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Categorized | Articles, Gear, Jason DiMichele

Gear – DFi Gear Flash Porter (full review)

Reviewed by Jason DiMichele

Some photographic accessories aren’t usually at the top of a photographer’s wish list, and backup solutions tend to be one of these. For a long time, in-the-field backup solutions have existed, some cheap and fiddly, and some very expensive with all the bells and whistles. A new product on the market, the Flash Porter, seems like an interesting option. Will it find a home in your camera bag?

The DFi Gear (www.dfigear.com) Flash Porter was introduced as a KickStarter project last year, and was wildly successful. In only 28 days, it obtained funding almost 5.5 times more than the project’s goal! It can be purchased in various configurations, starting from about $300 (enclosure only). If you choose to add a drive at time of purchase, the Flash Porter can become significantly cheaper than some of the competing solutions. Measuring 147 mm x 87 mm x 28 mm, and weighing 300g with a drive, it’s quite small and light considering the insurance it provides. It ships with a neoprene case, a USB 3 type-c cable, wrist strap and an AC adaptor with USB port output including cable. It’s built well and nicely finished. The buttons and selection joystick are flush with the casing, eliminating accidental button presses. The screen is a 3.5” TFT-LCD display with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. Both PC and Mac are supported (without additional drivers), and there’s a built-in speaker and headphone jack.

The Flash Porter supports both HDD and SSD (solid state) internal disks from 500GB to 2TB. I would suggest an SSD drive for lower power consumption and mobility advantages, such as no moving parts. The memory card ports included on the Flash Porter include SD, MicroSD, CompactFlash (including UDMA) and USB (for flash drives or USB powered HDDs). Due to physical real estate restrictions, formats supported via card reader include CFast, XQD, Red, SxS and P2. The Flash Porter can also be used as external backup to your computer, and for making redundant backups to other storage devices.

Using the Flash Porter is extremely easy. The screen navigation and menu options are logical and straightforward. DFi Gear has kept the interface simple, as a device such as this doesn’t need to be overly complicated with settings. During the backup process, many progress indicators keep you confident that your data is being copied, along with excellent file management features. There are also many playback options (including slideshow) to verify that your images have been successfully copied. Along with other common photo file formats, RAW files of all the major camera manufacturers are supported. The backup speed, depending on memory card speed and type, ranges from approximately one to two minutes per gigabyte. Approximately 250GB can be backed-up on a single battery charge, which I found to be accurate. The Flash Porter battery is user replaceable, which is always nice. For future-proofing your investment, user updateable firmware is supported, allowing potential issues to be fixed and new features added, without additional cost. I found the Flash Porter firmware update process to be easy and intuitive.

In addition to doing a great job of backing up and verifying your images, the Flash Porter plays most popular audio formats. However, video playback support isn’t ideal. HD movies are choppy, and there’s no support for 4K playback. Your video files will still be properly copied, so I don’t find this to be an issue, as most of us use tablets, phones or laptops for entertainment.

At the time of writing, the DFi Gear website needed some work, but they’ve assured me it will be completed before you read this review. Their customer service is stellar, thoroughly answering any questions I had, often even on weekends! Knowing you’re well supported with a product you purchased is very important in my books!

It’s interesting how many photographers moan when I bring up the subject of image backup. In my opinion, backing up your images is a necessary task. Considering it’s such an easy process once you’ve established a workflow, it’s silly neglecting to backup your images, especially if it’s a critical shoot, or an expensive trip and location where you may not return. The Flash Porter makes the backup process very easy, both in the field and then to your main computer at home. I recommend considering the Flash Porter as your field backup solution as I’ve used it enough to know that I can rely on it to ensure my images return home safely with me!

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