Digital photo storage while on safari

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Burt Johnson, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. Burt Johnson

    Burt Johnson Guest

    We will be camping in South Africa for 3 weeks in September. My wife
    has a Canon 10D, which she loves. She will probably be shooting 200+
    pictures per day on the trip, knowing her.

    I really would prefer not to take along a laptop. Bulky, easy to break,
    and power hungry. We will be 3 or 4 days at a time with no access to
    electricity other than possibly the jeep battery.

    I've seen a $500 device intended to offload CompactFlash onto a hard
    disk, with a small display to review the images. Not sure I want to
    spend that much on something that will be used once a year, and the
    review I read recently panned it anyway.

    I saw a $100 device recently that will turn an iPod into a photo storage
    device. Unfortunately, it only works with the latest generation iPod,
    and I have an older one (which I love). This is a possibility, as we
    might swap with my sister-in-law during the trip (she has a newer iPod).

    Does anyone have any experience with either of these solutions? Or any
    other? What do you recommend for a lengthy trip where unloading to the
    computer daily is not feasible (and we don't want to buy 20 CF's
    Burt Johnson, Jun 26, 2004
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  2. []
    There seems to be an untapped market for renting CF cards for events such
    as this!

    David J Taylor, Jun 27, 2004
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  3. Take a look a

    They have a range of portable storage devices.

    I have a XS Drive II VP 2060. The device is cheap (got it for something like
    85 US $). Then you put a laptop harddrive inside it (or you can buy it with
    the device). You don't have a viewing screen but personally, I don't care, I
    think it's a pricey gadget.

    Once you're back home, you plug it to you PC or Mac via USB 2 and it's a
    multi card reader and an external harddrive.

    The autonomy on batteries is something like 1.5 hours, enough to upload
    plenty of memory cards.

    One restriction : the device is a harddrive, so it's better not to shake it
    while transfering. (Don't imagine you will transfer your data while
    travelling in a jeep on a safari...)

    I own the device for 4 months, tried it in many situations and it always
    worked great:

    - I went to Ski-Lanka (many visits and safaris, hot weather) and it worked
    - I climbed some mountains with it and went skiing (I live in Switzerland) :
    no problem.

    So my advice is : get yourself such a device !

    Second advice : DON'T get a microdrive instead. I have one and my experience
    is the following :

    - They don't work when the weather is too hot (had numerous problems with it
    in Sri-Lanka, so as you're talking of safaris, be careful...)

    - They eat a lot of batteries.

    - They don't work above an altitude of 3000 m (perhaps it's not a problem
    for you, it definitely is one for me)

    Third advice : don't take very big memory cards, but take many smaller ones
    (not too small). If you have only one 2 or 4 Gb card and if it fails during
    a safari, you will be in great trouble... It's the old story of not putting
    all the eggs into the same basket...


    Pierre Gilles, Jun 27, 2004
  4. Burt Johnson

    Tom Scales Guest

    The problem is that is is not really USB2. It's USB1.1 with a small speed
    improvement. It works, but I wanted to use it as a backup drive for my PC
    too, and it is useless for that. When challenged, they said it was USB2
    "compatible" (as everything USB1.1 is).

    Tom Scales, Jun 27, 2004
  5. Burt Johnson

    Al Dykes Guest

    Burn duplicate CDs and mail them home, seperatly, or at least pack them
    in seperate bags.
    Al Dykes, Jun 27, 2004
  6. Burt Johnson

    Al Dykes Guest

    The manufacturer's spec sheet on modern hard drives shows that they
    are rated for 100G or more, when not operating. Other parts of the
    gadget will break first (and absorb the impact) if you drop it onto
    bare rock.

    Al Dykes, Jun 27, 2004
  7. That's exactly what I meant : you can travel with it, but you can't transfer
    data into it while shaking it in a jeep.

    Pierre Gilles, Jun 27, 2004
  8. Relative problem. Transfer speed is circa 4 mBytes / sec, compared to USB
    1.1 max 1,5 Mbytes / sec. Still, it's faster than most CF cards, than a USB
    1.1. diretct connexion to the camera, than a USB2 Zip 750 drive, than a Jazz
    drive, etc...

    Pierre Gilles, Jun 27, 2004
  9. Burt Johnson

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    Interesting thought, David. I own enough for two week vacations using
    my Canon dSLR. Except for those occasions, I use only one. I imagine I
    am not alone in that.

