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Thread: What to take

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    Member bobc163's Avatar
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    What to take

    Well we have finished the OS trips for a while now and are getting ready to do "the big lap"

    I have managed to sort my gear into 2 Pelican cases (similar brand) and am now starting to think about what to take to edit/ store copies of shots
    At present I use a Samsung slate with seperate HD drives and back up onto USB sticks
    only problem is editing software of which I am at present learning to use won't fit onto internal memory of the slate Any ideas out there?

    I will be rounding out my filter selection with a few ND filters and am hoping to use Kokin's as this will reduce the cost and amount of gear to carry in the vehicle/caravan
    Does any one think I should take a backup body or trust in the present (5dMkiii)?

    Would appreciate some advice on this as it is quite a daunting task as we will be gone for at least 6 months all being good

    Cheers and thanks in advance
    Bob

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Well, I don't know which model Slate you've got, but I am guessing you'll get modest performance from it.
    What about your photography? What camera, how do you take images, process them, - and what processing software?

    I would suggest that you should be able to install the editing s/w on an external drive. I did once with Photoshop CS2.
    Don't expect stellar performance, though. The model slate I saw had 128 GB of (presumably SSD) storage, and only
    2 GB of RAM. Coupled with communicating over USB2... But, it's do-able.

    Am.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Well I was thinking of upgrading to a laptop Windows or Apple
    The slate was one of the first to be released and then withdrawn from sale have not checked its capacity but it seemed to function Ok with Large Jpeg files
    As you can see I use a 5dMkiii which i have had for about 3 years now and still learning all of its functions as work has kept me fairly busy to date
    Have PS7 and Lightroom 4 64 bit I have not used them much to date as I have only just started to take Raw images on the second card
    I try to take the usual travel/scenic shots but also like street photography and try to tell a story of the trip/day
    Bob

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Well, if it's for serious processing - I imagine you'll do that at night - you'd be (this is my opinion) hard pressed keeping ahead of
    things with that machine. With much smaller raw files I used to only push myself to get about 10 or so per night done with a little
    EE-PC. It was even slower than yours. It didn't make for much fun and interest, and I found I had a lot to do when I got back from
    trips. But yours is 6 months!!

    I ended up getting a pretty powerful ASUS Zenbook, Core I7, SSDs, etc... But I did see and equivalently priced and closely specced
    Mac laptop (don't ask model, etc). It had a 13" screen and retina display. But after all, I was glad I got the 15" Zenbook. Now before you
    do go out and get something, I'd also make sure it has all USB3 ports (mine has 3 of them). Also get some inexpensive Passport-type
    USB3 drives of the (now anyway) USB3 variety. You can work really fast from these without gagging up internal storage.

    Mind you, the expense described above cost me about $1500, but I think they've dropped in price since then.

    Now remember that the foregoing is just my opinion, but I have been on trips before and after and I know the benefit of something
    that moves when you're doing processing.

    Can't help much on other gear to take.
    m.

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    have the drives 2 x 1 Tb 1 x 2 Tb all USB3

    thought I would have to upgrade the laptop/slate (works fine for emails etc so guess it will be relgated to that)
    Will have to keep an eye out for the usual specials when they appear

    Would like to be able to talk to someone who could help me compile a book on our travels as we never seem to be able to sort them out
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I can't see any USB3 specification for the Slate. When you hook those drives up to USB3 you'll get a kick out of them.
    I think I measured about 10x faster than hooked into USB2.

    As for a book!!! Hmm! All I do is log each day's activity (using an Open Office spreadsheet). If pressed, I could compile
    something from those records. On trips in the past I've used little notebooks and pencil. It helps to recall things even
    if it doesn't get to a book.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh, and another thing... Is the Mk3 USB3 output? If not, make sure you have pretty good cards CF/SD, say 60X speed,
    and get yourself an inexpensive USB3 card reader or two. Slow camera to computer is a pain too.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameerat42 View Post
    Slow camera to computer is a pain too.
    Not really. Gives you a reason to stop for ten minutes and have a cuppa or glass of red.

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    That sounds good or maybe a wine ;-)

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    If the slate device is the type I'm thinking of, then you wouldn't want to be doing any editing on it.

    reason: screen will be useless for decent editing .. is it calibrated at least? .... probably not. And, if not, it's almost certain to be of a lower quality TN type screen .. on a tablet .. is a dubious prospect for editing images anyhow! The dubious nature of the tablet's screen is in it's inability to reliably show you a consistent and quality rendering of the files you want to edit.

    What you are best off doing with the tablet(as you already have it) is:

    Use it to transfer camera images onto an external backup HDD. I doubt that in 6 months you will fill a 1 Terabyte drive, but if you do .. then good!

