One of the things that travel photographers sometimes have to think about more than others is photo storage. Even if you just shoot a lot on vacation (especially video), your memory card may not be enough, as well as the memory of your laptop (if you are going to take a laptop with you at all, and in general, clogging your laptop memory with mountains of photos is not the most rational thing to do) . This is where portable hard drives and SSDs come into play.
In this review, we proceeded, first of all, from the needs of travel photographers — we hope that this material will help you choose a reliable option that is most suitable for your tasks.
Interfaces, speed and volume
Before we move on to travel-specific features, we need to address an important and often overlooked selection criterion: make sure the drive works with your computer.
Some drives or their software only work with certain operating systems, so sometimes they need to be formatted before you get full functionality. Also make sure that the interface on the disk is supported by the computer and that this is the fastest option available. For example, if you’re working with a new Mac, you might want to choose a drive that supports Thunderbolt 3. Or, if you’ve got a time-tested laptop, the same old-school FireWire 800 might be your best bet. If you just need something universal, you can choose USB (of course, USB Type‑C is best).
Next, you need a bus-powered device. What does it mean? Basically, the drive will be powered through the connection to the computer and not from the network. This eliminates the hassle of finding a power outlet to back up your photos and can be a real lifesaver if you need to upload something to your laptop in a taxi or on a plane.
External hard drive Seagate 2TB Backup Plus Slim USB 3.0
The next step is to determine the required speed and capacity. A more expensive, but very convenient option for travelers would be solid-state drives, or SSDs. Models such as the Samsung T5 are much faster than HDDs and have no moving parts, making them less likely to fail from being hit or dropped. On the other hand, much larger HDDs are much cheaper. For daily photo backups, slower 5400 rpm HDDs will probably work for you, but if you plan to shoot and watch 4K video, you’ll probably need a large SSD drive.
Advanced features and functions
One of the most obvious benefits for travel photographers would be weatherproofing. Many manufacturers have developed special ranges or separate accessories to provide protection against bumps and drops that can occur while riding. Typically, secure drives use a rubberized design. A good example is LaCie Rugged miniature portable drives.
External hard drive LaCie 1TB LaCie Rugged Mini USB‑C
If you’re looking for extra speed or protection, consider RAID technology. RAID arrays are a common desktop backup solution, but there are several portable options if you need extra security. Many portable RAID options, such as the LaCie Rugged RAID Pro 4TB, use RAID 1 technology to mirror data on two different internal drives. This way, if one drive fails, you will still have access to all the information. If you’re just looking for extra speed, RAID 0 is the way to go, which stripes data across two drives, effectively doubling the speed by reading both drives at the same time.
LaCie 4TB Rugged RAID Thunderbolt & USB 3.0 External Hard Drive
Sometimes you may need to back up your memory cards when you don’t have access to your computer. This is where devices like the WD My Passport Wireless Pro come in handy. This drive has many features that make it especially convenient for travelers. Most important for photographers is the built-in SD card slot, which eliminates the need for a computer to transfer photos. It also features a USB 3.0 port (backwards compatible with USB 2.0) that can be used to charge your phone and other devices from the drive’s internal battery, or as a method to quickly transfer pictures from a connected camera. Finally, the icing on the cake is built-in Wi-Fi, which gives you the ability to view files and set up your drive via your smartphone while you’re on the go.
WD My Passport Wireless Pro
Finally, devices like the GNARBOX 2.0 with built-in Wi-Fi allow you to work directly with the files on the disk through the application, sorting and editing footage on the go.
Alternatives and Final Tips
Just because hard drives are the most common and obvious file backup solution doesn’t mean they are the only option. There are various special memory card backup devices that allow you to quickly and easily transfer files from them. Many of them are also equipped with a screen and a set of controls for operation without the need to connect to a computer.
Storage Devices Sanho HyperDrive ColorSpace UDMA 3 Wireless Storage Device. Source: Amazon.com
There are times when a separate hard drive or backup device is already overkill in your travel kit. In this case, several memory cards can help you out. This is especially handy if your camera has a dual slot, allowing you to shoot while backing up images and then swap them out as they fill up. Plus, many laptops these days come with built-in memory card slots, so you don’t need to carry a separate card reader with you when you have one.
Today, photographers have several options for storing and backing up their shots while traveling. We hope this article will help you decide which solution is best for you. If you shoot a lot while traveling, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
* the article was prepared based on the materials of bhphotovideo.com and onfoto.ru resources.