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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Questions about Storage and Memory Cards
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10/25/2016 12:31:09 PM · #1
I'm just full of questions today. SMILE
I would love your opinion about memory cards and what is the best and safest way to save photos other than the cloud? How do you safely store your prize photos? What's the best memory card to use? Is smaller better?
10/25/2016 12:36:54 PM · #2
Moderate-sized cards seem to be the sweet spot in both cost and risk reduction. For my 6D which has only slightly larger files than your 60D, I use two 32GB Sandisk Extreme SD cards. For my 5D MK IV, which has files that are 1.5x larger, I use 64GB Sandisk Extreme CF and SD cards. Always make sure you purchase cards from a retailer that you can trust to provide authentic cards; there are a lot of counterfeit cards being sold.

Message edited by author 2016-10-25 12:39:40.
10/25/2016 12:40:14 PM · #3
Originally posted by Cyrilda:

I'm just full of questions today. SMILE
I would love your opinion about memory cards and what is the best and safest way to save photos other than the cloud? How do you safely store your prize photos? What's the best memory card to use? Is smaller better?


Do you mean "save long term"?

The best method, IMHO, is to copy everything to CDs or other optical media (I use Blu-Ray). Then you have the originals, unaltered, for later recall should you need to go back to them, or if you get a crypto virus or something.

If they're really important, make a second CD copy and store it offsite.

Meanwhile, your hard drive with your working copy and edits should be backed up regularly. A cloud service like BackBlaze (which I use, and have 7 TB stored there), is a very easy and inexpensive way if you have a good internet connection.

Also, you could get a USB hard drive dock...they can hold bare 3.5" hard drives which are less expensive than stand alone external drives. Then buy some bare hard drives, and use them as rotating backups. If you don't also have cloud backup, make sure you keep a backup offsite.

Hopefully, after all that, that was your question!

10/25/2016 12:47:26 PM · #4
As Neil posted, there are several options for photo storage. Optical is still a viable alternative, but even Blu-Ray can be a PITA for those with a lot of photos. My personal choice is to use inexpensive external hard drives, and keep one on site, the other off site, and rotate them. That way, I limit my loss in the event of a real disaster (fire, tornado...) to only what was not already off-site.
10/25/2016 12:51:31 PM · #5
Another question, what is your favorite all-around canon lens? Thank you Neil and Kirbic for your help?
10/25/2016 01:09:48 PM · #6
Originally posted by Cyrilda:

Another question, what is your favorite all-around canon lens? Thank you Neil and Kirbic for your help?


The one that lives on the camera most of the time is the 24-70/2.8. Great focal length range for FF, not so much for APS-C. The equivalent range would be about 15-44, so something like the 17-55/2.8 would be the EF-S equivalent.
10/25/2016 01:40:54 PM · #7
Originally posted by kirbic:

Originally posted by Cyrilda:

Another question, what is your favorite all-around canon lens? Thank you Neil and Kirbic for your help?


The one that lives on the camera most of the time is the 24-70/2.8. Great focal length range for FF, not so much for APS-C. The equivalent range would be about 15-44, so something like the 17-55/2.8 would be the EF-S equivalent.


Thank you once again for your expertise. I read many of your comments and highly regulars your suggestions.
10/25/2016 02:11:48 PM · #8
@Neil - how long do you think CDROM discs would last? I have a load of CDROMS some with audio and some files that O backed up with probably 10 years ago and the face of the CDROMS appear to be deteriorating - perhaps nowadays they last longer?

My backup system is using Google Drive and syncing all my files to 2 pcs. If the house burns down the files will be on Google drive. Having all the files locally on both machines allows me to get quick and easy access.

However I have recently reached my 1TB max of Google Drive and have just bought an external 4TB drive and an internal 4TB drive. I may have to open a second Google account to get another 1TB. I expect I could get rid of 80% of the photos with better housekeeping and deleting rubbish photos. I am a horder
10/25/2016 02:28:56 PM · #9
Originally posted by P-A-U-L:

@Neil - how long do you think CDROM discs would last? I have a load of CDROMS some with audio and some files that O backed up with probably 10 years ago and the face of the CDROMS appear to be deteriorating - perhaps nowadays they last longer?

My backup system is using Google Drive and syncing all my files to 2 pcs. If the house burns down the files will be on Google drive. Having all the files locally on both machines allows me to get quick and easy access.

However I have recently reached my 1TB max of Google Drive and have just bought an external 4TB drive and an internal 4TB drive. I may have to open a second Google account to get another 1TB. I expect I could get rid of 80% of the photos with better housekeeping and deleting rubbish photos. I am a horder


There are lots of articles on the internet about CD-R longevity (and DVD-R etc.), but of course, nothing definitive.

