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Best long term storage of photos.


PWJS 1 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2014 9:23AM
Please can anyone advise of the best way to store digitals images. I currently use Fuji PhotoDisc CD-R. Do memory sticks lose data quicker? I look forward to other photographers views. Paul.

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IanBurton 5 71 7 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2014 10:08AM
This is something I've recently researched due to losing a hard drive (data was not recoverable) on my laptop and got lazy with backing up. It will very much depend on what you can afford, although CDs are good you may want to consider purpose made archival cd storage, as for memory sticks they are good but they are quite small and easily lost/misplaced. Cds are susceptible to scratches and shouldn't be relied on as the sole method of backing up. Solid State Drives (SSD) are a brilliant alternative, these are basically an oversized memory stick and because they have no mechanical parts the data is safe from mechanical failure. I recently bought a My Book Live Duo 4TB personal cloud storage. This is wireless and sits in my living room so even if I am away I can still back up directly to this drive. I have this setup as Raid 1 so if one drive fails then I have the other to extract the data from, so far it has been brilliant. I do still backup to an additional external drive. My advice is to make duplicate backups on at least 2 or 3 different drives/media, as technology advances there is no guarantee any will be compatible on PCs in say 20-30 years time so always check each time you upgrade.

Hope this helps Smile
6 Feb 2014 10:17AM
Hi Paul,

There is no single bulletproof method of photographs storage. The safest technically is to print the best and most precious of them and make some albums. Our grandma's photos being stored this way are often perfectly fine till now.

CD-R needs regular revision and a backup copy as soon as read mistakes accumulate. Too time and effort consuming. Memory sticks are too easy to loose and degrade in time even when being unused. The same goes to external HDDs - but to the lesser extent.

Therefore, if you need to store large numbers of digital images you must think of some system to it. My personal choice would be portable HDD with a mandatory backup copy regularly checked for "health" and full transfer of archive to a fresh drive every say, 10 years. Considering for how long I do my digital photography seriously, I am about to reach this stage very soon.

Cheers,
wizardsmagic 10 43 England
6 Feb 2014 10:46AM
How about cloud storage?

I back up my files to google "my drive". (Other cloud storage is available..... and may also be cheaper).

Not only do I have all my important photos backed up and safe should something happen to my computer, I can access them from anywhere I can log on to the net.

This would not be the cheapest option though. I currently have 200gb storage at a cost of 7 something per month.
cameracat 10 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
6 Feb 2014 12:47PM
Almost bullet proof.

Well 100 years or so..Grin

Not cheap mind you, But probably cheaper than paying for cloud storage, Plus you know exactly where it is at all times.

We need Terabytes of storage, The cloud would cost a fortune.

Wink
Bluke 9 303 1 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2014 1:40PM
Well back your best work up "several" times Sad But I did just that ..came back from holiday after Christmas and my 3 drivers would not work at all on any PC. all different makes.. I don't know what happened to them as I have these drives for years now and not had a problem at all... Well I did manage to get my files back but at a cost...The week I thought I had lost 10 years work all backed on each drive was not good, I don't know the cause but I was so pleased to get the files back...but 2 of the drives well knackered all together .. I have bought new ex-drives I just wouldn't trust the one that was left anyway... I am looking at online storage myself...

So external hard drives are not always a safe bet so as the guys are saying use online storage along with your external drives...

PS I did blame installing windows 8.1 for the failure also for the first time I stored my drives in a tin cupboard so other than that I can't explain why they went down.. Sad
SlowSong e2
6 4.6k 29 England
6 Feb 2014 1:47PM

Quote:Almost bullet proof. Well 100 years or so..Grin
Not cheap mind you, But probably cheaper than paying for cloud storage, Plus you know exactly where it is at all times.



Hi Vince,
Why do you choose the Gold DVDs above the Photo DVDs? Just asking out of interest.

My husband nearly lost all his work when changing computers and Windows software. Compatibility - Tush! He eventually got it all back but is now seriously thinking about Cloud.
lobsterboy e2
10 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2014 2:05PM

Quote:We need Terabytes of storage, The cloud would cost a fortune.


Nope I have 3TB with Backblaze and it only costs $50 a year, though storage is actually unlimited.
lobsterboy e2
10 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2014 2:11PM
A basic rule of thumb with backups is the 3-2-1 rule:
3 copies of everything
on 2 different media
1 of which is off-site.

