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What do you do with your raws?

Buzz Fisher

London, UK
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Buzz Fisher Registered since 02nd Mar 2013
Sat 02-Mar-13 01:44 PM | edited Sat 02-Mar-13 02:06 PM by Buzz Fisher

Hi everyone, newbie here. Im a D4, D800 and D7000 user and work as a freelance photo journalist. With the zillions of files I have kept over the years taking forever more and more external hard drives, im thinking about deleting all the RAW's that have been processed.

What do others do?

nikim45

Memphis, US
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#1. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 0

nikim45 Registered since 12th Feb 2013
Sat 02-Mar-13 01:05 PM

I save all my RAWs in a seperate folder after processing to TIF. Takes up a lot of space but I have a couple spare large capacity HDs. To me, if it's worth saving it's worth saving in an uncompressed format. I only use JPEGs for e-mail or web posting which I almost never do.

Good luck

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Buzz Fisher

London, UK
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#2. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 1

Buzz Fisher Registered since 02nd Mar 2013
Sat 02-Mar-13 01:13 PM

Thanks for the reply, I tend to agree. The problem I have is that as external hard drives have increased in capacity, my files are spread over quite a few small external drives. Maybe I should replace all these with modern Terabyte sized drives rather than cut files

icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#3. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 0

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Sat 02-Mar-13 01:16 PM | edited Sat 02-Mar-13 01:19 PM by icslowmo

You could start backing up some of them on BluRay disks. Double layer disks hold around 8Gb of data. I plan on doing this soon to off load my main storage drive soon. As you know, the D800 files add up, for just one small event can add up to 15Gb or more of data easily.

So raw's could go on BluRay and then just keep the Jpegs on hard drives. This would be easy enough access to what you may need from past events.

Chris

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nikim45

Memphis, US
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#4. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 2

nikim45 Registered since 12th Feb 2013
Sat 02-Mar-13 01:18 PM

You can get 2 Terabyte drives for fairly reasonable money now.
The problem these days of course is storage capacity. The more MPs our cameras have the bigger the files etc. There's always a down side.

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Buzz Fisher

London, UK
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#5. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 3

Buzz Fisher Registered since 02nd Mar 2013
Sat 02-Mar-13 01:36 PM

Good advice, I like the idea of backing up to blueray disk. I never thought of that. Very portable too when using those multi DVD cases.
Even a small brace of 2TB drives would be sufficient and build in some future proofing too. Yes, since getting the D800 capacity is vanishing quicker, although not half the horror story I first thought it might be. But it all adds up.

agitater

Toronto, CA
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#6. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 0

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sat 02-Mar-13 01:44 PM

Is the question also about whether or not there is some value in storing thousands (or tens of thousands) of digital images that nobody will ever see or care about twenty years from now (no matter how well they're stored)? If so, in my view, the only RAW/NEF files to keep are the ones that formed the basis for images that have been published, printed, sold or posted on a personal photo account online. I think that's what the OP is already doing. If the question is mainly about storing files that have already been culled, then my feeling is that the original RAW/NEF files should definitely be kept. As time goes by, improvements to RAW/NEF file post-processing and conversion means that some older RAW/NEF files will get a new lease on life. We can revisit those files using the latest version of whatever RAW converter we prefer, and do a better job on the old image files.

There is some feeling among some photographers today (other than the OP certainly) that everything should be stored because, especially considering the relatively low cost of high capacity cloud storage and external hard drive storage, it's easy enough to do so. My point is, why bother to store everything?

One of the famous photographs of Monica Lewinsky was taken by accident by a photographer who made some crowd shots during a speech by President Clinton. The photographer was reviewing his mass of stored images when he came across the Lewinsky shot and subsequently sold it for a significant fee. That's all well and good for pro photographers and photojournalists whose lives revolve around professional photography and little else. For the rest of us, it just amounts to storing endless numbers of folders full of digital images that we never have the time to review in any way and that we have to manage at some expense (but for no material return), all against the possibility that one of them might be of interest to someone and some point in the future. That the longest of long shots - we've got a better chance of winning a lottery.

Blu-ray discs are not archival in any event. There are so-called archival quality blanks that are touted to last for 50 years, but that's an absurdly tall boast about a media and format that's only been around for a few years. I don't care how such blanks have been tested - files stored on the media will not last 50 years (or even as much as 15 years reliably. In any event, the format and the decks that can read it, will either be on the wane or will have completely disappeared in 15 years or so. Everything will be streaming through Internet connections, including the stuff we own outright in some format.

