NEXTO DI (NCB20) Card Batcher
NEXTO DI showed off their newest product, the Card Batcher at NAB 2017 and it caught my eye as I'm always looking for ways to simplify my workflow on "volume" assignments. I contacted the company shortly after the show and they were good enough to send me a pre-production unit to test out. Now that the embargo period has expired I can share a short video I've made with my thoughts.
Firstly, the Card Batcher comes in two flavours. The Compact Flash and SD Card versions, and I'm using the latter. I no longer use cameras that require CF cards. My model features 8-slots which are compatible with a wide range of SD Card types and micro-sd. If like me you have to backup multiple cards after events, this product is right up your alley. No more toting along your laptop if you want to travel light.
One application is weddings...I typically have 1 or 2 assistant photographers for big events who generate upwards of 1000 images each. That results in around 2-3 SD Memory Cards each to back up at the end of the night. I hate that part of it...when a wedding is over for me I want nothing more than to take off for home and fall into bed. Taking that additional time to backup all the cards is excruciating.
NCB20 W/Western Digital USB External HDD
With the Card Batcher you simply populate the 8 slots, attach a USB external HDD and the AC Adapter/USB Power Bank and all the cards are copied into their own folders (configurable) on the external drive. Add a second drive with sufficient space and the Card batcher will make you an identical backup simultaneously. As they say...it isn't a backup unless it exists in three different places.
Once I get home the external HDD is attached to my workstation and left to import into Adobe Lightroom CC while I go get a drink..of whatever. It's really that simple and very reliable. I've shot just under 10,000 images between weddings and other assignments in the past month and I haven't had a single issue with the backup copies. The entire process is very easy and fast.
A few recommendations I will make to improve your experience though...
Use the fastest SD Memory Cards you can afford. While you are at it use a fast external HDD as well. I initially employed a Western Digital USB HDD...but when I switch to a Samsung T3 my copy speeds instantly improved.
For SD Memory Cards I use Toshiba's with a Read Speed of 260MB/s and Write Speed of 240MB/s. I have a few other brands that claim 300MB/s but as with anything electronic those are theoretical speeds at best.
Personally I would leave the AC Adapter at home and get a USB Power Bank. Anker's products have always been reliable and excellent performing for me. The overall build quality is very good and I didn't exactly treat it with kid gloves. It went into my camera bag like any other piece of gear without issue. The buttons are tight fitting with a positive feedback..nothing is loose or rattling. I kind of wish it had at least one USB-C port though...that's just the way the industry is moving and product manufacturers have to be proactive.
Finally you can use the card Batcher strictly as a card reader back in your office. I've found the transfer speeds during import to Adobe Lightroom directly off the SD Cards to be no faster or slower than a single reader device. That's a good thing...most everything in my gear collection does double duty in some way.
I am not compensated in any way by NEXTO DI to use/review this product. I contacted them myself after seeing the prototype shown at NAB 2017. I actually paid for the shipping cost to get it here from South Korea, and I'll have to pay to send it back now that my review has been completed. I have been offered the opportunity to review a final version of the product with updated firmware...which I'll definitely take them up on at some point in the near future.
Toshiba, Samsung and Anker were also mentioned, none of which I have any relationship with. These are items I use in my daily work and recommend them without reservation. P.S. They are also expensive...but quality and reliability usually are.