SD card backup without laptop

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by mcasan, Apr 20, 2016.

  1. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Those that are using cameras with SD cards, and trying not to carry a laptop in the field, are you backing up your SD cards? I fully realize you can lock a SD card and move on to the next card in the field and hope you don't lose the card(s). But that is not part of this topic. Just talking about making a copy of the photos on the SD cards that you can bring back and import into your desktop Mac (or PC).

    Has anyone tried the WD My Passport Wireless product? Looks like you can get it with a 2TB drive and set it up to either copy the files off the SD cards or move them off the cards. My Passport Wireless - Wi-Fi Mobile Storage

    I have seen SD card readers with integrated card reads over at B&H. But they are mostly in the $600-$1000 price range. With the My Passport Wireless I should be able to copy the images and then put into my iPad to see the images. Just wondering if anyone has done similar.
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  2. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  3. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    FYI your grey text is barely legible with the dark style
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  4. I'm curious as well to hear folks' experiences with these types of products -- thanks for posting.
  5. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Thanks. I only shoot jpg with the iPhone as it does not offer a raw image. With my E-M1s, I only show raw. I am going to try one of the RAVPower 5 in 1 devices and hook it up to a Samsung SSD inside a Inateck USB 3 enclosure. I will see how I like doing the backups from my iPad.

    The whole point of this exercise for me is that we will likely move from Macbook Pro to iMac at the end of the year. All we need in the field is a way to backup our SSD cards and use iPads for internet access.
  6. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    If you didn't mind bringing a laptop, you could also do this with a Chromebook, and having a real keyboard is nice. The 11.6" ones only weigh about twice as much as a 10" ipad. I paid $170 for an Acer C720 and it comes with USB 3.0 ports and a built in SD card slot. So it would be easy to use as a file copy machine. I think they have a new one with an IPS screen, which would be nicer for photo viewing and minor editing.

    I would not recommend wasting money on an SSD because your bottleneck will be the SD card. Any recent HDD can write a backup out as fast as a card can read. You might also use USB thumbdrives as the backup target. 128GB ones are like $30 now.
  7. dwkdnvr

    dwkdnvr Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
  8. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    This one is even smaller but has no power supply so would only work if you could plug it in like the car or hotel room, etc. Looks interesting. Would definitely work with a thumb drive and perhaps spin up my little WD Passport. Too bad it looks like it only has one usb port...
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Those last two look useful for getting images from your phone/tablet onto a USB drive, but not so useful for getting devices from an SD card to a USB backup drive.

    @PacNWMike@PacNWMike you could probably power that from a cheap USB power bank, which are handy for keeping your phone/tablet topped up, too.
  10. Dave Lively

    Dave Lively Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 16, 2014
    How much data do you need to backup?

    Since I typically take less than 100 pictures a day while on vacation and never shoot video I just back up the files to my phone using a SD card reader with an OTG USB cable. I only shoot raw and use a program that extracts the embedded JPEG in the raw file and also backs up the raw file itself. Even on a week long vacation this adds up to less than 20GB which easily fits in the micro SD card in my phone. If you have enough room on your phone all you need is the card reader which is inexpensive, small and light.

    I do not know if Apple supports reading cards directly with a special cable but it works well with Android. Transfer speed is limited by the write speed of the microSD card in my phone.
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  11. richardp

    richardp Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jun 17, 2015
  12. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Over years of motorcycle travel I've tried everything from netbooks to iPads with a card reader to the Kingston Mobilite mentioned above. Some thoughts:

    iPads are great but you have to get one with enough storage space for your needs. The SD card reader is small and can be lost, so that's a vulnerability. If you shoot RAW you need to make sure that your RAW files are compatible with your imaging app. Overall, it's a good platform and the screen is nice and big to do on the road review and editing. I've also tried backing up to the cloud (Dropbox, Flickr, etc...) with the iPad but most hotel WiFi connections are terrible for this and the gigabytes that I usually need to transfer.

    Kingston Mobilite is ok. I travelled with it and a small hard drive. At the end of each day, I'd plug it all in and let it get to work while I showered for dinner. When I used this back in 2012, the app was ok but not great. I remember a lot of time wondering if the files were transferred. Transfer rates are slower than the iPad, and WiFi is slower still so not too useful if you take a lot of shots. I prefer simplicity and the all the pieces required to make this work (Mobilite + power + HD + power) was a little too cumbersome for my needs with too many points of potential failure.

    I had a netbook that had an SD card slot. I stuffed it with a 256GB SSD Hard drive. Transfer was speedy but the the netbook wasn't really up to the task of reviewing and editing the photos on the road. So for backup it worked. For editing on the road, not so much.

