Methods to Again Up Pictures to a Laborious Drive with Your Cellphone

Methods to Again Up Pictures to a Laborious Drive with Your Cellphone


The tempting thought of touring light-weight isn’t simple as a photographer. It doesn’t take a lot – simply an additional lens right here, a sturdier tripod there – and your bag instantly weighs as a lot as a bull elephant. Whereas I can’t completely remedy your PEES (Packing Extreme Tools Syndrome), my tip at this time could aid you take step one to restoration. In case you don’t wish to carry your laptop computer with you within the discipline, attempt backing up your images to a tough drive instantly by way of your smartphone as a substitute.

Backup Photos with Smartphone (4)
That’s all it’s essential again up your reminiscence card to an SSD along with your cellular system.

I most likely don’t want to clarify why backing up your images when you journey is a good suggestion. Personally, I’ve realized by means of bitter expertise – in my years of pictures, I’ve skilled card failure, dropping my backup drive, and even theft. These dangers are mitigated (although not eradicated) by doing common backups.

Within the discipline, this implies utilizing an exterior laborious drive or two – no method round that. Not like at dwelling, whenever you might be able to depend on a cloud backup system, that hardly ever works within the discipline. I feel the futility of this technique is properly demonstrated by my pal Tomas Grim’s efforts to push his images to Dropbox whereas touring in South America…

Backup Photos with Smartphone (3)
Backing up by way of cloud storage shouldn’t be a very good possibility in distant places. Picture by Tomas Grim

Finally, I got here to understand that the perfect backup technique on the highway is to make use of a pair of rugged SSDs, onto which I switch my images on the finish of every day. I preserve one drive on the lodge and take the opposite with me wherever I’m going. It’s an awesome resolution that retains my images good and protected.

The one factor left to determine is how one can get your images from the reminiscence card to the SSD. In fact, a pc works nice for this – however what in case your laptop computer breaks when you’re touring, otherwise you wish to go away it at dwelling within the first place with a purpose to journey mild? That’s the place your telephone can step in.

You’re primarily going to take the images out of your reminiscence card, put them in your telephone, after which switch them off your telephone onto an SSD. The entire course of seems like this, in a nutshell:

  1. Join a card reader with a reminiscence card to your telephone (applies to Android and to newer iPhone with USB-C. For different iPhones, see my word after these steps.)
  2. Copy the images to a folder within the inside reminiscence of the telephone (identify it Digicam Backup, for instance).
  3. When that’s executed, disconnect the cardboard reader and join your first SSD (I’ll name it “SSD 1”).
  4. On SSD 1, create a principal folder with the identify of your journey (e.g. 2024-04_Europe) and a subfolder containing the date of the backup (e.g. 2024-04-11).
  5. Copy (not transfer) the images in your telephone’s Digicam Backup folder into this new folder on SSD 1.
  6. When that’s executed, disconnect SSD 1 and connect SSD 2. Repeat the steps above, however transfer the images moderately than copying this time. This can neatly take away them out of your telephone.
  7. The backup is now safely saved on each SSD 1 and SSD 2! Bear in mind to maintain SSD 1 in a distinct location than SSD 2. Do that every day of your journey to have an up-to-date backup.
Backup Photos with Smartphone (2)
On my telephone, a related SSD or reminiscence card reader seems as “USB Storage” (screenshot #1). It’s simple to create a folder for backups in your SSD, labeled by the date (screenshot #2).

Though the method itself is fairly simple, there are a number of technical particulars that I wish to deal with earlier than concluding this text. First, let me develop upon the word I discussed in Step 1 concerning iPhones.

In case your iPhone has a Lightning port moderately than a USB-C port, you possibly can’t simply plug a reminiscence card reader instantly into the telephone. As a substitute, so long as your digicam writes to an ordinary SD card, it is best to use an SD card reader made for Lightning ports as a substitute. This one from Apple is just $29.

