This is my first crack at talking about photo related products. I don’t give opinions on products I have not actually used in the field. In addition, I receive no reimbursement from any company for these reviews. These are my opinions!
Maybe I am a bit paranoid about backing up files. If you have ever lost any (and I have) I think you get this way. Here are 2 ways of dealing with the “backing up your files” syndrome in the field.
1) Use a portable backup device, copy your files to this device and retain the files on your memory cards until you get them home. (Disadvantage, –you have many memory cards advantage—you don’t need to carry a laptop.)
2) Use a portable backup device, copy your files to this device as well as your laptop and reformat your cards (disadvantage, –you have to carry a laptop advantage—you don’t need to carry lots of memory cards.)
In any event, you now always have 2 backups of your files in the event that one crashed before you get home. Yes, it happens. (Remember—erase your cards by reformatting your cards in your camera ONLY!!!!!
As we all know too well, backing up files is a constant necessity. In this relatively new digital world, I believe we all must develop a few good habits. There are two things that I do like clockwork every evening after a days shoot. One, is charging my camera batteries for the next days shoot and two, and most importantly, backing up my memory cards. Rather than carrying lots of memory cards around, it is easier and more efficient to use a backup device/photo viewer system. There are two major players in this arena, Epson and Digital Foci. I am especially keen on the Digital Foci system(s) for a few reasons that I’ll talk about, especially what the Digital Foci products deliver in relationship to the price.
(What’s even better about these types of systems, is that carrying a laptop, is really not even necessary any more!)
I’ve used 2 of Digital Foci’s products extensively this year and am extremely pleased by both. Here are my conclusions. Note that I also own an Epson P2000. Yes the new Epson P-5000 is supposed to be a big upgrade on the 2000, the functionality is basically he same.
“PICTURE PORTER Elite”, by Digital Foci: www.digitalfoci.comThe first thing that impressed me was the speed of the operation system, (Lynux based) and how easy it is to navigate through. It seemed to me to be a bit easier than the Epson as well. This device handles every possible memory card available and automatically walks you through the data back up process when you insert the card. I really didn’t even need the manual. You can back up both video and data. The “PPE” as I call it, handled JPEG’S, TIFF, GIF, BMP and the all important RAW files we all work with. One main difference that I liked (though it may be minor to you, it was a big difference to me) was the joystick control on the Digital Foci PPE unit vs. the wheel type control on the Epson. One other minor note is that the Epson is a bit bigger and weighs 1 pound (vs. the Digital Foci PPE at 11 oz). Yes, the Epson’s screen is slightly bigger, but the size, weight and overall “fit in my hand” feeling of the Digital Foci PPE was a lot more comfortable and made the controls easier to use.
What I look for in these type of units is ease of operation, fast transfer time and compact ability. The Digital Foci PPE has all three. Believe it or not, to me, the overall resolution of images is not that critical when viewing images on these portable devices. I only really use the view screen to determine composition and other factors that would allow me to save or delete an image. Anyone who makes judgments weather to save or delete an image on a sharpness factor using anyone’s compact, portable digital viewer is making a big mistake. All critical decisions like this must be done using a good monitor at home, not on the road with these type devices.
I also liked the leather case that the Digital Foci PPE comes with. There are openings for the memory cards, and other connectivity (AC adaptor etc.).
It too just over 3 minutes to download a 1-GB memory card. You can transfer the files over to your PC or MAC directly from the Digital Foci PPE even faster.
The price points for the Digital Foci PPE are $499.99 for the 160GB unit (that’s 160BG!!!!!), $369.99 for the 80 GB and $329.99 for the 40GB. (The Epson P-5000 is a whopping $699.99!!!)
BOTTOM LINE: The advantages to me of the Digital Foci PPE are:
1) I really love the joystick control and operation system
2) Ease of operation, screen prompt’s
3) Ability to do some editing before the final download to my PC
4) Light, overall size and how the Digital Foci PPE fits in my hand
5) Speed of downloading ( backing up)
6) Leather case
7) Price point
PHOTO SAFE by Digital Foci www.digitalfoci.com
I call this unit the baby brother of the PICTURE PORTER Elite. This unit fits easily in my Lowe Pro Camera Bag since it’s only about 4 /2” X 3” and about ¾” deep. Again like the PICTURE PORTER Elite it supports almost all the memory card requirements. The LCD screen displays the status and all the information you need to know when it’s coping filed from you memory card to the hard disc. There aren’t any drives needed and the unit is recognized by your home computer as USB hard drive system. When transferring files to your home computer you just drag and drop them. Easy!!!!
The Photo Safe unit uses a Li-ion rechargeable battery. I actually transferred my 1 GB card 20 times (the specs say 18) before having to recharge the battery. You can carry a spare batteries (I bought one for 15.00) if you are going to be out in the field for long periods of time.
The graphics on the screen puts my mind at ease ( yes I am really paranoid at times) as it tell you the amount of space left on the hard disc, how much space is on your card, the rate (%) of copying being done in real time as well as the number of files copied.
What I really like about this unit (as well as the PPE (above) is that each time you copy a card, a new folder is generated.
A neat feature is that at home, the PHOTO SAFE can be used as a card reader as well as an external drive for our PC or MAC as well.
The value is outstanding. The 80GB unit lists for $139.99 and the 160GB unit for $189.99. The Photo Safe system comes with a carrying case, one battery, and USB cable and battery pack.
COMING SOON: I’ll be reviewing the new
Image Moments 15 (IMT-153) by Digital Foci
15” High-resolution Digital Photo Frame
• 15.0” XGA (1024×768 pixel) color TFT-LCD screen with 16.2 M colors
• Superb, subtle color representation with high contrast ratio of 700:1
• Screen brightness adjustable for optimal viewing
• 450 MB internal memory: Can stores more than 2000 photos on the device
• Built-in memory card slots provide native support for: CF, MD, MMC, SD/HC Card, Memory Stick, MS
PRO, MS Duo, MS PRO Duo, and xD-Picture Card (also supports mini-SD and RS-MMC with adapter)
• Copy photos directly from memory cards to internal memory without needing a computer
• USB 2.0 connection for transferring photos between your computer and device
• Memory Source Select allows concurrent selection of a single or multiple memory sources for playback
• File management features: Organize, copy, delete, rename files; sort files by name or date; create new
folders; copy between memory cards
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions or comments.