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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Previous comments
Jerry Q's picture

I just lost 350+GB worth of architectural photos, walkthroughs and drone videos, and the cad files that went with them due to a external HD failing.

Nelson Le's picture

I would hate to lose all the raw files for my concert pictures....and important legal documentation.

S M's picture

Photos of my daughter. She's 4 months old today and I have everything from the day she was born til today :)

Erin Westeen's picture

Data for my PhD work! Lots of genetic data from threatened species....

Chance McLaren's picture

Losing any photos would suck but losing family photos would suck more.

Joseph Larson's picture

I would hate to loose my many TB of Images from the past 20 years.

Agnieszka Jakubowicz's picture

Loosing ALL the pictures of my cat would be a DISASTER! Lol!

Marko Lovrić's picture

I would store my whole life

Percy Ortiz's picture

as terrifying as it sounds to loose a clients work it is the videos of my son growing up the one treasure i would absolutely be devastated if i ever lost. I have those baby videos on more hard drives than anything I've ever shot or recorded :)

Lloyd O'Daniel's picture

Image files and financial documents.

Juan Garcia's picture

I wouldn't want both drives to fail at the same time.

Bektas Akkaya's picture

I already lost some of my images due to HDD failure few years back. Make sure never use full capacity of a mechanical hard drive as it will increase chances of failure.

Costas Ganasos's picture

I had to learn the hard way that backing up your work is essential. I lost one time 3 years of work just like that when my external hard drive failed and there was nothing to do to recover any data. At the moment I am backing up my work on multiple hard drives but a NAS is definitely the one I need since I being working with huge files lately.

Richard Thomas's picture

I'd hate to lose my massive collection of po...errr client images!

Mike King's picture

Photos I can resell to stagers or others involved in a project

William Faucher's picture

Still relying on external HDDs as my main backup. Will most likely have to upgrade before I start my business... Have fortunately never had any crashes but there's always a first time!

Sigmund Paul's picture

I had researched buying a 2 bay Synology NAS server. This revives my interest and get me going to buy one.

Thomas Boudewijn's picture

In the past I had 1 major hard drive crash. Luckily only tons of pictures of my ex-girlfriend were lost. Thank god! Moving on! Nowadays I need to keep my Raw & PSD files save. So a good NAS would be something to fall in love with

Stephen Fritz's picture

I have very little redundancy in my backup until i push to google drive or something else. This would be a huge upgrade to my backups.

Chris Suchocki's picture

So many memories of friends, families, and adventures. Plus hours and hours invested into creating landscapes that I hope to one day hang in my home studio.

MOHAMMED ALI's picture

Lost 4000 photos including my sons birth and my wedding. have been thinking of using a NAS but its going way over budget. so using portable HDDs for storage now.

Marcin Gil's picture

I wouldn't want to lose my memories.

Marian Marian's picture

I have lost data in the past, and it sucks, since it was all personal photos from my childhood and from the time i started photography. I still have the dead HDD, never had the nerve to throw it away since it contains so much value to me.

Jerry Ennis's picture

A lifetime of memories: Adventures, friends, family members no longer with us, family memories, my grandson, my life.

Clement Crouzet's picture

I wouldn't lose my pictures, the good and the bad once. I wouldn't lose tutorials as well.

Giovanni Aprea's picture

With nowadays very fast 4G connections and future 5G to come to have synched documents and photography folders between my computer and my NAS allows me to retrieve data wherever I am in the world not to mention that I can share, say, movies when I am on the move as to keep me or family and friends entertained, books and music to serve as a mobile juke box, in a word it's my personal Cloud and I don't have to have a plethora of disks physically attached to a computer but can rather run the NAS in a storage where I installed an old router not in use any longer, no other boxes around, no fan noise, no ugly hardware around...

Mr. T's picture

Not only would I fear losing my photos but my business is all digital. I try to get everything I can digitally and scan what I cannot (like letters from public bodies and customers), which means I have my whole business as bits, making backups extremely important.

I regularly download my bank statements as I realised I cannot rely on the bank to keep them forever. Most banks stop online access to closed accounts, even when you have other accounts in the bank. Some banks only save so many years back and you might want longer retention, and at least one of my credit card companies only goes back about a year, well under the legal requirement for me as a business.

So yeah, I am rather obsessed with backups.


Already loose all my work due to hard drive failure. Even if the HD are much more reliable than before, buying a NAS is on my to do list for a while now.

Tod ODriscoll's picture

I wouldn't want to lose any of my client's images. That would be a disaster!

Jeremiah Palmerston's picture

I would be very sad to lose the sentimental portraits of the children in my family

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