Tech and the Photographer: Mobility

Welcome to my 3rd annual “Tech and the Photographer”!

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: It’s been a quiet year on the tech front this year. If you want to see some of cool things that are currently out, check out last year’s blog posting for these categories. As I mentioned on my storage article, it was really about prices coming down for items. So what I thought, I’d hit on some of my favorites and my inexpensive favorites.

Mobile Systems

Mobile Backup. Yes, when you’ve just finished a shoot, most of us back-up our data. Especially if you don’t have dual memory card slots built into our cameras. Which many of us don’t. The fantastic thing is: it’s really cheap to do!

Samsung Flash Drive. Image; Amazon

Samsung Flash Drive. Image; Amazon

For the simpliest, get yourself a simple flash drive. The problem with backing up data onto your boot drive on your computer are two-fold: corruption and failure. I’m not going to say if you’re thinking of the cheapest solution you probably have a banged-up computer. I’ve known photographers with the money, who may be even worse, have banged up equipment. If you back up to an external device, the chances of that system going bad is less. Especially if it’s flash-based.

At my IT job, I was introduced to these little Samsung flash drives. Yes, they look as good in person as they do in images. Beautiful finish and quality feel. These are going to be my standard. They aren’t fast. About 1GB/minute. But they are built like tanks. I won’t be using them for backups. But it’s always a good idea to have one or two in your bag.

As cheap as they are, there are better and other options as well in addition to adding cost:

  • Yes, it’s a drag having to wait for data to copy onto a temp drive. If you want speed, get a drive with SuperSpeed (USB 3.0) technology. Not all USB 3.0 drives, in fact probably not many, have this technology built in.
  • This has been a big deal with some photographers. There seems to be some sort of movement for camera manufacturers to include encryption when photos are being written to the card. I can see the beneficial. To about .05 percent of us photographers. But there are plenty of flash drives out there that offer encryption.
  • Extra Protection. While the Samsung drives are tough, there are others that will take a much tougher beating. if you photograph in war zones.
Western Digital My PassPort Wireless Pro USB 3.0. 2TB & 3TB

Western Digital My PassPort Wireless Pro USB 3.0. 2TB & 3TB

Last year I talked about the Western Digital Passport Pro USB 3.0. I still think it’s a cool device. What I like mostly is the battery power and capacity. I think a device like this is especially useful if you’re shooting in a remote location for a couple of days. You’d probably have a flash drive and dedicated battery-charger for your primary units. But it’s great to have redundancy in those situations. I just wish this unit had the option of a flash-based system.

I also talked about the MyDigitalSSD 512GB and SanDisk Extreme 500 Portable SSD 480GB. If you want a flash-based system and great speed, these are great units. I haven’t gotten on yet but will probably get the MyDigital SSD unit. It’s smaller than the SanDisk and offers just as much performance and capacity.

During my research, I found this hot dog’er. I mean, it’s fast! It’s 1TB in size! And it comes in Red! The only issue I have with it is that it achieves this speed by means of two 512GB chips in RAID 0. I think it would be great for video on the road. That’s pretty much it. But that color!

Battery Chargers

I love battery chargers. And you will too when your phone is showing 1 – 3% left in battery. But nothing has changed in the last year. I use my TP-Link PB10400. A lot. Mostly because it’s small and it satisfies 90% of my needs. I think the biggest mistake someone can make is getting lots more than they need. Like I did with the RAVPower RP-PB41.

This unit has 26,800mAh. I think the furthest I’ve drained it is down to 50%. Maybe. It’s not super-expensive. Just heavy. If I had to do it over again, I’d probably go with the Anker PowerCore Edge Ultra-High Capacity at 20000mAh. Lighter, slightly cheaper and thin.

When I feel I’ll need the RAVPower, I’m usually carrying a backpack anyway. So it’s not a huge issue. It’s a super-fast charger. Smart charger too. It just sits around more than I’d like. Just shows how great my cheapie TP-Link device is.

Bags

How can we talk mobile and not talk about bags?

I still stand by my comments from my last article. I’ll keep it short because really, how often do we lust over bags?

Rollerbags: ThinkTank

Airport Advantage. Image: ThinkTank Photo

Airport Advantage. Image: ThinkTank Photo

There are certainly other great contenders. I always find myself coming back to ThinkTank. The thoughtfulness in the design, materials, quality. And they aren’t much more than their competitors either.

They’ve updated some of their current bags and there are some new additions. My favorite is still the Airport Navigator. Being able to grab your camera(s) without laying down the entire bag is still my main and great selling point of it. It’s also the 2nd cheapest!

No, their cheapest bag and one I’ve been eyeing is the Airport Advantage. I’ve made some changes in my camera system and this new back could work extremely well with mirrorless systems. With the decreased body and lens sizing of these systems, you simply don’t need as much space. So the size part is excellent. As ThinkTank emphasized, it will easily fit under an airplane seat. As the Navigator fits, I’m not too surprised this does.

The other thing I like, and it may seem trivial to some, is the slot in the front of the bag to take a laptop. Securely. I understand why the laptop sleeve is easily accessible. I’ve just never liked it. It’s worth the hassle when going through airport security in my opinion.

Backpacks

I normally hate backpacks. They are just too awkward for me. But when you’re out in the field all day, you need the capacity for mostly clothes, food and a few more electronic necessities. The camera part is almost secondary.

Shoulder Bags

Billingham Hadley Pro

Billingham Hadley Pro

A colleague of mine turned me onto Billingham shoulder bags. While I don’t have one, they look awfully posh. They also have a fantastic reputation for durability. Seems like lots of old-school photographers swear by them.

You can spend a dozen articles on bags and not get anywhere. No bag is ever truly perfect. It’s more of a feel thing. But yeah, I’ve spent too much time on many occasions just looking at bags!

Accessories

Wacom Intros Pro Pen Tablet. Image by B&H Photo Video.

Wacom Intros Pro Pen Tablet. Image by B&H Photo Video.

I’m not going to spend much time on this. There are so many out there. So I thought I’d give an update from last year.

Tablets. I finally sold my old iPad Mini and upgraded to an iPad Pro. I just couldn’t do anything anymore with the old model. Not enough memory mostly. I didn’t make that mistake this time.

Since then, my laptop has largely stayed at home during my regular day. I can do 100% of my daily duties on it. With Safari, Mobile Office 365 and a smart Logitech keyboard attached, the iPad Pro does a fantastic job. There are some Cloud apps that still benefit from a desktop based browser. But it’s rare. I haven’t been impressed with the Adobe apps for photo-work. Photoshop Express is okay. But there’s lots of work to be done. I would think it’s even worse for Android systems.

Pen Tablets. My original Wacom Bamboo tablet broke! I finally got the Intros Pro! It’s extremely configurable via software and I haven’t bothered with configuring it as much as I should. It’s seriously crazy how much this tablet can be configured.

Tech and the Photographer

Another year. Except for the Mac, I think it’s been a pretty quiet year. Cheaper prices are always welcomed! I think we’ll have to wait for next year!

 

About the author

Ricardo Gomez is a Fashion Photographer based in New York City.

  • Tech and the Photographer: Storage
  • Tech and the Photographer: The Desktop

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