Art and Photography

Options for backing up photos while travelling

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 26th, 2018 9:37 am
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Options for backing up photos while travelling

On my last trip it appears I lost hundreds of photos (there's a DCIM folder but it's completely empty). This has me thinking of backup options while travelling.

What solutions are there that doesn't involve the cloud? Ideally I would like something that I can plug in my SD Card(s) and transfer them to a USB drive while on the go with the least amount of hardware needed. I don't own a laptop and am not really enthused on the idea of carrying one while travelling.
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MrDisco wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 5:15 pm
On my last trip it appears I lost hundreds of photos (there's a DCIM folder but it's completely empty). This has me thinking of backup options while travelling.

What solutions are there that doesn't involve the cloud? Ideally I would like something that I can plug in my SD Card(s) and transfer them to a USB drive while on the go with the least amount of hardware needed. I don't own a laptop and am not really enthused on the idea of carrying one while travelling.
What camera do you have?

Got an iPad? Or Android tablet?
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Jun 17, 2013
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i pack multiple memory cards and a backup camera. I also bring a backup phone, why? you will see...
I then swap cards daily if I have not backed them up yet.
Now the backup. I plug the memory card into the phone and transfer them over.

Now they are backed up.

If we do something awesome or go somewhere that I don't want to "lose" my pictures, I use a new card. Same process is followed above after for the backup.


Might be excessive, but like yourself I have lost pictures and I don't want that to ever happen again.
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I think you can do it using an OTG cable and an Android phone. But it might need to be rooted.

If you have an iPhone, you might be out of luck.

With an iPad you can use use the camera kit to transfer to the iPad and then back to the hard drive.

Other option is to pick up the WD Portable drives that have the built in SD reader. Offered in two flavours, HDD or SSD and various capacities. But it's a bit pricey and eliminates the need to carry a laptop or a tablet. Plus it has built in WiFi to access your images on it and serves as a battery back up.

Most of the full frame cameras offer a second slot, so it makes sense just to shoot on jpeg on that card for the worst case scenarios and to rotate your cards out often.
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neverhaveiever wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 5:26 pm
Now the backup. I plug the memory card into the phone and transfer them over.
so i also use a couple of memory cards and on this trip 1 of them is completely empty.

how do you plug your sd card into your phone (i assume Android) and are you just transferring the pics from the card to your phone's storage?
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rebel_rfd wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 5:24 pm
What camera do you have?
Got an iPad? Or Android tablet?
just a simple d5500. sadly it doesn't have a dual slot option.

no tablets but i am waiting for a deal on an ipad. i'm also open to buying a really cheap android tablet if it will solve my issue.
rebel_rfd wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 5:35 pm
I think you can do it using an OTG cable and an Android phone. But it might need to be rooted.

With an iPad you can use use the camera kit to transfer to the iPad and then back to the hard drive.

Other option is to pick up the WD Portable drives that have the built in SD reader. Offered in two flavours, HDD or SSD and various capacities. But it's a bit pricey and eliminates the need to carry a laptop or a tablet. Plus it has built in WiFi to access your images on it and serves as a battery back up.
i'll have to look into that WD drive as that sounds like the simplest solution. RAVPower has something similar i believe but they're not cheap.

i was thinking a cheap android tablet and being able to plug a usb drive and an sd card reader into it. Is that possible?
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May 11, 2008
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I've been using an older RAVPower (3000mAh FileHub) and it's done the job well.
It's not the fastest transfer but it does it pretty well, the setup is pretty quick also.
The model I have (RP-WD01) has a SD Card and USB slot.
I just plug the SD card and USB drive into the FileHub and transfer the files using my phone.

https://www.ravpower.com/ravpower-rp-wd ... -bank.html
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01BGT ... UTF8&psc=1
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MrDisco wrote:
Jul 10th, 2018 10:36 pm
so i also use a couple of memory cards and on this trip 1 of them is completely empty.

