The Long Lens blog: Photography with added snaps, art and culture

The photography site for sore eyes. Featuring: Art, photography, performance and theatre. With extra writing because I'm also a writer.

Caviar, computers and photography

Digital photography is as much as computers as cameras. The problem is that there is a mind-boggling assortment of components to choose from and some have appalling performance and reliability records.

And, almost without exception, there are no easy guides to help photographers choose the best photo-editing software, hard drives, monitors, laptops or portable storage devices.

I make my purchases after mind-numbing internet searches. Often the best-rated pieces are impossible to get hold of in the UK. But, after several exhaustive searches, reviewing reviews and comparing Top 10 lists, sometimes I feel like I know which is the best component to buy.

Internal hard drives

Loads of contradictory information here. I bought the Western Digital Caviar 1000gb (1 terabyte if you’re clever)*. Seems to be the most reliable drives around.

Samsung (Spinpoint T Series HD501LJ) and several Hitachi Deskstar’s get good reviews. The 7K750 is the highest rated of the lot by pcworld.com but it appears to be unavailable in the UK.

But Western Digital Cavier’s perform well in some reviews and very well in others, so that’s the one I plumped for.

From my limited knowledge I would have gone for a Seagate drive. They have always had a good reputation. But pcworld do not give them much respect and some message board postings state that the reliability has nosedived since the company acquired rival Maxtor (who again have a poor reputation).

One of my most popular postings on this blog has been a rather long guide to publishing a book through lulu.com. I had such stupifying problems when I first tried to upload my first book that I wrote the blog guide for future reference. This blog is written for the same reasons.

PC protection:

For those of you, like me, too stupid to have bought a Mac, PC protection is essential.
The top-rated free PC protection software I have found. Zone Alarm firewall and Avira anti-virus. Both come recommended by British Consumer Association magazine Which? (though Avira is not a Best Buy). AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is also very highly-rated by Which?.

And finally, you can use internal hard drives as plug-in data storage machines with the USB/eSATA Cradle from http://www.storagedepot.co.uk/. Costs about £30 after postage, but is it is a much cheaper and faster solution than using caddy’s.

* The Western Digital WD10EADS Caviar Green 1tb SATAII 32Mb Cache 3.5 Inch Green Power OEM Internal Hard Drive cost me £89.99 from Amazon.co.uk.

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