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Travel & photography: sorting RAW files on the go

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Qiou87, May 21, 2014.

  1. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    Hi everyone,

    Not a very original topic but I searched and could not find a topic that really fit my needs or gave me the answer I'm looking for.

    I shoot raw all the time, but when I travel I like the ability to sort and review my day's pictures, in order to avoid coming home with 4000 pics on the memory cards and spend an entire afternoon just for the sorting. I also like to review the shots and discuss them with my girlfriend, it's a nice way to end a busy day and talk about what we saw and liked.

    Right now I'm doing it with my Samsung Note 10.1 tablet, using RawVision. I sort the pictures without exporting them, just on the card (using USB adapter + SD card reader). It works pretty well but I still find it a bit slow. Once I'm done sorting I backup the pictures on the 32GB micro-SD I have in the tablet, to be safe. This way I have two copies of my pictures and they are already sorted when I get home.

    Now my first instinct, since I could have around 400€ to spend, would be to upgrade to a new tablet, faster and with a higher-res screen. I believe new tablets use USB 3.0, which would help (my card reader is 3.0) with loading the previews and transfer speed. After looking online, the Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 would be a safe bet - huge resolution, accurate colors, much improved performance, and I keep all my existing apps. Pricing is nice at the moment, the tablet goes for 350€ with a nice -100€ cash return.

    The question is: do you think there is a better way for sorting your pictures while traveling, whilst keeping a similarly low profile and the same (or improved) functionality? For example, I do not plan on shooting JPEG or having to export the pictures to the tablet's internal memory (as is the case, I believe, if you use an iPad) because this would simply be too limiting.

    Please, keep in mind that I have a limited budget (again, just 400€), and that any money I spend has to offer a significant improvement over the existing solution I have (which is already paid for and therefore, free).

    Any input or personal experience greatly appreciated!
  2. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    I was interested in this topic a little while back, but I had an ipad instead. In the end I did most of my prelimary sifting on the screen on the back of the camera using the dials to zoom in and out, using the 'movie record' button to select multiple pictures. You can probably get more detail when zoomed by shooting RAW + large jpg.

    Some suggestions that others provided for the ipad was photosmith. I don't know if there is something similar for andriod though. Photosmith allows you sort with just a small jpg file and later sync it with the RAW in lightroom later.
  3. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    The advantage of sorting the raw files directly (the program extracts a full screen JPEG preview, which takes some time, but after that it's pretty OK) is that you keep space on your memory card and only backup the pictures you will want to keep. This keeps backup times at night pretty short, which is nice.

    iOS is fine for a phone (love my iPhone 5) but much to limiting on a tablet for my taste. Android is a much better option for my tablet needs, and I think I'll stick to it.
  4. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Hi, it would be wiser to make a copy before starting to make changes on the card, in case something goes wrong. Cards do go bad, usually during writes.

  5. Search

    Search Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2014
    I will be watching this thread since I plan to do the same thing. If I buy the Gx7, I could view/sort/delete them on my Nexus 7 via wifi or nfc. Then I would only be dealing with backing up the keepers.

    Potential problems - I will need to shoot raw+jpg. The software can not view a raw file. You can not transfer raw files via wifi. I will need to use a cable and card reader to transfer files.

    PS I believe the Olympus M10 could also do this. Maybe you could sell your m5 and purchase a refurbished M1 body with the 400 euros and proceeds from the M5 sale.
  6. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    400€ doesn't seem too limited for an android tablet, maybe you can take a look at the new models sure there will be good upgraded choice for that price range; what I bring out on a trip is a cheap windows 8 tablet, it might not be as fun as an android nor is it as powerful as a desktop PC but it does the job. the Surface Pro 3 looks nice with a high res 3:2 screen but I guess it's too big and expensive.
  7. edwardconde

    edwardconde Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    I use an iPad for all my editing… when I go on longer travels, i usually empty out my existing albums in the photo app so that I can import all the images onto my iPad. From there I start the process of editing the images.. Keepers and losers! But I also, use a device called RAV4Power which acts as a mobile SAN where I can transfer my keepers (pre-processed & post Processed) onto a usb sd card or usb hard drive.. this is all done on the iPad. I could also copy the SD card from my camera to the HD and controlling what I want to copy from my iPad.

