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.

Giveaway

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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445 Comments

Previous comments
Jason Hoover's picture

I would not want to lose photos of my deceased grandson

I had a Synology NAS fail within the last year not too long after it was out of warranty. I have online backup but could definitely use a new home backup for all my family photos.

All my photos from traveling around the globe!

I have thousands of images of my kids growing up that would be deviating to lose.

Tons of pictures on multiple hard drives

I wouldn't want to loose my whole photography collection, obviously!

Michael Grauerholz's picture

I just had an 8TB drive start failing and had to replace it after one year - my entire business is on that drive and I simply cannot afford to purchase a NAS yet, though its been on my to-do list. I guess I’m saying I’d hate to lose almost every photo I’ve shot.

Warren Agee's picture

I'd hate to lose all my nature photography dating back to scanned slides from the late 1990s, up to all portraits I've taken in the last few years.

Matthew Cooper's picture

Terabytes of photos of course

All those photos of my dog sleeping on the couch would be a bummer to lose!
Oh, ya, and the 30TB of weddings would be awful too I guess

Shawn Pell's picture

Family photos...lost many over the years because of failed drives. Still using same type drives :(

Work is one thing, but losing 1+ TB of family memories would be quite a bad day

Jason Bonello's picture

I run my own photography business and everything I have is on 2 drives. It is a struggle to make ends meet every month and who knows what the future brings. It would be great to have a better storage solution. I easily have 8 terabytes worth of images to backup. Mostly work related but also personal and family photos. My wedding, 2 children's birth and events and so on.

Gary Maltsberger's picture

with a lifetime of family photos and exceptional landscapes - the thought of losing any of them scares me

miha zero's picture

I would never want to loose photos of my wife and me when we first met. Out of any file i made during the years, those are most precious to me. Nothing else means as much. And all photos that we made after that.

Images of dozens of old friends whom I just reconnected with after 40 years.

Organizing my photos after every photo shoot and be able to compare them with previous photos (just to see if am doing better) is a night mare for me
I have my photos scattered everywhere from google photos to hard drives all over my house and looking for one photo from the archives is a painful process.
Forgot to say, I get frustrated at times thinking I have same photos at different locations and delete them but in reality I have just deleted the only copy I have with me.

It is be a great idea to have NAS which gives ease of access, flexibility to organize them for one stop search, spend the on more research and creative works.

I been looking closely at an NAS for my storage solution going forward. I installed on at my business and now I just need one for my office.

I would not want to lose a single image, had it happen before and wish to continue to prevent.

Felix Valeri's picture

I have 10 years of photos on DVD's and old hard drives that I'm afraid to lose, I need to get them onto a reliable storage device, telling a client that I lost their images is not an option.

Cliff Lawson's picture

My personal project is making portraits of our military veterans, I have vets from World War Two up through Iraq/Afghanistan. A loss of those would be even worse than the loss of client files.

Motti Bembaron's picture

I realized that although more than 100 already commented, almost no one liked a comment. So I am going to like as many as I can (the oilers are between periods).

I would hate any of you guys to lose data. Cheers!

I don't' want to lose anything, but the scariest will be the loss of photo archives.

David Cannon's picture

It would be a nightmare to lose personal photos, and images that haven’t yet been delivered to clients.

Memories.

I would hate to loose the hours and hours of configuration on my computer. To get everything just right to be productive takes forever. I’d love to clone my drive so I don’t stress about it.

Years of my family pictures! (Personally use a Synology DS918+ -- great unit!)

Client images are important, but short term. People leave companies, cut hair, grow beards....products change constantly, companies move, change logos. People and pets in my life that are gone, and places I've been and events that I've experienced can never be recreated and can't be lost.

Sounds like a great solution!

With the easy to take so many pictures and videos whenever you can, on a trip, vacation, a party, or just happen to be there for a wonderful shoot, those become a precious documentary to keep. Including the family slideshows, albums I created. I would not take a chance to lose those years of creation.

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