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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Post Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    We tried something new on our recent trip - using Amazon's Cloud Drive (free with Prime membership, or $11.99/year - I don't know what the options are for people outside the US) as a backup for our pictures while we were traveling. Our primary goal here was that if one of our cameras was stolen or lost, or a memory card died, we wouldn't lose the pictures we took, or at least limit the damage. It worked very well, so I thought I'd share our observations from using it, in no particular order. (Note, we have iDevices, and I assume the Android apps are similar but haven't used them.)

    1. First, you have unlimited storage for photo on Cloud Drive, and raw files from Nikon count. (My wife's Olympus' camera's raw files didn't, though. We usually shoot JPG with that camera anyway.) So, no worries about fees or running out of space. This also means there's no rush to get them off for fear of being charged more. Videos count against your 5 GB space allocation.

    2. We used an adapter to read our SD cards with our iPads, imported the pictures to the iPad, then uploaded them using the Amazon Photo app. This required us to have Wifi, but most places we stayed at did. No need for a laptop, which was a nice weight and hassle savings.

    2a. In some cases I didn't upload every picture I took, especially if the Wifi seemed to be slow. For example, when I'm taking a picture of a car, locomotive, airplane, etc., in a museum, I'll also take a picture of the sign that shows what it is, for later data entry. Sometimes I didn't upload the pictures of the signs.

    2b. The upload can take some time, even on a fast connection. It wanted to keep our iPads awake, which meant you'd want to plug it in if you're uploading more than a few photos. (I think if it still uploads if the tablet is asleep, but slower.) We would often start it then go to bed. It will let the tablet turn off when the upload is finished.

    2c. On a related note, for several reasons, it's best to upload your new pictures as soon as possible, lest you run into Slow Wifi Inn and it takes 12 hours to upload. Or, the internet isn't working at one hotel (incidentally, this happened only at the MOST EXPENSIVE HOTEL WE STAYED AT on our trip). Plus, by waiting longer than necessary, you increase your losses if something does happen to your camera or memory card.

    3. My wife accidentally deleted the pictures off her SD card after importing them the first time. So, be careful about doing that. This has nothing to do with Amazon; she accidentally hit "remove" instead of "keep" after the import. Fatigue definitely played a role - it was only our second or third day there and we were on the go a lot, and still adjusting to a 6 hour time change. We put that SD card aside and didn't use it again during the trip, and I was able to recover all of the pictures after we returned. Consider switching the SD card to read-only when you plug them into the tablet.

    4. It does require space on your tablet; if you have limited storage you might be frustrated. Try it and see how it goes. Worst case, you'd import some, upload them, remove them from the tablet, then repeat until you're done. If you're short on space, save yourself some headaches and import only those pictures that are most important. If you have an Android tablet that has a slot for Micro SD cards, theoretically you could use that with an adapter in your camera, then plug it in to the tablet and upload away, skipping the need for import. I don't know if it really would be that simple, but it seems like it could be. (It's been a while since I've used Android, and my Android tablet didn't have a card slot.)

    5. The Amazon Photo app isn't bad but could use some improvement - I found it annoying that there was no way to see which pictures weren't in an album already. (My wife uploaded pictures that had nothing to do with our trip, so I had to wade through those.) It also didn't seem to have a "select all" ability, but you can tap and drag to select photos, so it wasn't too bad to select a full screen of pictures for upload, then scroll up and select the next screen.

    5a. However, it does have a way to look at pictures only from a given device, which was very handy - for example, I knew all of the pictures from my iPad would be from the trip, so I could easily add them to the correct album in Amazon Photo.

    6. The Amazon Photo app didn't interpret the NEF files; it only displayed the embedded JPG preview, so they look like a blocky mess in the app. We didn't mind considering the goal was backup only, but if you're planning to use them for showing off keep that in mind (might be a good time to use the RAW+JPG option).

    7. It was an easy way to get pictures and videos we took with our phones on to a real computer after the trip. It's easy enough to download the pictures using a browser on the computer.

    8. It has also been convenient to be able to pull up random pictures on my phone to show people. However, if you're going to do this, do yourself a favor and put things in multiple albums in the Amazon Photo app. As it is, I find myself scrolling through ~1700 pictures to get to the one I want. At least they are sorted by time...

    9. When importing on the iPad, it was easiest to do the import, then go to the "Last Import" album, and put all of those pictures in a new album each time. (I was doing "Germany 2016-1", then "-2", and so on, but you could also use dates or whatever works.) Then, in the Amazon Photo app, you can easily select the album then select all of the pictures in there to upload, rather than having to remember which ones you already uploaded. (This is another spot where the Amazon Photo app could be improved.)

    Anyway, I thought I'd just share our experience with it. Fortunately, we didn't need our backups, but if we had we would've been very glad we did this, and I'm sure we'll do it again for major vacations in the future.

