Some practical 'vacation' issues

Vicky

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Hi all!

In less than a month I'm leaving home, for 4 or 5 days to go camping at the coast.

Now.. Two questions;
- I'm not going to bring my laptop, as leaving a computer in the tent walk hiking is a bit like... inviting unwanted guests? :biggrin:
So... what to do when my SD card (I have no idea if this is the right word in English) is full? I know, I will be making a whoooole bunch of shots. Is there a way, I can put them on a little hard disk? If yes; could you give me the one you are using? I will be leaving in September to Southern Africa too for 18 days, so I have no problem investing in such a device...

- Is there anyway I can protect my camera from sand? Do you use a special cover? I'm afraid the sand will get everywhere, including my camera's backpack. Would hate to see that happening :frown: If there are any simple solutions, please tell me. I'd rather not invest too much in a cover, so cheap options are pretty welcome :biggrin:
 

heedpantsnow

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If you don't want to take a laptop then maybe buying a bunch of SD cards would be best. Yes, you can lose one but you could also lose the hard drive. And then ALL your pictures would be gone not just one card's worth.

With sand I would invest in a brush and a good blower. I hate sand, it gets everywhere. I just try to clean out my gear nightly. In sandy situations using a lens cloth can be dangerous because sand scratches lenses so easily. So be careful with that.

I don't usually use UV filters but if I were doing what you are doing I might make an exception.

Have fun!
 

mjgraaf

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What camera.do you use? Here's where the sealing for the omd's might do good. Also, don't forget your batteries, i run faster out of battery than out of memory card...

sent from my Sony using Tapatalk...
 

GFFPhoto

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mattia

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For longer trips, or trips where I want a backup, I tend to take an SD card reader and a small external hard drive along. There are always places you can find a computer with two free USB ports and run a backup, because that's what I see it as. The cards don't get formatted until I'm back home, so I always want a) a lot of memory cards and b) something to back them up onto.
 

OzRay

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I have one of these: http://www.nextodi.com/product/eXtreme_en.html and it'll do up to 80GB of file transfers on the one battery charge. In the day they were great, as memory cards were so expensive; but nowadays, because SD cards especially are so cheap, even shooting nothing but RAW (which is all I do), buying a bunch of SD cards is far more practical. For $400 or whatever it costs for one of these nowadays, you can get plenty of SD cards, an SD card folder and spare batteries for your camera instead and probably still have cash to spare.
 

b_rubenstein

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Buy more cards - cheaper and more reliable than storing to a hard drive.

If you're making a whoooole bunch of shots what are you doing for camera battery power?
 

oldracer

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I have posted this here before but I think it's worth doing again.

From CraigsList:
I just want you to understand what you took from me.

You stole a purple backpack out of my pannier (saddlebag) off my bicycle around 6pm on friday, in front of Calhouns Cycles on Hennepin in South Minneapolis. Inside the backpack was my camera and ipod. Please, keep the camera, ipod and backpack. All I ask for is the memory card. I just want the pictures back.

The pictures on that memory card are from a three-month bicycle trip that I am currently on. I have ridden almost three thousand miles across the country, and that camera has been through the entire thing. Thats right, 3000 miles, and you just stole every single picture.

Please, just give me the memory card back.
The answer, already stated, is lots of SD cards. Here is what I do:

When carrying just one body, I have five cards, marked with #1 to #5. Every night of a trip, the card in the camera comes out and the next numbered card in sequence goes in. This guarantees that my take is spread fairly evenly across the cards. I do not keep the cards together. Pocket, backpack, wife's luggage, etc. There are lots of options to prevent keeping all your photographic eggs in one basket.

For batteries in your situation I would carry three. One in the camera, one in your pocket in case the camera runs out, and one in case one of the other two batteries fails. Every night, take the battery out of the camera and put on charge and put the pocket battery in the camera. Next morning, put the charged battery in your pocket. If your camera eats batteries and you need two batteries a day, modify the routine. But then carry two chargers. You don't want to have to wake up in the middle of the night to swap batteries on your single charger. Keep the in-case-of-failure battery charged and available just in case you need it.

