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.

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.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

Log in or register to post comments

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

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

3+ Terabytes of photos!

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 !

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.

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.

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

All those early digital photos, from the 2000s

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

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.

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

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!

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.

Need and want! Never enough space and security!

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

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

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

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.

too many photos...

Can't afford to lose anything, but especially family pictures - the older the photos get, the more precious they become!

need one, don't have good backup options :(

I wouldn't want to lose any important photos and have angry clients.

I have thousands of photos of pets (always feels weird to just call them "pets") that are no longer with me. When they passed it was like losing a family member. I cry whenever I look at old photos, so I don't do it often, but I would never want to lose those files. I have them currently backed up on 2 different Seagate HD's, but a NAS would be a level up and peace of mind I don't currently have.
Honestly, I can lose client photos or personal projects...that's all just stuff, but I really don't want to lose the photos of some of the best friends I've had that are no longer here to create new memories with.

I wouldn't want to lose years of work!

So many family and friends pictures. Losing those would be a catastrophe

I'd hate to lose my TIME dealing with my backups all spread out among different standalone drives!

Also I'd hate to lose the photos and videos I've got stored up.

I'm a data hoarder. So pretty much anything and everything?

I wouldn't want to loose my entire photo collection. Even with cloud storage a reliable NAS Storage is a great on location storage option I would love to have.

Not only my image files, but all my financial files.

The photos I take are my memories(ish). Don't wanna loose 'em.

Family photos and videos. I had my hard drive fail, and I lost the first six months of my child's photos and videos. It was the worst feeling....

I'd hate to lose our financial and legal documents, along with photos and videos of my family growing up.

I could definitely use this! I'd hate to lose any of my hard work from the last 15 years!

5 TB of photos and data of the subjects (bats, yes flying mammals) of my PhD project. Losing these would basically mean the end of my doctorate program

Wouldn't want to lose 15 years of RAWs taken around the world!

I have five years worth of church pictures saved on my personal external hard drive and I know I need to upgrade my backup plan before I loose these photos.

I experienced data loss a few years ago of one of my external HDDs so I hated that feeling. (I was able to recover 80% of my photos at a cost of $700). I wouldn't want to lose any of those precious moments I captured for my clients.

I have so many images taken from when my partner and I backpacked around the world. these would be the worst things in the world for me to lose. while I have some of them printed and hung up there are many others that are sitting on hard drives and backups. It's the random ones that would upset me the most if they were lost.

More comments