    Install a quick file browser for sorting through your images as you collect them.

    I'm not yet well versed in using DPP(Canon's software), but I have used it (in)frequently enough to know it's a good candidate for use as a Canon raw image file browser.
    What you would want this software for is simples! .. sift through your images as you collect them(on a daily, hourly or whatever basis!!) and more importantly ... RANK them!

    That is, if you shoot two or three version of (eg.) Kings Canyon that look identical other than for a few teeny differences in light/sharpness/colour/exposure/etc .. then you rank the images for an idea of which one is better(than the others) .. or are they all the same. The point is, with ranking, that you can see in a quick glance which images are the ones you REALLY need to keep.

    So as you rank them with a stars or numbering system .. let say 5 stars is your best image work, and 4 stars is just below that .. etc, as you view your files with your image browser you can see these stars, filter them based on this rating system and sort through them because of that.
    This makes deleting files much easier for those times when you need too based on a shortage of space.

    Another software you may want to look into is Fastone's FSViewer(google it).
    It's very small, and very powerful in the way it works. Many options within to allow you to view and sort images.
    It's only issue is that it's quite bad at converting raw images into other formats.
    But for viewing lots of images .. no matter the size of the image, it's one of the fastest browsers available .. and works very well on a system with limited resources.
    I use it mainly on my Gigabyte tablet(very low spec Atom processor, 2G ram, etc) .. and it's just a touch quicker to render images than my other favoured software for speed and use .. Nikon's ViewNX2(this is Nikon specific for me tho).

    But if you want to sift through a collection of shots briskly say to view them at 100% for the purpose of assessing detail/sharpness/etc .. then FSViewer is about as good as it gets for a hardware limited device.

    So your workflow for the trip would be something along the lines of :

    Shoot -> connect camera or card to reader via slate device and transfer to external device via Slate device. Don't transfer images directly onto the slate's drive. The purpose of the external drive is to store all the trip files you acquire.
    As you collect images, try to sort through them and rate them on the day you captured them(obviously as is possible) .. during some down time.
    Leaving this step until later .. say 6 months later at home, once the trip is all done .. leaves you exposed to forgetting lots of detail info about the images as you acquire them.

    The ability to add keyword data to them should be a high priority at some point as well. That is, to catalog them in some way. While it's not imperative, it sure is a handy workflow aspect to consider at an early stage .. rather than leave it for a later date.
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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    I'm not yet well versed in using DPP(Canon's software), but I have used it (in)frequently enough to know it's a good candidate for use as a Canon raw image file browser.
    DPP will only let you pull up one file at a time in full screen size. Not great as a browser. Not bad as a raw processor before you go elsewhere for refinements if needs be.
    Canons ZoomBrowser is a quite acceptable way to look (browse) at the photos you've taken in raw (well jpeg also).
    Enjoy the view you've pulled up at as you download via USB2. Who's in a hurry anyway?
    Last edited by Mark L; 04-05-2015 at 10:51pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    If the slate device is the type I'm thinking of, then you wouldn't want to be doing any editing on it.

    reason: screen will be useless for decent editing .. is it calibrated at least? .... probably not. And, if not, it's almost certain to be of a lower quality TN type screen .. on a tablet .. is a dubious prospect for editing images anyhow! The dubious nature of the tablet's screen is in it's inability to reliably show you a consistent and quality rendering of the files you want to edit.

    What you are best off doing with the tablet(as you already have it) is:

    Use it to transfer camera images onto an external backup HDD. I doubt that in 6 months you will fill a 1 Terabyte drive, but if you do .. then good!

    Install a quick file browser for sorting through your images as you collect them.

    I'm not yet well versed in using DPP(Canon's software), but I have used it (in)frequently enough to know it's a good candidate for use as a Canon raw image file browser.
    What you would want this software for is simples! .. sift through your images as you collect them(on a daily, hourly or whatever basis!!) and more importantly ... RANK them!

    That is, if you shoot two or three version of (eg.) Kings Canyon that look identical other than for a few teeny differences in light/sharpness/colour/exposure/etc .. then you rank the images for an idea of which one is better(than the others) .. or are they all the same. The point is, with ranking, that you can see in a quick glance which images are the ones you REALLY need to keep.

    So as you rank them with a stars or numbering system .. let say 5 stars is your best image work, and 4 stars is just below that .. etc, as you view your files with your image browser you can see these stars, filter them based on this rating system and sort through them because of that.
    This makes deleting files much easier for those times when you need too based on a shortage of space.

