I want to make backups of RAW files from my SD card during my travel. I do not want to carry a computer, a rotating hard drive, or an Android phone.

I do have an SSD of 500gb with me. One idea was to have a Raspberry Pi 3 that has wi-fi, and to connect my SSD and SD card to it. I can run ssh and Linux commands to copy files. I want to know, is there an elegant way which does not cost a bomb?

  • 3
    Does this question not contain any useful answers? It seems like a near duplicate to me... Dec 9, 2016 at 12:03
  • Pretty much all of those solutions are a little pricey. Also, a lot has changed in the 6+ years since the other question and most of the answers.
    – Michael C
    Dec 9, 2016 at 14:55
  • What device would you use to control the pi over SSH?
    – Chris H
    Dec 9, 2016 at 17:47
  • 2
    You could get the Pi to detect when the SD card is connected, then automatically copy everything off it. So you wouldn't need to control it over SSH.
    – vclaw
    Dec 9, 2016 at 18:14
  • @vclaw: you would need some way to indicate success, in progress, or failure, and the LEDs aren't going to cut it for that. Dec 10, 2016 at 5:34

4 Answers 4


My suggestion would be a combo of a second hand android phone with OTG cable.

Three main reasons, why an android phone is better than a Raspberry Pi in your case?

  • A second hand android phone could cost you cheaper than a Raspberry Pi Model 3.
  • A phone is thinner and lighter and can be carried out easily than a Pi with case and screen.
  • Apart from Wi-Fi, you can use cellular and GPS functionalities whenever required on a phone.

You can easily transfer RAWs between a SSD and SSHD, even you can use you phone to edit them instantly on the go.

  • You could use a pi zero for this, with appropriate card readers. That's cheap.
    – Chris H
    Dec 9, 2016 at 17:46
  • +1 I'm not sure where the motivation for the raspberry pi in the question comes from, but an android phone seems to be the better solution. It has built in battery, display and input.
    – null
    Dec 10, 2016 at 12:39

I want to know is there an elegant way which does not cost a bomb?

One possible cost effective method to increase the number of images you can take and preserve during your travel would be to buy more SD cards. To back them up you can use a relatively cheap SD card duplicator such as this portable, battery powered one.

Rather than one very large card, buy several smaller ones in multiples of two. Mark one as the primary and the other as the backup. The advantage of several small cards is that once you fill a specific card (and its backup), you can move on to the next card without having to copy every single picture you've taken on the entire trip every time you back up the cards.

  • 1
    What's nice about this is that you could easily post the duplicates home, or let a friend look after them, unlike my suggestion.
    – Chris H
    Dec 9, 2016 at 17:45
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    Not sure it's all that cost effective. The current Western Digital My Passport Wireless, which offloads SD cards and will weed out duplicates when you insert the same card with more pictures, is about $175 for 2 TB. The equivalent in decent 64 GB SD cards would run well north of $700. I've been using the previous model for about 18 months and am quite happy with it.
    – Blrfl
    Dec 9, 2016 at 18:50
  • @Blrfl Note that the OP specifically states: "I do not want to carry a computer, a rotating hard drive, or an Android phone.
    – Michael C
    Dec 9, 2016 at 19:04
  • @Blrfl That's all well and good if you need a full 2TB, but since it sounds like the OP currently has a single SD card 2TB might be overkill if the OP only needs to b/u 32-64-128GB. Hard drives are also considerably more fragile than flash memory. When travelling, the ability to not worry about every bump against your backpack is worth something. For that price, though, perhaps you should offer the suggestion as your own answer?
    – Michael C
    Dec 9, 2016 at 19:05
  • @MichaelClark: I missed the part about rotating disks, but unless OP will be using his disk in combat, the fragility arguments don't really hold up anymore, even less so with the addition of a good carrying case. Mine slips into the same bag I trust to hold my bodies and lenses. I updated my answer to the other, similar question.
    – Blrfl
    Dec 9, 2016 at 19:28

A method I've use in the past was a cheap Android tablet (I bought this one new for £70, but you can probably get a more powerful one second hand a damn sight cheaper) with micro SD card slot and micro USB to usb cable to allow connection between my camera tablet.

I then downloaded a file explorer app (this was years ago, and can't remember its name off the top of my head, will check when i'm home) which allowed me to copy files from in this case my camera to the microSD card.

The advantages of this were I was able to check and chimp images on the fly, and send them off to people via email/to server/social media. Now with Adobe CC you can probably get some basic editing done to.

The risk I can see with the pi solution is the networking. You mention SSH, does that mean you'll have a laptop with you to? Also, presuming you won't have a screen, what will happen about connecting it and then finding it on the nework? There's also the risk of your accommodation blocking networking ports outside of http/https range.


A few years ago you could buy portable hard drives with card readers and batteries built in. This was in the days when a spinning disk was significantly cheaper than flash.

The no-brand versions were better than the (e.g. Canon) branded ones, as the latter made assumptions about file types and/or had battery-wasting features. Mine was supplied with a whole 60GB of hard drive but crucially this is a normal drive, so you could just swap in an SSD of the same form factor. I've found a review from last year (search in page for "card reader"). The same page also discusses wireless options in case your camera supports that.

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