I have 4 copies of everything, in 2 different locations in the house plus 1 copy in the cloud should fire/flood or theft hit.

Quote:How about cloud storage?

I back up my files to google "my drive". (Other cloud storage is available..... and may also be cheaper).

Not only do I have all my important photos backed up and safe should something happen to my computer, I can access them from anywhere I can log on to the net.

This would not be the cheapest option though. I currently have 200gb storage at a cost of 7 something per month.



This is definitely what I would suggest. The internet, personally, is the best way to store digital images. Certain sites such as skydrive are helpful. You can even make yourself a flickr account if you don't already have one and create private albums so that only you can see them.

Good luck finding a suitable option. Grin
SlowSong e2
6 4.6k 29 England
6 Feb 2014 3:03PM
There's a good article about cloud storage in the March copy of PhotoPlus magazine. The reader's choice came down on the side of Goggle Drive, but they compare quite a few different options.
6 Feb 2014 9:29PM
"Cloud" storage is as good as Internet connection is. Despite the name it is not straight over the head , but rather on some cheap server in Eastern European country. Why anyone thinks that this way of storing any information on a hard drive somewhere in, say, Romania is more private and technically reliable than on a similar a hard drive of your own computer is beyond my understanding.

The only way why I have limited use of cloud is the ability to share images quite easily. With that I just leave the headache of downloading to the other partyGrin

In case of some major on-site disaster the cloud may provide a safe shelter for loved images - this argument is quite appreciable.

But it is not the toughest egg basket - and therefore cannot be the only one.
Hugo 9 640 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2014 9:37PM
CD/DVD - No, won't last, discs rot/degrade etc

Backup to external HDD. Fairly safe bet in the medium term. But backup and archive are not the same, consider if you backup PC everyweek to external drive and keep this somewhere safe, maybe off site eg in your locker at work, so should house burn down, you still have a copy. This would seem a pretty good option. But what happens if you delete some files on your PC or they get corrupted/ overwritten etc without you realizing. These changes will get replicated to your backup, 6 months later you realize the problem, grab the backup disc, but it's no use as the files on that are deleted too. Regular backup is key, and ideally keeping it somewhere away from the main PC, but you need an archive/snapshot copy too, I've been doing this once a year at the end of the year onto old/spare drives and keeping that stashed away somewhere

Cloud. Maybe. It's early days so far and i'm not sure how sustainable some of cloud plans are - will their business plans keep them afloat in 5 years time? Storage gets cheaper year on year, but energy prices are on a steep increase. Datacenters cost to run - some of these current offers may be unsustainable. Plus if you have hundred of GB of stuff- could be tricky/slow to restore.
wizardsmagic 10 43 England
6 Feb 2014 10:07PM

Quote:"Cloud" storage is as good as Internet connection is. Despite the name it is not straight over the head , but rather on some cheap server in Eastern European country. Why anyone thinks that this way of storing any information on a hard drive somewhere in, say, Romania is more private and technically reliable than on a similar a hard drive of your own computer is beyond my understanding.



I'm pretty sure nobody here thinks that the servers are in the sky. Smile Google have data centres in, I believe, around 30 locations around the world. Some probably in Eastern European countries, but I know they have one in the UK, and one in Ireland, as well as plenty in the US.

The hard drives in these servers may not be technically more reliable than a similar hard drive in your own computer, but they will have all sorts of raid configurations which will virtually eliminate data loss, as well as a robust backup and disaster recovery. This is the reason I use them. I don't have all my photos up there, I can't afford the storage for that, but I do keep anything which I would be devastated to lose should I have a disk failure.

These are the reasons I recommend cloud (not necessarily google, a much cheaper alternative has already been recommended), but because it eliminates my personal worry about my photos on failed drives, or burglers, or fire/flood in my house.
lobsterboy e2
10 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2014 11:00PM

Quote:
CD/DVD - No, won't last, discs rot/degrade etc

Cloud. Maybe. It's early days so far and i'm not sure how sustainable some of cloud plans are - will their business plans keep them afloat in 5 years time?



It really should not matter which one you choose...because you should never just choose one.
I expect my Hard drives will fail, I expect my cloud provider will go bust - that is why when these events happen it should make little different to me because I refuse to rely on any one of them.

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