Cloud storage seems to be the way of the future. Works for me. Carbonite is a good option. It's relatively inexpensive even for a true archival storage account, and it removes the storage management headache at home. I use a combination of Carbonite and external hard drives. I can't stand the Drobo because it's just not reliable enough in my experience. Some people love the Drobo system. Personally, I need direct access to a system that I clearly understand, so in addition to my Carbonite account, I maintain six external hard drives, two of which are always off-site for safekeeping. I refresh them every couple of years to ensure that all my files are 100%.

Remember that the backup of your photos that's kept in a closet at home is just like having no backup at all in the event of a fire, flood, tornado damage, hurricane, earthquake or some other catastrophic problem.

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Howard Carson

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
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#7. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 6

RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter Member
Sat 02-Mar-13 02:22 PM

Howard pretty much sums it up.

I personally have stacks of DVDs.
Some nearly 15 years old and still readable.
If it comes to the time the new readers won't access them any more,
I will just store a few old readers with them.

For me, the only safe hard drive storage is my external USB3 array.
I have it turned off except when transferring files.
A duplicate set is in my work computer.

I've had many hard drives (IDE, SCSI, and SATA) fail, some were not even very old.
I've also gotten many corrupted files on my hard drives.

The Cloud may be the wave of the future,
I do not trust anything online with my most valuable information.

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ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3330 posts

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#8. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 0

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Sat 02-Mar-13 02:28 PM | edited Sat 02-Mar-13 02:29 PM by ajdooley

John -

First, welcome to Nikonians. You are goig to love this site and gain oodles of ides from it.

Howard Carson's response is well thought out and offers alternatives for consideration. I fully agree with him -- CDs and DVDs are NOT answers to the problem. For example, it would take 125 blue-ray DVDs to store a terabyte of data. I save on the order of three TBs a year these days and I have only the D700 bodies -- 25MB RAWS. I have several terabytes. The blue-ray DVDs are not cheap, and as Howard points out - they can claim a 50 year life, but I don't feel like waiting that long to find out if this is truth or fiction. They also take time to burn. The onle thing I use CDs and DVDs for is for delivering a product.

I shoot for my own business and for a local newspaper. When I finish a job and have deliverd the product, I go back and spend a few minutes culling out the obvious "mistakes." One way to be seen as an excellent photographer is never to show your mistakes. By this, I mean sports shots that have obviously missed the best action, out of focus and wrong exposure shots, shots in which people have closed their eyes, etc. Then I retain what's left and file it by subject and date. And why separate the RAW and processed files as another person recommended? I place all the RAW "keepers" in a folder labeled "originals" and keep it in the same folder with the processed deliverable images. The only exceptions to this policy is my aerial photo work. Only if an image is clearly defective (focus, etc.) do I discard it. I have found quite often that an image I first thought was of little use, although it was technically excellent, has turned out subsequently to be a money maker. These are also my high money photos.

I too use several external hard drives. I know stuff is more expensive in the UK (my son and family live there) but I have bought brand-name 3Tb hard drives for $130 in the "colonies." I expect that's about what they'll cost there -- only in pounds or euros.

But my first recommendation coincides with one of Howard's points. If you have a pretty solid conviction that an image or series of images are never going to be important -- especially if they are largely duplicates, etc., recycle the electrons! They days when we went through boxes of old prints, wondering who people were and then throwing them out, are still with us. Except now unfortunately, people will probably just junk the hard drives or computers without looking at the files. This is all the more likely if you have literally kept hunderds of thousands of images, which we tend to over produce in this digital age.

Cheers, and good luck! And again, welcome to Nikonians.

