Photo: On the road to Pindaya.

Cameras and travel photography forum

Backing Up Photos

Posted by Phiddy on 8/12/2011 at 11:00

Hi, I'm travelling around SE Asia for about 3-4 months beginning in January, I'm planning on taking a high end P&S or possibly a dSLR with me. I have seen a lot on here about backing up pictures as you go but how exactly is this done?
My immediate thought was to go to internet cafes and email the pics to myself, but last time I tried this it only let me send about 6 pics in each email - not handy when trying to back up hundreds at a time. Another option is tweeting / blogging them, but this doesn't really solve the problem faced when I have hundreds at a time.

Some people said something about backing them up on DVD, how exactly would you do this in an internet cafe? Surely it would take ages? And I'm not sure how I feel about either carrying the DVDs with me or posting them home, both have security issues.

Is there something I'm missing? I am a massive noob when it comes to this sort of thing as I have never had to do it before, but I have been in the situation where I have lost ALL of the pics I took on a holiday (broken iphone), lost about 200 pics and it was the worst feeling in the world.

Thanks

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Posted by altmtl on 8/12/2011 at 11:09

I guess you're not bringing a notebook? I would suggest you get a USB key of 8, 16 or 32 gigs, you might need a card reader for your memory cards? Transfer the pics to the computer at the Cybercafe, than transfer them back onto your USB key. I don't need more than 8 gigs, but it depends on the format that you are saving in...

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Posted by Phiddy on 8/12/2011 at 11:41

Not bringing a notebook and I haven't actually bought this camera yet, so I will have to ask the person who sells it to me whether or not I'll need a memory card reader. By USB key do you mean a memory stick? I'm assuming you keep these with you rather than sending them home? If I did do this I guess I would keep them in my money belt / most secure place I can think of, separate from my memory card and camera (obviously). Don't know why I didn't think of USB sticks though it's a really good idea, thanks.

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Posted by altmtl on 8/12/2011 at 12:12

The guy who sells you the camera won't know why you may need a card reader, it really depends on how recent the computers are in the Cyber cafe you use, but don't worry, buy the card reader in Thailand cheap, like I did if you find you need it. You camera should come with a cable you can plug in any computer, but it means bringing the camera with you.

Yes memory stick, that I keep elsewhere than with my notebook - double backup

Whatever you do don't erase what's on the memory card until you're 100% sure they are on your memory stick, and I'd carry a couple of cards, not just one.

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Posted by busylizzy on 8/12/2011 at 14:30

For another layer of prtoection, also buy cheap USB sticks along the way, do a second backup of your photos and send them home every so often. Or take them somewhere to be copied to DVD and post that home. There are camera stores around the place that will do this for you for a small charge. On other words, have one copy with you, and another copy at home.

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Posted by Phiddy on 8/12/2011 at 15:28

Good idea, thanks. What do you guys think of the whole cloud computing thing? I should probably do my own research into it anyway

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Posted by busylizzy on 8/12/2011 at 19:22

If you can get a good connection, then I guess it's a good alternative. It depends on where you go.. the speed can be pretty sucky in places, and I don't have the inclination to wait around for hours on end while photos upload.

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Posted by goonistik on 9/12/2011 at 02:41

I don't think you will need a card reader. After you connect the camera to a computer via USB cable, the camera should be recognized as a memory device. You can than copy files from the camera to the computer.

There are several options for backing up. Some cameras, like the Nikon D7000, have 2 card slots and they can be programmed to record copies of the photos to both cards. You can buy additional cards as needed. However, this strategy works fine with jpeg. If you shoot RAW, you might end up spending more than you want for memory cards.

Aside from DVD, you an also back up to a portable hard disk drive. However, I am suspicious of internet cafe computers. They might be infected with viruses/malware that could end up being transferred to the portable HDD or the DVD.

In theory, backing up to the cloud is a great idea. But as lizzy points out, the internet connection speeds in SEA can be slow.

Instead of a DSLR, consider the micro 4/3 cameras like the Olympus PEN-series or he Panasonic GF2. Much smaller and lighter than a DSLR and performance that comes close to the APS-C DSLR cameras. For a high-end P&S, take a look at the Pana LX5, the Canon S95, and the Oly XZ-1. I prefer the XZ-1 and the LX5.

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Posted by altmtl on 9/12/2011 at 05:58

re: card reader, I didn't have a notebook my last trip but the girl I was traveling with did, unfortunately it didn't have a slot for her memory card, but since I had my card reader, we were both able to upload photos on to facebook via wi-fi in our room... (her memory card was different from mine & we both didn't have a camera cable) so it came in handy.

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Posted by Tilapia on 9/12/2011 at 17:33

I wouldn't trust the cyber cafe computers over there, either.

Cloud is a good option providing your photo file sizes aren't very big as they may take too long to upload and, possibly, use too much bandwidth. If you're going to bring a good DSLR, you'll probably want your photo file sizes to be large in case you want to print any off for framing, or whatever. And if you end up shooting in RAW format, your file sizes will definitely be large, and it's possible that not all computer software will be able to handle them.

I like to carry a few cards with me. I also invested in an excellent device called the Colorspace HyperDrive (http://www.hypershop.com/HyperDrive-COLORSPACE-UDMA-s/64.htm). Don't be put off by the cost. You can find them for less than the prices listed on the company's homepage.

This backs up just about every size card you can think of, all format types, and does so quickly. You can also browse through all of your images and dump what you don't want without running your camera's battery down. It's the best solution that I've come across, though I admit it may be a bit too much for most people. I take a lot of photos at the maximum file size in the RAW format, though, so my cards fill quickly. I use this thing on all my trips.

Happy shooting.

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Posted by altmtl on 9/12/2011 at 17:45

If you're a professional and serious about photography, this would certainly be the way to go.

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Posted by Tilapia on 9/12/2011 at 18:40

Fair to say that I'm a serious amateur, altmtl. And besides my diaries and the friendships I've made along the way, my photos are my best souvenirs. And they serve many purposes aside from just showing me where I was and who I was with. I use them to make greeting cards and postcards. Frame them and give them as gifts. e-mail them to people who are curious about a certain place. I use my food shots for small recipe books. I even use them to show road conditions in areas I've cycled to folks who are going cycling in the same places.

A few memory cards and the Colorspace unit are a heck of a lot easier to lug around than 40 or 50 rolls of film, that's for sure.

I'm working on a website for my photos and will be sticking it into my signature when I've got enough images on to make it worth it. It's a slow process.

Happy Friday.

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Posted by altmtl on 9/12/2011 at 20:19

Excellent, congrats :)

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