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Portables Hardware

Storing Pictures While Backpack Travelling? 134

Amgine007 asks: "A friend of mine will be leaving in January 2004 for a 12-to-18-month 'around the world' trip. He's pretty technically saavy, but not really much of a computer-and-gadgets geek. He has an interesting problem: How do you live out of a backpack for a year (or more) and manage to take and save a lot of digital pictures (say 10,000), if you will have very few connections to the outside world -- few sources of power (at the odd hostel or train station outlet), no internet, and no USB?"

"He hasn't yet purchased a digital camera, so any camera or convergence device to be available in the next 6 months is fair game.

We've thought of a few scenarios. Bringing along a ton of CF cards is neither cheap nor reliable -- suppose the media gets lost or damaged. An ideal solution might involve being able to mail media home, while still having a copy 'on the road' in case that media gets lost in the mail.

And isn't it about time we see consumer devices with support for firewire drives, such as the iPod? I envision a digital camera that can talk (and backup) to an iPod -- this would be more than enough storage in a 15gb model, and small enough to take backpacking painlessly. However, the new models feature a proprietary dock connector, which makes one the iPod's old great advantages -- charge from any firewire port! -- a thing of the past.

A camera that burns images to a CD would be nice, but only if the CD was secondary storage -- ie, save pictures to internal buffer, burn to N CDs, erase internal buffer. This would allow the easy creation of duplicates, but might require a lot of CDs.

How would you plan your gadgets, given 6 more months of advancement of new technology (and price-cuts on old tech)? There's a whole lot of neat camera-ready devices coming about about now, so there could be quite a few creative ideas. Winning solution is the simplest and most portable."

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Storing Pictures While Backpack Travelling?

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  • by malakai ( 136531 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:07PM (#6206055) Journal
    Here's a list of DIGITAL CAMERA ACC-Stand Alone Data Storage [bhphotovideo.com] devices from B&H.

    You don't want firewall, most cameras do the USB 2.0 thing.

    In addition to storing pictures, many of these Devices are MP3 players as well. 10,20,30 even 60 gig drives with rechargable batteries..etc.

    have fun.

    -malakai
    • I remember Fresh Gear on Tech TV loved the MindStor device. But I only see it in 10g. B&H has a Delkin which is simular, in 60g. BTW B&H rules, bought lots of stuff from them. Lets assume they have a 5MP camera (I have a Sony 5MP). Each picture is about 2.5 MB in JPG format. You'd get about 24000 pictures on the 60g drive. If they are going to carry a laptop around also, they might want to purchase a DVD burner and just move them from the laptops hard drive onto the DVD after some time. You can ge
  • by Exocet ( 3998 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:27PM (#6206182) Homepage Journal
    The problem with stuff that is "just about ready to come out" is that you never know the quality or durability of something that has just come out. Going with an established product, especially when your friend will be away from civilization for considerable stretches of time, is what I recommend.

    While buying a lot of CF cards is not a great solution, it doesn't have to be too expensive. 10 256MB Sandisk CF cards will run you approx $650. That would store approximately 3500-4000 images - based on how I use my Canon Powershot A40 camera in "Fine" (medium lossy) format.

    10,000 images is, in my opinion, somewhat unlikely to occur. Sure, you can take 10,000 pictures. But 9,000 of them are probably going to suck. Maybe just 8,000. Thus the bane and beauty of a digital camera. You can instantly review a picture or simply review the whole lot later, on your down time. Backpacking should have it's share of down time, unless he's pushing pretty hard.

    Additionally, CF cards are very, very hardy. My 64MB Sandisk CF card spent 30 minutes at the bottom of a river when I dropped my camera. The card - and pictures - were perfectly ok after recovery.

    Your friend will also want to pick up some hearty rechargable batteries - I suggest the new PowerEX 2000mAh NiMH batteries in conjunction with the Maha C401FS rapid, 100-minute charger. Your friend may also want to consider picking up a flexible solar panel to charge stuff while "on the road".

    Lastly, camera-wise, I personally recommend the Canon Powershot A40. It can be had for about $200 now. It is "just" a 2 megapixel camera. However, the output is very nice for consumer level camera.
    • Good point (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Glonoinha ( 587375 )
      -Sure, you can take 10,000 pictures. But 9,000 of them are probably going to suck.

      Actually this is the best part about digital photography. Want a good picture? Take ten pictures of the subject and then pick the one(s) you like the best. With regular cameras this just isn't cost (or time) effective as you have to wait for prints, then wait for reprints, etc... but on a digital you can pop the CF card into your laptop to view the series and pick the good ones, then delete the stuff you do not like - doi
      • Professional photographers (fashion, national geographic, news, Life) get one good picture out of 36 exposures, at best.
      • Don't get me wrong - I agree completely on this point. My personal ratio is about 10:1. That is, 10 "ehhhh" pictures to one that I deem "good enough" or occasionally great.

