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What is the most recommended media for storage a professional studio's photos for ever?

Posted on 2008-06-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
My brother has a photo studio that make about 100GB of photos a month. We was using DVDs and HDs for storage photos. Recently, we started to backup the oldest photos with DAT technology, however I have doubts about this yet. Is DAT the best technology for this situation? How much safe is the DVD (I had no good experience with them, neither with HDs)? Is there any other optical technology better and safer than DVD?

Question by:geraldooliveira
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

top_rung earned 150 total points
ID: 21839497
Nothing it forever so if you want that guarantee, you won't find it.  Use of DVDs/CDs and Harddrives are your best realistic option IMO.  I believe that anything magnetic based (Tapes, drives, etc) will be much more susceptible to problems if not properly maintained.   If you use CDs, use CDR not CDRW.  But realize that should consider re-archiving them years into the future as they will probably last 15-20yrs.   I hear of people really like using Kodak Gold DVD media for longterm storage and I have heard claims that they are tested and expected to last 80+ years.   Personally, I would use a combination of harddrives and DVDs stored in appropriate enclosures and proper temperatures/humidities.   HDs for fast access, but DVDs for archival.  

But 100GB of data EVERY month will be whole bunch of storage and a whole bunch of maintenance depending on how long you plan on keeping up that rate.   Try to prioritize the top images and not retain everything if it isn't absolutely necessary. That can become a big problem -keeping everything, duplicates spread around, etc.  

Author Comment

ID: 21839629
I'm afraid to use DVD's because I had some problems with them. Some DVDs (can't remember the factory) after few days have been burned, behave like a blank DVD, consequently the data was lost. When the DVDs became popular, everybody used to talk they was the great solution for storage videos etc, but I have heard about very bad experiences with them. Maybe the quality of the product can be the key for this problem. Can you give me more information to make me more safe aboult this topic?
LVL 32

Assisted Solution

r-k earned 120 total points
ID: 21839908
Forever is a long time, but if you mean, 10 to 20 years, then a combination of DVD's and HD's is your best option. Skip the tapes, they are less reliable than other options, and the drives themselves will probably be obsolete soon.

Re. your bad experience with DVD's perhaps you had bad media or an unreliable drive? I've had excellent results with a Plextor PX-708A DVD drive and Verbatim DVD-R and DVD+R disks for the last 4 years. Sure every now and then there is a bad disk, but I always make two or more copies, and most importantly I read them back on a different drive as a test. In your case I would add a an extra backup on hard drive. A 1 TB drive is now around $200 or less. Be sure that some of the backups are stored at a different physical location to guard against theft, fire etc. Avoid DVD+RW or DVD-RW media as they are not so reliable.

You may additionaly want to verify media every so often (say once every 2 years) to be sure they are still readable. A good way is to get a checksum program. Save the checksum for each disk, then compare it next time. A good program I know of is fsum: http://fsumfe.sourceforge.net/index.php

For Hard Drives, use Seagate as the brand for better reliability.

LVL 111

Assisted Solution

by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 105 total points
ID: 21840452
geraldooliveira: I have the same issues, and I want to minimize both the risk of loss and the time I spend at the computer.  I do not produce quite as much photo information, but 100GB would only be one 4GB card per workday - not an unreasonable number for a studio.  

I have found two things to be true about photography.  First, if you take a lot of pictures, you need a good way to organize your image files.  Second, bad photos don't get better if they are left around for a long time.  If I shoot a sports event, I may sell one or two images.  There is no extra value to either me or the client to keep the unwanted images, so I make it a practice to review and delete old files that are unwanted a year after image capture.

I shoot raw and large-fine-jpeg concurrently.  Recently I've been using JAlbum to make client albums for online viewing.  JPG files are not color-correct, but for many purposes they are adequate for a first look.

To enable me to find the files, I name the directory paths with the ISO8601date and client number like 2008-06-21-Landon21.

To store the files, I keep everything current on my large, fast integrated PC hard drive.  I back up files on whatever the most current Lacie rugged is available: http://store.apple.com/us/reviews/TQ571ZM/A  And I upload everything to my web site with a hosting company (Pair).  They do the backups, etc. and I don't have to get involved with the computer science.  It's just FTP for me.

My photo contracts expire after one year.  For more permanent backup of any photo prints that a client  ordered I keep the image files in the web site (I upload the raw and finished print files there).  If there are no print orders, I usually just keep the Jalbum and JPG files on the web server and discard the raw files to save space.

So, no long-term issues with CD or DVD.  I occasionally make a CD-Rom or DVD for a client, but it's rare.    They usually want only a few images and they often come back to me for those.  I give them a link to the files on the web server and they're happy.

HTH, ~Ray

HTH, ~Ray

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31469489
Thanks for your help, I will reshearch some more based in the your informations. Regards.

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