Traveling Without a Computer

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alanhaynes.com
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#1
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Does anyone have experience traveling without a laptop? I’m considering leaving my laptop at home for my next trip and, instead, loading photos from my Nikon DSLR to my iPad or Android phone. Has anyone tried this? How well did it work?

I won’t have enough space for the raw NEF files, so I’m thinking of shooting in raw+jpeg mode and loading only the jpegs to my mobile device. The raw images would stay on my CF card until I return home.

I want to be able to keyword and caption the jpegs in order to remember key details about the trip and I also want to be able to share some photos with my traveling companions while still on the trip. Saving weight is also a major consideration: even lightweight laptops are relatively heavy.

I’ve tested this on my Samsung S7 phone and was happy to find that, by connecting my camera directly to the phone — via an OTG usb adapter — that I am able to import photos into Lightroom. I have a 32 GB micro-SD card inside the phone which should be able to handle all the jpegs.

Any thoughts woud be helpul.
 

LouieSherwin

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#2
I recently took a trip to Cuba and left my computer at home. My strategy was simply to take 8 32GB SD cards for my Sony A7r2. When a card filled up I simply locked it and stored it in a safe place. The I imported it all when I bot back. Frankly it was nice not spending time every day fussing with import/backup. More time to enjoy the trip.

-louie
 

tspear

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#3
I only used four 64GB cards for a two week trip to France. I swapped cards every day in numerical order, one through four and repeat.
The idea was if any one card went bad for some reason, I would lose 25% of the images but spread evenly through the trip. Instead of a whole section.
If I had to do it again, I think I would go for cheaper 16GB or 32GB cards and get more of them.

It also was nice to not carry a computer.
 

Ferguson

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#4
If you have a camera with two card slots, keep in mind that you can copy (slowly) from card to card, so if you desire to keep them backed up, buying some large, slow secondary cards will let you back up images without any extra equipment.

I always carry a laptop to stay in touch, but I've backed away from actually processing on vacation, I just let the images build up (big card in camera) and do it when I get home. I find it's much more relaxing -- once I get over not seeing what I got instantly -- to not spend valuable vacation time hunched over a computer cropping and adjusting.
 

PhilBurton

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If you have a camera with two card slots, keep in mind that you can copy (slowly) from card to card, so if you desire to keep them backed up, buying some large, slow secondary cards will let you back up images without any extra equipment.

I always carry a laptop to stay in touch, but I've backed away from actually processing on vacation, I just let the images build up (big card in camera) and do it when I get home. I find it's much more relaxing -- once I get over not seeing what I got instantly -- to not spend valuable vacation time hunched over a computer cropping and adjusting.
I am a belts-and-suspenders guy. I carry my laptop everywhere, also stay in touch. I back up daily to both the laptop and an external HDD. Then I clear the memory card(s). That's my approach.

Phil Burton
 

clee01l

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#6
The greatest risk is having all of your trip photos in one place on one (or more) tiny camera card(s) and no backup when one or more of those cards gets lost or damaged. There are portable backup devices that are battery operated that will backup SD and CF cards. I would highly recommend getting one of these for the back up capability if you are not planning to take a computer along to back up the cards.

FWIW, Some where in Cesky Krumlov are several CF cards that belong to me.
 

Ferguson

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I am a belts-and-suspenders guy. I carry my laptop everywhere, also stay in touch. I back up daily to both the laptop and an external HDD. Then I clear the memory card(s). That's my approach.
I do confess sometimes paranoia gets the best of me and I'll ingest the card (but not erase it) just to have them on the laptop, but that's in case I lose the camera. I have two cards in each camera and run in backup mode, so I'm implicitly backed up.

My real point is that I think some of us as photographers spend way too much vacation time being photographers (especially post processing), and give up important time vacating.
 

tspear

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The greatest risk is having all of your trip photos in one place on one (or more) tiny camera card(s) and no backup when one or more of those cards gets lost or damaged. There are portable backup devices that are battery operated that will backup SD and CF cards. I would highly recommend getting one of these for the back up capability if you are not planning to take a computer along to back up the cards.