        The cost of film and developing makes this practice all but impossible for the normal person. If you're a geek with cash and you feel like blowing it on film, well, go ahead.
    • by Ryan Stortz ( 598060 ) <ryan0rz&gmail,com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:08PM (#6206405)
      TechTV tested a few different types of cards. They dropped them in water, lit them on fire, and even ran over them with a truck. Most types stopped working after getting soaked or fried, but the compact flash card still worked...that is, until they ran it over with a 1 ton truck.
      • I've long been a fan of CF, because of its high capacities and universality, which drives cost down. However, its is bulky compared to the other standards, and the multipin connector is expensive.

        My most recent camera is SmartMedia (SSFDC) based, and I'm happy with it. The neat thing about the cards is that they're flat. I can tuck one into my cheek to conceal it, slobber all over it "I don't know what you're talking about officer", wipe it off, put it back into the camera, and it works flawlessly.

        Doing t
        • My most recent camera is SmartMedia (SSFDC) based, and I'm happy with it. The neat thing about the cards is that they're flat. I can tuck one into my cheek to conceal it, slobber all over it "I don't know what you're talking about officer", wipe it off, put it back into the camera, and it works flawlessly.

          Do I dare ask how you came to this finding?
      • A colleague of mine found a Fuji Finepix in a river in Wales last year. Whilst the camera was damaged beyond repair, the smartmedia card was fine. According to the pictures the camera had been in the water for 3 months.
    • I can second the a40. I have one and it does a GREAT job. very standards oriented. CF2 cards just plain work everywhere. and it takes regular AA batteries!!! yes! very very important. long life with NiMH and you can always find AA batts. not true with $50 special custom little jobbies.

      for snapshots the A40 is great. its manual modes aren't super but for that you really DO need a real pro camera (I use the nikon D1 and while its very flexible for my needs, for situations when weight and size is an i
    • I completed (3 years ago) a trip to Europe where I backpacked and carried an SLR AgX camera (silver halide, aka Film). I shot approximately 100 rolls of film. Some were over,under, normal exposures (to capture dynamic range in chrome), alot were throw away shots.
      But the great thing about editing is I've got them all stored in the original format.... and I can go back and look thru them for images that strike my fancy now that didn't otherwise before. After all, the incremental cost of a roll of film is e
      • I don't understand the points you're making. Are you saying that digital cameras are less likely to get stolen than SLRs? I don't see the logic here.

        Target sells Kodak ISO 400, 96 exposure film at $9/roll, or about $0.10/exposure for film. Processing the film runs about $2.25/roll, or about $0.02/exposure. A 256 MB CF card runs about $56.99, and holds about 1000 exposures (based on the space of the pics I took on vacation last week). That's about $0.005/exposure for CF, versus $0.12/exposure for film.

        • It's actually a bit higher on cost- rolls come in or 4 packs, so say you'll buy all 36 exposure rolls for 10$ (not unreasable, but not cheapest route either). That works out to be roughly $0.10 (what you got) worth of film. Development is actually 3x that cost since it's 3 rolls, so that cost is $0.0625, so about $0.16 per photograph
          Now your CF 256mb has a rebate on it- they are 80$ a piece. And you can only get 256 images from a 3megapixel camera (and frankly anything lower will suck for image quality).
          • Now your CF 256mb has a rebate on it- they are 80$ a piece. And you can only get 256 images from a 3megapixel camera (and frankly anything lower will suck for image quality). So that is $.313 for each photo. For arguments sake, you get 10 buddies together and they all spend the 85$ to get the cards with rebates for 56$, thats now $0.21 per image.

            You pay too much for your CF cards. You can find name brand cards retail for $60 out the door. Generic for even less. If you count rebates, they get even che

          • And you can only get 256 images from a 3megapixel camera (and frankly anything lower will suck for image quality).

            I'd never take photos for a job at low quality, but on my vacation last week, I took a lot of 640x and 1024x pics. I'm not trying to publish National Geographic here... I just want to remember where I've been, and what it looks like. (I was in coastal California. It looks nice.) I also modulated my sizes: when I was taking a picture I thought I'd want in high quality, I'd take it in high r

            • The only problem I see with shooting at lower resolution is the inevitable "GOD! I wish I had taken that photo higher- it's awesome!". You know, that one in a million shot....
              My trip to Europe consumed around 100 rolls of film. The last one was 50 rolls in 10 days. So yeah.... burning film is a bit of a cost, but I have huge prints to thank for it (And a gf that really hates roman ruins now ;P)
        • CF Cards are fine I suppose, but they're oddly shaped for the traveler. I have a Sony 3.1Mp Digital Camera, and it obviously uses the Sony Memory sticks. Now I know it would run several hundreds of dollars to buy up a bunch of those Sony 128MB memsticks, however they're half the size of a stick of gum. If I were going all over the world by backpack, I'd just make sure to have some "pockets" in which to sew the memsticks into so that they're guaranteed not to fall out. Tightly wrap them in a couple layers of
    • I just returned from a trip into the woods (just an overnighter) and was able to take around 150 Large/Fine JPEGS (3kx2k pixels) and review them in the tent while it rained that night!

      I would recommend an SLR for any kind of future investment value. The EOS D30, a 4 MP camera IIRC, can be had for 300-400 bucks on eBay. With the BG-ED3, and miserly battery usage (no instant preview, 1 minute auto-sleep, minimum of metering and autofocusing) one could shoot for at least a week. The beauty of the digicam i
    • Lastly, camera-wise, I personally recommend the Canon Powershot A40. It can be had for about $200 now. It is "just" a 2 megapixel camera. However, the output is very nice for consumer level camera.

