keep looking.  Thanks,

 

Steven

 

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I just received a Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro.   The 3TB version cost me $190 + tax, and there are smaller ones for a bit less money.   You turn it on, shove your SD card in the slot, and it copies all of the files to its hard drive.  It will connect to your phone or tablet to let you view jpegs (not raw files, sadly - i shoot raw+jpeg for this and other reasons).  Weighs about a pound, and I got it for my upcoming Africa trip.  

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how is it powered?

 

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16 hours ago, Steven NY said:

Thanks for your reply.  Yes, it is Coastal Aviation.  Nice to know they won't too strict about the weight.  I assume I put the duffel in the hold and take the backpack with my camera equipment on the plane.  

 

Any suggestions on backup solutions?

 

 

Correct - Camera equipment inside the plane.  

 

Ask you agent if you can get onto the fast flight (Pilatus) aircraft.  Which is a bigger plane and is faster to your destination with very few stops en route.  

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You could just get a 2nd hand or cheap Netbook with a decent sized mechanical hard drive.  This one is like the price of a basic external hard drive... 

Example: 

Netbook

 

Personally I cannot really go more than a few days without my laptop to download pictures, cull the rubbish and select the few keepers.  If I was on say a multiple day canoe trail then sure the laptop would stay at home.  But for a normal safari I would find space.  

 

 

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On 6/29/2017 at 0:09 AM, madaboutcheetah said:

I would not be too concerned about going over the weight restrictions by a little bit - especially if you are flying Coastal aviation internally on safari ........  

Just to make sure I am correct about the inland flights.  I am taking Coastal Aviation from Arusha to Lake Manyara and then from Lake Manyara up North to the Northern Sergenti and then from there back to Arusha.  Am I correct that they will store my duffle bag, with my clothes and sundries like medicine etc. (It will be relatively small - like a gym bag) in the hold of the plane, and they will let me bring my Backpack with the photo equipment on board.  If they don't weigh the two pieces together and do not scrutinize the backpack, then it really makes a big difference.  I intend to bring a Sigma 150-600 (4 1/2 pounds) as well as a smaller lens and two Canon 80D camera bodies.  The total weight of those is approximately 10 pounds.  If I can throw in a small wide angle lens and the extra batteries and charger and the backup drive, plus the weight of the backpack is around 18 lbs at most.  If I can just carry that on, without weighing it with the duffel/gym bag, that would be fantastic.

I'm sure the pack would be compact enough to go under my seat or in front of it.  These bags are compact and you can fit much in them if packed creatively.  

 

Thanks for your help.  -   Steven

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There's a new device that looks intriguing called the Gnarbox (terrible name!) Its similar to a Nexto type of device but what intriguing is that you can even plug in another external drive into it to extend its capacity and you can view and edit images via wifi (it creates its own hotspot) if you have an iPad or tablet. I can't speak first hand but I'm seriously tempted to try it. Plus it's quite rugged.

 

https://www.gnarbox.com/

 

Otherwise, I would get a cheap netbook. Personally I carry a small Acer Aspire 10" netbook and two portable hard drives, back everything up in triplicate.

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Thanks.  That looks interesting.   It has a capacity of 125Gb.  I'm not at all sure how many shots/videos I'll take.  However, I think that may be a bit small for me.  There is more out there than I thought.

 

Steven

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Steven NY said:

Thanks.  That looks interesting.   It has a capacity of 125Gb.  I'm not at all sure how many shots/videos I'll take.  However, I think that may be a bit small for me.  There is more out there than I thought.

 

Steven

 

Yes its too small, but the nice thing is that you can hook up another small drive to it. In fact you can copy directly onto another drive, bypassing the Gnarbox entirely. So essentially it can serve as a conduit. That's the way I use my netbook now actually--as my netbook hard drive is way slower than the SSD backup drives I use. So I don't even copy to the netbook but just pass it through (using a small USB 3 hub) to two 500 GB external drives.  I would imagine doing something similar with the Gnarbox.

 

 

Edited by janzin
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I wouldn't want to bring that much.  I want to keep the weight down and bring a few different lenses.  I think I'll find a good solution.  Its a question of cost also.  Thanks for your help.

Steven

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5 hours ago, Steven NY said:

Just to make sure I am correct about the inland flights.  I am taking Coastal Aviation from Arusha to Lake Manyara and then from Lake Manyara up North to the Northern Sergenti and then from there back to Arusha.  Am I correct that they will store my duffle bag, with my clothes and sundries like medicine etc. (It will be relatively small - like a gym bag) in the hold of the plane, and they will let me bring my Backpack with the photo equipment on board.  If they don't weigh the two pieces together and do not scrutinize the backpack, then it really makes a big difference.  I intend to bring a Sigma 150-600 (4 1/2 pounds) as well as a smaller lens and two Canon 80D camera bodies.  The total weight of those is approximately 10 pounds.  If I can throw in a small wide angle lens and the extra batteries and charger and the backup drive, plus the weight of the backpack is around 18 lbs at most.  If I can just carry that on, without weighing it with the duffel/gym bag, that would be fantastic.