FWIW, Some where in Cesky Krumlov are several CF cards that belong to me.
I keep the camera cards with the Passport (separate from the wallet).
I figure if I lose the Passport, the trip will be memorable enough of a headache to get home I can live without the images.

If you are really concerned, get a USB adapter for your phone. Read the camera card onto the phone, and swap out the MicroSD card on the phone. Now you have backups.....

I prefer not to stress about it, and just figure I can always go on vacation again!
 

PhilBurton

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I keep the camera cards with the Passport (separate from the wallet).
I figure if I lose the Passport, the trip will be memorable enough of a headache to get home I can live without the images.

If you are really concerned, get a USB adapter for your phone. Read the camera card onto the phone, and swap out the MicroSD card on the phone. Now you have backups.....

I prefer not to stress about it, and just figure I can always go on vacation again!
Tom,

Since I once lost my passport on a business trip, I doubt that I would have given a thought to my lost memory cards. It was a huge hassle getting on my scheduled flight home, and I managed that only because I had a copy of the key passport pages.

The only SD card in my iPhone is the SIM card. I swap that out for an in-country SIM card when travelling outside the USA, so I don't pay AT&T's exhoribant roaming charges.

@Ferguson,

I don't do post-processing on vacation. ;)

Phil Burton
 
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#10
Like many of you I always take my lap top. I forgot the cable once and that was a little troublesome.
I wonder whether SLR cameras will eventually (or perhaps already do) have the capability to quickly upload RAW files to your chosen cloud.
 

clee01l

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I wonder whether SLR cameras will eventually (or perhaps already do) have the capability to quickly upload RAW files to your chosen cloud.
Capability not withstanding, Data roaming charges and Broadband speeds probably will make this impractical especially when traveling outside one's native region.at least in the near term.
 

Ferguson

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Capability not withstanding, Data roaming charges and Broadband speeds probably will make this impractical especially when traveling outside one's native region.at least in the near term.
Not to mention if relying on hotel wifi; some are wonderful, and some are just absolutely awful.

There's also an issue, at least for me -- I typically am culling 90% of the images. It would be quite a waste (of time and likely money if there are data charges) to upload 100% and then cull 90% when I get home.

I think we'll get there eventually. I still remember talking to people back in the 80's, wondering how someone could be using an ($$$) cell phone sitting in an airport when there's a pay phone next to them. Imagine now, if you could find one, actually going over to use a wired pay phone.
 

Victoria Bampton

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#13
Does anyone have experience traveling without a laptop? I’m considering leaving my laptop at home for my next trip and, instead, loading photos from my Nikon DSLR to my iPad or Android phone. Has anyone tried this? How well did it work?
I won’t have enough space for the raw NEF files
I regularly travel iPad-only - but I have a big enough iPad that I can copy the raw files. If I couldn't, and I was going for more than a few days, I'd back up to one of those hard drive devices. Either way, I don't clear the cards until I get home.
 

mkasu

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Just dropping in to discuss my way of doing this.

Up until recently, I carried a MacBook Pro + External HDD for backups with me, using Lightroom Classic CC. However, a couple of month ago I fully switched to Lightroom CC + 1TB plan, ditching Lightroom Classic. Now, I mostly travel with my iPad Pro (512 GB) only.

I shoot RAW only (on my D750,) using two SD cards. I always have the SD cards set to backup mode, so I'll have an implicit backup. The SD cards are stored in two different bags as soon as they are full. I usually bring like 4x 64 GB, which guarantees me space for about 2600 images including backups.

I usually transfer them to the iPad Pro into LR CC at night in the hotel. If the hotel WiFi is good enough to back them up to the Cloud, I can format the SD cards for the next day.