      The Canon A70 just dropped to $300. It's 3MP and quite nice. Personally, I decided to get a Nikon Coolpix 3100 since I'm a geek just not a photo geek. It uses CF cards, like the Canon, and offers many nice automatic modes...yet, if you like to tell your camera what to do instead of it figuring it out for you,

      • The reason I didn't suggest the A70 was because I don't like how it feels. Too small, too light.

        However, the A20, 40, 60 and A70 (all the ones I've ever touched/played with) all have a 100% manual mode. IE, you are welcome to screw up your picture as much (or as little) as you want. Set the film sensitivity (ISO), speed, f-stop, etc. You can even shoot in b&w.

        I do, however, agree with you on the Coolpix selection. I think it's a stupid name for a camera, but they're good cameras. However, your 3
        • Coolpix: Agreed, dumb name.

          The 3100 is similar in many ways to the A70. I don't think either is superior to the other, though there are differences. For me, a non-photo geek, the Nikon was the better choice. For a real avid photographer, the A70 with it's extensive manual controls is a better choice.

  • What resolution? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Glonoinha ( 587375 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:29PM (#6206202) Journal
    Actually a lot of it depends on the resolution he wants to capture. At a fairly low resolution (640x480, encoded as average quality .jpg files) he could capture 8,000 pictures on a single 512M CF card. Even 1MP high quality .jpg files from my Kodak DC210+ (fairly older 1MegaPixel camera) run about 200k per picture, so with four 512M CF cards he would still be able to capture 10,000 pictures of with this camera set to max quality.

    512M CF cards cost +/- $100 apiece, maybe a little more, so he could hold 10,000 one megapixel pictures on about $500 in media. CF seems pretty indestructable, if he keeps it on his person (in his pocket or whatever) I guarantee it will survive way more than he can. He can also get a cheap $20 adapter to pop the CF card into a PCMCIA slot on a laptop, so with even a little luck he will find someone with a laptop that can burn him CDs for a couple of dollars, somewhere in his travels.
    • by Myrthe ( 537275 )
      quoth the poster:
      so with even a little luck he will find someone with a laptop that can burn him CDs for a couple of dollars, somewhere in his travels.
      Or he can offer a couple of choice pictures and the story behind them. I'd much prefer that to a couple of dollars.
      • Actually given that the guy is going to have to download all the pictures to his hard drive to burn them to CD (the CompactFlash media transfer rates would never support burning a CD) so I sort of assumed he was going to do that anyways.

        I always do ... and if they get upity about their data I highlight them all and hit delete, soon as they walk off I fetch them from the trash-bin. Call it off-site unintentional backup.
  • MicroDrive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:30PM (#6206208) Homepage Journal
    Pick up a couple of MicroDrives. These are the ~1GB hard drives that fit in some CF slots. Drop one in the mail every few weeks to you or someone, and be done with it.

    There's also the possiblity of using a film camera. Film should be available everywhere, and it's much safer to mail back home. Digital isn't always the answer (OTOH, I just bought my first digital camera today:)

    • There's also the possiblity of using a film camera.

      There is? At 24 pics per roll, that's gonna be over 400 rolls of film. That's gonna cost a whole bunch - and developing's gonna run somewhere around $4 per roll... that's another $1600 there.
      • But like I said, the benefit of the film camera is the ability to buy film nearly anywhere. Any solution he picks is going to be expensive. But you don't drop out of the world/life for 1 year+ without having some money set aside.

        In any event, it's a possibility worth considering.
    • Yep, and guess what happens when it goes through the X-ray machine at customs?

      Bingo.

    • No. Use CF RAM cards as they have considerably faster write speeds AND use far less power (no spinning platters or moving heads). Microdrives are sweet in the gee-whiz category, but I don't want one whittling my battery down like crazy.
  • What about one of the sony mavicas that does burn to mini CDs?

    There are devices just for sucking the pictures of a CF card and storing them on internal harddrive, some even with screens larger than the cameras for viewing and some even play mp3s as well.

  • errm... yeah. with a 1 megapixel digital camera, i get roughly 146 pictures/32 meg card, so if you have a 2 megapixel camera (standard these days).... 10 512meg CF cards will get you about 11000 photos, and weigh less than a 1/4 of a lb. Huzzah. Just kinda costly. But that's life.
    • You can get 1GB cards on yahoo shopping from SanDisk for about 200 dollars. I wouldn't recommend going with less than 4MP, but even then you can get a thousand pictures on one 1GB CF card for 200 bucks. (as opposed to a thousand pictures on 2 512 MB CF cards for 200 bucks.)

