My primary camera is the wonderful Nikon D7100. This has dual SDHC slots, and these now form the first step of my backup strategy. These slots are filled with SanDisk SDHC cards, in various sizes from 16GB right up to 128GB, and various speeds.
Note: I have no association with SanDisk other than as a very happy user of their cards. All of my cards were bought and paid for personally.
The cards in that case are not pristine – they have spent the last 18 months being slid in and out of cameras and card readers so are a bit scratched.
I have no hesitation in recommending SanDisk, so far I have had no card errors, and no lost images when using them. I have been using Sandisk almost exclusively since 2004, although a brief foray into some ‘own brand’ cards was explored, I wasn’t happy with the overall performance of them so went back to Sandisk. I always buy from Amazon, as there have been reports of fakes on many other sites.
I have used their cards in 40°c desert heat, -15°c windchill within the Arctic Circle, in jungles, underwater and even down my local park. Not once have I ever had cause to doubt their quality. The benefit of using one of the big players, such as SanDisk or Lexar, is that being globally recognised their brand name means a lot ot them, so they will stand behind their products.
Whilst off-brand cards may seem like good value, I feel they are a false economy. The £20 difference for an absolutely top class memory card pales into insignificance when compared to the price of a 2 week trip somewhere exotic, or the cost of lost images for a paying client. The pro’s know this, it’s why they don’t skimp on cards and will only use top brands such as SanDisk and Lexar.
One other benefit of better cards, is that they are generally faster. Whilst this might not seem important to many, for those who shoot heavily, or take multiple shot bursts, the quicker cards mean less time spent waiting for images to download, and less time waiting for the camera buffer (which is pathetically small on the D7100) to empty. To this end most of my cards are SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB 95mb/s, although I do have some cheaper, slower cards for use in one of my backup strategies.
You can purchase the Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC here – SanDisk Extreme PRO on Amazon
I keep my cards in a hard case, placing them face down once used – my current memory card case
Assuming the flight arrives on schedule, this time next week I should be somewhere between Johannesburg and Swaziland, making my way to Hlane Royal National Park, for the first stop on a 2 week photography trip that is taking in 5 different lodges in 4 game parks/reserves. To say I am looking forward to it would be quite an understatement.
Naturally, the primary aim of the trip is photography, and as always happens before a trip, my mind is now turning over what I need and how will I carry it.
Thankfully, after several such trips in recent years, I am happy that if any 1 item is to break, I have enough redundancy to keep shooting. I am also happy that I have enough equipment to capture the images I have in mind, from macro bugs to the milky way, without carrying enough gear to stock a small camera shop.
One minor complication with this trip, is the fact that for several days we will be without electricity. Naturally, with 2 DSLR’s, tablets, kindles and other electronics to keep charged, this was a minor problem, looking for a simple solution.
Rather than multiple batteries (I do carry a couple of spares anyway) or USB powerbanks, I have gone for a cheap 12V inverter. This simple device plugs into the car cigarette lighter, and provides 2 USB ports and a standard UK 3 pin plug socket with 240V output. At 300W maximum rated output, it’s not going to power a kettle or iron, but for charging multiple small batteries and devices through a 4 way adaptor it will hopefully be invaluable.
I ordered this Inverter from Amazon, and will report back on its success or otherwise on my return – BESTEK® 300w power inverter
Another aspect of the trip that is under consideration, and is always in a constant state of refinement and development, is that of workflow – downloading, backing up and managing images whilst away from my main workstation. On a 2 week Safari, even on a very slow day I may well shoot 2-300 images, which on the Nikon D7100 I use as my primary camera is in the region of 12-16GB of data per day. Extrapolate for 2 cameras and 13 days of shooting, and it is easy to see there will be many thousands of images to handle.
Given the multitude of variables and techniques, backup and workflow is going to be the subject of several blog posts in the not too distant future.