    Tablets are the perfect tool (IMHO) for these kinds of situations. Check out my post on this very subject: http://digitalchemicals.blogspot.com/2013/09/on-go-backup-more-ways-than-one.html

    You will also find my iPad Photo workflow that I use on a daily basis! Nothing limiting on this tablet! :D 

    Oh one more thing, are you planning on having internet access? If so, I know with iOS you can sync all your images over iCloud Photostream and have them land in a folder (PC) or in aperture/iPhoto on your mac. If you are a LR user, not sure how that works but i am sure there is a way. Anyhow, Photostream can transfer RAWs or JPGs. If you shoot RAWs only then it will transfer the RAWs. If you shoot RAWs + jpeg it will transfer the jpgs. It picks the smaller file sized image to transfer. So this is another method of back up I use when I am out traveling. Of course not everywhere i go has wifi, so I use the steps above to safeguard my images. I am not aware of a service for android that will drop the images on your device back to your home computer over the internet. I think gdrive is 15gbs, but that is probably not enough.

  8. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    Well, as I said in my initial post, there are apps that can read Olympus (and Panasonic) RAW files on Android. The one I use, RawVision, does this very well. There are other options as well (I think Photomate is a popular alternative).

    As to the change of camera, that's not something I can do easily - the used market for Olympus cameras is very small in France. Besides, the E-M5 is the first camera I've owned that I really feel comfortable with, and I love it. I do not wish to change it, especially for a camera that is similar but a bit bigger - I like my gripless E-M5! ;) 

    Indeed. Well I took the plunge and bought a Samsung Tab Pro 10.1" for 250€ (after 100€ cashback). I think I'll use the rest of the money to grap an E-PL5 as a "take everywhere with me" camera. I used to use my E-PL3 for that, but the images were just not as good as the E-M5.
    Surface Pro 3 looks excellent indeed. I'll try and get that from my work, as a replacement for my laptop...

    Very interesting device, this RAVPower. I'll actually check it out (I see it's 40€ in France, so pretty affordable) as a potential replacement for my micro-USB/USB adapter + SD card reader. I understand where you're coming from, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing any sort of editing on a tablet screen - they usually have overly saturated colors and the pictures don't look the same once viewed on another device, at least in my experience. I use a 24" IPS calibrated computer screen for my editing, and I like to have a fast and powerful machine - whether for basic editing or for HDR and stitching. I'm really only interested in sorting my pictures on the go.

    I do not have a 4G/LTE tablet, nor do I plan on having one. Most hotels have Wi-Fi but it's usually painfully slow. Therefore, any cloud-based solution would not be ideal for me, and I prefer to have a local solution.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    The wife and I take our rMBPs with us on 2-3 week photo trips. An iPad does not have the storage, apps, or plugns (Nik Collection, Perfect Photo 8, Nelicon Focus, Pixelmator) to import, cull, edit, and store 30GB+ of raw files per day. A 15" rMBP is not all that much larger that our iPad Airs. We can put the rMBPs, EM-1s, and 4 lenses into our Tenba Messager bags. We we get home, culling and initial editing is done. All we need to do is finalize the editing on our Thunderbolt Displays, create any albums for images for sharing via iPads, and then archive the masters to our external library drives. Then we have all the disk space back on the rMBPs for the next trip. We are getting ready to head to Minnesota for a wildlife shoot in a couple of weeks.
  10. deejayvee

    deejayvee Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 3, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    I use a laptop when travelling. Sorting is easy then, although I tend to just keep everything so I can look at it when I get home on a proper monitor. I also save my photos to 2 different external hard drives (kept in different bags) to minimise chance of loss.
  11. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I've been traveling and blogging for the last couple of weeks (home in a day or so :(  ) and I'm using the following workflow with my iPad, E-M1 and GX7. This doesn't really solve the sorting and categorizing issue, but it does give me a head start.

