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This question already has an answer here:

I would like help with the best method of transferring images (RAW & jpeg) from my Nikon D3300 to an external hard drive and/or to my iPad Pro (2018) when traveling.

I used to carry a laptop and would connect the camera directly to my laptop, now I will just be carrying my camera, my iPad, and figure I would need to purchase an external hard drive.

My issue is how to connect these devices? A cable from my camera to my iPad, a cable from my camera to the external drive, or a drive that I can insert the SD card from my camera to an external drive?

marked as duplicate by Philip Kendall, xiota, Hueco, Michael C, mattdm Feb 18 at 14:37

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • That question is more about storing than transferring the backup... – rackandboneman Feb 15 at 14:45
  • "My issue is how to connect these devices? A cable from my camera to my iPad, a cable from my camera to the external drive, or a drive that I can insert the SD card from my camera to an external drive?" Yes. Any of those methods should work when done correctly. – Michael C Feb 15 at 19:10
  • You can get a SD to Lightning adapter from Apple; that works great for transferring images between your dark and your iPad Pro. I use that setup for all my pictures as I don’t have a laptop. – ssn Feb 15 at 19:49
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    @rackandboneman This question doesn't really make clear whether the purpose is to backup cards that will not be overwritten until after the trip or to store so that the card may be reused. – Michael C Feb 16 at 5:54
  • @xiota Please stop changing the title to what you think/want the question should be instead of what the OP actually asked. – Michael C Feb 16 at 6:14
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Usually, the "best" method to transfer files depends on personal preference. I would recommend against using an external hard drive with any phone or tablet. Instead, consider the following:

  1. Card reader designed to work with iDevices.
  2. USB drive designed to work with iDevices. Preferably made by the same company as the card reader so the same app can be used.
  3. Multiple SD (or micro-SD) cards.
  4. Case or organizer to hold card reader, USB drives, and SD cards.

  • When dealing with iDevices, your only option, without using another device as an intermediary, is to use a device, such as a card reader, specifically designed to work with iDevices. From the iDevice, you can upload to a server or transfer to a USB drive, also made specifically to work with iDevices.

  • Most external hard drives do not work without an intermediary device. They will not work with your iDevice, unless you are willing to jailbreak your iDevice. (Not recommended.)

  • My experience with hard drives that copy data from built-in card readers without an intermediary device is they tend to be unreliable at fully copying all data from cards. They would be fine for use as backup, but not as the sole storage media for images captured during a trip.

    I have not tried any of the newer portable network router/card reader/hard drive/external battery devices. It seems that data transfers can be monitored externally via the network, so incomplete transfers could be retried.

  • Phones and tablets usually do not provide enough power via USB for portable hard drives to function. You'll need a device with a separate power supply.


Most of the options you mention won't work:

  • iDevices don't have user-installable drivers, so connecting your camera directly to the iPad won't work.

  • iDevices don't support generic devices, so connecting an external drive that does not specifically support them won't work.

  • Cameras usually don't have USB Host support. So connecting an external drive to the camera won't work.

  • "I would like help with the best method of transferring images (RAW & jpeg) from my Nikon D3300 to an external hard drive and/or to my iPad Pro (2018) when traveling." It does not seem the OP is concerned with doing both as long as one or the other works. – Michael C Feb 15 at 19:12
  • There are external devices that are basically a hard drive and a self contained OS that allows one to use it without a tablet/notebook/desktop. Some even have small displays so that the images can be reviewed. – Michael C Feb 16 at 6:12
  • Because I think the suggested duplicate already has answers that pretty much already say that. – Michael C Feb 16 at 6:16
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    The new iPad Pro (2018) 11” and 12.9” models are compatible with this type technology from what I read some time ago, looks like the new SD card to USB-C cable will do what I want for now. – Brian D Feb 16 at 14:46
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Most Tablets support so called USB-OTG (On The Go) cables. Such a cable (NOT identical to a standard USB cable) can be used to connect to a USB peripheral (like a camera set to "mass storage device" mode, which makes it look like an ordinary external hard drive) from that mobile device, just as you would connect to it from a laptop PC.

Alternatively, a card reader could be connected via the same OTG cable.

However, for the iPad (rant deleted), there is a special such cable kit called the "apple camera connection kit".

  • You have to get a card reader made specifically to work with iPhone/iPad. Connecting a generic card reader or USB drive via a USB-OTG cable will not work. – xiota Feb 15 at 14:58
  • Underestimated apple being different special .... quality .... devices again :) – rackandboneman Feb 15 at 15:18
  • I did some research, I can purchase and Apple USB-C to USB adapter which states it is compatible with a camera. I would think I could transfer images from my camera SD card to the iPad Pro, in addition to that I could either use new SD cards each day as one suggested, or obtain a device that I can insert the SD card into and transfer the images for additional backup. – Brian D Feb 16 at 14:38
  • I also see on Apple’s website they have an SD card to USB-C cable that I would think is compatible. – Brian D Feb 16 at 14:40
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You might use a MicroSD plus adapter card in your camera - in which case you can read the card on your phone (iPads don't have SD card readers if I remember correctly). Or you might use multiple SD cards, and shoot on a different one each day - so you'd lose at most one day of shooting for a bad card.

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