With my new toys, I’ve been producing a lot more photos. This isn’t a problem at home – I’ve got plenty of storage & backup space, desktop hard drives are huge and cheap. But they don’t help me much two weeks into a trip. I’ve got a few options:
I’ve been thinking about getting one for a while. At 2 lbs & the tablet features, the tiny Fujitsu Lifebook P1510D seems like a steal at roughly $1400. Certainly more money than the rest of these options, but I’d be getting a lot of flexibility with it. The main draw is that you get all the comfort of a laptop in a small package. It has a CF slot, so downloads at the end of the day would be pretty easy. The battery life is good, so it can always serve double duty as a media player. No optical drive limits my playing of DVDs though, but I can always rip a bunch and slap them on a hard drive or USB stick.
I am loathe to do much more than a little surfing on the internet cafes, so bringing my own laptop would reduce some of the key logger concerns. I guess the real question is how many net cafes let you hook your computer up to their connection. The other option is wifi, which seems to be popping up all over the place, but I doubt I’d want to depend on it in most countries.
The disadvantages of the laptop are pretty obvious. It can be a target. It is bigger and heavier than other options. But probably my biggest hesitation is that it is potentially a huge distraction. Will I be pouring over the days photos, rather than heading out to explore more?
Storage with a screen
The Epson p-2000 still seems like the best bet in this market. At roughly 1 lb and $400, it gets a decent bit of work done – photo download (though slower than other devices), viewing (not as big as a laptop screen, but better than the camera), plays movies (battery life isn’t super though), etc. Since it is relatively first generation, there are going to be better models out soon.
Portable hard drive/image tanks
These devices are basically a card reader attached to a laptop hard drive. Push a button and they dump the CF card contents to the hard drive. There seems to be two main contenders, the Nexto-CF and the PD70X/HyperDrive. There are small differences between them, but they essentially have the same benifits, and both cost around $200. I’m leaning more towards the Nexto-CF based on this guys impressions & use. Relatively light, easy, and simple, but you don’t necessarily know if your photos are crap until you get them back home.
The no hardware option
Burn to dvds in net cafes. CF readers and CD burners can be common at net cafes – I was pretty successful with this in Peru. I suspect it depends a lot on the country. Will have to do some more research to see how easy it is in Cambodia & Vietnam. Main problem is that it can eat up time getting these copied and burned to cd/dvd.
At this point I’m leaning towards the image tanks for cost & convenience, but am still on the fence.