Technology is a wonderful thing, but a delicate thing. While it is convenient to rely on online storage, it is costly in the long term. Monthly subscriptions ultimately cost more than the upfront cost of external hard drives.
For photographers and especially those working with film, file storage is incredibly important. RAW files and 4K video files take an incredible amount of space on their own, not to mention the edited versions that will come out the other end that also need to be stored. We are talking about external hard drives as they are easily obtained, reliable and mobile.
An external hard drive has the advantage that it is a one time purchase, not a monthly subscription that scales with the amount of space used. These days a 6TB external hard drive can be found for under $200.00 CAD in your local Staples. In comparison, Google Drive allows for 2TB of storage for $139.99 CAD a year. External hard drives don’t have sharing options built in, but most photography and film does not rely on online sharing of final files.
While traveling or in remote areas, there is no requirement for Internet connection to store files in order to clear SD cards. While a hard drive is a physical item that can be broken, models are available that are built to be jostled about without compromising their memory.
External hard drives are incredibly fast. Working on files directly from the external hard drives is easy and nearly instantaneous these days. This doesn’t just follow for files, but for backups as well.
With simple folders and formatting they are incredibly easy to use for beginners with computers and cameras. They really feel like a natural extension of the computer.
There are so many kinds of external hard drives these days that buying one for a specific purpose or multi purposing is easy. They come pre-formated, blank like a USB or as a physical external hard drive, such as the one running your computer. Each comes with its drawbacks but buying the right one for the task required decreases risks. For example, a passport style external storage is much better when traveling than a desktop external drive. There are external devices that accept SD cards directly, a style recommended for travel.