how do you plug your sd card into your phone (i assume Android) and are you just transferring the pics from the card to your phone's storage?
Yes that is correct. I also usually format them all fresh before the trip. Just be sure to take s photo with them. Usually I take a photo of my details incase it gets lost. Two for one. Your details are saved and you verify he card was formatted properly for the camera.
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https://lozeau.com/produits/en/lacie/la ... tb-p31775/
https://lozeau.com/produits/en/lacie/wd ... cription=1

They both have SD card slots that automatically backs up the files. You can then consult the files using your phone or plug it USB on computer.

The Filehub solution is also good but you'll have less storage (unless you use a seperate disk and not a flash drive) and cannot view the RAW preview when using their app on your phone.

For both WD and Lacie, the RAW files can be previewed when using the app
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All those things said earlier are viable options.

Where are you traveling to on most of your trips? If you are in the cities, alot of times you can pop by an internet cafe/library/or hotel lobby and you can transfer your stuff from the SD card to your flash drive.
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MoonDoggy wrote:
Jul 11th, 2018 2:10 pm
All those things said earlier are viable options.

Where are you traveling to on most of your trips? If you are in the cities, alot of times you can pop by an internet cafe/library/or hotel lobby and you can transfer your stuff from the SD card to your flash drive.
This!

I packed everything for my recent East Coast trip but forgot the god damn USB c adapter from my UHS-2 SD Card reader. Ended up using the hotel's business centre to transfer my files since Charlottetown didn't have an Apple Store. Finally got one at the Apple Store in Halifax.
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MoonDoggy wrote:
Jul 11th, 2018 2:10 pm
Where are you traveling to on most of your trips? If you are in the cities, alot of times you can pop by an internet cafe/library/or hotel lobby and you can transfer your stuff from the SD card to your flash drive.
All major cities. I'll have to think about this as an option!
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MrDisco wrote:
Jul 12th, 2018 1:10 am
All major cities. I'll have to think about this as an option!
The only concern is if they have locked up the system to prevent drives from being plugged in. I've seen this at some chain hotels.

Just weight how often you see yourself travelling without a laptop/tablet. It's one less item you have to make room for in a bag plus account for when packing up and moving to another city or plane.

It might be worth it for you to just grab the Lacie or WD drives with the built in card reader.
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That is the worst fear for a photographer to lose photos but going back to your first post, it sounds like it was more of a card issue than back up. I am guessing you didn't find out until you were may be home already and loaded the card to find it was empty ??

But weren't you reviewing some photos along the way or not at all ?? Cause if they showed up on review but not in the DCIM, it could be they are saved in some odd folder arrangement but I am guessing you probably looked everywhere.

We travel at least once a year and we have learn the most important thing is to make sure the gears are working in the first place. Ie. We use a brand new card for our trip every time now, cards are cheap at 32GB / 64 GB and one of those usually last the whole trip for us but we do bring more just in case. Before we go, we format the new card in the camera that we plan to bring and dedicated the card to only that camera, this would avoid a lot of formatting and saving issues. Then we take a few test shots to make sure everything is working, photos can be pulled on the computer.

We used bring a few more card and change mid trip to make sure if are gear are stolen or something we at least have the cards but we are getting lazy now and find on most trips other tourists have nicer and newer camera then us anyways. So, we just use a discrete camera bag to make ourself lesser of a target, not one with a big popular camera bag logo on it.

As for backing up, our camera connects to the phone so most times if we have a few good shots, we would transfer and upload to the cloud right the way, takes us seconds to do. Data SIMs are usually not too expansive outside of Canada.
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I use the LG pad 3 that I got from Fido, Use the usb port with a card reader to back it up to the external storage of the sd card, and whenever there is wifi, Amazon drive will back up the files to cloud. Maybe you can try a hub to move the files to a usb/hard drive, or just swap out the microsd card.
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