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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gadget Bag: Field Storage

Multimedia storage viewers, MSVs for short, are much more than just a place to dump image files before reformatting a memory card while in the field

Labels: Gadget BagStorage

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Question: With truly affordable 16 GB and 32 GB memory cards available, do you really need a portable, field-deployable, multimedia storage device?

Answer: Yes! Now, more than ever.

Epson P 7000
Today’s sophisticated multimedia storage viewers (MSVs) offer large, bright LCD screens to browse images, making it possible to zoom in to check sharpness or delete the bad shots as necessary. Pro photographers use them to organize as well as store image files while on the road, and to create albums and slideshows to share with clients on the spot. Art directors never rest until the image they envisioned is in the can—so you can use an MSV to confirm a successful shoot.

Standard features include image browsing, rotating, copying and file deletion. All units mentioned on these pages provide a color LCD display that’s large enough to critically examine image files, and all have built-in slots that accommodate every type of memory card currently in use. All can be tethered to a computer for file exchange, and all are powered by rechargeable batteries. Most manufacturers—and every brand listed here—offer lower-priced models that offer less storage capacity, smaller monitors or other compromises. So if these top-of-the-line models exceed your needs, check the manufacturers’ websites for more options.

Digital Foci Picture Porter 35
Many MSV units extend their versatility by performing a variety of multimedia functions, including the ability to record directly from any video source. And, of course, they provide a handy way to enjoy movies and music when you’re on the road (some even have built-in speakers), so you can while away the hours when stranded at an airport. One even has a built-in FM radio receiver with recorder.

The preference for MSVs is a result of the fact that they’re small and easy to use—and much more convenient to carry than a notebook computer. Some are literally pocket-sized, and all can be stowed safely in even the smallest gadget bag. They’re built specifically to store, display and manage image files. Their pervasive popularity is a testimony to their reliability.

Picture Porter 35 from Digital Foci tips the scales at a svelte 14 ounces (with hard drive and battery), but packs up to a whopping 500 GB of storage space. It features a sharp, 3.5-inch LCD where you can browse, rotate, zoom, pan and view EXIF information or histograms. The Picture Porter 35 will display slideshows, including RAW images, and play audio files. PhotoMemo allows photographers to record comments with images and hear the comments during playback—a handy feature, particularly if your photo trek is of extended duration. Smaller capacities are available, but for long trips and large RAW files, this is the machine to pack. Estimated Street Price: $399 (250 GB).


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