In the rare case where the hotel WiFi is bad, and I also worry my images, I might in theory be able to format one of each SD card pair, and then use them together to form a third pair of free cards, while keeping one card of old images as a backup each - but to be honest, I usually consider the images "safe" as soon as they are transferred to the iPad Pro, even if not yet fully uploaded to the Cloud.

BTW, I am not a professional, just very enthusiast. I once lost a couple of incredibly important images to me, in a once-in-a-lifetime trip, due to a dead SD card. Since then, I became a bit paranoid when it comes to backup workflows.
 

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#15
I just got back from my big European trip. Since I didn't have time to make sure that the phone or iPad would work as a backup, I brought my laptop. This time, though, I brought only one external drive instead of the two I normally carry for backup purposes. And I left the camera's memory cards full, too, as a second backup. (I usually format and re-use them after making two backup copies on the hard drives.)

Maybe I'll figure out a more streamlined way of handling this before my next trip.
 

Jimmsp

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If I have a 1 to 2 week trip, with multiple locations & hotels & modes of transportation, I'll bring multiple cards and a small laptop pc (my wife's) with an external portable HD - all easy to carry.
I use the pc for both personal communication, eg email, and for ingesting the photos and passing them along to the HD.
I generally don't do any post processing work, but will occasionally cull out the really bad shots. I don't empty the cards until I am back at home.

However, if the trip is only to one location with a housing location that is generally fixed, and I generally have a car, I'll bring my larger luggable laptop with LR on it, and a portable HD, and often do some initial work at night. But I don't empty the cards until I get home.
 
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I have a lightning to USB female adapter to connect my iPad to my Nikon D5500. After I connect it, I turn on the camera and Photos launches automatically on the iPad. Once the photos are displayed I select the ones to import. When the importing is done, I open Lightroom on the iPad and the photos import in automatically. Once they are imported into LR you can delete them from Photos on the iPad. One tip is to disable sync in LR before you import. The process goes a lot faster if you allow the photos to be imported into LR first and then turn sync back on to allow them to sync to the cloud.
Please note that there is a bug in the latest iPad version that makes some photos appear with a sync error on the iPad. You can find it at Lightroom CC File failed to Load T505 error on iPad
 
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#18
I haven’t used a laptop now for three years, relying on my iPad (an aging Air 2) and a home based iMac (mid 2011, so it won’t update to Mojave). So far I import my images onto the iPad when traveling and then up to Adobe Cloud if I I have suitable Wi-Fi. I use a SanDisk ixpand drive to copy images onto and keep that and the camera cards till I get home.
To go slightly off topic.....
I’m thinking of getting a new iPad Pro to replace the air 2, so hope I can keep a similar workflow. My iMac is getting ancient as are its attached external drives so I’m working out if I eventually replace the iMac with a new Mac mini and a new big monitor, which would also work with the iPad Pro. ....or can I go completely iPad Pro, cloud storage and CC.
 
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#19
I am debating whether to travel with just an iPad or continue to bring a laptop. I retired just a few weeks ago and had to turn in my laptop so I only have the iPad. With lots of travel planned for the next few years, I’m debating buying a laptop or one of the new iPad pros that just came out. I am concerned about having sufficient backups. I don’t empty my SD cards until I get home but I’d feel better if I also had a backup to another hard drive. Is there any way to backup the iPad to an external drive with the new USB-C connector instead of lightning?
 
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#20
My understanding is that the new iPad Pro will not export to an attached drive (yet - there are rumors that iOS 13 will allow this, but don’t hold your breath!). I don’t know where that leaves the Sandisc iXpand device I currently use with my iPad Air2. However, I keep my SD cards until I get home too.

You could, if you have access to Wi-Fi, upload to the Adobe cloud.

If you’re getting a new iPad Pro it depends on the size you get. Internal storage goes up to 1 terabyte ( although at a price) so depending on your needs you could store a lot of images.
 
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