I first considered the practical uses of the Epson P series of digital backup devices a few years ago when I interviewed photographer Frans Lanting. He told me about taking the devices into the field when he shoots in exotic places; they are the perfect surrogate for a laptop where a laptop wouldn’t be practical. Lanting, and many photographers like him, shoot their gigs of data and then download it onto an Epson multimedia viewer to free CF card space and view shots on the built-in LCD screen. When they’re back in the world, they transfer the images from the viewer (the P-7000, for instance, has a 160GB capacity) to the computer and resume their normal workflow. But now there’s a new catch in that method: the iPad.
The iPad is a multimedia viewer of its own sort. An entirely different form factor and, as of now, still not available at the price and capacity of the Epson series of devices, but certainly this is something photographers can consider as a temporary holding tank when working far afield. The interesting thing about the device is the plethora of additional uses for the thing when it’s not being a photographic storage system. The presumed eventual popularity of the thing might make it an ideal interim archive, especially if we’re all carrying them already. But that’s all speculation at this point. After all, as currently priced and spec’d you be much better served by an Epson P-7000 in purely photo storage terms. Still, it’s interesting to see how photographers adapt to new technologies, and how new technologies adapt to photographers. Read up on the idea, including the comments of many photographers dealing directly with the issue, on Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider blog.