Okay, so as you probably know by now, I recently went to Cuba. I was warned by at least one friend who had recently been that I shouldn’t take my laptop, for fear of it being nicked. Fair enough, but what on earth would I do with my photos once my memory cards were full?
When I went to Seattle, i tried using a dedicated device for uploading my photos. Sadly it was too unreliable, and there was no way of viewing the photos that were on there so I didn’t trust. Also, it was on that trip that I bought my laptop, so I found I just used that instead.
So this time around I went for a different solution. I bought an iPod Camera Connector (about £1 off eBay). This little do-hickey features an iPod connector at one end, and a female USB socket on the other, and allows one to plug a camera into the iPod via a normal USB cable, and upload photos.
At first, it seems to work well enough. The most obvious drawback with shooting RAW is the iPod won’t let you see the pictures, instead the thumbnail is just a question mark. Each card’s photos are uploaded to a new ‘Camera Roll’ on the iPod, although the thumbnail previews only seem to be accessible when the camera connector is plugged in.
Now to the downsides, and they are many and manifest. Firstly, battery life. The connector seems to drain batteries at a prodigious rate. A single 4GB card will take around 90 minutes (at best) to fill, and in that time my fully charged 60GB iPod video lost about half its power. This was even more of an issue because Cuba’s crappy voltage meant that it took about two hours to recharge the iPod.
Then there were the crashes. Every time I wanted to upload a new card I’d have to manually reset the iPod, or it would give me a series of strange messages suggesting the photos had been uploaded (though they weren’t), and that the card was empty (when it wasn’t).
Worst of all though was the fact that the iPod lost several of my photos. At the time, all seemed to have gone well, and the photos appeared to have been uploaded successfully. Unfortunately, when I got home, it turned out that two tranches of about 40 had vanished. Now these weren’t whole cards, just bits of them. I assume that the iPod had either crashed or run out of memory and hadn’t let me know, allowing me to think it had worked perfectly. To say I was annoyed with this was an understatement. The connector is official Apple merchandise, and one generally expects that to be some sort of mark of quality. Not in this case.
To make matters worse, this was not an isolated incident. In my attempts to work out what had gone wrong I scoured Google and discovered that these problems were commonplace. I am not impressed, and would urge anyone else thinking of relying on a Camera Connector / iPod combo to save their photos on holiday not to bother. Instead, you’re better off with a laptop (it would have been worth the risk, Cuba is a lot safer than many people fear), or just simply buying as many high capacity cards as you can.