      On the other hand, if your friend has never had a digital camera before, he may be shocked at how many pictures he will be taking. By my calculations, I have taken over 2,000 since December, and I have a job other than wandering aroun
      • yeah i have about 800 pictures taken in the last 9 months. Are they making 1 GB CF cards, or are the SanDisk cards just IBM microdrives in disguise? if the latter, I would go with the 2 512 over a single 1 GB as true CF cards have no moving parts. Secondly, I don't believe all devices are capable of reading CF cards in excess of 512 MB, although with what he's doing, his camera probably supports 1 GB+ CF cards.
        • They're solid state [sandisk.com], not microdrives. I'd be surprised if a camera purchased in the next six months wouldn't support it (CF is notoriously compatible). I believe the incompatibility can come from the difference between CF type 1 and type 2. Microdrives and attachments are type 2, while nearly all solid-state CF cards are type 1.

          Here's one. [yahoo.com]

          I think many people here aren't recommending 1GB CF cards because pricewatch.com doesn't go that high yet.
          • Thanks for clearing that up, that's some pretty slick technology. Until you brought the 1 GB CF cards, I didn't know they existed, either. I've read that the higher capacity CF cards use more battery juice than the lower capacity cards. I haven't noticed this, but then again I haven't used the 4 MB CF card that came with the camera in about 2 years (as opposed to the newer 32 MB card).
            • Actually CF Cards go upt to 4GB now. Right now 0.5 and 1 GB cards are at the size vs. price sweetpoint. Incompatibility comes from the fact that the 2GB and bigger cards need to be formatted FAT32. Only the newer cameras can handle that. FAT16 cannot go to 2GB (remember when the harddisks went through this same exact phase 4-5 years ago?)

  • Meta-advice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:41PM (#6206266) Journal
    Depending on just how serious you are about being without power for that long a period you may really need to consider an all-out power consumption analysis, as well as other more conventional factors.

    One thing that I really noticed was your thought about writing CDs, which consumes a non-trivial amount of battery power.

    I personally know almost nothing about how much power it takes to take one picture, or write 256MB onto a compact flash, or run a laptop, but you might need to find out. Batteries are heavy and basically dead weight (no value beyond their storage capacity), so you will want to minimize what you need to carry. Coming up with a fancy solution that requires thirty pounds of batteries to run for a week without contact with civilization is probably not useful. Also, you may get into trouble if you need fifty hours to recharge your battery set. ;-)

    Just a meta-thought.
    • Re:Meta-advice (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonadab ( 583620 )
      > Depending on just how serious you are about being without power

      Exactly. Is your friend going to England and France, Mexico and
      China, or Bangledesh and the Cameroun? Urban, or rural? Are we
      talking about being without power during the day and sometimes for
      2-3 days because not _all_ of the hotels have power, or are we
      talking about being sixty miles (on nothing that we would consider
      to be roads in any North-American sense of that word) from the
      nearest place that has power certain days of the week, exce
    • Depending on just how serious you are about being without power for that long a period you may really need to consider an all-out power consumption analysis, as well as other more conventional factors.

      Agreed. My experience on a recent trip to Iceland was that my Sony Stamina(tm) battery ran out before my Sony Memory Stick(tm) in my Sony Camera(tm).

      Of course, "living off the land" counts for tech too. If he can just buy new storage on the way, he can just pop the previous one out and Fedex it home.
  • Backwater? (Score:3, Informative)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:43PM (#6206282) Homepage
    Our friends generally take their laptops with them, and send files back when they get near places with ISP's or hotspots. Of course, they work while they are out, so the option of carrying a laptop might not appeal to him.

    You'd be surprised how backwater most of the world isn't. Power may not be guarenteed, but he should find something wherever he finds somewhere to sleep. Likewise, as most people out there don't have their own computers, there are likely to be affordable internet cafes he will bump into. He should use these as an opportunity to back up his data to a server you are monitering.

    On the flip side, mail is *never* a good idea. It might make it, it might not. Usually it doesn't.

    Technologically, USB 2.1 devices should be out soon, which allow for device-to-device communication. Unfortunately, firewire and USB 1.0/2.0 are both client-server models... Which is the server, the camera or MP3 player? Which charges which?

    Likewise, Sony makes a Mini-CDR burning camera, but they're just huge. 100 Mini CDR's can be had at Microcenter for 40 bucks, though, and should be enough space for 10,000 images. If he was intending to take a 5MP SLR with 14x optical zoom anyway, this might be a good option.

    HDD external storage is a bit risky because of the dangers to the device, but it may be your best option. Just remember to backup whenever you bump into an internet cafe.

    One last thing: Battery life. If he's genuinely worried about the availability of power, he should consider making a custom battery pack based on AA rechargables. That way, if the only place around is a convienience/gas station he can still power up his machine.

  • Terapin Mine (Score:5, Informative)

    by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:50PM (#6206309) Homepage
    the Terapin Mine [thinkgeek.com] has 10gb of space that you can store to with your digital camera (also has tons of other ports)

    with an ethernet connection (using built in port) or a pcmcia modem you could email your pictures back home whenever you can find a convienient connection. Also backs up to windows and linux and can play movies/music with its built in output ports.

    All of this in a 7x3.2x1" package

    • This looks like an excellent direct camera-to-mass-storage device that I was thinking of. Thanks!
      • There are dozens of other "media vault" style devices, many of which use 1.8" drives instead of 2.5" like the Mine. They're single-purpose devices, with a button that simply copies the flash into a directory on the drive, and blinks when it's finished.