    I just bought a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and stuffed the Micro SD slot with a 200GB card. I also got a USB To Go SD card reader. So theoretically I can use this as my new mobile backup system. I've yet to test in the field though but I'm encouraged with some tests at home.
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  13. listers_nz

    listers_nz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2013
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I own and use a WD MyPassport Wireless; together with a tablet (or a smartphone), it's a very convenient way to backup images (or SD card contents in general) on the go, view them, and import them into the tablet's image library for post processing and/or sharing. I use Polarr for whatever post processing I want to do on the go - it's non-destructive, so I can always redo things later; there's also LR if you're trying to recreate your desktop experience. If you're into filters, effects and presets, there are countless apps that give you that - I'd say look into VSCO because it's effective without being corny.

    Not that there's anything wrong with using the OTG method described above - that's what I did before acquiring the MyPassport ...

    I just think that the wireless harddrive option is considerably more practical. It keeps the number of (fiddly) items I have to carry down, and it's got its own battery that can be charged via a standard USB charger (the same I carry for the smartphone anyway, plus its own cable).

  15. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I have a Sanho HyperDrive ColorSpace UDMA2 Memory Card Backup Device (HyperDrive ColorSpace UDMA2 Memory Card Backup / Review) with a 320GB hard drive. When traveling I rotate eight SD cards through my cameras so only 1/8 or so of my photos are at risk for a lost or failed card. On the Sanho device, I have eight folders with numbers to match the cards. At the end of each day, I just plug that day's cards (usually shooting two bodies) into the Sanho and select the correct folders. From that point, backup is automatic. I shoot JPG and RAW and it backs up both. It also knows which photos have already been backed up (from a previous day's use of that card) and takes only the new ones. I've never timed the process but it is only a few minutes. I can also view the photos on the device but I rarely do.

    The Sanho device will recharge from a USB charger but I usually just charge it before leaving home and it easily lasts the few minutes per day I use it on a three week trip. So, no separate charger to haul. The rechargeable battery and the hard drive are also user-replaceable. There is also a wireless dongle for the device but I don't have one and don't see the need. A standard USB cable connects it to my computer if I need to recover files from it. So far I have never had to do that. I just import the photos into LR right from the SD cards.
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  16. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Had PCs and got rid of them when I retired. These days I am only doing IOS and MacOS. So a solution could include an iPad, but not any laptop or netbook. I should have said that at the beginning.

    Several replies have touched on the minimum data to be handled. At least 1TB. So an iPad might be part of a solution, but not the iPad's internal storage. On a 3 week trip in November I shot over 7,000 images. Also it was mentioned that I don't need an SSD for storage due to slow speeds. Agreed. But there is no HD that is physically stable as an SSD. I would much rather backup to an SSD that any single HD.
  17. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014

    That could be an option. I would order it without a drive and put in a 2TB SSD. I don't like have spinning platters in the field. Too much can go wrong.
  18. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I would check compatibility carefully. I know they sell those devices with 1TB hard drives and that they are compatible with at least some SSDs. I have run into compatibility issues with 1TB+ drives even on simple SATA docks, so I don't take it for granted any more.

    Re spinning platters remember that you are spinning for only a few minutes a day and in the relatively benign environment of a hotel or lodge room, not really "in the field." Also, as long as you are not erasing your SD cards you are just making a backup that you will probably never have to use. So your risk is the joint probability of an SD card failure AND a hard drive failure. Personally I wouldn't consider a mechanical hard drive to be much of a risk but of course YMMV.
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  19. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    I know you've clarified your thread, but you know a small sealed plastic box with your "filled" SD cards and a bunch of spares will always be more reliable and distribute the danger of hardware failure than any other solution (most of all any iPad).

    At about 20 bucks per 32Gig card a stack of 10 cards is compact and does not require power.
  20. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    I tried both the original MLW and the MLW G2 for backing up RAW and JPGs while on travel using my iPad Mini as an intermediary. They would work fine on my home network, but when I was actually on a trip, the transfers would timeout or fail somewhere in the middle. On my 2013 trip to Japan with the MLW, I used a portable HD as a destination and I think the power draw was too high and I think I got too much WiFi interference. On the 2015 trip to the East Coast of the US, I used USB flash drives as destinations with the MLW G2, but got similar poor results. It was very frustrating and despite contacting Kingston tech support, updating firmware, etc., I could never get either of them to work reliably enough to depend on them. To me, they were failed experiments. Fortunately, I brought home all my SD cards intact and never needed a backup.

    I'm still keeping an eye out for a reliable, reasonably priced, method to back up RAW and JPGs when on travel, without requiring a laptop or notebook. One thing for sure, I'm not buying another Kingston MLW. :boohoo:
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