Why a NAS Unit Should Be Your Next Purchase, and How You Can Win One in This Giveaway

Why a NAS Unit Should Be Your Next Purchase, and How You Can Win One in This Giveaway

New lenses and cameras are always fun to purchase, but equally important is finding a way to store those photos you’re making with those cameras and lenses. Here’s why you should consider network attached storage before you spend that money on another lens.

I get it — cameras are sexy and hard drives are not, but network attached storage is much more than just a simple hard drive to store your photos on. I started using a NAS unit that uses Synology’s DSM (Disk Station Manager) a couple of years ago and it was life-changing. Instead of shuffling around external hard disks and waiting forever to make backups of backups, I had a much more reliable option that gave me a lot more flexibility to store and retrieve my photos.

Reason 1: Flexibility

With standard external hard drives, I’m limited to what I can physically plug into my computer at all times. The beauty of a network attached storage unit, such as Synology’s DS718+ or DS1618+ is the network part. Instead of plugging directly into a computer, which would need to be powered on to access files, I’m plugged into my router with a Cat 6 cable. I can then access the NAS unit directly on my home network by plugging into the same router or connecting to my wireless network. I can even access my files remotely though the DSM interface. I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed to grab an old file on the road and a NAS unit with Synology’s DSM lets me do that with ease. I’m also able to use any computer or laptop in the house without having to physically plug in or unplug drives.

When I’m transferring a massive amount of files, I can plug things directly into the NAS, set up the transfer through the DSM web interface, and walk away without worrying about my computer losing power or going to sleep and interrupting the transfer. It requires much less thought and effort.

Reason 2: Expandability

Before switching to a 2-bay NAS Unit, I would buy increasingly larger hard drives until I was hitting the limit of what’s possible in a standard external drive (which was about 10 TB when I switched over). That’s a lot of data to carry around on one platter, but more than this, it took forever to back up that drive, even with a fast USB 3.1 connection. I also finally hit a point where I hit the limit and couldn’t even fit everything on one drive anymore.

The DS718+ out of the box supports 2 hard drives (but with the DX517 expansion unit, it can go to 7) and the DS1618+ supports 6 out of the box. Depending on your needs, you can configure for maximum storage (in my case, I have 2 12TB Seagate Iron Wolf drives set up to give me 24TB) or for redundancy in case one drive fails. While this redundancy shouldn’t necessarily be considered a backup, Synology’s DSM makes it easy to seamlessly sync to another NAS Unit offsite or the cloud using Hyper Backup to offer a true backup solution.

All in all, it’s much easier than having multiple hard drives and having to separate which files are on what, and then backing that all up to another set of hard drives.

Trading in a pile of hard drives and flash drives for a NAS unit made life a lot more organized.

Trading in a pile of hard drives and flash drives for a NAS unit made life a lot more organized.

Reason 3: Hard Drives Will Fail

When you put all your eggs in one basket, you are destined to lose or break that basket. Using a NAS gives important peace of mind for photographers always worried about calamity striking their photos. A common saying among IT professionals is that there are two types of people: Those who have had a hard drive failure and those who will have a hard drive failure.

Even if a NAS is the main unit or secondary unit in a backup system that includes hard drives, it’s a valuable upgrade.


If you’re looking to get your hands on a unit yourself, Fstoppers is giving away a Synology DS718+ with two 14TB Seagate drives. Just leave a comment about something you wouldn't want to lose in a hard drive crash, and you will automatically be entered in the draw.

This giveaway is open those with a US address. Winners will be selected in one week.

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I have a crap ton of video and photos that I need to backup, so having a reliable storage solution is a must.

Daniel Williams's picture

I wouldn't want to lose anything, but losing client images would be especially disastrous.

Micah Burke's picture

3+ Terabytes of photos!

EL PIC's picture

I don’t want to lose any images for any reason. Never again !
Personal photos mean the most to me (dogs, vacations, wife).
Client photos mean most to them.

extreme low power consumption, hardly any noise and if in raid mode, super safe for critical storage like raw files .... but since I'm not in the US, not eligible for the NAS :-) good luck to the others !

Gener Vazquez's picture

I think losing data from clients or even personal it's the worst fear any one who depends on hard drives could have. Because the truth is that most of us are hoarders. I believe I still have somewhere my first potshots jpgs in a dark remote place in one of my oldest drives and the idea of losing them makes me very anxious. For that I thank for the cloud backups. Nothing better to know that they're safe in another part of the planet, and they are accesible from anywhere.

I wouldn't want to lose some of my best artistic work and stories from my tours/vacations around the world.

Ryan Bishop's picture

I have a personal drive with photos and video of family members who I've lost. I couldn't imagine losing that material. If I don't win the NAS I'll certainly be purchasing one.

Matthew Osburn's picture

My landscape​ photos are worth a lot to me, but I would not want to lose my children's baby photos.

Josh Wangrud's picture

All those early digital photos, from the 2000s

Yael DeFaye's picture

Tons and tons of RAW files, everything I use for my creating my classes as well as all my wife's business

Shaun Maluga's picture

All the photos of my doggo :D

I have 10 years worth of photos of the VA metal scene and 5 years of VA/DC/MD burlesque including festivals for both. For my friends, clients and fans, losing the images would be beyond catastrophic.

Nick Viton's picture

I can't imagine losing all my RAWs dating back to 2009

Dustin Wenger's picture

Losing the 9 years of photos/video of my daughter growing up would be devastating, but of course they are backed up!

17 years of RAW files backed up to several drives.

I don't want to lose all my 10 years+ travel photos...

I have already suffered the loss of 22000 image files. Never again!

Donald Kautz's picture

In addition to my own photos, I have scanned photos that my father took before I was born. Those cannot be recreated in any way. I would never want to lose them.

I don't want to lose my virginity, Seriously, I've been in IT for 30 years and a photographer for 20. I've seen clients lose everything, I know the importance.

Floyd Dean's picture

Need and want! Never enough space and security!

Richard Mills's picture

I don't want to lose anything but in particular the pictures I took at White Sands National Monument this summer would be a particularly devastating loss. I was still early in my portraiture (still am) but some of my all time favorite photos are from that shoot

I'd hate to lose any of my clients data!

I basically have every photo I have ever taken backed up onto at least one hard drive right now. If I were to lose that, I'd lose 12 years of work.

I'd love to get my hands on a good NAS solution, I just haven't found one in my budget yet.

I have many photos that I don't want to lose.

Losing photos of family, trips, and landscapes would be heartbreaking

Client photos

Robert Stevens's picture

I shoot an incredible number of images as a photojournalist, and I live in fear of a major data loss

Deleted Account's picture

I wouldn't want to lose all the emails from my wife when we were dating and had our first dog.

David Arthur's picture

I don't really want to lose anything. But my most uncomfortable loss was an image I took of my wife's grandfather. He was sitting on a park bench watching his grandchildren, very much in his element. A few years later they wanted to print it large for his funeral, but I couldn't find a high res copy. it was before I was diligent about keeping things organized. I am better now, but a NAS would make that much easier.

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