        The Mine is much more than just camera-to-storage. It's got Ethernet, USB master, USB slave, AV output, and a PCMCIA slot. It's also not too great on the batteries, so you might want to carry a solar panel.

        I'm not sure if all revisions of the Mine include th
  • Easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:55PM (#6206334) Homepage
    There's this amazing new technology that have been called 'optical cameras'. The idea is an interesting one: a lense refracts light onto a piece of photosensitive material known as "film". This film can then be developed into regular pictures, with qualities far surpassing any of their digital counterparts.

    In other words, get an optical camera, and mail the film to yourself. Have it developed when you get home.
    • Not so easy ! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bazouel ( 105242 )
      A couple of facts you seem to ignore ...

      In some countries, mailing shouldn't be considered an option (Nepal, India, Africa, rural China, etc.)

      It is NEVER a good idea to mail something by regular post when you really care about it, unless you are 100 % sure it won't be lost somewhere and be kept in good condition (in other words, if you trust in miracle).

      Mail is scanned many times by all sort of rays, most notably X-Rays which can really screw you film if they are too powerful. You can wrap your films in
      • If someone truly is serious about photography he's not doing digital.
        • Re:Not so easy ! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Alan Shutko ( 5101 )
          You could just as easily say "If someone is truly serious about photography, he isn't doing 35mm." Or medium format. If you're not lugging an 8x10 camera everywhere, you aren't serious.

          Hint: welcome to the 21st century. There are serious digital cameras out there. They just cost a lot.
        • Re:Not so easy ! (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Taos ( 12343 )
          There's all sorts of arguments on this issue. I traveled Europe last year in the manner that I expect the article is intending. Hostels? Bah, I slept in the park. Or a beach if it was available.

          Anyways, as a high level amateur photographer, I took 3 cameras with me. 1 Fuji digital, 1 Olympus OM-1, 1 Nikon F (The original, built like a tank, when you're not taking pictures, you can use it as a weapon in a bull fight). Guess which one didn't make it back? The Nikon. I fell in an irrigation ditch in r
    • film does a BAD job in hot weather. digital doesn't. film shifts colors, digital doesn't. film expires, digital doesn't. film requires you load it, and in bad weather or wind or dust, you get nasty stuff inside your camera; digital doesn't.

      I shoot film when I need to. but NEVER in harsh conditions like the poster is likely to encounter.
      • Woah..slow down there. Digital film doesn't expire? You haven't heard about the latest Microsoft DRM scheme have you? You must have your pictures developed at their approved stores or you'll end up with a bunch of expired pictures.
  • X's drive (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:19PM (#6206450)
    found on compgeeks:

    X's drive [compgeeks.com]

    the usb2.0 version works well with linux. the usb1.1 version doesn't (for me, at least).

    put any size notebook drive in there you want.

    • I've been looking at these for a couple of weeks, and I reckon it's the best idea. Reads pretty much all various media formats, writes to whatever size hdd you put in it. Grab a small CF / mmc / whatever and xfer all the photos to this once you've filled it and you're cheering. The only hassle that the original poster may have is the usb, though there's gotta be some net cafes round the place that have USB...

      The website for it is here:
      http://www.xs-drive.com/xsdrive2/ [xs-drive.com]

      copy/paste from the site:

      X'S-DRI
  • I don't have the link, but I have seen stand alone CD-Burners that will burn the contents of a memory card onto a CD. He could just get a 512MB card, take pics... burn onto a CD and send home.

    I also found this device when poking around http://www.gus.com/buphbadicapo.html [gus.com]

    Also, what about USB-on-the-Go ? Isn't it supposed to allow cameras to talk to hard drives? I've found some hard drives that are USB on the go. Do any cameras support this?
  • Why digital? (Score:3, Informative)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:34PM (#6206525) Homepage Journal
    Why do you have to take a digital camera? You're on a trip where you're deliberately avoiding the conveniences and comforts of a first-world lifestyle. Yet you want to drag along some very expensive, complicated, and high-maintenance technology along. Makes no sense.

    Don't get me wrong, I love digital imaging. Fun to browse, to share, to manipulate. But I don't own a digital camera. Way too expensive for the amount of photography I do. I own several conventional cameras, and I have the lab scan everything when I get the film developed. That makes a lot more sense for what you're doing. You can get an excellent point-and-shoot autofocus camera for $100. It will store hundreds of high-resolution images on rolls of film that will be OK for months, with minimal care (temperature, avoid X-rays).

    You might also consider an instant camera. The prints make excellent gifts for the people you meet. Scanning them in is a pain, but less so than losing all your images because your battery ran down or your backpack fell off the bus.

    Insisting that your images be end-to-end digital smacks of technology for its own sake.

  • by FreeLinux ( 555387 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:34PM (#6206527)
    You are approaching the problem from the wrong end. You are asking; how do you support this technology under less than ideal conditions? What you should be doing is asking; how do I keep 10,000 pictures while I am on the road for a year?

    The answer is low tech rather than high tech. First you need to get a good 35mm film camera. Stash 5 or ten rolls of film in your rucksack and have a good time. The next time you pass a post box, drop your exposed film in it, addressed to a friend or relative. When running low on film, pick some up in the next town. 35mm film is available in almost any town anywhere. It is also far cheaper than CF cards or self powered hard drives.

