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.

Log in or register to post comments


Previous comments
David Sornberger's picture

I would fall apart if I lost my landscape photos from my photo trips to Iceland and my personal family photos.

Benjamin Henault's picture

I hands down wouldn't want to loose the many hours of client photographs and video i have on there. Not to mention the pictures of my beloved pets and family i have on there

Chris B-R's picture

Family photos would be at the top of my list of must haves, but a close second would be the originals of some of my best work. Having prints is good, but losing the original files would be painful.

Andrew Kim's picture

When there are clients buying prints of photos that were taken years ago, a proper file storage system is definitely needed.

George Anderson's picture

I wouldn't want to lose my pictures of your last three girlfriends.

Jonathan Stewart's picture

I have tons of family photos I don't want to lose.

Trent Preston's picture

I wouldn't want to loose anything on any of my hard drives! Photos cannot be replaced or retaken. They are a memory of time which cannot be recreated.

Karl Buhl's picture

Can't lose anything. I partition my Windows drive to segregate my operating system from my data. That enables me to clone the OS regularly, and backup the data separately.

George Entenman's picture

Some scans from the old days before computers! Yep, that's right!

Johnny Wong's picture

all my old family photos + videos. can't lose that so this will definitely help with that!

Alexander Grant's picture

All my scanned photos of family and friends. Many years of photos and many hours of work loading them onto my hard drives

Dave Lehl's picture

Hella dog photos.

Rafael Bauer's picture

I wouldn't want to lose the trust of my clients knowing I have their files stored securely.

Michael Larsen's picture

I would lose my whole history of my progress through photography. Currently own a pile of hard drives, really need to make the move to NAS

Gustavo Flores's picture

Would hate to lose photos of my twins when they were little.

Tiernan Creamer's picture

Family Photos, as well as home videos

Peter Peterson's picture

I would not want to loose old slides I had copied to digital of my parents that have passed away. That old enemy Murphy can take away my thousands of landscapes and messing around images but not my parents.

Eric Johnson's picture

Thanks for the great article!

I'd really be sad if I lost my kids volleyball pictures.

Eric Mazzone's picture

I have just over 2TB of images, with over 1 of those created in the past three months. I definitely need an expanded backup system.

Riley McArdle's picture

I wouldn't want to lose anything in a hard drive crash.

Nicolas Pezzino's picture

I drive with caution, so im safe.

Nicolas Pezzino's picture

Really, the files i am more attached are my first photographs when i was 11. I have everything i had ever produced in a single 8tb extrenal drive. Don´t like to live in danger........

Alex Morrison's picture

Many years and about a terabyte of photos!

Win Mag's picture

Im scared to use all my commercial and travel photography!

Jose Roca's picture

A ton of images and video I'm not skilled enough (yet) to process.

Felipe Vallejo's picture

Years of photos and videos, cannot loose that!

Koo K's picture

Don't want to lose priceless photos/videos of my children/family.

James Hilderbrand's picture

I've got way too many movies and family photos.

Lars Hansen's picture

all my Photos!

Alexander Petrenko's picture

In fact, I have ds1817 with 8 drives and really wait to loose at least one drive full of “non-selects”.

The rest of the files are too precious for me :)

More comments