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NextoDI NPS-10 XQD Compact Portable Backup Storage

Quite a mouthfull... So, what is it, what does it do and why do you need one? Let's find out!

Author: Thushara Verhoeven | Photo & image credits: © NextoDI, Adobe Stock & © TPJ Verhoeven Photography | Published on: 13 October 2020 | Last edited on: 20 October 2021


1. Introduction

In September 2020 I was asked to shoot a wedding. A gig that would take about 13 hours. Now this isn't unusal in the wedding business but these kind of working hours come with their own challenges.


Weddings generally are a lot of fun. First and foremost for the happy couple themselves and for their guests. Everybody is smiling and having a good time, which often results in lots of good photo opportunities. However fun it may be, for you as the photographer a wedding gig probably also could mean a long and tiring shoot. Let's be honest. The only thing the bride and groom have to do, is say the right word at the right time and then they can go eat, drink and party with their family and friends for the rest of the day! You on the other hand have to be constantly on your guard to capture every little detail and happening.


To you as a photographer of course all of your shoots are important, but weddings take a special place for two valid questions:

• Do you have enough storage space to carelessly capture all of those precious moments without running low?

• What if something were to go wrong with your memory cards or equipment during the job? 


There is a wide variety of solutions out there how to deal with both issues. Which ones are for you is of personal choice, but losing unique and precious images that cannot be captured again is certainly not an acceptable option at a wedding. So how do you stay on the safe side?


Two main answers to this question: have large large capacity memory cards at your disposal. However that in turn has two disadvantages: if things go South, you will lose more data. The second one being that large capacity cards are more expensive. 


Personally I don't opt for small memory cards. I went for larger cards from established and trusted brands. My first choices are Sony G Series XQD cards (64, 120 & 240 GB) and then there is a Sony XQD M series card for when I don't need the high writing speeds.

nexttodinps10xqdbackup

NextoDI NPS-10 XQD Compact Portable Backup Storage

Large, fast and pricey vs. small, slow and cheap?

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a camera. And in relation to the camera, there is also the storage medium to consider. What kind of cards are you going to use? What capacity and how fast does it have to be? 

Since I'm a Nikon D500 and Z6II shooter I use both XQD and SD cards. And the nice people over at Nikon have provided me with a convenient solution as well, because both these camera models have not one but two card slots and they both come with their own safe in-camera backup function. 

Since the D500 is able to shoot at 10 fps in fast burst mode (Z6II at 14 fps), those cards need to be not only large but also fast to capture all that data without delay. Also you don't want to have to wait for your camera to finish writing before you can use it again, hence a camera with a large buffer is nice to have. Imagine having a slow camera with a small bugger and a slow card: that bird will surely be gone by the time your camera is finished writing the previously taken photos. To put things into perspective: the D500 produces RAW files which are approximately 45~50MB each. This means that when shooting in fast burst mode around half a gigabyte of data is created in a single second. Long story short: since I'm regularly a fast action shooter I really do need both those high writing speeds and the large amount of storage space.

Fast, reliable, large capacity cards are expensive. A 240GB Sony G XQD card costs around € 350,00 (Sept 2020, The Netherlands). But even if you don't consider the price, its storage capacity will suffice most of the time but it's not infinite. This particular card is capable of holding roughly 4.600 photos before running out of space. That sounds like a lot, but in my case that card will be full before I fly home while I'm on holiday for a couple of weeks.

Broken SD card

Broken SD card

This is truly a sad sight. Try to avoid this if at all possible!

"I'm losing it"

Preferably not, please. Because the next big fear which I needed to tackle was the risk of losing precious work due to failing equipment, theft or worse...

You certainly don't want that and luckily there's more than one solution available out there to minimize the chances of that happening. For example, in stead of one large card you could buy a number of smaller cards to divide the load. A smaller cards is cheaper and in this case if you lose one card or if it fails, you end up losing only part of the photos instead of the entire batch. A wedding can't be recreated and precious moments are simply unique.

So... what more can be done? Bring a PC or a laptop along during a shoot to periodically backup and empty the cards in the meantime. The problem here is that a laptop is heavy and takes up space in your camera bag. What if the laptop drops or someone spills a drink all over it? All in all: yes, it's a solution but one with cons which in my case don't outweigh the pros.

To tackle this there are numerous standalone devices on the market. They however all proclaim the same message: "Back up your photos before it's too late!" And rightly so. You may never need to backup a single memory card in your entire life, but what IF you find yourself for once in the unfortunate situation of losing all your photos, which could've been easily avoided "if you would've just...." well.. you get it, right? Better safe than sorry goes especially for the professional photographers who depend on their photography for a living. Besides that, simply no one wants to lose photos on the job, right? I bet we all thought of the big "What if...?" at some point in our photography career.

2. NextoDI NPS-10 XQD Compact Portable Backup Storage

So, already back in 2019 I prepared myself for doing a ton of research with the prospect of painstaking nights at the computer and a million of website to go through. Luckily I rather quickly found out that there are actually not much truly reliable in-the-field handheld solutions. I picked a solution from this amazing Korean company. They have more than one backup device in their portfolio, but this one, the NPS-10, suits all of my backup needs. I went with the XQD version.


SEPERATE DRIVE

After getting the device you have to put in an internal (2.5") hard drive since it's not included. This is not a problem and is even a blessing, because you'll have plenty of options to arm your NextoDI device as you see fit. My drive of preference: an SSD since it's lighter and faster than an HDD.