    Phil Wheeler, Jun 27, 2004
  10. Burt Johnson

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    Good idea, so long as he can charge it on safari -- perhaps with an
    adapter to one of the vehicles; I have one but on one trip (no vehicles,
    no lines) I could not recharge it; so now I own two weeks of CF. And I
    do think it is more robust than a microdrive.

    Phil Wheeler, Jun 27, 2004
  11. Burt Johnson

    Al Dykes Guest

    I see a laptop as too atractive a theft item, especially since luggage
    in the USA is unlocked these days, and carry-on has it's own
    problems. A laptop is too subject to failure, by some small amount.
    It's all-your-eggs in one basket. A laptop with a CD burner would be
    an improvement. Cutting CDs and sending them home via post seems to be
    the only rock solid thing to do. To some extent it depends on your
    priorities. I discuss this with a friend who's only reason to travel
    is to bring back great photos, at least that's what it seems to me.

    I looked at the smallest Apple MAC that came with a CD burner. It's a
    nery nice system. I know it's light, but for the life of me I can't
    find the weight on their web site. It's 1100 bucks.
    Al Dykes, Jun 27, 2004
  12. Burt Johnson

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    Yes. And I'd worry about the vulnerabilty of the screen -- not needed
    to store images. And more energy required.

    Unless the laptop is needed for another purpose, leave it at home and
    use an XDrive-II or some such.

    Phil Wheeler, Jun 27, 2004
  13. []
    You could buy a lot of CF storage for 1100 bucks....and it wouldn't be as
    fragile or attractive to thieves...

    David J Taylor, Jun 27, 2004
  14. Burt Johnson

    bagal Guest


    hmmm here am I sat at the computer thngy tuned into r.p.d and my newest
    digital photo mag is coincidently open at "DynaMO 640 Photo"

    Does it fit the bill? What is the bill?

    OK - try 640 MB disks - it looks battery operated

    will it work? I dunno?

    Does all of this make sense?

    das B
    bagal, Jun 27, 2004
  15. Burt Johnson

    Renee Guest

    Hi Pierre,

    I have a couple of questions for you about Microdrives.

    The specs on both the IBM and Magicstor Microdrives say that they should be
    operating at an ambient temperature of 0 to 65 degrees C. I believe that is
    the equivalent to about 145 degrees F here in the states.

    We've had a heat index factor here lately between 107 and 112 degrees F,
    though our averages are usually less. It'd never get 145 degrees outside
    where I am, although I can see how the inside of an auto might get close to
    it if the car was left in the sun in the heat of day. Cars cool off pretty
    fast with the AC on. Wouldn't the microdrive start working again once it was
    cooled down? And wouldn't the microdrive be able to work in 100 degree F

    Thanks in advance for your reply

    Renee, Jun 28, 2004
  16. Burt Johnson

    Mark B. Guest

    That's a pretty good idea, actually. But I wonder what happens the first
    time that, inevitably, someone loses images on the card. I guess you'd have
    to have insurance for the random idiot who claims they lost a prize-winning
    photo on one of your rented cards.

    Mark B., Jun 28, 2004
  17. Burt Johnson

    JohnF Guest

    I have an Apacer Disc Steno and took it round the world, India and Central
    Australia amongst other places. No problems at all, everything off loaded to
    the PC on our return with no errors. Well worth a look and your only
    consumable are Cds. Watch out for different voltages though.

    JohnF, Jun 28, 2004
  18. Burt Johnson

    paul Guest

    There are services that can extract data from damaged hard drives for
    ($500-$2,000?) and I suppose they could recover from cards also, paid
    with insurance.

    I thought I lost pics in Taiwan (hot and sticky climate) Canada
    (cold)and Arizona (dusty) but later discovered I could just wipe the
    card with a clean lense cloth to get them reading again.
    paul, Jun 28, 2004
  19. Burt Johnson

    Mark B. Guest

    'Heat Index Factor' is only a term meteorologists use to tell you how hot it
    FEELS. Same idea as 'wind chill factor' they use in winter. Devices don't
    care about that, they don't have skin tissue ;-)
    If the specs say it works up to 145 F, there's no reason it won't work at
    100 F. However, I wouldn't leave any electronic device inside a car in the
    middle of winter or summer. Actually, I don't like leaving my camera in the
    car period.

    Mark B., Jun 28, 2004
  20. []
    Thanks, Mark.

    You could sell them "Lost Picture Insurance" as an extra!

    David J Taylor, Jun 28, 2004
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