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Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Fri Aug 29, 2003 6:56 am


On Sunday I will go for a two week trip with lots of photo opportunities and I fear that my few CF-cards will be full pretty quick.

So I decided to look for a mobile storage device... in one photo shop I found the image tank (the old USB 1.0 version with 20GB for 250EUR...), but many shops also offered a portable CD writer for 299 EUR! I am now really thinking what to do :

Either invest in some more CF cards (256MB cost 70EUR here) or
buy an image tank, even the old version or
buy a portable CD writer.

Does anyone of you have experiences with these devices? I would be curious to hear if they are as useful and secure as I hope them to be....


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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Fri Aug 29, 2003 7:24 am

Yes, but a portable PC also needs a laptop, power supply, cables etc.

For a really long trip, yes, a necessity to back up/clear your laptop, but not, I think a practical in the field device ... not really comparable to an image tank.


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Fri Aug 29, 2003 7:57 am

I found the Image Tank to be a disaster (that specific product, not the generic idea). After loosing an entire trip's worth of images, I got my money back and bought something better (Nixvue Vista).

In retrospect, I know why I had the problem - I had used the Image Tank as an external disk drive (the manual said this was okay) before my trip. In doing this I created a directory name on the IT which the built-in OS could not understand. After that it pretended to copy data (taking the correct amount of time, all the lights flashing correctly), but there was no data on the disk when I got home. I was a little irritated(!).

The long battery-life, bundled car power adapter and user-installable disk drive were very nice features of the Image Tank, however my photos are too valuable to trust to a device with no ability to verify the file transfers.

Just my 2p worth!

TZ Aviation - Aeropuerto de los Banditos Team Images
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Fri Aug 29, 2003 8:18 am

Thanks for the replies!

@ Colin : Ths CD writer does not need a laptop (in fact I don't own a laptop...). It is a little box with a LI-IO battery where you put in the CF card and an empty CD, push "record" and have the data from the CF card transferred to the CD.... SOunds easy, but is it any good?

@ Tamsin : Thanks, will look out for the Nixvue vista, although no shop here will have it. But maybe I find something in the UK next week?


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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Fri Aug 29, 2003 8:57 am

Hmm - haven't seen this yet. Nice idea but some things to consider:

1 - you'll need a lot of CDs (with protective cases) to match the capacity of the image tank or similar

2 - How does this verify a successful write? Can it be trusted? My own PC based CD writer is pretty good, but will occasionally produce a duff disk - probably a problem with the disk, but it is an issue.

3 - what would battery life be like? My instinct is that the higher powered laser needed to burn a CD must be a bigger drain on the battery than a CD player ... but how much?

On the plus side, if battery life is not an issue, you have effectively unlimited storage at a low cost, you can make multiple copies for security - and even post them home while you're away - and no fussing about with cables to transfer files to another PC. I also like the idea of having an automatic archive of your images.


Colin K. Work, Pixstel
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Fri Aug 29, 2003 10:03 am

I have the Image Tank as well. I'm quite satisfied with it. The only drawback indeed is that you can't really tell whether the file transmission was successfull or not. You can only hope for the best. So, in my opinion it lacks a bit of functionality. I'd like to see it with more buttons and a bigger screen.

The CD-writer is worth looking at. The only drawback is that you'll probably have to take a lot of CD's with you, and you can only write once (CD-R).

Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography

RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Fri Aug 29, 2003 5:27 pm

Hi Tom,

I went through the same decision as you at the beginning of this month. It was between the same CD burner and the picturepad from delkin. I finally chose the picturepad because of reasons like it having a screen and its 20GB storage. I used 11GB from my trip in North America and didn't loose any pictures, it is a reliable machine. I know other people who have it and who have had only good things to say about it. However I bought it to my needs, I don't know what you will be specifically using it for.

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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:12 am

I have a X-Drive II Mass Media Storage 20GB with USB 2.0 for fast transfers. Its USEFULL as hell. Not only does it take pretty much any Memory Card (Including Micro Drive) but it serves as a portable hard drive. In case you need to transfer games, music etc.