    Another software you may want to look into is Fastone's FSViewer(google it).
    It's very small, and very powerful in the way it works. Many options within to allow you to view and sort images.
    It's only issue is that it's quite bad at converting raw images into other formats.
    But for viewing lots of images .. no matter the size of the image, it's one of the fastest browsers available .. and works very well on a system with limited resources.
    I use it mainly on my Gigabyte tablet(very low spec Atom processor, 2G ram, etc) .. and it's just a touch quicker to render images than my other favoured software for speed and use .. Nikon's ViewNX2(this is Nikon specific for me tho).

    But if you want to sift through a collection of shots briskly say to view them at 100% for the purpose of assessing detail/sharpness/etc .. then FSViewer is about as good as it gets for a hardware limited device.

    So your workflow for the trip would be something along the lines of :

    Shoot -> connect camera or card to reader via slate device and transfer to external device via Slate device. Don't transfer images directly onto the slate's drive. The purpose of the external drive is to store all the trip files you acquire.
    As you collect images, try to sort through them and rate them on the day you captured them(obviously as is possible) .. during some down time.
    Leaving this step until later .. say 6 months later at home, once the trip is all done .. leaves you exposed to forgetting lots of detail info about the images as you acquire them.

    The ability to add keyword data to them should be a high priority at some point as well. That is, to catalog them in some way. While it's not imperative, it sure is a handy workflow aspect to consider at an early stage .. rather than leave it for a later date.
    Thanks for that Arthur
    Yes, what I try to do is download using the slate to transfer them to a hard drive on a daily basis but I also copy them to a USB stick as well ( I have had a HDD fail once and it was a pain to recover )
    I like to keep them in a folder for the trip and list each day as a seperate sub folder (helps jog the memory )
    Biggest hassle I have is that at the end of our recent trips which can be for up to 4 months at a time I end up with a HUGE amount of shots mainly because of where we go and the time constraints place on us as we travel
    ie last major trip Istanbul to Beijing for 109 Days with mostly camping so mains power was an issue
    I do not like erasing shots before I have had a chance to look at them on the large screen back home Then of course it's the usual, work, house chores, grandkids and rello's to see etc etc
    I should be retiring this year and was hoping to have more time to "sort" things but everyone says it gets busier
    Will have to wait and see on that!
    Trying to get some more time at the moment to be able to post some of my shots for CC
    Where do I post them to on the site?
    Thanks
    Bob

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    It must be noted as a point of importance that everyone has differing needs/requirements/financial access .. etc.

    First point I want to highlight in your last reply: The use of USB sticks(thumbdrive ?) .. I would be very careful on using these for crucial data retention.

    For a long time I used to use them to keep many important data backups .. far more important than photos!!(but these were only one of a few locations and mediums I used to keep this data)
    I found that, over time I'd always lose the USB stick data before any other medium would fail.
    This is just the way flash memory works.
    Even tho it's technically the same stuff as you get on your memory card(CF, Sd etc .. ) .. my suspicion is that the flash memory used on those USB sticks is probably inferior to the type used in decent quality memory cards.

    In a technical sense .. even a catastrophic hardware failure on a HDD is 'recoverable' .. if you have the $ and patience to do the necessary recvovery.
    With a hardware failure on a USB stick(and similarly on a memory card) .. once that flash memory fails .. it fails and you simply can't recover it.

    So if we take the point of view that there is a small amount of certainty in the failure of data storage mediums, and the two options were flash type and mechanical HDD type .. for the best chance of recovering that data, you'd have to put your money on the mechanical HDD medium type as the prospect of recovering that data is much greater.

    The issue with mechanical HDDs is of course vibrations/shock/movement of the hardware .. they just don't like it much.
    If your HDD was of the external USB backup type .. and hence not always connected to the host PC, then a few simple precautions to maximise it's safety are easy to follow.
    If storing the device for a long haul trip, keep it snug and safe in a bag/suitcase full of soft clothing, or other such soft surroundings.
    If the only option for it's storage is in amongst other hardware .. then wrap it in something soft and spongey .. I have a large roll of bubble wrap for this.

    I know what catastrophic HDD failure is like. I personally have never had it happen to any of my HDDs(of which I have many/heaps/tons/wayyy too many ), but have had to try to recover other's HDD failures.
    I've only ever done one hardware failure recover .. on an old Seagate(??) .. maybe Maxtor, 40G drive many years ago now. Had to remove the platters on the dead drive, and place them on an old unused similar drive I had lying around. If I didn't have the same drive type just sitting in my spare parts bin, I'd never have tried to do this.
    But, it worked in the end. Apparently you don't have much time to backup all the data onto another medium if you do this yourself. Once exposed to room air, dust and stuff gets on the hardware which is apparently not good.
    But the data was recovered and then both drives were recycled.

