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Backup for dSLR photos

In the past I’ve taken my ipad to act as a backup for photos during long trips. This year we’re trying to go extra light for a safari and want to leave the iPad at home. Looking for suggestions for an external backup device for SD cards,


Posted by
903 posts

Assuming that your SLR uses SD cards, take a couple extras.

Posted by
3418 posts

If you take two extra cards, you can swap them out every third day. If one of the cards malfunctions you'll only lose part of your photos.

Posted by
23 posts

My camera uses SD cards and I always take a few of these. My concern is in losing a card or having one malfunction. I generally try to back up my photos every evening. The options DougMac suggests look good but pretty pricey. Might be better to use the tool I already have -the iPad mini. Advantage of using that is that I can preview the shots daily as well.

Thanks all!

Posted by
4697 posts

I agree - you need backups, not just extra cards, in case something happens to the original card in the camera. I use a small laptop and portable hard drives - and one memory card that I re-format every day to start "clean," once I've downloaded everything and backed it up to a portable drive.

You could always get a smaller tablet if the iPad you have is bulky.

Posted by
1100 posts

If you’re trying to reduce weight I don’t think you can do much better than an iPad mini. Apple lists weight on the mini 4 as .65 pounds. The western digital portable hard drive mentioned above is listed as .86 pounds.

Posted by
31216 posts

If you're mostly shooting RAW or a combination of RAW and JPEG which generate large file sizes, you'll require something with a lot of capacity and an iPad just doesn't have that. My DSLR uses Compact Flash cards, so that adds another issue to the equation. I normally shoot RAW only.

I've been packing along a small Netbook for many years, which has a conventional hard drive and adequate capacity for storing photos. It has a built-in SD card reader for easy backup for my P&S Camera, and I pack along a small CF reader which connects via USB.

I never leave full memory cards in my hotel. When cards are filled up, I store them in my Money Belt.

Posted by
138 posts

If you will be having good internet connection from time to time, I suggest you copy photos to Google Drive as well. HD can be broken or just stop working. Just to be on a safe side I would combine using spare HD and/or Memory card and Google Drive.

Posted by
622 posts

If you aren't taking a laptop/chromebook, look into this or a similar device: . I'm not saying this will definitely work for you but ought to be worth investigating.

You can use this device to copy files from your camera card to an external hard drive (USB). I bought an earlier version of this device a few years ago to use for that very purpose: copying RAW photo files from my camera cards to an external hard drive for backup while traveling. I had decided not to take my MacBook Air along on the trip and wasn't comfortable with not backing up my photo files every evening.

I tested it at home. Set it up (using my Android phone), then plugged in an external drive (I have a 512MB SSD external drive which is tiny and great for travel), inserted an SD card into the MobileLite, and set it to copying the files from the card to the drive. It worked although IIRC wasn't as speedy as using my computer would have been.

BTW I finally opted to take my old Chromebook along on the trip so didn't also take the MobileLite device. I used the Chromebook to copy files from my SD cards to the external hard drive (the Chromebook had a tiny internal hard drive, as almost all Chromebooks still do, so it wasn't an option to copy the photo files to the Chromebook's internal drive).