64GB Storage to Go

Those who have seen me present live know that I tend toward being a little paranoid. And petty. Among other things. But mostly paranoid.

One of the most significant reasons I’m involved in photography is that I desperately want to preserve great memories. That can mean a beautiful location, a beautiful person, a beautiful moment, or so much more. Which is to say, I don’t want to lose those captured memories.

I spend a rather significant percentage of my time traveling, and that means I need to be able to work with my images on the go. More importantly that means I need to be able to store and backup my images while moving from one place to another.

On many occasions I’ve traveled with around 6 terabytes of storage. In my photo backpack. Slung over my shoulder. And I pay a price for lugging that extra weight around.

On some trips I simply need a huge amount of storage, on account of my heavy trigger finger. But sometimes I don’t need an absurd amount of storage. And the reality is, sometimes my storage needs aren’t all that crazy.

I’ve taken one or two flights where I didn’t have any luggage. None. Not a checked bag, not a carry-on bag. Just my iPhone and me. I can’t tell you what an amazing experience that is. And I have found a similar experience in traveling with storage that fits in my pocket. Literally.

You see, more often than not, I can get by with a handful of gigabytes when traveling for photography. And a JumpDrive is a perfect replacement to an external hard drive in those situations.

Take, for example, the SanDisk Extreme 64GB flash drive. It is tiny, simple, fast, and offers 64GB of storage. For many trips, that’s more than enough. And you can get this device for about a dollar a gigabyte. Phenomenal.

I’ve tended to think of these JumpDrives as a modern alternative to the “sneaker net”, making it possible to transfer files with relative ease from one computer to another. But the reality is that these tiny little gadgets enable you to share a considerable amount of data. So much data that in many cases it can take the place of a relatively heavy and annoying external hard drive. Amazing.

So, the next time you’re thinking about the need to backup your photos when on the go, think about a JumpDrive. I’ll bet it will make your life much easier. It has already made my life easier.

Here’s the JumpDrive I’m using:


There are many others. What do you think? Is this the best thing going for storage, or what? Feel free to share your comments below…

About Tim Grey

Tim Grey is in the business of making photographers smarter and happier. He is the author of more than a dozen books on digital imaging for photographers, has written hundreds of magazine articles, and publishes the Ask Tim Grey e-mail newsletter as well as the Pixology digital magazine. He also speaks at a variety of events and leads photography workshops around the world.
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11 Responses to 64GB Storage to Go

  1. Norwin Landay says:

    I have been using a PNY 64GB that I always carry in my pocket with my Quicken files and other files that are extremely important to me. Believe it or not, it has gone through the washing machine and still worked. Recently purchased a Sandisk Cruzer 128 GB for $65 on sale.

  2. John Kalish says:

    But a jump drive still means you need to carry a computer, doesn’t it? (Or is there a way to load your photos onto the drive without a computer?). Is it feasible just to use an iPad and a program like Photosmith to organize and cull your photographs, and wait until a return home to do any necessary post-processing? For me, that’s just a theory I’ve never been able to try out completely.

    • Tim Grey says:

      John – Yes, you still need a computer to transfer the images. There are other devices that enable you to download directly to portable storage, or directly to an iPad, for example, but since I pretty much always have my laptop when traveling, the JumpDrive is an ideal option when storage needs are relatively modest.


      • Michael Good says:

        This is a great idea, depending on the trip. But if a particular trip only needs a 64GB flash drive (and a computer) wouldn’t it make better sense to take a 64GB or even the new 128GB iPad? This way you eliminate the weight of the computer and still have an excellent screen on which to view your images. Unless I need to transmit, or do heavy PS editing in the field, I find the iPad route a great method. Plus you can send email, surf, etc :-) .

        • Tim Grey says:

          Michael – An iPad can certainly provide similar capabilities. For me, I rarely travel without a laptop, so the iPad option isn’t generally an ideal fit, even though I have my iPad with me as well. But if I were to travel without a laptop, an iPad would certainly be a great option as long as the limitations weren’t an issue.


          • Tim, you said “as long as the limitations weren’t an issue.” Could you please say more about the limitations. I’ve been wondering if an iPad purchase would allow me to leave the macbook at home. All I need is email, a web browser, and a way to do a rough edit for images shot that day and storage of them and your jumpdrive idea would be perfect for storage backup. Tks.

          • Tim Grey says:

            Terry – The limitations I’m referring to are those of the iPad compared to a laptop. In other words, you don’t have as much flexibility in terms of available software, storage capacity, peripheral support, and other issues. If you’re looking for basic storage and sharing, the iPad is a fine solution. But if you plan to do more significant work with your images a laptop might still be a better choice.


  3. Hi Tim,

    I am starting to shoot video with a DSLR (Canon 5DII). The small screen size on the Canon isn’t much good for doing follow focus during a stage show. Is there any cable connection I can use to connect the live view on the camera to my iPad, latest verision?


    • Tim Grey says:


      There aren’t any good solutions that involve a direct connect for the iPad with the camera. But you can use a laptop for this purpose for tethered capture. Not as compact as the iPad, but pretty feature rich.

      That said, it sounds like the ideal approach for you might be a simple accessory LCD display that connects to the camera to provide you with a larger viewing area. Something like this one:


      It is also possible that a good loop like those from HoodMan USA might be all you really need. Something like this:



  4. I would like your thoughts on how one might be shooting and backing up the images to a drive such as you mention here. Saw a recent post “somewhere” about the eye one card that would wirelessly backup your images while you continue to shoot, as long as you were in wireless range. In my case this would eliminate the need for a laptop while traveling and then just upload my pics once I return home to my computer…

    • Tim Grey says:

      Robert – The card with WiFi capabilities you’re referring to is the Eye-Fi, such as this one: http://amzn.to/YaaA44

      This can be a good approach when you’ll be on a consistent and reliable wireless network, but obviously that can be a challenge at times. When those challenges occur, you can always download via a wired connection to a wide variety of devices, including an iPad, portable storage device, or a laptop if you don’t mind traveling with it.

      But in an area where you’ll have good WiFi, the Eye-Fi cards can most certainly provide a good solution. Now if they would just make a CompactFlash version…


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