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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Charleston, SC
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    Anyone use an external hardrive for backup??

    I have to start backing up my files from now on, and want something independent of my computers hard drive. It would need to be atleast 60 gigs, and external. I have a budget of approx. $150 devoted to it. Do y'all use any external HD's? Any good/bad experiences?

    Are there any external harddrives that allow you to plug CF cards in them?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheObiJuan
    I have to start backing up my files from now on, and want something independent of my computers hard drive. It would need to be atleast 60 gigs, and external. I have a budget of approx. $150 devoted to it. Do y'all use any external HD's? Any good/bad experiences?

    Are there any external harddrives that allow you to plug CF cards in them?
    Fry's Electronics has the Wolverine 40GB SixPac Portable hard drive for $139. It has a 6in1 card reader built in. Even with the D70 this would allow 8000 to 16000 shots in RAW or JPEG fine respectively.

    If you are not near a Fry's Electronics, maybe Outpost.com (owned by Fry's) has this as well.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    1,099
    Quote Originally Posted by TheObiJuan
    I have to start backing up my files from now on, and want something independent of my computers hard drive. It would need to be atleast 60 gigs, and external. I have a budget of approx. $150 devoted to it. Do y'all use any external HD's? Any good/bad experiences?

    Are there any external harddrives that allow you to plug CF cards in them?
    There are portable hard drives in the market now that allow you to plug in your CF cards for backup. However, if I were you, I'd wait for a couple of months until 'USB-on-the-go' devices come out.

    These will allow you to connect 2 USB devices and transfer data without the need for a computer! I currently have a portable 2.5 inch hard drive and a card reader. I intend to hook them up in this manner when travelling and taking photos.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    College Station, TX
    Posts
    68

    Exclamation

    i have had one good and one bad experience with an external hard drive. i was working at a company that used large databases to drive their enterprise software. as you can well imagine, demonstrating this software on the road, from a laptop, was a technical challenge. i was in charge of making the demos fly, and at one point we had to visit a client to show them stuff that i could not possibly fit on even the most hoss laptop in the office. so we bought an external hd, and tested it out on several machines and all was well. it had plenty of room, access was fast, we ran oracle from the laptop over to datastores on the external drive and it worked.

    then we got ready for the annual tradeshow, and while we were on the show floor the first day getting ready, a Bad Thing (tm, pat. pend.) happened to the hard drive. it totally croaked. we tried everything, up to and including pulling the guts out of it and plugging them into an identical model, but it was unrecoverable. all the data on the thing was gone forever. it turned out the company owner had randomly unplugged a few things in our power cabinet so she could check e-mail on her laptop, and one of the things she unplugged was the hd. it died without the opportunity for any of its failsafes to go into action.

    now, with that said, the only time i've ever seen a portable hd go south was when something awful like an unplanned power outage hit it. so, assuming you plan to take as much care with the hd as you do with your camera, you should be fine. i highly recommend a power surge bar with a little redundant battery power, if you're in an area prone to power flickers.
    I just want to live happily ever after, every now and then. --Jimmy Buffett

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    1,068
    Quote Originally Posted by TheObiJuan
    I have to start backing up my files from now on, and want something independent of my computers hard drive. It would need to be atleast 60 gigs, and external. I have a budget of approx. $150 devoted to it. Do y'all use any external HD's? Any good/bad experiences?
    Are there any external harddrives that allow you to plug CF cards in them?
    If you're thinking of backing up just your photographs, I would seriously consider a DVD-R drive at this point. I have a 160G external hard drive which I use for backing up my main hard drive, but not for photograph storage.
    I currently use CD-R for photographs (making 2 discs each time, one for use and one for storage). I figure when I move up to my next digital camera, it will be a DSLR, and I will be shooting RAW, so with the increasing file size, CD-R will be too small to be effective, and at that time I'll buy an external DVD-R drive. Based on what I've read, good brands of CD-R disc will probably still be readable in 10 years, so I'll keep an eye on my oldest CD-R archive discs and start recopying them to DVD after a few more years. A hard disc is a fine investment, but I hate to put all my eggs in any single basket.
    "...and only the stump, or fishy part of him remained."
    Green Gables: A Contemplative Companion to Fujino Township

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    9

    Backups

    I generally disagree with the DVD-R backup method. Slow, relatively expensive, and relative to photo collections, small. (4.7 GB, usually) It's these limitations (particularly switching in 5 or 6 blank DVDs) that'll aggravate a fair number of people and eventually cause them to abandon their backup strategy. Make the process as painless and automatic as possible. I use Apple's .Mac Backup, which despite its simplicity, does allow automatic scheduled backups. I schedule it for Friday at noon when I'm at work so it's harder to avoid. I use iCal to remind me a few hours in advance that the backup is coming up so I can connect my backup device. My 28 GB photo library takes 20 minutes or less to complete its incremental backup (ie., add only new items since last backup.)

    I recommend an external HD... a small, portable one. If you're a laptop user like I am, you'll appreciate the portability. But portability is your call, I suppose. I was able to make an external FireWire/USB-2 HD for about $150 buying a separate 5,400 RPM notebook drive and a portable case. The case has rubber shockmounts to cushion the drive a little.

    You said "backup" which leaves me to believe you are not "archiving", i.e., the only copy of, say, your oldest photos will be on the external device. Because, yes, HDs do fail suddenly and sometimes without warning. And dropping a device can happen suddenly, too. But if your photos are on your main HD at that point, you'll be okay.

