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How should I store my travel pictures while I'm away?

I have a Kodak DX6490 that I purchased a couple of years ago. I have only
used it here around the house and have been so pleased with it, but I do know
it only holds about 400 photos. I know how to download those photos here at
home to my PC with the dock that came with the camera. All I have to do is
press one button and they download automatically, but I have no idea what to
use on my laptop to do the same thing, other than take the dock with me and
store them on the laptop. I will be away from home for a month, so 400 pictures
won’t do. I suppose I could buy a ton of those little cards that go into the
camera and just keep the photos on those cards and not even take the laptop,
but I can email back to my family here if I take the laptop.

Between your laptop, the memory cards, and emailing the pictures back home,
I’ll vote (strongly) for two out of three of those.

And email’s not one of them.

Let me explain why …

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First, I’ll tell you I face this same problem when I travel. I know that
like you, I definitely don’t want to lose those travel photos – they’re
way too valuable. That’s why I’m going to suggest you do two separate
things; the same two things that I do.

First, that DC6490 takes what are called “SD” flash memory cards. Yes, I would get
a few additional of those. The good news here is that in the two years since
you purchased your camera, SD cards have grown in capacity. I’m guessing you
have a 512megabyte card based on the number of pictures you store. Cards are
now available with 1 or 2 gigabytes, or in other words, 2 or 4 times the
capacity. I’d grab a couple of those. (My most recent 1gig card was $60 US –
they’re fairly inexpensive.) Use them, fill them up, and keep them in a safe
place when not in your camera.

I’d also either take along the cradle and install the appropriate
support software on the laptop, or (and this is what I actually do)
get a SD card reader for the laptop, and periodically copy the photos from the
card(s) to the laptop for safekeeping. USB card readers are also not that
expensive, and typically the contents of your SD card, once inserted, simply
appear as another disk drive on your computer. Using Windows Explorer you can
copy the files form the SD card to a directory on your machine quickly and
easily.

Naturally I’d make sure all that worked well before you leave on your
trip.

“…if you’re taking hundreds or perhaps thousands of
pictures, email’s not an appropriate way to save them all.”

What this setup does is leaves the pictures on both the SD cards
and your laptop. That way if something happens to one, you’ll still
have the other.

Now, I explicitly said that email’s not one of my approaches. The problem
boils down to the fact that pictures are large and email is slow. Or rather,
uploading pictures to the internet is slow, and sending email is just another
form of upload. With so many pictures involved, you could easily spend hours
and hours (and hours and hours) uploading, or perhaps be throttled by whatever
internet provide you happen to be using for uploading “too much”.

So certainly email some of your pictures to your friends – perhaps even
update a photo sharing website during your trip – I’ve done both. It’s a neat
way to let people who care know about all the fun you’re having as you travel.
But if you’re taking hundreds or perhaps thousands of pictures, email’s not an
appropriate way to save them all.

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8 comments on “How should I store my travel pictures while I'm away?”

  1. If you’re travelling light and don’t want to take a laptop, if you’ve got a relatively recent hard-disk based mp3 player you can usually use that (with a suitable cable) to store photos. Stick with ones with which you can see the photos whilst they’re on the device, so you can check they transferred OK. If you want to get a new player for the purpose, the best solutions are probably either:

    – The iPod with Apple’s own “iPod Camera Connector” (But go to an Apple store and check that it works with your camera before buying), or:

    – The Creative Zen Vision (NOT the Vision:M), which has an inbuilt CF card slot, with which you can use a CF to SD (or whatever) adaptor.

    Reply
  2. I have a Zen Vision:M and was wondering how I might be able to upload pics to the device without a computer while traveling. Is there any way to do it?

    Reply
  3. My needs- 80 gig storage, see photos on big screen tv, transfer photos from camera to storage device when traveling, transfer photos already on laptop to storage device when at home. EASY TO USE FOR NOVICE.
    My hard drive is beginning to fill up. I would like to remove all my photos from my laptop to a photo storage device. Presently they are organized (Christmas 2008, Miami vacation 2007, KJK communion etc.) Can I organize them in a storage device in the same way? When I play them on TV, can I view just Miami trip or do I have to go through 1,000 other photos until I get to the ones I want? I would appreciate responses and recommendations from anybody on the best specific photo storage to buy. Also, Leo, you say you rarely endorse a product, but that is what I am asking for from you. My budget would be about $500 maximum.

    Reply

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