It is pretty basic with just Power and Copy buttons and a screen which shows the transfer/battery/and errors if they come up. And you do KNOW when a transfer has been disrupted or incomplete. Comes very handy and the battery out in the field usually lasts for up to 15 transfers. Good thing about it is if you decide to upgrade or switch equipment and the mem. cards it doesent matter because like it has universal capability.
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Sat Aug 30, 2003 8:59 am

I had an Image Tank and it was possibly the best peice of kit I had. I then moved onto a Mindstor and had nothing but problems. When the X-Drive finally got a USB 2 interface I moved on again but if you download the X-Drive to your PC and the battery runs out on the X-Drive the disc becomes corrupt and loses the images. I lost 3 hours worth only the other week so wasn't a happy bunny.


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RE: Portable CD Writer Vs. Image Tank

Sat Aug 30, 2003 11:20 pm

I'm using an Image Tank... Very simple to use. Just one negative point... You don't have confirmation if everything has been written to the HD.
I lost some 500 pictures due to that. But that was my fault, I hadn't pushed the card completely in the cardslot... I saw (read: I thought) that the IT was doing the copy-work, and put it back in my photobag. Afterwards I picked out my card, erased all pictures and continue my work. Once home, I saw the problem... Since than I always keep the IT visible if something strange should occur or it shuts down much earlier than expected.

And on the other hand, if you got a portable CD writer. You have to take many empty CD's with you... And how do you write a 1GB CF to a 700mb CD?

aeroBEL - Belgian Aviation Photographer
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Mon Sep 01, 2003 3:07 pm

I used my image tank on a trip last week - no problems transfering 'in the field' and no images lost although there is always a small doubt that everything is ok - I have 12gb of images on the tank and all was ok when transfered back to my pc
English First, British Second, european Never!
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Mon Sep 01, 2003 4:05 pm

I am also using the Image Tank and i only had one problem which was caused by the same failure as described by Tamsin. Its very reliable.
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Mon Sep 01, 2003 10:56 pm

I wonder if someone is using this device
Any opinions ?
I would like to buy it soon..
Polishman in New York
Jan Mogren
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:06 am

That looks interesting. It says it reads Canon (.crf)
Is there such a file or is it a typo?
Sure would be more interested if it could read .crw
AeroPresentation - Airline DVD's filmed in High Definition
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:23 am

I wish I had known the reason (as I described above) for my Image Tank failure before I returned for a refund. It was a neat device, and very inexpensive. They can be purchased without a HDD installed, and you can install your own. I put a 60GB drive into mine, and the price was only a little more than the off-the-shelf 30GB variant!

The Nixvue Vista is a brilliant device, but it is devilishly expensive and has a pretty short battery life.

TZ Aviation - Aeropuerto de los Banditos Team Images
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:38 am

I've had an Image Tank for a while now... The problems that befell Tamsin and Tom (sorry to hear about them!) are now well documented on dpreview so I've been very cautious about using it only for flash card copies, I don't delete the directories and files from the IT, but instead I periodically reformat the whole IT drive from my desk top PC.

When I've been away, I've usually had the opportunity to connect the IT to a PC once in a while, and I've done so just to check that the files are there - often I've been able to do that before I format the flash cards, as I have 2.5GB in flash anyway. Having had no errors so far (touch wood) I am now much more happy to trust the IT, using it within the operating constraints now documented on various websites. I have to say that despite all my paranioa, the IT was worked flawlessly so far and for the price I consider it a bargain.

I shoud add that by nature I am very cautious though... For example, I never format flash cards until I need them emptied again, even if they're copied to the IT. I never format the IT drive until I've copied it onto the desktop PC and I've burned CD copies. Basically, the more copies of an image I have the happier I am, and I just don't delete stuff from anywhere until I have to.


[Edited 2003-09-01 18:40:29]
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots
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RE: Portable Cd Writer Vs. Image Tank

Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:05 am

I'm a satisfied image tank customer as well. Battery life is excellent I use it for about 5gb of data every other weekend and I've never had any trouble at all. For the price, it was, and is, unbeatable.

Like most I wish that the firmware was just a little advanced so you could check the files present in the directories on the machine but I'm reasonably confident that it's reliable.

Jason Taperell - AirTeamImages

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