For camera protection you might consider a "dry bag." Sold by dive shops, they come in various sizes and offer pretty good protection with minimal to moderate bulk.
 

billbooz

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Vicky, you have lots of good suggestions here! Oldracer has given some great advice and I like the 500GB Digital Foci PST-251 Photo Safe II drive suggested by GFFPhoto too. I see it on Amazon USA for $149 US and have put on my save for later list! Six years ago I bought an Epson P-3000 that has a 40GB hard drive but includes a, I think, 4 inch screen which makes it nice for reviewing images. Even used today, it sells for $300 US! As one person suggested, I carry lots of memory cards and don't format them until I have seen the images on my computer! Even with P-3000 and having transferred the images to it, I didn't reuse cards!

And as Oldracer said, don't put all of your images "in one,basket!" I have been using 8GB cards so as to spread my images out over lots of cards instead of having a few large capacity cards (16 & 32GB), except I do have a 32GB card in case I want to shoot video. In the future, however, since I am now typically shooting RAW+JPG with my E-M10 so I can capture a JPG in B&W, I will probably go to multiple 16GB cards instead.

So, I'm agreeing with most that the simple solution is simply more and lots of memory cards, but I still like to know that I have my images backed up to something. Your question reminded me that I even have the Epson drive (Duh!) since I haven't used it for over a year, so I'm digging that out of the closet for our next trip, but I will probably order one of the Digital Foci drives as well.



Bill Booz
http://www.infotor.com/blog
 

LowriderS10

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Buy a bunch of SD cards. Chances are...you won't use them anyways. :p

I backpack with three 32 GB cards (for three to five weeks at a time)...never even had to use ONE of my backup cards haha. They're cheap and take up no room and weigh nothing. Might as well!
 

oldracer

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I backpack with three 32 GB cards (for three to five weeks at a time)...never even had to use ONE of my backup cards haha.
You're missing an important point here. Keeping all your photos on one card leaves you vulnerable to losing them if your camera gets lost or stolen or if the card fails for some reason. The extra cards are not "backup"cards to be used in case the camera card fails. They are there so that the photographer can spread his/her take across multiple storage devices and carrying locations.

... I have been using 8GB cards so as to spread my images out over lots of cards ... ]
Yup. Me, too.
 

DynaSport

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How often do cards fail? Perhaps I have been lucky, but in all my years using digital cameras I have never had a card fail. Most of that time I was using CF cards, not SD, and perhaps the CF cards are more robust. I even accidentally put one through the wash one time and it still didn't fail, although I can't recommend that treatment. Surely there are safer ways to clean them.

Anyway, if you are going to have access to electricity on a regular basis, I would buy one to two extra batteries. If I wasn't going to have access to electricity, I'd double that. I'd buy several cards of whatever size you are comfortable with, and swap them regularly so the images would be spread across them on the outside chance one was lost, stolen, or damaged. I'd buy some sort of holder to keep them protected. As for sand and such, if there is blowing sand, I'd leave the camera in the bag unless there was a shot I really wanted. And I would be careful about changing lenses. I go to the beach regularly with my camera and try to minimize lens changes if the wind is up, as I don't want sand blowing into my camera. If the conditions are going to be really bad, I'd probably buy a super zoom camera or a one of the super zoom lenses so I wouldn't need to change lenses in bad conditions.

Have a great trip!
 

T N Args

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I had 2 brand new 32 GB cards fail on an overseas holiday this year. Both were well over half full when they glitched.

One was minor and no data loss. The other was major failure, but I only lost half a day of photos because I was backing up onto my laptop every night. Phew!
 

Jesse_S

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I always have some kind of backup system when traveling and carry enough cards that I don't need to reuse them. I have an iPad and an external harddrive now, but I used to just do what was mentioned above and took a portable harddrive and USB card reader and backedup the cards in internet cafes or hostel lobbies.

