TLC Thoughts: Hard Drive Failures and Adobe and Profoto Issues

Hard Drive Fails

An Fstoppers post reminded me today how paranoid I am about data loss despite – knock on wood – never having it happen to me. Well, I don’t think I’m paranoid but, every time I tell someone of my setup I’m told I might be.

I have a NAS RAID unit at the studio, which if you don’t know essentially has two drives in one box on a network. So, what you save to one drive is immediately duplicated to the second drive. If the main drive should fail, it switches to the other one, allowing your data to be saved and for you to keep working. You can then replace that drive for the data to be duplicated to it once installed.

I do way more than just this. I have the exact same unit at home and each hour they do a real-time sync between each other. Whichever unit has the latest or a new file on it, or a deleted file, is updated to the other unit. So, this means I have a full redundant off-site backup as well. I don’t have to rely on a cloud vendor to back up my data. This also has the advantage of allowing me to seamlessly work at the studio or home. I can save a file regardless of where I am and within an hour each location will have the latest version. It could be quicker too. I just choose to not unnecessarily bog down the network with syncing every minute or so. This setup saves me from having to place files on thumb drives or email them to myself, from putting them in the cloud, etc. to work on them from different locations. So, it’s more than just an off-site backup.

In addition, each NAS unit has an external USB hard drive connected to it and a full backup is done to each of these every day. Now that I write it out, maybe that is paranoid but, you know the cliché statement: I’d rather be safe than sorry. I love my pictures too much to settle for less.


Vendor Issues with Adobe and Profoto

As a photographer, I am very happy with software made available by Adobe and with hardware made available by Profoto. But, occasionally, even vendors we like disappoint. Adobe did it with Lightroom and Profoto with their new A1 speedlight.

Adobe made me switch long ago from using Lightroom as my initial RAW processor. All the research and real-life experience proved to me they were inferior in processing RAW files. But, Lightroom has other issues that plague it, that apparently persist – at least in complaints I keep reading about. It’s very slow, keeping you from keeping a flow in your workflow. The tethering really never got off the ground as it crashes more than a fly in a glass cube. So, it was disappointment when I read from SLR Lounge that Adobe is achieving record profit and, instead of reading that they’re investing it in their products their buying back stock. So, stockholders are getting rewarded rather than loyal customers. Loyal customers instead can expect a price increase, probably to allow for more buybacks.

As for Profoto, I love their gear. It’s just great to use. So, when I saw their A1 units announced last year I was excited, thought not at first. I went through the same thought process probably many photographers went through – $1,000 for a speedlight? After thinking it through many times, it just made sense to me to invest in the A1 speedlights. I could easily – and more affordably – augment or add to my B1 lighting arsenal. I could use the A1s to be more mobile for jobs that are suited to it instead of lugging around the B1s, and on and on. What I didn’t expect was that Profoto would not make available a spare battery now going on three or more months after the A1 release date.

The A1 is rated at up to 350 full power flashes before the battery will supposedly die and need recharging. In my experience, this doesn’t cut it for a full day job. So, I can’t count on the A1 for any job from a half day on.

Furthermore, I pointed out how I am about backups, and having backup batteries is no different. You could forget to bring one to a shoot. You could lose one. One might break (I had to replace one B1 battery within a year of buying the unit). It’s been too long waiting for spare batteries to be made available and there’s no news anywhere about when they can be expected. I’ve checked in with the major camera retailers and they all tell me they’ll have them in 1-2 weeks. Months later, none of these vendors have removed their “back-ordered” status.

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