I got myself a Western Digital Blue 1TB SSD, which is capable of transfer speeds up to 500MB per second (and that's FAST). Installing the SSD into the NextoDI device is child's play. You have to unscrew one large button on the back, put the drive in place, connect the cables, lock it into place, put the screw back in and that's it. This entire seperate hard drive concept is great in case you need to upgrade to a new or a bigger drive in the future.


CONNECTIVITY & SPEED

This NPS-10 version comes with two SD card slots and one XQD card slot at the top of the device. The XQD slot and one of the SD slots can be used simultaneously. However when putting in two SD cards, the devices backs them up one after the other. When you get home and finally connect the device to your PC, it functions like any external hard drive after selecting the "Computer" option on the device. The transfer speeds from and to the device are as fast as the speeds of the SSD/HDD you put in it. The speed also depends on how you connect it to your PC. Via the provided USB-C cable to a USB3.0 port in your computer is the fastest option. When I connect it to a USB3.0 port in my desktop, the transfer speed is around 400~450 MB/s. An additional advantage is that while connected the device also charges its internal battery.

SOFTWARE & OPERATION

The device comes pre-charged (80%) and is capable of formatting the internal hard drive internally before you use it. It's equipped with a pretty straightforward user interface as well. The entire system menu is operated with a single pressable scroll wheel. Long (LP) or short pressing (SP), the scroll wheel confirmes all sorts of choices and starts/ends all sorts of actions.


WEIGHT & PORTABILITY

Weighing in around 300 gr I consider it very lightweight. This thing is a breeze to take with me on every trip and it doesn't take up much space, opposed to a laptop or tablet. It doesn't even have to be actually inside my camera bag since it fits in the side pockets of my LowePro 450 camera backpack. You might even be able to take it with you in the pockets of your coat. To top it off: it's equipped with a silicon protective removable bodysuit. An occasional drop or moderate shocks and bumps should not cause major issues.


BATTERY

The battery is internal and non-removable. It's charged via (a provided) sturdy USB-C cable. While connected to a computer or connected to a power outlet (with a charger from your own phone for example), it fully charges in just under 3 hours and then it's supposed to give you two hours of non-stop operation. Since the SSD inside my device is capable of transferring files really quickly, the NPS-10 in two hours potentially enables me to transfer an unbelievable amount of data before running out of power. At the wedding gig I experienced that copying a half-full XQD card of 2.300 photos (111 GB) only took about 220 seconds which is just under 4 minutes. 


WEATHER & CLIMATE

The device isn't fully weatherproof. You will want to keep the NPS-10 as dry as possible, but I can imagine it can withstand a light splash or drizzle. The screw on the bottom is nicely embedded in the frame and the rubber silicon protective suit probably protects against moderate moisture 

NextoDI NPS-10 website banner

NextoDI NPS-10 website banner

© NextoDI

3. Verdict

Do you feel the need to better be safe than sorry? Have you ever found yourself in a scenario where you were thinking that this would've been nice to have?

"So... is it for me? Do you recommend it?"

Hobbyists / amateur photographers

I'll be honest: I don't think I can recommend it to you. First: it's not a particularly cheap option so you might not see the advantage for you. The device doesn't come with a hard drive so you have to buy one separately. The price of such a driev is directly related to the capacity. Second reason you might not buy one: it still is an extra device which is going to take up space in your camera big. Not much, but when total bagage weight is an issue, it might be something to take into consideration.

All in all for a hobbyist or an amateur photographer it's probably not a device I recommend. Unless you are scared of data loss OR you want to backup a bunch of smaller cards safely in your hotel room, when you are on holiday so you can go strolling around town with empty cards the next day. It's a good feeling to know that your previous photos are safely stored in your hotel room.


Professional photographers / serious enthousiasts

I would say: 2x yes. I can without a doubt highly recommend this product if you are a working professional. If you have this device and implement working with it regularly into your workflow during a shoot, you can guarantee yourself (by 99.999999% certainty) that even if your camera or card might ever fail during a shoot, you still have the photos up until the last backup moment. This can certainly prove vital for every working professional.


To wrap it up

I do have to admit that I am among the lucky ones that (luckily still) has never experienced a memory card failure, besides by my own doing. (Yes... I sat on one once after I put it in my back pocket... Besides that, no card has ever failed me). I have been using this device occassionally on remote locations or important shoots and I do indeed feel safer with it. It's an extra safety net.

If you have ever experienced card failure in the past or ended up with full cards in the middle of a shoot or on a long hike in the middle of nowhere, you know what I'm talking about. In those cases this device would definitely come in handy as an excellent, 'just to be on the extra safe side' backup option for sure.

Future prospects

I can imagine myself being on vacation or on a photography trip to remote places and never needing to worry about losing photos or having enough storage space. Granted, you have to always keep in mind that the chances of loss are never zero, but still.

On holiday I now can backup my camera at the end of every day and go out the next day with empty, fresh cards. Hence, I won't easily lose photos or run out of storage space any time soon, because I always have a copy of all my photos safely in my hotel room at all time on a 1000GB drive!

Now the only thing I must not do is lose the device itself. So maybe I'll just drill a hole in it and attach it to my camera bag with a firm chain! Anyway, a major thumbs up to NextoDI for this amazing and well designed photography aid that I'm sure will come in handy in all our future photographical endeavours. 

Links

Interested in buying this product or want to know more?  

Link to product website | Buy at Kamera-Express (NL) | Buy at BHP Photo Video (EN) | Buy at Adorama (EN)

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