    We also looked at using Google Drive for this, but the free storage for photos with Amazon pushed us that way.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    Obviously you have better luck with getting a decent wi-fi connection than I have. I personally transfer the days photos to my notebook which can easily hold 250GB. I also don't delete the photos on the memory card as I have spares. Post processing, organization, and uploads are done on return home.

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    Quote Originally Posted by olegeiser View Post
    Obviously you have better luck with getting a decent wi-fi connection than I have. I personally transfer the days photos to my notebook which can easily hold 250GB. I also don't delete the photos on the memory card as I have spares. Post processing, organization, and uploads are done on return home.
    That's what I've done in the past, but then we would've had to carry a notebook around, which we didn't otherwise need on the trip. We were moving a lot from city to city, so anything that wasn't absolutely necessary wasn't welcome. We had to schlep our bags into museums, train stations, lockers, overhead racks in trains, etc., so we really wanted to carry as little as possible.

    Every hotel we stayed in had wifi - in fact that was part of our criteria for picking them. It seemed to work reasonably well, most of the time (except the one, as I mentioned above).

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Woodyg3's Avatar

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    Good tip! Thanks.
    Woody Green

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  5. #5
    Staff
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    Quote Originally Posted by skater View Post
    2. We used an adapter to read our SD cards with our iPads, imported the pictures to the iPad, then uploaded them using the Amazon Photo app. This required us to have Wifi, but most places we stayed at did. No need for a laptop, which was a nice weight and hassle savings.
    Question for you on this as I don't own an iPad. When you uploaded the photos to Amazon, were any of the files compressed by the iPad? I'm asking because once when I emailed a full size jpeg to a few people, one woman forwarded the message from her iPad to another person. That other person got miffed when he took the file to get printed and found it was low resolution. After a little back-and-forth with this other person, I learned the file size was severely lowered by the iPad. Just wondering if perhaps it only pertains to emails, or if iPads in general compress photos.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
    PapaST's Avatar

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    Forgive me for not reading your entire post. If you covered it I apologize. My ADHD is just terrible in my old age. My question is, once you delete the pics from your iDevice does it stay in your cloud storage or does it mirror your iDevice (therefore deleting what has been removed).

  7. #7
    Staff
    Challenge Team
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    RocketCowboy's Avatar

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    Quote Originally Posted by hark View Post
    Question for you on this as I don't own an iPad. When you uploaded the photos to Amazon, were any of the files compressed by the iPad? I'm asking because once when I emailed a full size jpeg to a few people, one woman forwarded the message from her iPad to another person. That other person got miffed when he took the file to get printed and found it was low resolution. After a little back-and-forth with this other person, I learned the file size was severely lowered by the iPad. Just wondering if perhaps it only pertains to emails, or if iPads in general compress photos.
    When emailing photos on the iPad, the sender will get prompted for how compressed they want the image to be. It's actually four selections: low, medium, high, or original.
    Thanks/Like hark Thanks/liked this post
     
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  8. #8
    Staff
    Challenge Team
    Super Mod
    RocketCowboy's Avatar

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    Quote Originally Posted by skater View Post
    We tried something new on our recent trip - using Amazon's Cloud Drive (free with Prime membership, or $11.99/year - I don't know what the options are for people outside the US) as a backup for our pictures while we were traveling. Our primary goal here was that if one of our cameras was stolen or lost, or a memory card died, we wouldn't lose the pictures we took, or at least limit the damage. It worked very well, so I thought I'd share our observations from using it, in no particular order. (Note, we have iDevices, and I assume the Android apps are similar but haven't used them.)
    Very detailed review. Thanks for taking the time to write all that out!

    I'm intrigued because I'm trying to slim down my travel kit as well, and have been traveling with laptop, external drive, iPad, etc, so seems like a very valid way to go when wifi is available and affordable. I'm also a Prime member, so I need to check this out too.

  9. #9
    Staff
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    RocketCowboy's Avatar

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    Quote Originally Posted by PapaST View Post
    Forgive me for not reading your entire post. If you covered it I apologize. My ADHD is just terrible in my old age. My question is, once you delete the pics from your iDevice does it stay in your cloud storage or does it mirror your iDevice (therefore deleting what has been removed).
    Deleting from the iDevice should not remove from the cloud storage. I know this is true when syncing to Dropbox, and would expect the same with Amazon or Google. The photos app on the device is not mirroring the content, but rather exporting/sending to the cloud app.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Horoscope Fish's Avatar

    Re: Amazon Cloud Drive as a backup while traveling

    I've been tempted to try one of these Western Digital My Passport Wireless hard drives.

    From SD card to hard disk drive, no computer needed.
    Thanks/Like RocketCowboy Thanks/liked this post
     
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