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What is the best way to store and view images while on an extended trip?

John Forney , May 23, 2010; 09:02 a.m.

When you are on an extended trip what is the best way to store and view images (I will be taking a trip to Montana and Canada for 10 days). I have a 32 GB memory card for my 5DMII and want to be sure I do not run out space. I will be flying so my large laptop would not work and space will be an issue. Would you recommend a small inexpensive laptop or an additional memory card? With an additional memory card I would not be able view a larger image like I could on a laptop.


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Mark O'Brien , May 23, 2010; 09:17 a.m.

There are a number of fairly inexpensive portable drives that include an LCD and memory card ports for you to dowload and view your images. Cheaper than a small laptop, they also fit into a big pocket, and will hold many GB's of images. If you are going to be away from the internet, that's what I would recommend. My prference is to have many smaller memory cards than a big whalloping one. Sort of like spreading the risk than having all my images in one basket. Of course, the last big extended trip I was on did not feature any digital cameras and we came back with 120 rolls of film to process...

Neill Farmer , May 23, 2010; 09:22 a.m.

For trips away of up to 2 months I just buy extra cards. Provided they are not lost they are the cheapest and most secure form of temporary storage. I even have acquaintances who store all their images on the original cards, just buying new cards as they take more photos. I don't go that far.

Mike Hitchen , May 23, 2010; 09:40 a.m.

I have the Epson P-3000 with 40GB and an excellent quality screen. It will also store video/music to pass away those boring hours. If you are worried about back-up you can also buy extra cards and copy pictures to the Epson.
Or you could buy a 10" netbook for the same price and get internet connectivity at the same time. That would fit into most bags.

G Dan Mitchell , May 23, 2010; 09:50 a.m.

I depends on a few things, I think, including your budget and whether you shoot RAW or jpg and the quality level you want to view.

If you shoot jpg and tend not do much post processing, are happy with a fairly simple display (no color adjustment and no cropping, etc.), and don't want to carry a laptop then one of the external device mentioned above could do the trick.

If you shoot RAW, want to process the images a bit, would like to view them a bit larger... and have any reason to otherwise use a computer (writing, email, web, etc.) then a small laptop could be a better bet. I'm fond of carrying a 13" Macbook Pro with Photoshop installed, but that's just me.

Of course, if you are so inclined and you want to negotiate a few technical issues, this could be your excuse to get an iPad... :-)


Jim Swenson , May 23, 2010; 10:48 a.m.


Jim Swenson , May 23, 2010; 10:49 a.m.

Hyperdrive HD80 is a fraction the cost of the P-3000 but it does not have lcd screen.

Buffdr Rasouliyan , May 23, 2010; 11:52 a.m.

Mike Hitchen gave you some great advice. I would get small notebook and a very small HD.This way you have internet on the go and ability to dump your CF cards. I would back them up on the notebook AND small drive and free up the CF cards. If you have a bigger notebook that has DVD drive, skip the HD and take some blank DVDs. v/r Buffdr

Larry H. - Atlanta, GA , May 23, 2010; 12:50 p.m.

I went out of my country a coule of months ago. I thought, and still think (with a caveat), that a 10" netbook is the way to go. I bought an ASUS, but yoyu need to compare models for yourself.

The netbook gave me not only a 250GB hard drive, but also a 10" decent screen, Windows 7 Basic and internet connectivity whenever our locale allowed it. The caveat that I ran into is that the 1080x600 max resolution would not allow me to load Canon's Zoombrowser or DPP software on it. I got some advice--as yet untested--that hooling up the netbook to an external monitor would allow me to load that software. I still need to try it. But I found a free solution by downloading IrfanView to do slide shows with my pictures.

About $330.00. I may have splurged for a newer, higher res modedl if I had known of the issue ahead of time. But I still use the netbook often for web browsing.

G Dan Mitchell , May 23, 2010; 12:59 p.m.

My earlier answer was incomplete and perhaps not totally to the point. Your idea about carrying more memory cards is a good one. My preference is actually to carry sufficient memory cards that I won't have to erase cards while in the field. There are several reasons to consider this:

  • Memory cards are so much less expensive now that it isn't that costly to carry a truly huge amount of memory card storage.
  • You could avoid having to carry any additional storage medium if all of your images will fit on your memory cards, or better yet...
  • In addition to keeping files on the cards, also back them up to either a laptop or an external storage device so that you have duplicate copies, and if you want to be extra safe...
  • make the external device a laptop and burn copies of the files to DVD and possibly mail them to yourself as you go. You'll now have three copies of everything. But the truly paranoid....
  • Also bring a small USB drive and duplicate the files on the computer to the external drive.

When it comes to file backup and duplication, a bit of paranoia can be a good thing. :-)


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