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Shooting on the road, whether it's on vacation or on assignment, introduces a variety of considerations for photographers of all levels. How do you store the shots, back them up, edit and enhance images in the field, and then merge those images with your master library at home? In this course, Ben Long addresses these topics and more from the perspective of several field-shooting scenarios, including city vacationing and backcountry hiking.
The course takes a look at the hardware and software issues behind field shooting: assessing storage and backup needs, evaluating GPS geotagging options, surveying power and charging issues, and more. After discussing each of the components, Ben shows how they fit together in different field setups, ranging from an extravagant laptop-based system to a no-computer setup that backs up photos to a compact digital wallet device. The course also spotlights some workflow strategies to consider when you get home, from transferring photos to merging them with a larger photo library.
I like to say a few words about choosing media cards. When you go media card shopping, you're probably going to find a number of options. First of course, there's capacity, and you can choose to have a few really large cards or a bunch of smaller cards. The idea with a bunch of smaller cards is that if a card fails, you don't lose as many images. The problem with smaller cards is you've got to swap more and you've got to carry more. If you are going to be event shooting and things like that, smaller cards don't make so much sense. Also along with capacity, you're going to be seeing speed ratings, and there are a number of different speed ratings. Older cards will simply have a multiplication factor. Newer cards will probably have a bit rate.
If you're looking at SD cards, there will be a class number, which is a single-digit number. In all these cases higher is faster and that means that images will transfer more quickly. How fast you actually need? When you're looking you'll see that well, here is a really fast card, but it's going to be much more expensive than a slower card. Do you need the fastest card? Not necessarily. If you're shooting video, a faster card makes a big difference, but to a still shooter what difference does speed make when we're only shooting one image at a time? Well the fact is, we often don't just shoot one image at a time.
If you tend to shoot bursts of images, the buffer in your camera will fill up and you won't be able to shoot again until that buffer is emptied. How quickly that buffer empties is partly dependent upon the speed of your card. So if you're going into a situation or if your normal style of shooting is that you tend to shoot bursts and you want to shoot lots of bursts in quick succession, then you should get a faster card. If you don't even know how to turn burst mode on on your camera, then a faster card probably isn't going to matter to you. If you're tend to be more conservative in your shooting and you shoot single frames here and there, then you're going to be able to get away with a less expensive slower card.
If you want, you can mix it up. Get some fast cards. Get some slow cards. Overall you'll spend less money than getting all fast cards. If you're going into a situation where you know you need lots of fast burst shooting, then drop one of the faster cards into your camera. That way you can have a mix of performance capabilities without breaking the bank and you can save your money for some other gear.
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