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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Charlie M

Topeka, US
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#9. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 0

Charlie M Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 06th Aug 2011
Sat 02-Mar-13 02:33 PM

>Hi everyone, newbie here. Im a D4, D800 and D7000 user and
>work as a freelance photo journalist. With the zillions of
>files I have kept over the years taking forever more and more
>external hard drives, im thinking about deleting all the RAW's
>that have been processed.
>
>What do others do?
>


I cook mine until well done. Actually I weed out the bad from the good and narrow down what I will keep and then back them up.
Charlie

D300, D700 and not enough glass


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agitater

Toronto, CA
4527 posts

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#10. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 0

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sat 02-Mar-13 03:10 PM

I'll bet real money that anyone who stores DVD and Blu-ray discs properly - away from excesses of hot and cold temperatures, protected from overly humid conditions, well away from sunlight, properly cased, carefully handled to keep finger oils off and away from the surfaces - will get decent storage life out of the media. In that kind of storage condition, I've got commercially produced DVD discs (i.e., movies) from 1996 that still work perfectly well. No data/signal degradation and no visible deterioration of any kind that I can detect.

Homemade DVD and Blu-ray discs are another matter. I've had to trash quite a few DVDs from the late nineties and few made as recently as 2003 because of read failures. Those were all DVD-R and DVD+R discs. Homemade re-writables (DVD-RW) have a higher unrecoverable read failure rate in my experience. I've experienced a couple of Blu-ray media read failures recently as well.

I've always used the highest rated, name brand media and highly rated burners. Commercial DVDs and Blu-ray discs last longer no doubt.

In 1991 I happily paid the bargain price of $625 (plus tax) for an external, 60 megabyte SCSI drive. Last week, I picked up an external Western Digital 2 terabyte drive for less than $100 on sale at Best Buy. USB 3, plug & play, vats of storage. Storage is cheap - online and offline - and getting cheaper. A combination of external hard drives and cloud storage is ideal IMO.

For anyone who is just now beginning to develop a large enough digital image collection to become concerned about backup and long term storage, I think it's important to emphasize that the relatively small expense for a combination of cloud storage and external hard drives is crucial. It's as important an expense as the camera itself.

Many of us used to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars/pounds/whatever every year on dust free transparency sleeves, sealed albums, humidity control, special album spacers, dust-proof storage cases and so on. Now it's cloud storage and hard drives, so the cost of properly and carefully storing our photos hasn't really changed for anyone who was an active and engaged photographer (amateur or professional) in the film era compared to someone who has gotten into digital photography in the last ten years and knows little or nothing about film. That's all just a comparative to illustrate that proper photo storage has always been an important expense and, if poorly managed, a headache for active photographers.

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Howard Carson

BullockBob666

Perth, AU
111 posts

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#11. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 0

BullockBob666 Registered since 12th Dec 2012
Sat 02-Mar-13 03:14 PM

It sounds like you are unsure of their value to you, so perhaps deletion is your answer.

But if you decide to save (archive) them then you should be doing so across more than one medium. Hard drives are cheap, so that is my first choice. Then a second medium should be used.

I personally find blu ray a good option. 50 Gb per disk is ok, and there are some good reliable compression solutions available. In terms of longevity, nothing digital is forever, but when you consider CDs have been around for about 30 years now and my blu ray drives can still read them, that isn't bad. Stored properly, your disks should last a very long time.

I'm not a fan of cloud for long term storage, due to security reasons. Plus, the cheap solutions have other disadvantages.

Once you've archived them make sure you store at least one set in secure offsite storage.

Does all this sound like overkill? If so then perhaps you've answered your initial question

Cheers
Rob

It's all about the light

BullockBob666

Perth, AU
111 posts

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#12. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 8

BullockBob666 Registered since 12th Dec 2012
Sat 02-Mar-13 03:27 PM

>John -
>
>First, welcome to Nikonians. You are goig to love this site
>and gain oodles of ides from it.
>
>Howard Carson's response is well thought out and offers
>alternatives for consideration. I fully agree with him -- CDs
>and DVDs are NOT answers to the problem. For example, it
>would take 125 blue-ray DVDs to store a terabyte of data.
>
>Cheers, and good luck! And again, welcome to Nikonians.

One blu ray disk can hold 50Gb, so ...

Cheers

It's all about the light

rjo

Woodstock, US
69 posts

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#13. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 0

rjo Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Apr 2008
Sun 03-Mar-13 12:15 AM

For both backup and archival storage I got a hard drive dock that sits on my desk beside the monitor. It can be connected by USB or directly to a controller in the computer. Ibuy bare internal drves of a terrabyte or more, drop it in the dock and turn it on only when moving images off the camera. Once a drive is filled it goes into a safe deposit boc at the bank. I just started this system, but plan on replacing drives in three year cycles.

