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Photography Question 
Byron L. Dickinson

Store digital photography

Has anyone store pictures on USB flash drives for any long time lenght?. Would they be a good way to store digital photography? Thank you

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1/24/2008 5:08:57 PM

Hi Byron,

Flash "drives" are not drives.
Flash "drives" are really memory chips, integrated circuits. There are no power hungry moving parts like spinning harddisks or reader arms. Nothing mechanical to wobble or wear out. Flash "drives" are Solid State technology. Extremely power efficient, superfast write & read, and the most reliable digital storage/archival technology on the market by a streetlength.

The trade-off is the price. Solid State memory is – GB for GB – screamingly expensive compared to tape, DVD's, or especially harddisk arrays.

You be the judge whether that's worth it.

Have fun!

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1/25/2008 6:46:58 AM

Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
Well explained, William.

For the reason, flash drives are in fact memory chips, most commonly available and affordable flash drives are of 2GB to 8GB in size. I read that there are larger size drives up to 64GB but oh my, they are far more costlier than normal 250GB to 500GB external (USB) Hard Drives.
Therefore, I do not think it's feasible to use Flash drives as your backup media.

Also, even using 64GB size flash drives, they do not accommodate most of photographers' needs to store large number of digital photos.

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1/25/2008 10:06:40 AM

William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  Byron, I think W and Nobi have identified the issue. Unless you intend to store relatively few files, flash memory is not economical today. Both Apple and Dell have come out with notebooks with only flash memory in the past year. They are faster, more reliable, more power efficient and generate less heat but they are expensive and memory capacity is limited. But as with all things digital, prices continue to come down and capacity goes up and in a few years we will see affordable flash memory arrays with capacities suited to storing large numbers of files. You are just a little ahead of your time.


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1/25/2008 10:38:24 AM

"You are just a little ahead of your time."

That's right. Like nuclear fusion and hydrogen engines in their respective scientific spheres, large scale solid state SRAM data storage at competitive cost has been an elusive holy grail in IT for almost half a century.

I remember thinking in the mid-seventies – when I was an IT guy – that it was just around the corner. Only a few years off...

To be sure, large advances have been made. But so did HDD technology: capacities way up, cost way down. Solid state "hard disks" never seem to quite catch up with HDD technology.

Will the next 10 years be any different from the previous 30...?

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1/25/2008 3:07:48 PM

William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/8/2006
  Such a pessimist. Let's see - 5 years ago CF card cost was greater than $100/G. I just saw a Lexar 4G Professional CF card for $80 with a $30 rebate advertised by Adorama. External hard drives run about $5/G so flash memory has substantially closed the gap on price and even if it never catches dive technology the clear advantages in reliability and speed that you pointed out would justify the extra expense now. The iPod touch is essentially a flash memory device with 16G selling at around $400. In two or three years someone is going to produce an external flash "drive" of 250G or more at a competitve price and I hope I own stock in the company.


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1/26/2008 5:15:52 AM

"In two or three years " . . .

Mañana! Always mañana . . .

I'm not holding my breath.

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1/26/2008 10:46:29 AM

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