In-field / in-car backups?

We’ve had some good discussions on in-field battery charging in the past, but the recent discussion of data loss prompted some thoughts.

I always carry a few MicroSD cards of varying size in case I ever fill my ‘main’ card before I can offload some footage (64gb in drone, couple of 32gbs and one 16gb in the case).

So I started to wonder what the best method of in-field / on the road backups would be, without having access to a laptop - if on holiday for example.

The CrystalSky has two MicroSD slots and one USB-A slot, so I did a few tests today.

I can plug a USB memory stick in, I tried a 64Gb one, and I was able to copy and paste files from the MicroSD card and directing over to the pen drive. I then tried plugging in a USB HDD. It was an old (spinning disk!) 250GB drive with a single USB lead, so it takes its power from the CS - not a problem as the CS batteries last for about a decade!

This worked well too, in fact it copied faster to HDD than it did to the memory stick.

Strangely enough, all USB devices seem to report their size as double what it actually is, both HDD and pen drive. I even formatted them in the CS, both still reported their size as being double what it actually was, so my 250GB HDD showed up in Android as 500GB.

Anyway, while doing these tests, I stumbled upon a flaw. You can’t copy a single file that is larger than 2GB from MicroSD to USB. Stranglely enough, I can copy any size file from MicroSD to MicroSD, just not from MicroSD to USB?! There’s a bug in the CS somewhere. So that could be an issue, as I always record my flights in 4K.

Started looking at other options…

Buying more MicroSD cards? Yeah, could do I guess. Not the cheapest of storage medium though.

Buying a cheap 1TB USB HDD? Yup, but it’s something else I need to carry. Can’t copy files larger than 2GB though.

Buying more USB pen drives? Cheap as chips, light weight, tiny. Can’t copy files larger than 2GB though.

Buying a HDD drive with a SD slot on it? Ideal. But have you seen the price of these things?!

What do you guys do?

I’ve generated over 2TB during a normal length holiday. I don’t see much option than a laptop, myself.
When my laptop went u/s on me last year it cost a blooming fortune to by enough MicroSD space for the last 6 weeks.
I was running several cameras as well as the MP.

The problem when you have 30 MicroSD cards and memory sticks is remembering what’s on which. And copying data on/off phone to them is sooooooo slooooooooow.

And, really needing a lot more space than that (a) I ended up reducing the amount of photos/video I took, (b) stopped taking in RAW, and ( c) deleted what I though were less keepable as I went along.
I regret all three of those.

I was driving, so weight/space for a laptop wasn’t an issue.

Probably, had I been flying, I’d have taken a tablet with 4TB external drive to copy things to. FAR cheaper than same space in MicroSD!

Huh? I copy larger files than that from GoPro MicroSD to laptop and then to external. :confused:
And a 2.5inch 4TB is almost no size weight.

But I’d still want the speed of using a USB3 laptop to use the HDD.

Strange that your volumes are showing double capacity. Does the CS format card to FAT32 by any chance?

Long gone are the days when I started and I’d burn through 36exp slide film taking photos at football grouunds up and down the land (long story for another day).

Ever since I went digital in 1998 (Proshot70) this very dilemma began, and to answer quickly I’ve always carried a laptop around with me, Sony VAIO to start with then MacBooks from about 2002 and a fist full of memory cards and external HDD’s.

They take up so little space and also always gave me the opportunity for showing clients images as they were taken.

A few years ago I bought a Kingston Mobilelite for the kids tablets, and initially started using it for the kids to watch movies in the car and on holidays, it also acts as a great wifi hotspot. The other great feature is that it can transfer files from an SD Card to an External HDD running off its on built in battery pack. It runs from an IOS or Android app and although not the fastest transfers it really is a great piece of kit for use in the field.

Amazon clicky link

I also stopped keeping everything I shoot when the image numbers in my filing system hit 1,000,000 a few years ago, I’m now a bit more selective about what I keep and happier in my middle age to hit the delete key on anything I know I wont use again.

I wonder how we ever coped, on my final assignments at Uni (late 80’s) we were only given 3 36 exposure rolls to shoot, not many wasters either, how would we cope today ;o)

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Back in the days of celluloid, at one point I bought a half-plate camera.
So expensive (relative to 35mm) and such a setup fiddle and faff … it had the desired effect … to think “Is it really worth it?”
I still TRY to apply the same thought process with digital, but I’m not sure I manage all that often. :rofl:

I took the compact out last week on a dog walk and shot over 500 frames, ridiculous (although the Sony A6000 is a brilliant tool at 11fps)

I’ve seen one in Kalashnikov mode! :stuck_out_tongue:

Have you tried re-formatting the USB to NTFS instead of FAT32, there is a file size limit when any drive is formatted as FAT or FAT32


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Hmmm, didn’t think of that.

FAT32 has a single file size cap of 4GB and as the CS is reporting both the USB pen drive and the USB HDD to be double what they are, maybe it’s not handling things too well in general.

To confirm, I can put a MicroSD card in each slot and copy and size file in any direction.

The file size limit only presents itself when copying to a device plugged in to the USB port.

I’ll format the pen drive and the hard drive to NTFS tonight and see if the CS can read them still.

Will report back later!

Perhaps this is related to the capacity miss-read problem.

I think it very well could be Dave!

CS warranty job if it proves to be the faulty component?

Well, what do you know? Problem solved!!

I formatted both the pen drive and the hard drive to NTFS using a Windows 7 pc.

Plugged them in to the CS and not only did it happily read the NTFS disks, but it also displayed them both at their correct sizes and freely let me copy any size file I like in any direction!

Thanks @SteveM - trying NTFS just wouldn’t have crossed my mind…

I’m now off to shop Amazon for a 1TB USB HDD :smiley:


Go bigger … the extra size is cheap.
I bought a 4TB portable for £90 the other day.

Edit: I fibbed about the £90 …


Bloody hell the price of hard drives has fallen through the floor! :open_mouth:

Result :slight_smile:

This one Dave?

Damned similar. Mine was Seagate for a couple of quid less.

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Looks like mine has gone up in price a tad. I might have got it on a Lightning Deal.

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Cheers mate.

Having seen the price of these drives now, I think it’s time to upgrade my Plex media server too :rofl:

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Storage has got so cheap! I wish copying speeds had increased at the same rate. LOL!