A week and a half ago, Derrick mentioned that he was testing out a SmartDisk FireLite 120GB hard drive with Aperture. Since I do so much of my photography and processing with Aperture on-location at events, it’s important to me to have lots of storage at hand, and to be able to carry that storage easily. This means that small, lightweight, bus powered hard drives are perfect for the job. I have a few of these drives, all FireWire 400, but I’ve lately been running a bit tight on space. So, Derrick’s post prompted me to keep my eyes open for a new drive.
The other day, I ran across another drive that fits the bill perfectly. It’s the LaCie Rugged All Terrain 100GB drive. It sports a 7200RPM disk and a FireWire 800 connection, both of which will be welcome features when working with Aperture and RAW images.
On MacBook Pros and PowerBooks that have both FireWire 800 and 400 connections, hooking the drive up to the FireWire 800 port will leave the FireWire 400 port free for a second drive without requiring a separate FireWire hub to carry around. Enticed by a portable 7200 RPM FireWire 800 drive, as well as the option of easily having two portable drives hooked up on-location so that I can make a duplicate backup of my images onto a separate drive after pulling them off of a CompactFlash card, I picked one up for use with Aperture.
With this new drive, I’m going to try a slight change to my mobile Aperture workflow. Instead of having a fully internalized library on my laptop’s internal hard drive and using the external drive just a backup device, I’m going to start using Aperture’s new ability to store master images outside of the main library and store them on the new FireWire 800 drive. This will accomplish two things: First, I’ll be able to test drive this feature before possibly using the strategy on my main desktop library. Second, I’ll be able to flip through pictures, rate, and keyword them without connecting up the external drive while sitting on an airplane or at a cafe. Of course, I’ll make sure to back up my images to a second FireWire 400 drive and to roll them up to my home machine’s master library.
As I work through this new, at least to me, style of working with my Aperture library, I’ll report back on how it works over the next few weeks.