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Nikon Coolwalker Due in the next couple of weeks

A

algo_rithm

For those of you who don't know what the Nikon Coolwalker is, in short it's a portable hard drive that gives you 30GB of storage for your tiff, jpeg and NEF files. It features a 2.5 inch lcd screen like on your digital camera, but a bit better. You put your flash card in the unit, download to it, format your card and keep shooting.

Now my question is for those of you that own similar units. I have been researching other units besides the Nikon MSV-01 and I'm finding that nearly none of them come right out and say, you can view NEF files with our unit. Do any of you use the two units below? If so, are they fully functional with NEF files?
The two:
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Now smartdisk does say that you can view NEF files, but I don't see it plainly spelled out that you can see them full screen on the unit it self. Maybe I just missed that.

I'm personally leaning towards the Smartdisk 40GB unit. AT B&H for $485 or $489, can play mp3 just about all the movie formats and has a 3.5 inch screen. From what I hear, The Nikon will cost just about the same, but offer 10GB less and not play mp3 and only play movie files that cameras record (not that I would really use that or even base a decision on that, but hey....)
Have they [Nikon] missed the boat on this?

If anyone has experience with these especially the two above, I'd really like to hear what you have to say.

Thanks,
Bo
 

olebojensen

Active Member
Hi Boris

I just purchased the Smartdisk Flashtrax 40GB last week, and here is my observations so far.

It does support NEF, and actually it shows the images on the screen, and in a very rapid speed.
I think it is the imbedded jpg version in the Nef format that is shown, and therefore the speed is good. Shifting between images is < 1 second.

Showing jpg-fine (app. 2-3 mb) is also good, but it does take 4-5 seconds to shift between images in a folder.

Showing web-processed images 50-100K is very good and fast, ie < 1 second pr. image.

Backup of 1 full 512 MB flashcard is about 10 minutes, and you can empty the card 3-5 times on one battery-recharge.

Interface is primitive, but intuitive, and build quality is very good.
The LCD-screen is decent, but it is not like looking on a normal flatscreen. The pixels is quite big, but with the zoom effect you can check the sharpness in some extent.
Showing on your TV is ok, but still some pixelated.

You can flip the images, but the unit don't remember the orientation on the pictures afterwards.

Recharging happens both when connected to the recharghing unit, and connected to the USB-connection.

Overall rating 8 out of 10, and in my opinion one of the best options for travelling with digitalSLR.

Regards

Ole Bo Jensen
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A

algo_rithm

Thank you Ole,
You answered the important points for me. I read the information on the Smartdisk web site, but in that "more info" section, it was not that clear to me if the imbedded jpeg in NEF files was going to display as a thumbnail or weather it was going to be the same size as a jpeg fine on the display screen.

I know that you have had it for just a week, but how do you think it will perform in the field on a daily basis in terms of dust resistance and weather proofing. I live in South Florida and in the summer months you feel like you are a mile from the sun because of the humidity. Salt air/spray and sand is another concern, especially in the areas of the connections. Furthermore, I'll be using this unit in just about all climates in the United States.

Would you consider this a pro piece of gear or a really good prosumer....F5 or D100, lol

Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.

Bo
 

olebojensen

Active Member
Hi Boris

I live in Denmark, and we dont have your kind of changes in temp. and humidity, but I think this product will perform well, stored correctly. It isn't weatherproof at all, but if you use the supplied softbag, store it in a compartment of your photobag or a pocket in your jacket, you only need to use it when docking the CF-card, ex. during lunch og an other break.

In Denmark the product is being sold by one of the leading pro-suppliers and according to their saying, a lot of pro's use it and haven't had any problems doing that.

Another alternative would be to bring a portable computer, but to me it would be too heavy to carry.

I'm planing a trip to california this summer, and if I decide to bring the D70 + lenses ( instead of my Contax Aria + lenses and fujifilm ) the Flashtrax will be my choice for storing and transporting my digitale images.

Regards

Ole Bo Jensen
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lnbolch

Well-Known Member
An alternative to a hard-drive based storage device, also consider a card-reader/CD-ROM storage device.

There is now a good variety of them in the $250US to $350US range with a diversity of features. Hard drives - even the very robust drives in the pocket storage devices - can crash. On a once-in-a-lifetime trip, one can burn two discs each evening, mail one home and keep one with you. If your luggage goes to Pategonia and is forever lost, chances are the mail will get through.

When not traveling, the drives can be used as external burner/readers via UBS2.0 or FireWire.

These are some URLs I collected months ago, and I am quite sure there are more devices on the market since then.

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larry!
ICQ 76620504
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A

algo_rithm

Larry,
I've considered that angle and it just does not fit my needs. It's a good way to go, absolutely nothing wrong with it generally speaking, but not for me.

From what I have read from other pros using hard-drive based storage device (HDBSD, i guess), there isn't any feedback that I can find, indicating that crashes are a problem. Not to say it won't happen, but it does not seem to be a problem.

I know these things have been out a while, but I NEVER rush to get something new, unless I have a 100% immediate need for it. When pet rocks came out, I sort of hung back to see if they were going come up with a better model, you know, one that gives blood or pays your bills on time. I eventually found that, river rocks, although not as glamourous or trendy seemed to make better pets, once you house broke them ;~)

Thanks for you input,
Bo
 
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