    When you return home, have the film developed at your local drug store, or where ever you prefer, and check the little box requesting a CD-ROM copy of the roll or rolls. This way you have the digital format that you desire as well as a quality film picture that would require a digital camera of at least 5 megapixels to get the same quality and resolution.

    This approach is also far safer from the perspective of protecting your pictures. It is entirely possible that, over the course of a year, your rucksack will be lost, abused, battered and especially soaked with rain. By regularly shipping out your pictures, the risk will only be to a few rolls of film rather than everything, as would be the case when a supersized CF card gets crushed or wet. Even if you lose the camera at some point it can be replaced with only the loss of a few rolls of film, rather than everything.

    • It is also far cheaper than CF cards or self powered hard drives.

      It is? Film costs about $1.50 a roll at US retail, but it can cost much more in other places, especially tourist sites. We'll say the average price is $2.50, including tax and such. When you add in developing (around $4 per roll) and postage (I have no clue - international postage can be really expensive. I'll say $2 per roll), that's $8.50 per roll. Assuming these are 24-exposure rolls, 10000 exposures would cost about $3500.

      Meanwhile, 100

  • I will be going on a 2 week trip to Europe next month, living out of a backpack. We have 2x128 MB CF cards for the camera, but those wouldn't hold all of the photos we plan on taking during the trip.

    My solution? I happen to have a Jornada 720 PDA [geocities.com] and a 2 GB PCMCIA drive for the machine. The plan is when a 128 MB card if filled up, to move the contents onto the 2 GB drive. The PCMCIA harddrives are the same as in the iPod. You can get them in sizes ranging from 2 GB (a measly $70) all the way up to 30 G
  • When travelling, I've found it best to make extensive use of the IYH network. ( International Youth Hostels ~ www.iyhf.org ) They often have Internet access and they often have the most practical and reasonable accomadations. The fellow travellers that you'll meet at the communal kitchens are a wealth of info.

    Get a good travel pack, one that is both an internal frame pack and a suitcase with wheels. Pack light, get a money belt. Never display american money on the street if possible. Beware of black market
    • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @11:41PM (#6208932)
      unless:
      You want to wake up at 7:00am to a roll call
      You want to sleep 20 to a room
      You want to be overcharged
      You want to have to pay for sheets.

      FAR better is to find the small, indepedent ones. Look in bus/train stations for signs, ask other backpackers.
      Scratch the frame pack/rollable suitcase - its going to be way too heavy, and you'll never really use the wheels. Just get a backpack.
      Don't worry about dressing locally, or buying from local junkshops - there will be other obviously foreign backpackers everywhere, and unless you speak fluent, idiomatic you'll always be a foreigner.
      Don't get a money belt, they're only used in James Bond movies and by kids whose parents are paranoid.
      If you're hitting sketchier places, hang onto some American currency (like a 50 USD note). It's remarkable what kind of magic it can work in places when you "suddenly" have paperwork problems at immigration/customs.
      Face it, you're a foreign tourist. Don't patronize the locals by pretending to be one. You'll fail at it. Don't be a rude, ugly American either. Treat people with respect, don't speak English LOUDLY AND S-L-O-W-L-Y and expect them to understand.
      • Never, EVER, stay in the IYH network

        Amen. IYH is for three groups:

        1. The very young, like student travel groups.
        2. The very old, like senior citizen travelers
        3. The very clueless, like timid Americans who have never been outside North America (or who think a semester in France makes them tres internationale)

        No scratch on the first two groups, good for them, they're well accomodated. The third group, however, is missing out. Missing out on better prices, more character, more locations, and an absence of d

    • I don't know about you, but I've never seen web email that was happy about doing large file transfers. Assuming one only runs across an internet cafe every few weeks, one might have hundreds of megs of photos that need to be realiably sent home. No web mail is going to do that.

      Plus, most internet cafes don't have flash memory readers attached to the computers, and might not be happy if you plugged in your own. The only way to use the network "as you please" would be to bring along a laptop or Terapin Mine,
    • by Anonymous Coward

      One last, somewhat strange piece of advice, you may also want to sew a small Canadian flag to your pack. I've had far less problems since I did.


      Do this if you're a Canadian. If you're an American, why not see how well your foriegn policy flies overseas? Or are you not proud of the red, white and blue. God knows I see enough of that shit when I go to the US.

      I -AM- a Canadian, and when I see arrogant americans doing this, it makes my blood boil. There's a reason that flag gives you less problems, idiot.
    • Get a good travel pack, one that is both an internal frame pack and a suitcase with wheels. Pack light, get a money belt. Never display american money on the street if possible.

      One last, somewhat strange piece of advice, you may also want to sew a small Canadian flag to your pack. I've had far less problems since I did.

      It's far, far better not to display any signs of affluence.

      So when you're wheeling that suitcase/backback down the street with the Canadian flag on it, people will think "hey, a loca

    • Backpackers can't blend in.