I'm sure the pack would be compact enough to go under my seat or in front of it.  These bags are compact and you can fit much in them if packed creatively.  

 

Thanks for your help.  -   Steven

 

You will most likely be on one of their Caravan planes.  There is no storage space under the seat - but, they have a compartment when you enter the plane to store all hand luggage (camera equipment and backpacks) ...... Yup, your clothes duffel will go into the hold of the plane.  Really no need to stress over this since they are pretty service friendly at Coastal and they deal with photographers every day and handle it all very professionally.

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That is very reassuring.  I'm counting the days.

 

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I had a similar dilemma and went down the laptop and external hard drive route. Having already got an iMac Desktop I bought an new and expensive iMac Air 13' which was an older model at a reduction. It was still 4x the price of a Windows machine but once your are hooked in to Apple and the fact they all work in harmony( we have iPad and iPhone in the house too) , well you know how it is. It was only since buying it I have seen several older ( 5 -6 years) models being advertised for sale privately at a fraction of what I paid and I'm sure they would have been the perfect solution.

The good news about taking a laptop is that you can see the photos you are taking while you are on the trip and not just on a small screen on the back of the camera. How often do you think you have got a winning shot only to find out it's not sharp on a bigger screen? At least if you are still on safari you have a chance to take another. 

The other advantage of the laptop is that you can use it for other purposes too and I'm no longer confined to using my desktop at home either. 

 

 

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I just got back from a camera store where I looked at some options.  Taking a lap top is not an option.  I do not like lap tops and have no general use for them.  The WD Wireless and the Canon Connect are probably the way I'll go.  I'm going to trust that I have the shot when i look on the camera - when I zoom in I have a good idea.  

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Posted (edited)

@Steven NY  Backup solutions are always a dilemma when travelling and trying to keep equipment weight to a minimum. Backups are only risk mitigation against loss. Even if you took a laptop you could have everything stolen and you're stuffed. So I'll throw a few things out of left field for you to consider.

 

1. If you do not take your Sigma 10-20 you'll never get a chance for those wide angle crater & night sky shots so TAKE IT with you. It makes no sense to have a  backup plan in place at the expense of actually capturing images you want.    

2. Instead of buying an 80D purchase a camera with 2 card slots and set it up so the camera writes to both cards (you now have one backup). 

3. Purchase the highest quality cards you can afford ~ and dare I say it ~ risk not doing backups, enjoy all your time in Africa (rather than fussing over backups).

4. Keep used cards with you at all times and separate from your cameras & lens. (This in itself is a risk mitigation strategy). I've never had a card fail on me (but sooner or later it might happen but there are occasions when I'm willing to take that risk).

Edited by Geoff

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Thanks for the advice.  I'm staying with the 80D, because I have the 70D as the other camera and I really like it.  The 80D has a number of improvements.  Even if I get a camera with two card slots, which would serve as a good automatic backup, it would still leave images from my other camera to figure out something else.

Yes, obviously the backup in the field is a protection against loss of the images, more than anything else.  Still a worthwhile endeavor.    I am looking at a Western Digital 2T wireless drive, which may very well serve the purpose.

I want to take the 10-20.  Given the crop differential it is a 16 to 32.  My 18-300 starts at 27.  So, I am missing from 16 to 27 if I do not take the wide Sigma.  I doubt the difference is that dramatic; however, I do think it would be worthwhile in the Crater and for night sky.  

I'll see how everything fits together in a new backpack and then look at the duffel and clothing/sundries bag.  I may be a few pounds over, but I've heard from a number of people that Coastal Airlines is not too crazy if you're only a few pounds over, and they are friendly and understanding towards photographers.  I could always keep a lens or the drive in a pocket and enter the plane with one of the cameras slung around my neck.  

Planning for this trip is a bit more complicated than going to Vegas for a week.  ;-)

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2 hours ago, Steven NY said:



Planning for this trip is a bit more complicated than going to Vegas for a week.  ;-)

 

You have to gamble with both! Good luck on your trip and decision.

Must admit I have never backed up anything until I took my trip to Namibia in January for which I bought the laptop. The irony was that I bought a 4TB external hard drive but decided to use that at home and take a 1TB one that held all my previous trips on it. In transferring them to the 4TB disc they went missing and I lost the lot. My only copy too.

I should have stuck with my usual procedure I guess.

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Ouch @Dave Williams

I must pull my finger out as well and buy another drive. Currently don't have a backup either.

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