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Why not send a CD home & use a memory stick for the backup??

Travel Forums Travel Photography Why not send a CD home & use a memory stick for the backup??

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1. Posted by sofe1978 (Respected Member 127 posts) 8y

Hi There

This may be a really stupid question but I'll ask it anyway!...

So.. I've read everywhere that the best way to ensure you don't lose any of your photos is to burn 2 CD's/DVD's with your photos.. send one home and keep one on you until you know the home one has landed safely then ditch it if you want.

I am planing to do this when I go but can I just ask why people don't burn one CD/DVD to send home and keep the second backup on a memory stick which can go up to 4GB? Surely this is a cheaper way to do it becuase that way you are only ever paying for one CD rather than 2 because memory sticks are reusable.

Is there a simple reason I am missing as to why people don't do this??

Thanks

Sophie

2. Posted by jl98584 (Travel Guru 114 posts) 8y

Like most questions, there's probably more then one method - some will work better for some folks.

Your approach sounds good if you don't take too many photo's and the mail doesn't take too long. Well, technically it's not how many photo's you take but the file sizes - if you take a lot of high resolution photos, it can fill up a memory stick even at 4 G.

My Mom's camera had a 1 Gig card and that would last her about 6 weeks (she doesn't take a lot of photo's).

I've got a 2 Gig card in mine, but I download my shots to the laptop daily. Even so, my 60 Gig hard drive was full (we're on an 8 month trip), so I've had to start burning DVD's every couple of weeks just to keep my laptop's hard drive from filling up. I take more pictures than most people however since I take a lot of pictures of signs at museums and stuff so I can remember what I saw or took pictures of (and do not generally upload those to my blog - I'd kill my readers!)

Anyway, I suspect that people who take lots of high res pictures and are a long way from home (as in long mail lag) will probably want to stay with the two DVD method.

One other thought on the memory card is that a second DVD is less likely to be lost or stolen than a camera, so you might be slightly less at risk of losing data by the two DVD method.

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 8y

The reason: Data on a memory stick is volatile: it can be overwritten. Data on a CD/DVD can't (assuming you don't use a rewritable disc).
The single biggest cause of data loss, far larger still than harddisks corrupting, is user error. You thought you had a second backup somewhere else, but... oops; now you've just overwritten these irreplaceable photos. Plus as Jeanette says, a memory stick makes for a more attractive target for theft.

In the grand scheme of things, the cost of a second disc is negligible. (Should be less than postage, and you can have an easy dozen discs burned for the cost of one memory stick.)

Plus, yeah, the amount of photos most people take during a reasonably lengthy trip nowadays easily will be beyond the 4GB limit. (I shoot more than average, but I shot 4GB during my last long weekend trip, and 40GB during my last three week vacation. Maybe other people will take a week for I shoot in a day, but that still brings them up to those limits very swiftly.)

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 8, 2008, at 12:18 AM by Sander ]

4. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 8y

If a person is sensible they would not even consider having a 4GB card unless they have got one of those fancy video cameras that has the storage method of using an SD card. You have a couple of problems with a 4GB card, apart from the fact that they are rediculously expensive. It is very easy to forget just how many photos you have on there and seeing a CD is a maximum of 700mb it means it is a lot more tricky to find places (in some parts of the world) to burn a photo DVD.

Having a 4GB card also means that if you do let your photos build up on the card and you happen to have your camera stolen or accidentally lose/misplace it, well you may find you lose half your trip worth of photos! This happened to me on a round the world trip (but I only had a 1GB card) where I lost my camera and it was never to be seen again. With this unfortunate event it meant I had lost all my photos of about 8 different US cities, a few cities in Canada as well as all my ones I spent many an hour climbing and hiking to take. This happened with only a 1GB card so had it been a 4GB one I may of had my entire RTW trip worth of photos on it when it was lost! It sucked bad enough as it was let alone all the effort and time I would have wasted had I not back the card up about 400 pictures before hand.

After that event happened, I purchased a portable photo storage device which means that every few days I can just back the memory card up without the need for the computer. With that device the only time the computer is even required is when you want to view the photos or delete some of the many duplicate ones you would have stored on it.

Before purchasing that hard drive I would burn the photos to CD, send it home but have a backup 1GB card to insert until the photo CD got home and was tested. After it had been tested at home so I knew everything was safe, I then formatted the old card so that then when the 2nd card was full I was free to start over again. Now 1GB cards (assuming you have an SD card) can be got for next to nothing especially on a place like Ebay so if you purchased a couple that would cover you for situations like you are talking about. If you are taking high resolution pictures then a portable hard drive would be a better idea but still when the card is almost at the 700mb mark take it in and burn to CD to send home. At least by doing that, you have multiple backups for a worst case scenario because losing hundreds of photos is the worst thing that you can have happen on a trip (getting kidnapped and robbed is a better experience than losing hundreds of hours worth of expensive and some of the most memorable and best moments in your life).