      And I don't know how he looks, but if he/she is caucasian he will stand out in most parts of this world.
  • Sony makes a series of Mavica [sonystyle.com] digital cameras that write pictures to mini cds (160ish mb). This appears to fit all the criteria of your request but is pretty expensive and you still have to charge the battery, and I bet quite often because the cd burner must take some serious battery.
  • If you're actually going to be out of touch, like in outer Mongolia or something, go get a manual 35mm SLR. They don't need batteries at all and the bodies are virtually indestructible. Film is easy to carry, high quality, cheap and you can have it converted into slides when you like.

    If you're going to be "out of touch" in major metropolitan areas outside the US then don't sweat it---there are WAY more Internet Cafe's outside the U.S. and contrary to popular belief there is civilization in other countries.
  • Vosonic X's Drive II (Score:4, Informative)

    by pr00f ( 457508 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:40PM (#6207012) Homepage
    I've picked up an X's Drive II [xs-drive.com] and have to say it is one of the best devices for the on-the-go digital photographer. With sizes up to 60 GB, and six types of digital media readers built in, you can click away, transfer and go back to clicking away withing seconds. Highly recommended.
  • Some camcorders take up to 1,998 pictures to DVD. And some offer 1MegaPixel resolution. Like the Hitachi DZMV380A [hitachi.com], Panasonic also has one, and Sony has one on the way. But battery life will be an issue. Of course I would think that would be a problem with a regular camera also. But since it records to DVD-RAM, you should be able to delete the ones you don't want to keep.
  • Thank you all for the replies; good suggestions all around!

    One thing I neglected to mention is that part of the reason just 'mailing film' won't work is that this would be a digital operation -- hoping to get a few chances here and there to upload and describe images. Having a friend at home develop pictures would probably be more expensive than hanging on to a few CF cards or whatever..

    About the volume of the pictures: it is true that 10,000 might be on the high side! Perhaps 5000 is more like it. ANd re
  • I have the same plans for May 2004 and I plan on covering over 17,000 miles. I asked a friend the same question, what is the best camera for my trip? Immediately he said the Sony DCR-TRV950 MiniDV Digital Camera. This camera is not only light weight but can record an hours worth of high quality video on a cheap medium and take countless numbers of digital photos. I seen this camera as low as $1449 USD from a place called cameratopis but they donâ(TM)t have a web site, I think, only a number 1-718-8
    • I personally own two Panasonic Toughbooks (an old CF-25, and my present CF-17), and I love them to death, despite the fact that the old batteries don't hold squat for a charge anymore. I found a place that'll rebuild the packs(nuclearcomputers@nospam.hotmail.com) but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

      Buying a used Toughbook can be bit of an adventure. If the auction doesn't say the port covers are present and in good shape, they probably aren't. If it doesn't say the battery holds a useful charge, it
  • This little card weighs about as much as a
    paperclip and is about half as thick as a dime.
    Carry a little USB adapter, and hit an Internet
    cafe once every 3 months. You can store about
    550 1600x1200 photos on one card. If you take
    1000 photos per month, that's just 6 cards to
    carry, which will weigh less than half an ounce
    and take about 1cc of space in your kit.

    Carrying around CDRs would be a pain. They are
    too wide and flat, and inflexible, and very
    likely to be destroyed -- not to mention the
    camera that weigh
  • As someone who has travelled extensively through the "3rd world" and taken alot of photos I have some advice. I tend to take about 100-200 photos per week when travelling/backpacking. 10,000 in a year is alot (1 photo every 30 minutes of being awake) and I assume your friend is like as snap happy as me. (my photos are here [butler.co.nz])

    The advise is simple. Don't use digital

    Film gives you better photos, is easier to carry and the practicallities of using it while abroad are simplier. The cameras and the storage are

    • I tend to take about 100-200 photos per week when travelling/backpacking. 10,000 in a year is alot (1 photo every 30 minutes of being awake)

      With a digital camera they're not that much: when I bought one i noticed that I took about twice as many pics as before, if not more. Usually when I'm on a short trip (1/2 days - no storage problems) I take about 50-100 pics per day, if I'm in a good place.

      Of course most of them are duplicates and when i'm home I select slight more than half of them for keeping, an

    • As someone who has travelled extensively through the "3rd world" and taken alot of photos I have some advice. I tend to take about 100-200 photos per week when travelling/backpacking. 10,000 in a year is alot (1 photo every 30 minutes of being awake) and I assume your friend is like as snap happy as me. (my photos are here) The advise is simple. Don't use digital

      Not many people posting to this thread seem to have ever traveled farther than their own backyards, so I'm piggybacking on your post as a fe

  • if you will have very few connections to the outside world -- few sources of power (at the odd hostel or train station outlet), no internet, and no USB?

    Where is this mythical place he is traveling to? Antarctica? Northern Canada? A foot trip across the outback of Australia?

    Sounds like an American who has never been more than 50 miles from his hometown, and thinks the rest of the world has no electricity or internet cafes. There are a few wild and savage areas on this planet, but for the most part you can
  • i just returned from a 8 month trip to israel and solved the same problem myself.
    i brought along a small agfe camera with regular alkaline batteries.
    it had internal storage for about 30 pictures and hooked up to any computer via usb.
    i would then download the drivers from wherever i was ( you could carry them on disk as well) and whenever i filled up i would post them to Ofoto.com for free
    this allowed me to send back an ongoing gallery of what i was doing.
  • If you're using a digital camera, you MUST have a source of power to recharge the batteries anyway, so just plan to need to recharge from time to time.