    I currently have two dead drives sitting on my desk. The most recent one is my sons 500G laptop HDD. I have an identical drive to this specific drive that has a backup of my daughter's laptop, which I could use to recover his data. But I'm deliberately NOT going to do this to teach him a lesson .. that when I tell him how and where to do his own backups, that he needs to do this of his own accord .. not my job to do it for him!
    And as I said before .. I don't see it as essential to recover his data, at the expense of second drive as opening the other drive and inserting his platters into it just to recover his data almost certainly will eventually kill the good drive prematurely.

    So .. what is the better alternative.
    if you can afford it, then go with a flash HDD.
    The difference with a flash based HDD compared to a USB drive(stick/thumbdrive) is that the HDD has error correcting hardware within itself that doesn't allow data to be written to dead memory cells(and hence corruption).
    The issue with USB sticks and memory cards is that this data safety procedure is not present .. so the data is written to the flash memory sequentially. If that memory cell is corrupted, the first time you know it is when trying to read that data(which is now corrupted).
    Flash based HDD have failsafes to prevent this issue. They aren't completely safe, as flash cells can become corrupted over time.
    But of course their advantage over mechanical drives is that there are no mechanics that can fail(platters, heads etc).

    I follow a website called The Tech Report, they have had a SSD endurance test running for nearly two years on there, and it's finally finished.
    On THEIR test, they've found that the Samsung 840 Pro was the drive to have. They tested the 256G version, and found that it was good for more than 2 Petabytes of total data transfers(mainly all writes).
    That is, they've written to the drive over and over again .. over 1000 times. This is not something any of us could ever do in real life situations(fully write to a 256 G drive 1000's of times).
    Even tho the SSDs were encountering memory issues, because of the built in failasfes, they can still accept incoming data without fear of corruption of that data. Unlike USB sticks and memory cards.

    (Using MSY as a price guide)

    some options are:

    Samsung 250-ish Gigabyte SSD __$158
    USB3.0 external enclosure _____ $20(ish) (you can get cheaper .. this is an average)
    total ______________________ $178(ish)

    4 x high quality 64G USB sticks __ $130-$200

    So my recommendation is to source a reasonably priced SSD and an external enclosure for it. The process of installing the bare drive into the enclosure is childsplay .. about 2 mins worth of unscrewing a few screws, slotting in the SSD and retightening the screws again. This is cheaper than most readily available consumer level USB SSD drive prices.
    Again from MSY's price list

    Samsung USB3.0 SSD 250G _____ $259
    ** note that they also list a Transcend 256G USB3.0 SSD for about $189 .. but I have no endurance data to go on for any Transcend SSDs. Also, I have a preference for Samsung drives overall tho **

    As you can see on a per Mb price basis .. the 250G SSD drive isn't such a bad proposition .. compared to a series of USB sticks.
    The problem comes back to the integrity of the USB sticks.
    Of course they will work fine for a while .. as most devices do. But as I've found over the years, they do tend to fail easily if writing to them many times .. as I used too with my (vitally important)accounting data way back when.
    With that data tho, the USB drive wasn't the only copy of that data, I used to have about 5 or 6 copies spread out all over the place .. so losing the USB stick copy wasn't important.
    Now this data is kept on a USB stick(that rarely gets used), smart phone, cloud storage, PC(internal drive and numerous external drives) .. and a few other places.
    My point isn't about the data .. the point is about my inability to trust any specific media to preserve this data 100% .. so it's spread about just for this purpose .. 100% data retention.

    At the moment I have only one SSD anywhere in my list of devices ... this includes a few PCs(of which one is a tablet type device) and as said before .. so many HDDs(mechanical) it's hard to remember them all.
    That SSD went into the tablet simply for the purpose that this PC is mobile, and hence will take a few knocks here and there in it's lifetime.
    When I travel for any longer than a day or two, I take it with me just in case I need some backup space .. and it's 250G capacity is probably enough to get me by .. I'd say probably a month of solid shooting.
    Same with your slate(which is what my tablet is, anyhow) .. I run Nikon's ViewNX2 on it to assess images 'on the run' .. so as you said .. if the need arises and push comes to shove .. the not so keeper type images will get deleted at some point to make room, but via the larger screen of the tablet device to be sure that the image has been assessed properly.

    sorry for the long post .. I just hope it all makes sense in some way.

  13. #13
    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    If you are going to be on the road for 6 months, I'd consider something like the Surface or Surface Pro. Having a laptop equivalent along for that duration will allow you to run whatever software you want.

    I personally use both Macbook Air and Surface Pro, but my travel device is a Surface Pro for the simple reason that its the size of a large tablet and allows me to get away without carrying multiple devices.
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