Your On-Location Backup Choices
Long-time readers know (and love?) my paranoia. This paranoia is nowhere more evident than when I travel on assignment. I have this weird need to keep my image files safe. This means a laptop with redundant external drives. But what if my laptop dies? Well I have a back-up bootable drive if it’s a simple harddrive issue, but if it’s more than that, I have to rely on a different solution. Carry two laptops? I could, and some do. But I’m already packed to the gills.
There are some excellent options out there in self-contained hard-drives that will download and, in most cases, preview your images for you.
For the last two years my Hyperdrive HD-80 has been a faithful companion, has never failed, and was always there when I needed it. It has an 80gb hard-drive, which now is too small for my needs. So I’ve recently upgraded, and that journey forced me to consider my options.
( The above photos are not meant for comparisons so don’t look, for example, at the screens and think that the JOBO has the biggest screen – in fact, the Epson screen is 4″, the Hyperdrive is 3.2″, the Jobo LCD is 3.7″ – I just put the pics in and scaled’em so they fit. Now you know.)
The industry leader, at one point, was the Epson P-2000 and all the subsequent numeric incarnations. Their latest, the Epson P-7000, has a capacity of 160GB. I had trouble with my Epson P-4000, so it’s left a funny taste in my mouth. That said, I know there are many photographers out there who love them to the point of neurosis. My primary hesitation is the price. At $800 it’s alot of sheckels to part with. But the display is undeniably gorgeous. It gets a 10 for being sexy, but it comes at a price.
The one I’ve most liked in my hands is the Jobo Giga Vu Extreme or Evolution. They just seem right. Matt Brandon uses one and I love the look and feel. It functions as it ought to so I can’t contribute more on that front, but the armour on it is nice. Screen is great. They max out at 120GB, nearly $700.
I finally settled on another Hyperdrive after playing with Gary S. Chapman’s. He also made me buy an 85/1.2L – he’s a bad influence. The Hyperdrive Colorspace O is available up to 500GB. The 250GB version is $457 at B&H. Nice screen, great capacity. The interface is a little odd, but totally workable. Overall it’s not as sexy, and far be it from me to settle for the less-than-sexy option, but in terms of bang for buck, this one has it in spades. It’s fast, too. And it comes with card-recovery functionality. When mine arrives, I’ll review it.
These aren’t the only three, they just seem to be the only ones seriously considered as contenders. I bought a no-name digital card wallet last year as a “just in case” purchase. It wouldn’t download a single 8GB card on one battery charge, so I’m sticking with the ones I know. Regardless which of the reliable options you get, the convenience and piece of mind they offer is worth paying for.