    Organization Stuff

    Stuff the pictures into folders like this:
    \yyyy\yyyymmdd
    This allows the directory size to be managable, and since you're not likely to cause the camera to roll over, filenames aren't an issue.

    Use a program such as Thumbs Plus [cerious.com] to view the photos, and prune (if you must). The "slide show" mode lets you rip through images for review like a

  • I just finished a 12 month trip to Asia and Oceania 6 months ago. I got by with a 2.4 MP camera and 2 128 MB CF cards.

    I may not be a typical tourist but I came nowhere close to 50 pix a day as one of the other posters wrote. We took a total of 2500 pictures. Don't forget to have fun without thinking of taking pistures all the time.

    My CF cards held a maximum of 450 pix at a time. I regularly stopped at an Internet cafe to write the pix to a CD. There are Internet cafe's everywhere and they're rapidly catch
  • i have ran into this problem before in 2000... some of these problems have been solved now. there are a few ways.

    just buy a camera that can handle CDRWs... like the sony CD mavica:
    Sony Mavica CD 300 [dpreview.com] or any other of these series. the media is not the standard but carrying 10 of them won't be much of a problem. mailing will be simple too. since it's a smaller CD, whenever you run into civilization, you can back up onto something else (the internet, bigger CDR, DVD, etc.) without needing non-standard p
  • What about one of these:

    6 in 1 Card Reader (SM/MMC/SD/CF/Microdrive/Mstick) + Takes 2.5" HDD (not Supplied) [scan.co.uk]

    According to the product info, it is battery powered and does not need a PC. You can copy data between flash cards and the internal hard drive.

    Using one of these readers, the questioner could copy photos from their camera's flash card to a larger hard drive. They might then post the flash card home, while retaining a backup with them in case it is lost in the post.

    I hope this helps.

  • I recently spent 2 1/2 weeks in southern Chile/Argentina. I was traveling with people who were travelling for 10 months, and I spoke to a lot of people who were travelling for a long time. The simplest way I saw was just to transfer images from a camera using USB and then burn them on a CD. I wouldn't have thought this, but there were LOTS of internet cafes that provided this ability. Small towns in the middle of Patagonia with 1000 people would have 3 internet cafes. And, from what I've been told, it'
  • Several of the hard-drive based MP3 players have connections for CF cards. The Archos Multimedia has a module with SMC and CF readers, and even a photo module that has a cheap crappy camera. You can then upload from the CF cards (buying only as much as you'll shoot before you get a chance to dump them to the MP3 player). A side benefit of this is that they often include a voice recorder so that you can diary things and track them by date.

    For film, why not just send the film directly back to one of the
  • I was origionally going to say, isn't 10K pictures WAY overkill, then did the math 10,000/365 is about 27 pictures a day. I guess 10K may be a low number. Of course with digital media, you can delete pictures that you don't want, so taking a picture an hour that you want to keep isn't horribly high.

    That said, I think CF is the way to go, wait until you are JUST ready to go before dropping into Fry's/etc. Look for the largest CF card you can get (512M today, 1GB tomorrow I am sure). Pick up as many as

    • I would discourage going for the largest cards.

      Yes, economically they make the most sense. But they have the highest risk too.

      The larger the card the more pictures you will lose if the card fails you.

      Try to find the sweet spot on price, number of pictures per card and the number of cards you want to carry.

      Maybe buy cards based on an expectation of number of pictures to be taken within a time period (sy, 2 weeks) and mail them back to yourself or a friend. As others have said you don't want to lose the p
  • 10 000 pictures... I'm glad I'm not invited to his end-of-trip slideshow.

    You know, since my camera broke, it's revolutionised my vacations. You've no idea of the difference it makes when you use both eyes to look at something. Depth perception, it brings a whole new dimension to your holiday.
  • Plan on getting robbed every 6 months while backing packing depending on where in the world you are. In poorer more desprate parts of the world, plan on even more often. The devices and media will get stolen. Many places with "low crime" may have a high rate of theft with little risk of bodily injury.

    Most internet cafes can do run machines with USB and you should be able to transfer pictures back to a server but it will be slow. Many net cafes are a few dialups in parallel and you may get lucky and fin
  • The traveller needs to decide what his/her priorities are. Personally, in my experience, which includes 6 months of backpacking the Appalachian Trail in the US in 1999 and 5 months travelling overseas in 2000 (Asia, OZ, NZ), film is the way to go. The way I travel, the less shite I carry, the happier I am. With an SLR with one 50mm lens I didn't have to worry about batteries, or power adapters or even the value of the camera. When you start humping around a new digital camera, plus battery chargers, cd

  • Check out the Archos [archos.com] Jukebox Multimedia 20 with the Super Bundle (link [archos.com]).

    20GB portable hard drive with options up the ying-yang. Card readers and USB and cameras, oh my.

    $400US.

    As for being away from power, look at solar battery chargers, available at auto parts stores.

Seen on a button at an SF Convention: Veteran of the Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force. 1990-1951.

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