There are several good reasons to pack a portable back-up drive when on location. If you’re filling up a memory card you can transfer the files without having to lug a laptop along. I shoot with a big 32GB SDHC card from Kingston that’s reliable and fast. I also keep 3 spare SDHC cards in my bag: a Lexar 16 GB (designed for 6 hours of HD video), and two 8GB cards. That’s 64GB—enough room for an encyclopedia’s worth of photos. Do you need that much memory? No. Two 8GB cards (or 1 16GB) is sufficient, and you won’t have to unload the memory. So why a portable drive? Insurance. Memory cards can become corrupted, so copying photos to a drive keeps paranoia away.
I’ve been using a NEXTO eXtreme ND 2700 and its proven to be convenient, dependable. and fast! The unit back-ups 1 GB in 40 seconds, and it can handle 60 GB on a single charge. Since I don’t like fussing with controls, the ND 2700 is just my cup of tech with one button simplicity. Press to turn it on and off, a short press to copy files and longer press to move them. That’s it. It’s automatic and it lets me stay focused on the job.
You can’t view your files on the drive, but there’s a backlit LCD which verifies data transfers and reports diagnostics. It has multiple slots and auto-detects all popular memory cards. The NEXTO eXtreme comes in various capacities from 160GB to 500GB. It includes a USB cable (and host adapter), eSATA cable, AC adapter, and a carry pouch. The unit will even perform incremental back-ups and (with a 2nd drive) sync functions.