Over the next few months, we are going to be putting together a full equipment guide with all of our favorite goodies. Each one of these items is an item that we absolutely must have in our photography toolkit.

In this article, I wanted to talk about Epson Multimedia Storage Drives, and in particular the Epson P-6000.

Why Purchase a Portable Multimedia Storage Device?

For those of you that are shooting professionally, it is absolutely imperative that you are backing up your images on site. There are simply too many things that could potentially happen on your way back to your editing workstation. While card failures are rare when you are shooting with high quality memory cards such as Sandisk, Hoodman or Lexar Memory Cards, often times assistants and second shooters aren’t shooting on high quality cards. Human error is most likely going to be the cause of losing images. Whether it is dropping a card, losing a card, getting into an accident on the way back from the shoot, etc. Either way, there is simply too much on the line to not have a portable backup solution.

Now, if you happen to be shooting on a Canon 1D series or a Nikon D3 series cameras, then you can have in camera redundant card writing. So, you don’t really need a portable storage device for backing up your own files. Although, it may still come in quite handy for backing up your assistants and second shooters shots on site.

For enthusiasts, backing up your images on location may not be so important. However, you may want additional storage for vacations or photo trips. Having portable storage will allow you to offload your images so you can continue using your cards, or use it for backup. Once on the device, you can use the Epson P-6000(or whatever model you have) to view your media. You can even use the device to watch movies and play music in the car or on a flight.

Why the Epson P-6000?

When we were first looking into portable storage for our shoots, we looked any many solutions. Obviously, the price tag on the Epson multimedia storage devices was the main reason why we wanted to find cheaper solutions. We tried Wolverine, Digital Foci, and other less expensive non-name brand devices.

With all of these less expensive devices we found several issues. Some of the major issues we had with these devices included batteries lasting only through 1x 8GB card worth of backups, to failed backups, to the devices themselves failing only after a few uses. Smaller issues included menu systems that were like navigating through a train wreck, no “confirmation notice” upon a card completing the backup, etc.

So, for the devices that we could return, we returned them. On the others, we just bit the bullet. Then we turned to the Epson P-6000
and bit another bullet, a $600 one to be exact. However, we were pleasantly surprised by it’s performance.

Epson P-6000 Performance

We have multiple P-6000 devices in the studio, each of which has seen hundreds of events, and still we have never had an issue. While the menu system is solid, it definitely isn’t an iPhone or Apple device. However, it works and performs as advertised.

Backing up isn’t extremely fast, you can expect a full 16GB card to take around 15 – 20 minutes. However, the battery actually will last you through 60 – 80GB worth of backing up on a single charge. If images are backed up successfully, it will automatically take you to thumbnail view allowing you to browse the images. When unsuccessful, the device will actually notify you! (gee, seems like an important thing to know).

Most importantly, it does what it claims to do and it is durable. We put our equipment through the paces, and all three of our Epson P-6000s still work beautifully.

Epson P-6000 Drawbacks

Cost – The main complaint with these devices is simply the cost. It is tough biting the $600 bullet on one of these devices when you know pretty much all it consists of is a hard drive, LCD and menu system. But, there really is no other choice when it comes to reliability. Isn’t that the point of buying a portable backup anyway? What’s the point of buying a portable backup that isn’t reliable? I’ll let you guys ponder that one =)

Speed – None of the devices we tested were particularly fast. The Epson seems to fit right in the middle as far as speed, not the quickest and not the slowest. It would definitely be nice if you could upload your cards a bit quicker. Just make sure that you don’t wait to do all your backing up at once. If you are shooting weddings, or events, take a minute here and there to backup throughout the day. That way, at the end of your shoot, you aren’t waiting for 45 minutes to backup 50 GB worth of data.

What Size Should I Buy?

Epson Storage Devices come in several different sizes. As of right now, there are three current models. The Epson P-3000, P-6000, and P-7000 which are 40GB, 80GB and 160GB respectively. So, what size should you get? Well, we made a little size guide for you below. These numbers are estimations based on multiple DSLR camera models, results may vary.

40GB Storage @ 10 Megapixel RAW = Approximately 2,500 Shots
80GB Storage @ 10 Megapixel RAW = Approximately 5,000 Shots
160GB Storage @ 10 Megapixel RAW = Approximately 10,000 Shots

The Buying Guide

Epson P-3000 (40GB) – Enthusiasts shooting RAW or JPEG should find enough storage on this device for vacations and photo trips. Professionals that are shooting JPEG, or shorter duration shoots will also find 40GB to be sufficient. However, wedding professionals or long event shooters that are shooting in large or small RAW settings, will often run out of backup space on a 40GB device.

Epson P-6000 (80GB) – Professionals that are shooting single day events in small RAW will be fine with a 80GB backup. We typically will shoot with 2 photographers, for 8 – 10 hours at a time in small RAW, and rarely run out of space at the end of the day when backing up.

Epson P-7000 (160GB) – Professionals that are shooting multiple day events without access to a editing workstation, or are shooting longer events in full large RAW will probably want to step up to the P-7000.

Post Production Pye
SLR Lounge Senior Editor
Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography