Traveling to Europe - Laptop vs External 80 GB Hard drive

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by zxcvbnm2bg, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. zxcvbnm2bg

    Colin D Guest

    I think Paul will be using a Canon 20D, or at least one of the Canon
    dslr's, and if I were he I would be shooting RAW all the way. He stated
    that his shots will be irreplaceable, so to shoot jpeg and risk
    uncorrectable exposure errors is not acceptable to me. I just shot
    about 600 RAW images during a 5-week trip to Hong Kong, so my mouth is
    where my money is, so to speak.
    I narrate this because RAW files from a dslr are a considerable size, 7
    to 8 MB from my 300D, and probably bigger from a 20D. I get about 66
    shots on a 512MB card, so a thousand or so shots will need nearly 8 GB
    of card space, and with a safety margin for extra shots he will need at
    least 10 Gigabytes of cards. If he does elect to shoot large/fine jpegs
    he will need about half that, still about 5 gigs.

    He should take an image tank of some sort to load the cards into, as you
    say above. I use a 40 GB Vosonic drive, and I use only two 512MB cards,
    loading them into the Vosonic as they are filled. I think the image
    tanks are safe enough that he won't need to retain images on the cards.
    The drives only run for a few minutes while recording the card contents,
    and the chance of failure is remote.

    If other persons are travelling with him - wife, companion - they can
    use the image tank as well, making a considerable outlay on gigabytes of
    card space unnecessary.

    It's all advice, and I guess Paul will take what he wants from all the
    posts, and hopefully come back with his 1,000-odd shots intact. Then,
    his work will start for real ...

    Colin D.
    Colin D, Mar 21, 2006
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  2. zxcvbnm2bg

    mrsgator88 Guest

    Where are you going? Is there really a place in Europe that doesn't have
    mailboxes? Even the poor Soviet bloc regions have mailboxes and internet
    cafe's. Just curious about what part of Europe is so remote.

    mrsgator88, Mar 21, 2006
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  3. zxcvbnm2bg

    RK Guest

    Having done a ton of international travel -- Africa, Central America,
    Mexico, South America, Europe, UK -- and still doing it I think the way
    to go is to have a DOUBLE backup capability if possible. I say this
    because I have had camera failure, my cameras,luggage stolen, etc.

    First, I would not bring a laptop unless it is required separately for
    work, and I say this even though I had a tiny Sony Vaio (which died
    last month on a domestic trip; fortunately my images and work files
    were backed up on a flash drive). I would get an image tank or some
    capability to save images on an MP3 player for those times when you
    could not cut cd's or dvd's, or copy onto separate cards, at a library,
    internet cafe, friend's house, or even a computer shop (where you
    sometimes can pay them). I also bring along enough cards to back up
    onto extras, keeping them in a shaving kit or someplace not likely to
    be checked by thieves once you do get access to a computer. I happen to
    like the Lexar Sport flash drives. You can get a 1 meg card for about
    $50 and a little MP3 player for it for less -- great combo. Of
    course, I put a couple of extra dvd's and cdrs in.

    I should say that I have never been in a 'remote' place where a local
    post office or library did not have a computer. Even in Central America
    one finds computer shops and internet cafes in the darndest places. In
    a terribly remote part of Nova Scotia there was a little post office
    with a computer easily used for backups and communicating. The whole
    world is on line!

    I generally travel internationally with my Oly 5060, which has a dual
    card slot. I shoot originals on one card and then triage images I
    really want to keep onto the second one.
    I always set aside editing time to decide which images are 'keepers'
    and which are not, thereby saving space. I do the same when
    photographing, sometimes shooting raw, somethings best jpeg, sometimes
    high quality jpeg. I seldom come back with more than a hundred images
    or so. But this is my habit. May not be yours.

    Have fun.
    RK, Mar 21, 2006
  4. zxcvbnm2bg

    Paul J Gans Guest

    I'm going to the Arctic, circumnavigating Baffin Island.
    Couldn't do that not too long ago because of the ice.

    The Antarctic wildlife is, I'm told, rather tame. I need
    to be a bit away from the average polar bear...

    I'll be taking my Canon 300D and my SD450. And yes, total weight
    is limited. Who needs clothes?... ;-)

    There are some Inuit villages along the way, so it won't be
    all landscape and wildlife photography.