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 8, 2008, at 3:13 AM by aharrold45 ]

5. Posted by sofe1978 (Respected Member 127 posts) 8y

Hello

Thank you for all your replies, that has answered things for me!

Just one thing I wanted to clear up was that I didn't actually mean use the Memory card (SD card) for the camera but instead a USB memory stick which you save your photos onto once you have downloaded them. I would never dream of buying a 4GB memory card.. apart from anything else they are really expensive!

I think I'll stick with the CD/DVD burn option like everyone has suggested.

I only have a 5mp Canon Powershot camera so a 1GB card can fit quite a few photos on.

Thanks again

Sophie

6. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 8y

Quoting aharrold45

If a person is sensible they would not even consider having a 4GB card unless they have got one of those fancy video cameras that has the storage method of using an SD card. You have a couple of problems with a 4GB card, apart from the fact that they are rediculously expensive.

Actually, in cost per MB, the 4GB cards currently hold the sweet spot of being your best buy, and it's 1GB cards which are comparatively ridiculously expensive. The 4GB cards are less than twice as expensive as 2GB cards, and less than half as expensive as the 8GB cards. *goes check if that's still the case* Oh, no, I see they're currently effectively equal to 8GB cards in cost per MB, so those must be set to take over the sweet spot. (source (Dutch page of my local supplier, but the prices should speak for themselves for those who don't speak Dutch.) €18 for 1GB Ultra, €26 for 2GB Ultra, €48 for 4GB Ultra, €95 for 8GB Ultra. SD cards have similar prices, but the list is more muddled due to SDHC needed for 4GB and up.)

Having a 4GB card also means that if you do let your photos build up on the card and you happen to have your camera stolen or accidentally lose/misplace it, well you may find you lose half your trip worth of photos!

I guess this really depends on your camera, if you shoot in raw, and how you photograph.
Personally, on average, I fill a 4GB card in a day or two (10MP DSLR, saving RAW+JPEG), which means it's the sweet spot for me. I know that when I started shooting raw, I grew to loathe my 1GB cards, as they were constantly full, and then I missed shots due to needing to change cards. (The perfect light can change so incredibly fast; you really don't want that.)

The cure to losing a trip's worth of photos isn't smaller cards: it's backing up daily (regardless of how large your card is, or how many photos it holds at that specific moment in time), and getting that backup to a safe off-site location (e.g. home) as swiftly as possible.

After that event happened, I purchased a portable photo storage device which means that every few days I can just back the memory card up without the need for the computer. With that device the only time the computer is even required is when you want to view the photos or delete some of the many duplicate ones you would have stored on it.

Please do be aware that that device holds a hard disk. Hard disks exist in one of two states: broken, or about to break. It's an incredibly risky proposition to entrust all your photos solely to a hard disk. (Of course, if you use the hard disk in addition to non-volatile storage like a CD or DVD, then that's great - but you're a lot more likely to lose the photos on the hard disk than on a memory card, so make sure never to grow complacent!)

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 8, 2008, at 11:27 AM by Sander ]

7. Posted by MissCaswell (Budding Member 82 posts) 8y

I don't like the idea and I *always* upload to a private website while I'm on the road.
All i can say is if you plan on doing the cd thing, make sure you buy good cd's that don't scratch easily and aren't subject to tempature changes.

My friend sent his cd's home + kept some with him on the way and the ones he kept ended up scratched even though he took good care of them and the ones he sent home froze in the mail and the cd couldn't be played once it arrived at it's destination.
I don't use the memory stick because i've lost too many of those to viruses.

I'm super paranoid about this stuff, I love my travel pics and I don't know what I'd do if I'd loose them all because of something like a bad cd or a faulty memorystick.

8. Posted by Shlugger (Full Member 6 posts) 8y

Ladies and gents,

My big trip starts in a few weeks - I have a portable hard-drive for my photos, but as back up, I was going to load the photos onto www.flickr.com.
Is there a space or quality limitation I dont know about?
Please respond!
Thanks

9. Posted by jl98584 (Travel Guru 114 posts) 8y

There's no quality issue that I know of, but you may need to purchase the unlimited space option. It's quite reasonable however.

10. Posted by danedmunds (Full Member 6 posts) 8y

Flickr is great if you shoot in jpg format however for SLR users who shoot RAW it's no good for travel. Also you have to consider upload speeds can be cripplingly slow if you have a high MP camera.

You would need a pro account to store more than 200 images which is very reasonably priced and allows more upload bandwidth.

I've been a happy member for 2 years now and although I work in RAW, I upload in jpg to show thousands of people an insight into my photography. Not to mention I have actually met many nice people on there from all over the world!!

I travel with laptop, CD and USB backups but that's because photography is also a source of income for me and I would lose out both financially and (probably more serious) sentimentally if I were to lose any of my work.