It depends on how good the media was in the first place, how you store it, and how you labeled it (did you use CD safe ink?)

Keep it away from light, high heat, and humidity and it should last a long time. Longer than you probably need. I have CD-Rs over 20 years old and they read just fine. I haven't tested all of them, but I have had to go back to them to look at and restore data...and did so without problem. I keep them in acid free Case-Logic Prosleeves in notebooks, and keep them in my office rather than the basement to avoid humidity.

If I were concerned, and had fewer of them (I have many hundreds), I could easily duplicate them and "refresh" my backups. Of course, the only ones you really need to outlive you are the final finished products of your professional work and your family documents/photos. So that isn't a lot to have multiple copies.

I should point out that in fact my backups to CDs/DVDs/BDs are actually two-fold in nature.

1) I backup after a shoot, the original unaltered files (though they've copied to the HD first and have been renamed). These are my "original captures" backups.
2) I also have repeated backups of my working files--both the hard drives I mentioned, and for finished work, to optical media. Since these also live on my hard drives, they are backed up again at least once a year.

I consider optical non-eraseable media more important than HD or cloud backup because it's immutable. I never have to worry that I erased it and did another backup over my "only" master copy of something. So my optical collection is archival (for as long as it lasts), and my HD/cloud backups are just that--backups.

10/25/2016 02:39:43 PM · #10
CDs and DVDs can last varying amounts of time -- unfortunately I think there is quite a bit of variation in quality. I recently pulled some images off a Kodak PhotoCD made in 1993, but I have also had some I've made fail after a few years.

However, I still prefer chancing that to relying solely on drives with moving parts. I'm trying to buy better quality/brand-name discs. After transferring images to my hard drive I keep them on the memory card until I've made a CD/DVD backup, so that the file always exists in two places on two types of media.

Another new option is the "M-disc" -- in the same format as CD/DVD, but instead of the laser changing the dye color it actually burns/etches the data into a special coating, forming physical pits and lands like manufactured CD-ROMs; they are rated at 1000 years (see review above) ... I recently got an external DVD burner which purports to burn them for about $20 (though I also still have my first CD burner, which cost closer to $1K and won't!).

The discs are currently a bit pricey, but like CD-Rs should get cheaper once they get more popular and the technology is licensed to other manufacturers ...
10/25/2016 03:26:20 PM · #11
Originally posted by P-A-U-L:

@Neil - how long do you think CDROM discs would last? I have a load of CDROMS some with audio and some files that O backed up with probably 10 years ago and the face of the CDROMS appear to be deteriorating - perhaps nowadays they last longer?

My backup system is using Google Drive and syncing all my files to 2 pcs. If the house burns down the files will be on Google drive. Having all the files locally on both machines allows me to get quick and easy access.

However I have recently reached my 1TB max of Google Drive and have just bought an external 4TB drive and an internal 4TB drive. I may have to open a second Google account to get another 1TB. I expect I could get rid of 80% of the photos with better housekeeping and deleting rubbish photos. I am a horder


I'm also syncing to other PC's and using Backblaze as external backup (more than 2TB of photos). Better housekeeping is a very good idea, but it takes so much times :(
10/25/2016 03:36:47 PM · #12
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Another new option is the "M-disc" -- in the same format as CD/DVD...


Also available in Blu-Ray format, in either 25GB or 100GB capacity per disk. The 25GB capacity is available in 5-packs for as little as $18.99 USD, and 125GB of storage for that price isn't bad at all. Definitely need to keep an eye on that storage option. Buying 1TB external drives is cheaper per GB, and faster to back up, but not archival; you're relying on having more than one copy (two at least) plus your primary data repository, so if one copy fails you still have at least two copies of everything.
10/25/2016 03:43:19 PM · #13
Also I don't think it will be that long before SSDs become cheap enough to substitute for the rotating hard drives.
10/25/2016 08:46:30 PM · #14
Originally posted by Neil:

A cloud service like BackBlaze (which I use, and have 7 TB stored there), is a very easy and inexpensive way if you have a good internet connection.

There's one gotcha with BackBlaze that I've hit upon - if the original file is not seen by the cloud service (i.e. you disconnect a USB drive, or accidentally delete a file without realising, or are offline in general) after 30 days, it'll get deleted from their archive. I personally use BackBlaze for system-level emergencies (i.e. entire hd/machine dies/gets corrupted/etc), but use CrashPlan for long term storage of media as they don't delete anything you've uploaded unless you tell them to.
10/26/2016 08:00:20 PM · #15
I use Carbonite to back up everything.
11/21/2016 10:16:48 PM · #16
I want to thank everyone for the sound advice. This has been extremely helpful.
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