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View Full Version : Smartdisk FotoChute Info Needed



jabrich
10-31-2005, 04:00 PM
I'm doing some research for my husband who is taking his Nikon D70 to Africa next year for 3 weeks. He is anticipating taking A LOT of pictures -- more than his two 1GB memory cards will hold. I found out about the Smartdisk FotoChute 20GB Portable Hard Drive in an advertisment for an office supply store in the paper. I've tried to find reviews, and I have only found a couple. Has anyone out there used this device, and if so, would you recommend it? It seems to be an inexpensive, efficient way of storing digital photographs, but I'd like to find out if it has any downsides! Any information would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

jabrich
11-02-2005, 05:46 AM
It seems as if nobody has used this particular device for photo storage yet! It must be a fairly new product. I found it for a very good price, and after doing just a bit more research on other options (other portable hard drives, iPods, etc), I went ahead and bought the Fotochute. After we test it out a little, I can let anyone interested know how well it works. Otherwise, I won't waste anymore forum space. TTFN!

Ramat
11-08-2005, 04:15 PM
I am very interested in your opinion of the FotoChute. I just returned from 3 weeks in Africa, concluding that I would have loved some way to store/backup my digital shots when I was out in the middle of nowhere with no access to a computer or power. I took 2.5 GB worth of chips, and filled most of it with a 5 megapixel camera. So I started looking at the FotoChute, but am a bit leery since it is so new and there are so few other options. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

emalvick
11-22-2005, 10:34 AM
I was curious and read a review on Macworld, http://www.macworld.com/2005/08/reviews/fotochute/index.php, and it seems to suggest that the drive isn't bad, but it can be flaky at what machines it works with.

I'm a bit skeptical and I've heard of other devices that are similar and perhaps even cheaper. One I've seen talked up that does a similar thing is the Wolverine Data 40GB Storage Device 7040 that includes a 7 in 1 memory card reader. It is $180 on Amazon. There are others out there, and some come with the ability to view images. That is a feature I'm looking for just so I can review and delete images at the end of the day that I know are bad. Archos makes a few that seem good for that and are still reasonably priced.

rockwell
12-04-2005, 05:42 PM
I just bought a fotochute this morning. I've used it a bit to test it out (more about that later), but the price was too good not to try. Office depot is selling them this week for $139.99 (U.S.), and on top of that there is a $70.00 rebate, making the final cost < $70. I hate rebates, but Office Depot has been good about getting them to me in the past, so I thought I'd buy one.

On to performance: The fotochute came mostly charged, but I still charged it until it indicated that it had a full charge. If you're near it when it completes charging, you'll hear it beep and display a "charge done" message just before it turns itself off. This is great, as you don't have to worry about overcharging. Next, I used it out in the field to collect images from my two digital camears (Canon G2 and Sony DSC-H1). It worked flawlessy with both, and seemed to be transferring images as quickly as when I transfer images between my cameras and PC.

Transferring images to my PCs went smoothly with only one glitch (and this was due to a known problem with my PC, not with the fotochute). On my homebuilt PC (MSI motherboard and smorgasborg of assembled parts), transfer went flawlessly, as it did on my older Dell PC (Optiflex GX400). On my new (this summer) Dell Optiflex GX280, transfer was perfect when plugged into the USB jacks on the rear of the computer, but the fotochute did not work properly when plugged into the USB port on the front of the PC. This has happened on that PC with a number of other USB peripherals, so there seems to be something weird about that port. On all the rear ports, however, the fotochute works just fine.

On all three PCS, the fotochute was recognized as an additional drive without needing to install any drivers (I use Windows XP on all three PCs). Transfer was fast, and I could copy files both directions (this should make it useful as a file transfer device among my PCs, too). I could delete files from the PCs as well as from the fotochute's menu. All in all, the unit worked as advertised. The unit feels well built. It's small, but feels sturdy enough, and it came with a nice case that looks to provide a bit of protection for it.

I read one review (from Macworld) that said fotochute didn't work with certain of the Aluminum Apple PowerBooks until the fotochute firmware was upgraded (but, the firmware upgrade software was only available for PCs, so if you own an aluminum powerBook, you may need to have a PC--or a friend with one--to upgrade fotochute firmware).

All in all, I think this is going to be a really nice addition to my camera bag, especially for the Sony, which uses the still expensive memory sticks. I really didn't relish the thought of buying a couple more 1 or 2 gig sticks before we start travelling for Christmas. After the rebate, I'll end up getting the fotochute for less than the price of a 1 gig memory stick--can't beat that! I'll post more after the holidays to let you all know how it goes.

Matthew
12-04-2005, 06:58 PM
So, how long are battery times on these? I mean, will you be able to use it the entire time you're overseas?

dixie
12-08-2005, 11:26 PM
i got a fotochute from officedepot yesterday and start to test immediately. one thing i notice is if i try to copy a imagine file of over 4g while connected to my dell 700m, an error message bump out saying 'not enough disk space...', but clearly there is 18g free space left as indicated by the computer. wonder anybody tried this and has the same problem? while connected to my fuji finepix 700, it did not finish the first time, but went fine the second time.

notice somebody earlier mention to try the fotochute on d70. well, i tried yesterday. after the message on the lcd 'connection failed', my d70 died! it can not be resurrected even using reset button. have to send it back to nikon. not sure it's the problem of fotochute, or d70 though.

ewolf
12-10-2005, 07:41 PM
I just bought the smartdisk fotochute FCD20 w/LCD at office depot (139-$20 staples coupon that they accepted - $70 rebate). I have a canon g2 and I see that ROCKWELL had luck connecting it to the g2. When I choose Copy, I get "Connecting....connect failed". If I choose backup it says "No Media". Did you do something special. Please Help! I really want this device to, work...it is a great deal.

dixie
12-19-2005, 11:25 PM
while my d70 is still in NIKON waiting for repairing, i figured out way to use the fotochute. just connect a card reader directly to it, and the fotochu would recognize what ever card you slide into the reader. it also faster this way than connect the camera directly to fotochute. the downside is you have to carry an extra device, a card reader, wherever you need to use the storage. but in general the card readers are pretty small, adding almost no extra weight to the gear. the card reader i used is stratitec, got from sam's for 15 bucks. it takes basically all the cards you can find in the market (25-in-1 as the manufacturer clamed). as the ones i tried, Xd, CF and SD, they all work fine.