This is far cheaper than the external drives you get at best buy, as the dock cost $29 and drives are about $60. It's also easier to store a stack of bare dreves than external drives with case, power cord, etc. I could end up with dozens and store all my culled images and end up spending far less than most other methods.

RJO

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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2807 posts

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#14. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 3

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Sun 03-Mar-13 02:31 AM

Double layer BluRays hold 50GB, about 46GB once formatted. Single layer hold about 23GB formatted.

Neither hard drive or BluRay are archival though, so exercise caution.

-P

>You could start backing up some of them on BluRay disks.
>Double layer disks hold around 8Gb of data. I plan on doing
>this soon to off load my main storage drive soon. As you know,
>the D800 files add up, for just one small event can add up to
>15Gb or more of data easily.
>
>So raw's could go on BluRay and then just keep the Jpegs on
>hard drives. This would be easy enough access to what you may
>need from past events.
>
>Chris

------
Webpage: http://www.ptfphoto.com

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icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#15. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 14

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Sun 03-Mar-13 03:29 AM

Thx for the correction. I think I was thinking of DL DVD....

When the D800 first came out, some were asking about this same subject, and you brought up BluRays as one form of back ups that should last a while. You also explained the issues/experience you have seen with storing un-used HDD and how those can fail due to internal parts locking up due to non-use.

Your back ground with Tb's of video storage and how you backed that up, gave a good in-site on who's advise to listen to.

Also I have CD-R's from 10+ years ago I can still read.... Now most if not all that data from those years is not needed. So I would guess if photos from a paid job were backed up on BluRays and stored more then say 5 years, chances are, they'll not be needed any longer. Family/personal photos are another thing though, and those may need to be stored on a HDD that is used and refreshed every couple of years.

Chris

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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

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#16. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 13

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Sun 03-Mar-13 06:50 PM

Archiving is a serious problem because whatever method, the support system for it will be obsolete and unavailable in a few years. I used to have a great deal stored, masters of tracks and of mixes for many valuable recordings all on 2 inch wide reel tape, many thousand of them. Well, no one thought that such an essential format would be hard to play back in a few years. Some of the legacy equipment to play back have not had any maintenance parts available for years.

That basic problem has been repeated many times in the last 30 years as the system replacement cycle has sped up. There are millions hours of valuable DAT masters, or a dozen or more digital formats that just disappeared. I have some data on some 5.25 floppies and no one seems to have a machine that can read the 180kb disks.
My first harddrive, an external 20 meg drive from Corvus was $4200, and used on the first IBM PC well before the first internal hard drive model came out, the IBM XT. That drive, about 2 cubic feet, seemed like a monster and handled all the accounting and schedules for my recording studio for years. I still have a backup tape from it but nothing can read it now. Everything at the time was proprietary formats. All that data is not useless since it can't be read.
CDs were supposed to be 25-50 year formats. They are if metal master pressed but record-able CDs and DVDs are not the same as pressed commercial releases. The writable CDs and DVDs from only 10 years ago are developing enough errors so many have unrecoverable data losses where the built-in error correction in the encoding scheme fails. The organic dye that is used on record-able CD and DVD has been discovered to migrate and drift to a much greater degree than early predictions from accelerated life testing in the 80s/90s predicted.

So what is best? The system that you can store and maintain a legacy hardware platform for it to be read, so data can be transferred to newer systems before the old system becomes unsupported.
Whatever you have now, will not be usable in just a few years, so keep a archiving plan in mind on how to store and retrieve the information. It really helps if only that information that is needed to be stored, is retained.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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rjo

Woodstock, US
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#17. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 16

rjo Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Apr 2008
Mon 04-Mar-13 02:07 AM

Stan, all good points to remember. That's why, when i was thinking through a new system i decided on a three year replacement cycle for all these drives, and gave up on the blu-rays i was burning. Archiving can no longer be passive, where you file and forget. While my negatives from the 1960's are filed and still in good shape, photos I took just a few years ago I've had to move three times to new disks to keep them viable.

I work in data warehousing for my day job, and servers have life cycly of about three years, so eve businesses can' file and forget like they did with paper. You have to have a systematic way to move everything to the new pkatforms as old ones mature.

RJO

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agitater

Toronto, CA
4527 posts

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#18. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 17

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Mon 04-Mar-13 09:38 AM

>I work in data warehousing for my day job, and servers have
>life cycly of about three years, so eve businesses can' file
>and forget like they did with paper. You have to have a
>systematic way to move everything to the new pkatforms as old
>ones mature.