    - I use the Olympus and Panasonic wifi features and ipad software to review the images from the SD cards. These are pretty quick and give you a full screen view of the jpeg.
    - I shoot Raw+JPG Large/Fine
    - Once I've imported the images I want, I do the main edit using Snapseed. Save to photo roll.
    - I often create collages for the blog, so I use Photogrid (mostly) or PhotoGene (occasionally). Save to photo roll.
    - From there I can upload the final images to my Blogger blog with Blogsy, to Flickr, or email to individuals as needed.

    When I get home I'll use these images as a starting point for the sort and processing using LR. I have LR mobile installed which will sync with LR on my Mac, but haven't really tried much with it yet.
  12. Dewi

    Dewi Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2014
    Lancashire, England
    On our tours I take a laptop with Adobe Photoshop installed and a compact external (2tb) hardrive. A seperate folder is made for each day on the road and the shots are loaded into the appropriate folder every night. I'll usually spend a couple of hours into the wee small hours when we get back to our hotel or wherever we're staying and run some of the better ones through Photoshop.

    Although I never shoot like l'm using a machine gun I do shoot in RAW so the files are large - hence the seperate hard drive. I also take a lot of SD cards with me and never delete any shots off them until we get home and everything is backed up. I shoot video as well so tend to go through a fair number of media cards. The main editing is always done at home on our return, one reason why I never just shoot indiscriminately, I try to make each shot count that, way I'm not trawling through hours of crap - but stil only a small percentage of the shots I take make it onto the websites. :smile:
  13. Qiou87

    Qiou87 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 15, 2013
    Paris, France
    Wow. It might sound silly but I've never thought of that one. I usually just do one big folder for a trip, then complain at the end because I have to scroll through hundreds of shots on a tablet screen. I'll try and do that now!

    As for the laptop idea, let's just say that I didn't dump a full frame DSLR to lug around a big laptop. The super slick ones like MB Air and the likes are extremely expensive for my budget, and the affordable ones aren't that much quicker than a tablet to sort RAW files - probably has to do with the software, Android vs. Windows but also the app vs. Lightroom for example. Besides, tablets have much better screens than any laptop you can buy for less than €700.

    I don't understand why you wouldn't just delete the bad/blurry pictures off the SD card though. But maybe that's just me, since I copy the pictures from the SD card onto my server once I'm home, the sorting has to be done on the card itself or it's useless. Copying the pictures from the backup on the tablet's micro-SD onto the server would be considerably slower - I get about 30MB/sec from the card onto the server, and 1MB/sec from the tablet (using 5Ghz Wifi). Talk about painfully slow...
  14. Dewi

    Dewi Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 11, 2014
    Lancashire, England
    I'm not lugging the laptop around though, mine sits tucked away in a recess in the car boot or bike pannier and comes out when we reach our overnight stays. The only "lugging" involved is carrying it up to the room. I did try using a tablet on our last trip but it was too cumbersome - something in me just doesn't get on wth touch screens, they go haywire whenever I'm near them so ended up back on the laptop. Maybe I'm an alien! When I get home it's all done on my PC - two monitors, quad core thing.
  15. deejayvee

    deejayvee Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 3, 2013
    Sydney, Australia
    My laptop is pretty light, but I prefer having the keyboard and mouse so I was prepared to spend more. If you're happy with a tablet and it fits your budget, then that's cool.

    As for deleting bad photos, I am a hoarder by nature so I tend to keep everything even though it's a waste. But even if I was purging them, I would wait until I get home because I don't want to make the decision based on my laptop monitor. As you say, tablet screens are much better so it probably isn't an issue for you.
  16. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I have a 128GB iPad and like others I use Snapseed, etc. I mention the size of my flash drive only because I haven't had a storage issue so far. The one app that I was surprised that I did not read mention is Dropbox. If you use an app like PhotoSync you can automatically have your JPEG and/or RAW files uploaded to Dropbox. Even if you upload so many pictures that you cycle through Photostream and your camera roll the pics will be in Dropbox.
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