    My current plan, likely to change at least 17 times before I
    actually go, is to use a friends P2000 for secondary backup
    but to take enough CF cards for the 300D to hold most if not
    all of the photos.

    The possibility of having access to the P2000 has just come
    up so it is not yet certain. But by NOT buying one for myself
    I can put that money to use buying CF cards. At present
    prices it ought to give me a lot of gigabytes.

    I'm not likely to do this trip again as age is gaining on me.
    But the extra gigs of storage will always come in handy or
    be easily saleable if I decide to go that way.

    But if I win the lottery I'll be getting the P2000 (or the
    P4000). It seems to be a neat tool.

    I want to thank everyone for all their help and advice.
    Having others to share ideas with has certainly helped
    clarify my thinking. I appreciate it.

    ---- Paul J. Gans
    Paul J Gans, Mar 21, 2006
  5. zxcvbnm2bg

    Paul J Gans Guest

    Oh yes. Thanks for all the input. Now all I have to do is go.
    That's scheduled for August...

    ---- Paul J. Gans
    Paul J Gans, Mar 21, 2006
  6. zxcvbnm2bg

    Paul J Gans Guest

    That was the other guy who was going to Europe. I'm off
    to the Arctic. No internet but lots of polar bears... ;-)

    And not nearly as much ice as 20 years ago.

    ---- Paul J. Gans
    Paul J Gans, Mar 21, 2006
  7. Paul J Gans wrote:
    Paul, that sounds absolutely wonderful! Very envious. Yes, I can
    appreciate the different degree of telephoto required for the Arctic
    compared to the Antarctic. The friend with the P-2000 is worth
    cultivating - and get the cards instead (or find a further friend!).

    On a two-week trip along the Norway coast a couple of years back I took
    3500 pictures on my Nikon 5700, which were edited down to 2500 while I was
    away. That all fitted on 3 (or was it 4) 512MB CF cards IIRC, at maximum
    compression and using the 3:2 aspect ratio where possible. What I forgot
    to do was to use the movie modes to capture (in your case) landing in
    Zodiacs and things like that. The short movies just add to the context of
    the still images. Yet more memory, of course!

    David J Taylor, Mar 21, 2006
  8. zxcvbnm2bg

    RobG Guest

    Yeah, that perceived need for triple redundancy makes me laugh too. That
    said, I'm looking forward to a trip to the UK mid-year, and I went through
    the same decision-making process. I've ended up with a laptop (DVD burner,
    external HDD and internal card reader came with it), that I'll take along,
    as well as my 2 digicams. So I guess I'll have to be satisfied a with
    double-redundant system - HDD and DVDs. The laptop actually was bought to
    use as a way to catch up on work when I'm away from my desktop system (90%
    of the time at the moment), as well as a portable option for entertainment
    - DVD player, mp3 player, TV and games system all in one! Just got to find
    a backpack to carry it all around in now.

    RobG, Mar 23, 2006
  9. zxcvbnm2bg

    RobG Guest

    Yeah, well... if they'd stolen my laptop, the image quality would probably
    ensure that they brought it back post-haste! Just in case someone thought
    the theives had made the images.

    RobG, Mar 23, 2006
  10. zxcvbnm2bg

    Paul J Gans Guest

    I think that some of this misses the point.

    With film you used what you had and if you couldn't buy more,
    that was it. Anyone ever run out of film when you were off in
    the woods somewhere?

    With digital we have the same problem. Running out of storage
    capacity. But with digital we have options. We can bring along
    some form of mass storage. Exactly what kind isn't the point
    here. With mass storage (like an Epson 2000 or a laptop) we
    can copy our images to the storage and re-use the card.

    But that brings up another issue. What if the copy process
    fails? Would it have been better to "run out of film"?

    So to ensure that the copies are OK, some of us would prefer
    to use a laptop or a storage bank that allows the individual
    photos to be examined. But if we don't have such a device
    we would like some redundancy.

    The advent of digital media has created (as usual) both an
    advantage and more complexity in the photographer's life.

    In my case I'm going to be where I cannot get more "film".
    So I will try to ensure that I take enough "film" with me.
    That means many CF cards.

    But who knows how much "film" is enough? So I will also
    avail myself of a friend's Epson P2000. Given that,
    prudence (good word, prudence) says that I should back up
    even if I don't have to. And then if I need to reuse a
    CF card I can.

