The reviews scared me. I added it to my cart, then tossed it. Not impressed with other options, I put it back in my cart. Finally, I hit the Buy button. The hell with it. We’ll see.
Our last shoot had us in Kyrgyzstan where we’d be getting into the backcountry on horseback, then skiing peaks from a yurt camp. To simplify things and save weight, my goal was to leave the Macbook Air and external drive at home. I wanted to use Kyrgyzstan as an experiment for a new back up system before heading back to Nepal.
While shooting and traveling, I need to backup my Raw images without dragging around too much bulk. Power is an issue, too. Whatever I back my images up to can’t be a power hog. Camera batteries get priority for the power I have in the mountains. My power comes from a Goal Zero solar set up, so all my juice goes to the camera if there are successive cloudy days.
Western Digital’s Wireless Pro caught my eye because all the features seem like they were made for my needs. The unit itself is also a battery that WD claims lasts 20 hours. This was a plus as the transfer speeds are so high that downloading a 64GB card only takes a few minutes.
Accessing and managing the hard drive is all done wirelessly by WD’s My Cloud App. You can manage the HD, browse images, and transfer Raw files to your device.
It all seemed perfect. But the reviews…. at least in Europe, were not stellar. Many people reported having connectivity problems and sluggish performance. I’ve learned that many people just can’t get things to work, and they are the first to complain. Reviews can be misleading (except here!), sometimes you have to have a look for yourself. I’m glad I did.
In Kyrgyzstan, the Wireless Pro worked perfectly. But, at first I too was a bit concerned as I had some speed issues. Then, I discovered one very important thing I had to do. Be patient…. When the drive is transferring files, backing up, and even building image previews: Let it be. Don’t multi-task and don’t play music. Let it do it’s thing. This was key. Once I let the card back up on it’s own, and build all the previews, it worked flawlessly. After I backed up 180GB and spent 2 hours browsing files, the battery still showed 80% full.
- Insert card into drive. I have mine set to auto back up only new files.
- Let it back up. Don’t touch!
- Once it’s backed up, launch the App’s image browsing screen and again, don’t touch!
- Once it has built all the thumbs and I can scroll, I’m free to review images and transfer what I want to my phone or tablet’s Lightroom Mobile App, where I can fully work on Raw files.
- Back at the desktop, connect by USB and drag the SD Card Import Folder right to my own HD. Done.
By Dan Patitucci
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