As big data continues to expand, automated cloud storage and backup gets more affordable. It's already reliable. It certainly solves the long term problem of having to manually move massive image file stores as existing personal storage platforms becomes obsolete. Because the vast majority of all home computer users don't do regular backups, putting in place automated cloud backup also solves the pervasive problem of poor habituation.

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rjo

Woodstock, US
69 posts

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#19. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 18

rjo Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Apr 2008
Mon 04-Mar-13 11:17 PM

Howard,
Automated cloud backup can be a great benefit; but we all need to be aware, too, that the information/images leave our control once they're in the cloud. It's not unheard of for companies to go out of business, or sell servers without wiping drives. Many photographers have lost control of images this way already; and have no way to recoup, since the responsible company is no longer, and the company that bought the servers now has the images. Just something to be aware of.

I myself have automatic cloud backup, but I have it set up that once my photos get moved to an archive drive, they are no longer included in the auto backup. I want to stay in control of things. I guess I'm old fashioned, but I don't really trust others with tons of my images, or banks with my money.

RJO

Nikon nut since 1968.

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agitater

Toronto, CA
4527 posts

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#20. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 19

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Tue 05-Mar-13 01:28 AM

>It's not unheard of for
>companies to go out of business, or sell servers without
>wiping drives. Many photographers have lost control of images
>this way already; and have no way to recoup, since the
>responsible company is no longer, and the company that bought
>the servers now has the images. Just something to be aware
>of.

I think it's wise to be careful about choosing a cloud storage service. It is inconceivable to me that a company such as BackBlaze, Carbonite or JustCloud or any of several other cloud storage providers would not destroy decommissioned hard drives using a standardized in-house process. I know they all do so. These companies exist within a culture of data security.

There are all sorts of stories and all sorts of hard evidence of stupid employees, thoughtless and outright thieving employees discarding or 'borrowing' or stealing company equipment for their own use. Every company, from Lockeed-Martin and General Electric to insurance companies, HMOs, schools and hospitals have suffered at the hands of careless, foolish and crooked employees. I think big data backup warehousers are a different animal altogether though.

Photographers lose control of images for a variety of usually obvious reasons, none of which in my experience have to do with secure backup solutions. I know photographers who've been ripped off because they foolishly posted full-res images on Flickr. I know photographers who've published images online without first registering the copyright and subsequently had an absurdly difficult time claiming damages and fees after some of those images were used without permission. But I've never heard of a photographer losing control of photos because of a compromised cloud storage backup (unless some photographer allowed his cloud storage username and password to get into the wild). I'd like to hear about one.

I know that the pundits (including Leo Laporte and other well-known tech bloggers and podcasters) regularly talk about the possibility of a cloud backup company going out of business and taking customers photo stores with it, but I've never heard of such a thing actually happening.

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BullockBob666

Perth, AU
111 posts

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#21. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 19

BullockBob666 Registered since 12th Dec 2012
Tue 05-Mar-13 02:04 AM

You aren't being old fashioned, just risk averse. There is nothing "archival" about using cloud for long term storage. In fact, the risk of something untoward happening to your images in the cloud increases in proportion to the time spent up there.

Three reasons (actually there are a few more) why I would not use cloud. Bandwidth required to move them, especially if you have a lot. Time required as many cloud providers put strict limits on upload speeds. Terms and conditions of the host, and the fact that you are now relying on another party to keep them safe. Ok, time and bandwidth will probably improve, but the third reason will not.

If want to employ a risk averse archival strategy you must use a combination of storage mediums and you must be in total control of those storage devices.

Cheers
Rob

It's all about the light

BullockBob666

Perth, AU
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#22. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 20

BullockBob666 Registered since 12th Dec 2012
Tue 05-Mar-13 02:12 AM

While I can't provide an example of a photographer having lost his images in the cloud, mainly because I don't know any photographers using cloud for archival purposes, I do know of a number of instances where businesses have run into a spot of bother. Perhaps our cloud offerings are more immature here, but I've seen enough to decide I won't be using the wonderful cloud any time soon.

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agitater

Toronto, CA
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#23. "RE: What do you do with your raws?" | In response to Reply # 21

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Tue 05-Mar-13 12:43 PM

>There is
>nothing "archival" about using cloud for long term
>storage. In fact, the risk of something untoward happening to
>your images in the cloud increases in proportion to the time
>spent up there.

I think that more and more companies and individuals are moving to secure cloud storage specifically because it is reliably archival. Image and video files stored in a secure cloud are demonstrably more secure and far less subject to loss than any sort of home storage.

That said, my personal experience has been that there's little else that exceeds the security of a backup hard drive stored in a safety deposit box at a local bank. The problem is that most people quickly drop the regular backup habit and the regular visit to the SDB at the bank. The end result is a long-out-of-date backup which is all that's left after some catastrophic hard drive failure or fire or flood or storm destroys the laptop or desktop computer and external drives directly connected to them. In such situations, the backup may have been supremely secure in terms of data integrity, but it is woefully out-of-date and at that point impossible to update. If a cloud backup, on the other hand, had been done at the same time, automatically in the background, its persistence and availability would enable a person suffering the loss to get everything back in perfect condition once an Internet connection is restored.

I think that, as important as it is, it is not the absolute security of a backup that matters most. It is, I think, the persistence of the backup in all circumstances and the availability of the backup (for restoration) in all circumstances that is the of the very highest concern. I agree fully that secure cloud storage of photo and video files is not yet a fully proven technological advancement simply by virtue of the fact that it is relatively new, but I believe it's a minor point in this case. Every medium-to-large corporate entity of any note is making use of big data warehousing to back up it's important data - there's not other affordably manageable way to do it. Breaches occur and such occurrences make the news, obviously, but the frequency and harm are both so low in comparison to the vast stores of data being securely protected by the big data warehousing operators.

For D800 users and anybody else who is generating large volumes of large photo and video files, the most cost effective and pain-free backup solution - one that also won't become a money pit when storage drive and interface formats change, and that will persist and always be up-to-date no matter how forgetful the users otherwise might be - is secure, automated cloud storage.

Frankly, I've stopped giving technical support to friends, relatives and even business associates who call me for advice on failed Drobo USB connections (i.e., the backup didn't happen and Windows popped a warning message in the system tray) or a system reboot after a Windows or Mac OS X update failed to initialize a USB 3.0 or Firewire connection to external hard drives being used for backup. I'm fed up with trying to analyze the problems over the phone or through email. I send them a link to the signup page at BackBlaze or Carbonite and tell them to deal with it on their own. I'm also fed up with the phone calls from frantic people asking about hard drive data recovery when the inevitable hard drive failure takes out a few thousand photo and video files and only then do those people realize that they had for weeks and weeks forgotten all about checking to ensure that the backup routine they'd set up in their operating system was actually working and that their backup files were up-to-date. That is, if they hadn't already let their backup routine inexplicably lapse in the first place.

Over the past 30 years or so, I've been directly involved in at least eight projects which addressed business and home-based data backup solutions. In every single project the overriding impression, fully and unequivocally supported by the research data, was that people - individuals, small business owners, SMB managers - can't be trusted to reliably, persistently and regularly perform the work of photo and video file data backup (or any other kind of data backup). A system is put in place, it works well for a while, but then the person responsible for the process gets too busy with something else that is important. The next thing you know, nobody has done a backup or checked to see if the automated backup system software is actually functioning correctly, let alone checking whatever actually has been backed up in order to ensure integrity, accuracy and restorability.

I agree with you directly on another thing. Secure cloud storage of automated backups using installed apps (e.g., BackBlaze, Carbonite, Mozy and several others), can and should be better than it already is. Really smart people are developing better and better backends and better and better security and better and better apps. Anybody who thinks that only the online thieves and hackers have some sort of 'corner' on IS/IT knowledge should give their heads a shake. Quite the contrary, so-called Big Data has taken data persistency and security very seriously indeed and they have hired and continue to hire the smartest, craftiest network and software engineers in the world.

I think that's an accurate picture of the state of the game and the technology today. I see it getting even better as time goes by. I trust my ultimate/master backup to the cloud (through Carbonite), and also do local backup to external hard drives, a master of which is cycled out of the house and into the SDB on a regularly basis. Every time that business and family life intrudes to the point where I forget to do that last bit, I'm thankful for the cloud backup (which I've now used on two separate occasions after catastrophic multi-system failures at home). I think D800 owners who are producing a lot of NEF files are well-advised to consider automated cloud storage.

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