Then again, in case your digicam doesn’t write to common SD playing cards (like my Nikon Z9 or the unique Nikon Z6/Z7 that solely write to CFExpress or XQD), your course of will likely be considerably extra sophisticated. You’ll need a Lightning to USB-A adapter, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and an influence provide for the adapter. It really works, however it’s fiddly. I feel it’s simpler simply to carry your laptop computer at that time, as a substitute of attempting to make it work along with your telephone.

iPhone 11 Pro
You probably have an older iPhone, like these iPhone 11 Execs, the steps generally is a little extra sophisticated. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless doable, particularly if you happen to’re simply attempting to learn from an everyday SD card.

I additionally wish to point out the significance of getting free house in your telephone’s inside reminiscence. In case your telephone solely has 10 GB of free storage, and also you attempt to switch 20 GB of images, you’ll run into issues earlier than you ever get the prospect to drag an SSD out of your bag.

The excellent news is that this situation isn’t as huge as it could sound. Because you’ll be backing up every day, you solely need to cope with the quantity of images taken in 24 hours, not throughout the entire journey. And these images don’t keep in your telephone for lengthy – simply lengthy sufficient to switch them onto an SSD. Nevertheless, if you happen to shoot a number of video, otherwise you’re a burst-happy wildlife photographer, simply remember that backing up by way of your telephone is probably not best for you.

By the best way, in case your telephone permits expandable storage, you may take into account getting a 1TB MicroSD card for it. Nowadays, many 1TB MicroSDs can be found below $100, and that must be a lot for the variety of images that you simply may seize in a day.

Backup Photos with Smartphone (1)
Some extra screenshots of the backup course of. You possibly can choose both the whole folder on the reminiscence card to repeat (screenshot #1) or particular person images (screenshot #2). Remember to copy them from the cardboard, not transfer them – you don’t need them to be faraway from the cardboard earlier than the backup is full. Screenshots #3 and #4 present the backup in progress.

Lastly, if you happen to’re questioning in regards to the velocity of information switch by means of this entire course of, the reply is that it relies upon! Even telephones with USB-C don’t all have the identical switch speeds.

For instance, my Xiaomi Mi Observe 10 smartphone makes use of the older USB-C 2.0 commonplace. Once I examined it, I used to be capable of switch 7.9 GB of images in 5 minutes, 50 seconds (about 23 MB/s). Transferring the identical images from the interior reminiscence to the SSD took 7:23 minutes (about 18MB/s). That’s a complete of 13 minutes, 13 seconds, and I used to be solely transferring 144 14-bit lossless compressed RAW information from my Nikon Z9.

However wait! In case your telephone makes use of the quicker USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 commonplace, like lots of at this time’s smartphones, will probably be a lot quicker. Once I examined shifting the identical images to the iPhone 15 Professional, it took only one minute, 39 seconds (82 MB/s). Then transferring them to an SSD took simply 44 seconds. So, the cumulative backup time was simply two minutes, 23 seconds. That’s hardly slower than it might have been on my laptop computer.

I wish to level out that your USB cable must assist sufficiently quick switch speeds. For instance, even with the iPhone 15 Professional (a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 telephone), Apple solely features a cable within the field that helps USB 2.0 switch speeds! In case you’re getting slower transfers than anticipated, the cable, not the telephone, could also be guilty.

Birds of Prague ZOO_Fujifilm X-T5_2023_MK5X6195-RAF
X-T5 + XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400mm, ISO 250, 1/500, f/5.6

And now, your treasured images or movies are protected. So is your pc, which you’ll go away at dwelling – good for stopping thieves and stopping PEES.

What are the downsides? The massive one is that this system is just quick and simple to make use of you probably have the proper mixture of telephone and digicam. In case your telephone solely helps USB-C 2.0 switch speeds, or doesn’t have sufficient free house, it’s is probably not value bothering with this technique. Additionally, you probably have your laptop computer with you anyway, it’s nonetheless faster to again up images to SSDs utilizing your laptop computer than your telephone.

Even with these drawbacks, I imagine that backing up images to a tough drive by way of your telephone is a really viable possibility. If nothing else, it’s good to have this system in your again pocket in case your laptop computer breaks when you’re touring. If there’s one factor you shouldn’t skimp on, it’s holding your images backed up!

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