    If you are truly archiving, you might consider integrating the CD-R or DVD-R into your strategy. If you DO have DVD-R capability, there are still good reasons to periodically make a full archive of your photo library. I do this about once every 4-6 months so I can remove photos from my computer's HD and free up space.

    Recently, these practices saved my photographic butt when I accidentally wrote a copy of OS X Server over my Powerbook's HD. Long story involving much frustration and very late hours. :-)

    In that case, I only lost about 1 week of photos. Nothing important. And I've since corrected my practices to capture a potential lost week of photos: only erase my 1 GB CF cards after the weekly backup.

    Hope something here helps!

    -Marc

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    9
    Quote Originally Posted by Norm in Fujino
    If you're thinking of backing up just your photographs, I would seriously consider a DVD-R drive at this point. I have a 160G external hard drive which I use for backing up my main hard drive, but not for photograph storage.
    I currently use CD-R for photographs (making 2 discs each time, one for use and one for storage). I figure when I move up to my next digital camera, it will be a DSLR, and I will be shooting RAW, so with the increasing file size, CD-R will be too small to be effective, and at that time I'll buy an external DVD-R drive. Based on what I've read, good brands of CD-R disc will probably still be readable in 10 years, so I'll keep an eye on my oldest CD-R archive discs and start recopying them to DVD after a few more years. A hard disc is a fine investment, but I hate to put all my eggs in any single basket.
    I kinda disagree with the DVD-R idea... see my separate post. But that's because my photo library after a year with a dSLR is nearing 30 GB. With even an 8X DVD-R, that's be a slow mess of changing disks and waiting. And my DVD-R is 4X. I think the last DVD-R archive I made took several hours.

    I'm of the opinion a good backup strategy involves a couple types of device and both backup and archive. Ideally you want to be able to recover from a disater where everything onsite is destroyed, a single-device failure (HD crash, perhaps) or a Stupid Mistake (TM) that leaves you with a need to recover the original of a recent photo or section of your library.

    Of course, methods for ensuring against all three are usually expensive, so I trade off. I generally assume that if my house burns down, I've got bigger problems than a lost photo library. So I skimp on the offsite (though my portable backup HD sort of serves this need if my laptop bag is with me and away from the house if it goes up in flames.

    But I do think the periodic archive combined with regular backups gets most of it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
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    6,027
    Quote Originally Posted by Manwich
    I kinda disagree with the DVD-R idea... see my separate post. But that's because my photo library after a year with a dSLR is nearing 30 GB. With even an 8X DVD-R, that's be a slow mess of changing disks and waiting. And my DVD-R is 4X. I think the last DVD-R archive I made took several hours.

    I'm of the opinion a good backup strategy involves a couple types of device and both backup and archive. Ideally you want to be able to recover from a disater where everything onsite is destroyed, a single-device failure (HD crash, perhaps) or a Stupid Mistake (TM) that leaves you with a need to recover the original of a recent photo or section of your library.

    Of course, methods for ensuring against all three are usually expensive, so I trade off. I generally assume that if my house burns down, I've got bigger problems than a lost photo library. So I skimp on the offsite (though my portable backup HD sort of serves this need if my laptop bag is with me and away from the house if it goes up in flames.

    But I do think the periodic archive combined with regular backups gets most of it.
    DVD must be part of a good archive/backup strategy, as is an external portable 2.5 inch USB (2.0HS) hard drive. Yes it is a pain, but it is a dicipline that you need as a digital photographer. Thinking back to film, at least you have an archive/backup option.

    And if you can afford a large outside server that is even better. Having lost some valuable (personally) photos in the past has tought me never to assume security, and transfer the images to multiple backups as soon as possible. A little healthy paranoia can be a good thing.

    But I think Juans original question was aimed at temporary mass storage solution versus a laptop for travel, and maybe ultimatley as an additional backup.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,364
    My only computer at the moment is a laptop. I have ample room, but wish to archive everything. I did consider getting an external DVD-R or even a DVD-RW, but that would be a pain. I have been burning all of the shoots that I have done recently and keeping them in their case, labeled with the customers name, date, and amount paid. They just get stored in a box with other stuff I have. I will just bit the bullet and get an external HD, that perhaps has the CF card slot built in, and can connect to my computer. It sure would be nice to be able to see what is on it. And to just drag "My Documents" over to it and let it copy all the new files over night.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Monterey Bay
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    6,027
    Quote Originally Posted by TheObiJuan
    My only computer at the moment is a laptop. I have ample room, but wish to archive everything. I did consider getting an external DVD-R or even a DVD-RW, but that would be a pain. I have been burning all of the shoots that I have done recently and keeping them in their case, labeled with the customers name, date, and amount paid. They just get stored in a box with other stuff I have. I will just bit the bullet and get an external HD, that perhaps has the CF card slot built in, and can connect to my computer. It sure would be nice to be able to see what is on it. And to just drag "My Documents" over to it and let it copy all the new files over night.
    How much more of a "pain" would it be to loose all of your work? I double back-up everything.

    Again you might want to look at the Wolverine. For $139 it would do what you want. 40GB hard drive, and a 6in1 card reader.
    D7000, D70, CP990, CP900, FE.
    50mm f/1.8, Sigma 18-125, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8, Nikon 18-105 VR, Nikon 55-200 VR, Nikon 43-86 f/3.5 AiS, Vivitar 28-90 F/2.8-3.5 Macro, Vivitar 75-205 F/3.8-4.8, SB800.
    Ha! See, I can change...


    http://d70fan.smugmug.com/

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