If you look for a deal, you might even be able to find a 128GB flash drive for a reasonable price these days. That's a good amount of storage in a tiny space and you don't have to worry about the security of a laptop or tablet.
 

mattia

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I went without a back-up system exactly once. And the cards were stolen, so I have almost no pictures from that (amazing, unique) vacation. Never again.
 

OzRay

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I have had one CF card fail in my time and one go somewhat erratic so that I stopped using it. I used to have (or still do but it's not usable) one of those with a screen where you can review photos after they have been downloaded. I was in Tasmania one year and while walking over some rocks, the unit somehow fell out of my camera case and cracked the screen. It was totally unusable after that, as I couldn't access the settings for copying etc. The Nexto is better in that regard, as it's not so dependent on the screen and copying can work automatically.

The problem is, all of these things need power and nothing is standardised, so you need to carry far too many chargers to cater for all of your devices. I used the Nexto when doing news and sports, but when CF card prices started to drop, I just got a bunch of 4BG CF cards and used one for each major job and replaced them for each assignment. That way every assignment was on one card and the worst that could ever happen is that one job was lost, though it thankfully never happened. And in all honesty, I trust memory cards far more than I would trust a HDD in unknown environments. An SSD unit is likely more reliable, but then you're paying way too much for similar capacity as a bunch of SD cards.

The thing with multiple memory cards is to have a storage system and a methodology for storing used cards and fresh cards so that you don't mix them up. My method was to place empty cards face up and full/used cards face down in the storage wallet. And never, never, rush things when replacing cards; put the used card in the storage pouch before talking out a new one, or you will most certainly mix things up. The issue can be exacerbated if you use a HDD storage device, just a couple of cards, and think that you've downloaded a used card and you then think that can format it for fresh use.
 

OzRay

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If camera companies were really smart, they would enable the USB port to act as a host, so that you could connect a portable USB HDD and directly copy files On the Go (OTG). I'm gobsmacked that no one has done this, as portable HDDs cost stuff all, take up virtually no space or add any real weight, come if multiple TB sizes and just rely on the host for power, so no need for additional batteries or chargers. If such were available, I would most likely be happy to rely on the HDD.

I just had another wacky idea. Instead of a battery grip, provide a memory grip, where you can insert a number of SD cards to provide a memory bank for those who want to have large storage capacity, but segmented into separate drives. When the SD card in the camera fills up, the camera automatically selects a new card from the memory bank. Or you can do like Nikon does with it's dual slot, you can duplicate shots to both cards, save RAW on one card and JPG on another etc. You could even do things like select certain cards for video and others for still. In such a scenario, all you have to worry about is batteries.
 

oldracer

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How often do cards fail?
Not often, in my experience. Cameras aren't lost or stolen often, either. In formal risk management terms,though, I would consider the loss or failure of a card to be a "low probability, high impact" event. When considering mitigation, if such an event can be mitigated at little or no cost then it is a no-brainer to do so. If you consider the event to be low/low or the cost of a few SD cards to not be trivial, then your decision might be different than mine.

I just had another wacky idea. Instead of a battery grip, provide a memory grip, where you can insert a number of SD cards to provide a memory bank for those who want to have large storage capacity ...
And when the camera is stolen or dropped over the edge at Victoria Falls ... ??

... you need to carry far too many chargers to cater for all of your devices ...
Yes. Here is possible way to improve the situation:

Most of the eBay chargers seem to be made by the same factory. They look like this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Panasonic-VDR-D230-Camcorder-Battery-Charger-New-TechFuel-Travel-Charger-/360908612313?pt=Batteries_Chargers&hash=item5407d462d9 It's not obvious, but they have two parts: a power supply base and a battery tray that slides into place and snaps into the base. Molded into the base is a voltage spec. In the case of the Pannys I have owned and a Canon G12, the bases always have been marked 8.4 volts. So, to save space at the cost of not being able to charge everything simultaneously, you can carry one or two bases and as many trays as you like. Unfortunately, the trays are not sold separately so you have to buy complete chargers and throw away unneeded bases. But they are cheap.
 
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