    No mystery here at all. Welcome to the modern world.

    ----- Paul J. Gans

    PS: I should explain that the friend will be along on
    the trip. I'm not "borrowing" the P2000, I'm being allowed
    to share it. I expect it will be large enough, but just
    barely, if you think about it.
    Paul J Gans, Mar 24, 2006
  11. zxcvbnm2bg

    Paul J Gans Guest

    There is that.... <grin>

    ----- Paul J. Gans
    Paul J Gans, Mar 24, 2006
  12. zxcvbnm2bg

    mrsgator88 Guest

    No. And there have been times when I was in that remote a location,
    anywhere from several days to a week. I just paced my picture taking.
    If you follow the Sunday newspaper ads, at least once a month some retailer
    is practically giving away a 512mb CF or SD card. They're so small and
    inexpensive, I can't see running out of storage.
    Technically, a copy process would leave the originals on the card. A
    transfer process would remove them from the card. If you copy your
    pictures, then you should be covered in case you lose or damage your card.
    This is comparable to the loss or damage that could happen with 35mm film so
    I shouldn't give you a hard time about this point :)
    Really the opportunity for more complexity. Anybody remember life before
    cell phones? Wasn't it nice? I think so.
    40, 50, 60 pictures a day? hour?
    But what do you do when the P2000 dies or goes missing?
    Well, in my mind the modern world would have broadband so you could upload
    to a storage site. Where in Europe were you going again?
    No fighting over it now :) Enjoy your trip!

    mrsgator88, Mar 25, 2006
  13. zxcvbnm2bg

    mrsgator88 Guest

    I just re-read that you were going to the Arctic. Sorry for coming off a
    little harsh, I just had an annoying evening. I just realized you'll be in
    a place where cell phones shouldn't work. How nice. Again, enjoy your

    mrsgator88, Mar 25, 2006
  14. zxcvbnm2bg

    Scott W Guest

    I see this kind of thinking all the time "if I don't need something
    nobody needs it". There are people who claim no one need a 300mm
    lens "just get closer" In your case you assume that since you are
    happy to shoot less photos this should work for everyone, but this is
    surly not the case.

    One of the joys of digital photograph is that is allows us to shoot
    without worry about wasting film. And when people are not worried
    about wasting film they start taking photos in such a way that they
    really start to capture the feel of the place, not just photos you
    might find on a postcard.

    Scott W, Mar 25, 2006
  15. I feel sorry for the people who worried about wasting film; I never
    worry about wasting it, but as you say, not everyone thinks alike.

    Taking photos willynilly because I'm not worried about wasting film
    would seem to me to encourage rapidfire snapshots instead of capturing
    the feel of the place. Thinking about what film I was using, thinking
    about what aperture and shutterspeed to use, thinking about what the
    subject was -- in other words, taking time to think -- seems to me to
    be a better way to capture the feel. That can be done digitally as well
    as filmally, of course, but worrying about wasting film is never on my
    mind. Again, though, different people have different approaches, so we
    should use what works for us, not what works for others.
    Phil Stripling, Mar 25, 2006
  16. zxcvbnm2bg

    Scott W Guest

    But in the very act of being careful many people limit their photos to
    the same old shots we see all the time.

    All too often the photos people come back with are the same ones you
    might find on a postcard, churches castles, the normal stuff you know
    boring as can be.

    And when people feel limited they tend to photograph the destination
    but not the journey there.

    If taking a large number of photos puts one at a disadvantage then it
    is rather amazing that the photographers from national geographic
    manage to get a good photo from time to time after all they shoot
    something like 300 to 400 rolls of film on an assignment.

    If you happy with the limited number of photos you can take more power
    to you but don't assume that it does not have real value for others.

    Scott W, Mar 25, 2006
  17. Sorry, I thought I'd covered that last aspect: not everyone thinks
    alike and should use what works for them. Sounds like you've got the
    part about doing what works for you nailed down tight.
    Phil Stripling, Mar 25, 2006
  18. zxcvbnm2bg

    TheBreeze Guest

    When I went to Africa for a month, I borrowed memory cards from friends and
    acquaintances. Many people had, say, a 256MB card and had gotten a 512MB
    one, and could spare one of those cards for me while using the other for
    TheBreeze, Apr 23, 2006
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