digital camera storage conundrum - Answered!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Guest

    Hey Everyone,

    Around the beginning of December (of 2004) I posted a question
    concerning digital camera storage... My problem was that I was going
    on a long trip (far away from most 'civilization' for just under a
    month) and I wanted to know what the best option for digital camera
    storage would be. I planned on taking around 20 to 100 photos per day
    and I couldn't bring my laptop on the trip; my options at the time were
    investing a bundle in digital camera memory, purchasing some sort of
    small hard drive that could hold the photos, or getting some small unit
    that would burn CDs for me.

    Here's what I ended up with, and I wanted to pass along my experiences
    in case anyone else was in a similiar situation. I was fortunate in
    that I was looking for some sort of storage AND looking to purchase a
    new digital camera also - so I was able to match both components. I
    ended up getting:
    1) Canon PowerShot A-95 (a 5MP camera)
    2) RCA RD2780 20GB Lyra Audio / Video Jukebox (RD2780)

    The wonderful thing was that the Powershot A-95 used Compact Flash
    memory, and the Lyra had a Compact Flash slot, and both were on some
    kind of sale plus an additional mail in rebate. I also got two Viking
    128 MB Compact Flash cards ($4 each thanks to christmas sales!).

    What I did was use the camera during the day to take photos leaving the
    Lyra behind with the rest of my stuff. With the Viking CF cards I
    could get 84 photos (per card) at high resolution - having two cards
    made sure that if one filled up I could quickly pop in the other. At
    night or when I had a chance I would copy the files off the CF card(s)
    to the Lyra (using the CF slot in the Lyra). I kept organization
    simple in the Lyra. I made a folder for each day (titled something
    like '2004_12_27' or '2005_01_05') and simply bulk copied all the files
    across. After the files were copied I would reformat the CF card in
    the camera, and be ready for the next day.

    Having everything in the Lyra had two benefits:
    1) I had 20GB of storage which I could organize in my 'down' time.
    2) The large color screen made it much easier to preview shots I had
    taken, and the TV outputs on the Lyra allowed me to show off the pics
    on any TV that had RCA inputs.

    Some of the drawbacks I encountered were:
    1) batteries for the camera! Where I went, batteries were sometimes
    hard to come by (even though the Powershot A-95 uses regular AA ones).
    At one point I purchased some Panasonic AA batteries which died after
    3 shots! 3 shots! I ended up sticking with Duracell M3 Ultras when
    I could find them, and if I couldn't, then I would use anything that
    had 'Alkaline' on the label. In actuallity, over the whole trip I
    ended up switching batteries only 4 times (including the Panasonic
    debacle - which, by the way, cost me some great shots).
    2) I read many reviews, and have used digital cameras before, and I
    know the drawbacks of cameras in general... But it seemed like the
    Powershot A-95 wasn't able to capture a large enough angle when I took
    some shots. I ended up using the panoramic setting which lets you
    take multiple shots which can be stitched back together - but I haven't
    tried the 'stiching it back together' part yet. Also when you take
    these shots they're named ST*_#.JPG where * is some letter
    corresponding to the order of the panoramic series, and # is the normal
    picture number. This isn't an issue if you take only one panoramic
    series, but if you take more then one then viewing it sequentially in
    the Lyra is kind of wierd. The Lyra sorts files alphabetically. So
    two sets of panoramic series will start off with STA_#.JPG and directly
    follow each other in the Lyra listing.
    3) the Lyra is finicky about when the CF card is put into the slot.
    What consistently worked was to put the CF card into the slot BEFORE
    you turn on the Lyra. On a few occasions I put the CF card into the
    Lyra after it was turned on, and there were no problems - sometimes,
    however, the Lyra would shut down REALLY QUICKLY when I did this.
    4) on three occasions over the whole trip the Lyra froze up (crashed
    with the screen still on). Usually when I was naming or renaming a
    folder. The first time it happened it really freaked me out. I was
    seriously worried about my pics in it. Don't worry about it. Make
    sure you have a small paper clip with you. On the bottom of the Lyra
    is a small hole. Jab the paperclip into the hole and the Lyra will
    turn off. Just turn it on again and go on with your life (your pics
    will be fine).
    5) Although it seems cheesy, USE THE UGLY COVER THAT CAME WITH THE LYRA
    or risk certain damage to the machine. The cover is basically an
    ugly, squishable, shock absorber. It's really good at handling a
    reasonable fall. The rectangular lyra shape wasn't made for
    ergonomics and probably will slip out of your hands once or twice.
    6) while the Lyra can play movies in .AVI format, it cannot play movies
    made on the Powershot A-95 (even though they are in .AVI format - which
    is more of a wrapper for different formats)... You can store them for
    later viewing, however.

    All in all, I think the two devices worked together great for me.
    There may have been better options out there, but when I was asking
    around no one was able to show me a compelling option that wasn't
    terribly expensive (Powershot + Lyra + CF cards + carying case +
    batteries were totally around $600). And now that I'm back, I have a
    really great 'day-to-day' camera and the Lyra which I can use for MP3s,
    more photos, movies, etc., and I have my GBs of pics from the trip!

    I'm smiles all around! I hope this helps someone else who may be
    looking for a similiar solution...
    , Jan 12, 2005
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