GNARBOX 2 — Do PHOTOGRAPHERS Need This?


Today, I’m going out for a stills shoot. I’m going to be bringing the LUMIX S1 and
testing out the GNARBOX 2.0. What you just saw as a quick montage of the
workflow using the GNARBOX 2.0 for still photography. Now this video is specifically about still
photography. If you’re doing video production, I’ll do
a whole separate video for that. It’s a completely different animal. Let’s talk about using the GNARBOX for stills. So what you saw was me out shooting in the
field and then copying the photos from the SD card to the GNARBOX 2.0 in the field and
then I got home and using the selects app on the iPhone and then also on the iPad, I
went through and I did some star rating, added keywords, that sort of thing. And then I brought those pictures into Lightroom
CC. So that was my workflow. Is this the right workflow for this product
though? And this brings up the first interesting question. Who is this really for? If you’re a still photographer, do you need
this? Well let’s start with who doesn’t need it,
who it’s not really for because that’s a smaller group, and that’s going to be those who are
using Lightroom CC as I am. So Lightroom CC, as you probably know, allows
you to not only import, and manage, and edit, and star rate, and everything else your photos
on your iPad, or on your laptop, or on your desktop. It also syncs them all together. So if you’re out in the field with an iPad
and an SD card reader and you have a good internet connection, or at least you’ll get
to one at some point in the near future, you know that you can import your photos, mark
your selects, do your edits, and everything’s backed up and you’re good to go. Awesome. So do you need this thing? Well if you are using this in the field and
are using Lightroom CC, the only real benefit of this is the backup portion of it. So if you’re out editing somewhere or shooting
somewhere where you don’t have good internet connection or you’re not going to for a while,
or you doing critical work and you want to be able to back up in the field as you go
throughout the day, then this is great, but it’s also a bit expensive for that. There are cheaper ways to back up your content
in the field if that’s all you need it for. The whole thing with the selects app is pretty
cool, but if you’re using Lightroom CC, then it’s not really that beneficial. You’re not really saving any time. In fact, you’re probably spending more time
because you’re doing the selects on one device and then transferring the photos over and,
in fact, if you’re using a Panasonic camera, as I am, or Olympus cameras, for some reason
those files don’t allow the metadata to be written into the file, which I actually kind
of like. I don’t really like the idea of the actual
raw file getting modified in the GNARBOX, but apparently that’s the way it is for all
other camera manufacturers but for some reason Panasonic and Olympus files, they cannot be
modified. So what that means is that the star ratings
and the keywords that you add in the software connected to this are simply added as a sidecar
file, which for the most part is perfectly fine except that for some reason Lightroom
CC doesn’t actually read those. So that whole part of the workload doesn’t
really work. But again, it’s not really that beneficial
if you’re using Lightroom CC. So okay, if you’re using Lightroom CC, probably
not the right product for you as a still photographer. So then who does want this? Well, anybody who’s not using Lightroom CC,
because here’s the workflow. Let’s say you’re using Lightroom Classic,
or using Capture One, or using Luminar, or using Photo Lab, or any one of the other many
photo editors out there that don’t have a cloud-based synchronized to all of your devices
type of a system in place, then this suddenly becomes extremely, extremely useful. Imagine this scenario. You’re out shooting, whether you’re out for
a day or out for a week on a trip, wherever you are. You’ve got your iPad or your laptop, but that
is not where your main library is. Your main library is on your big system back
home, back in the studio. You could copy the files into your iPad and
kind of have them there as a backup, but your iPad’s limited in space. It’s expensive storage and, of course, your
app is probably being used for other things as well. If you’re carrying a laptop with you, then
you’ve got your laptop, and external drives you can hook up and all that, but that’s a
lot bigger and heavier than this. And then if you do copy the pictures to your
laptop and you want to do star ratings and so on in one app and then copy them to the
other, like how does that even work? It’s a bit of a tedious workflow. So this becomes extremely useful. In the field you copy your still photos onto
this and then you, using your iPad or your iPhone app, you run through the photos and
you mark your selects. You do start ratings. You add keywords and so on. And then once you get back home, you plug
this into your computer and you import those same photos and all of that metadata comes
with. Whether you’re importing into Lightroom Classic
or importing into Capture One or whatever, those star ratings and the keywords should
all be read because they all live in sidecars next to the photos, if you’re shooting Panasonic
or Olympus, and from most other file formats, they get embedded in anyway and so everything’s
going to read it. So that’s great. So all of your metadata is there. So all that star ratings is happening while
you’re in the field. You get back home, back to the studio and
you’re ready to go. And the whole time your photos were backed
up. In fact, not only do they back up to the internal
drive on here, you can attach another external drive and you can back up simultaneously to
that drive too. So you’ve got multiple backups. This even has the ability to connect to Dropbox,
so if you were staying in hotels that do have nice, good fast internet connection, you could
copy your files onto here and then, once you get to the hotel at night, have this upload
to Dropbox and you have another cloud backup there as well. That all works great. This is all assuming you’re not using Lightroom
CC because at that point most of those things are handled by the Lightroom cloud service
so you don’t really need it. Regardless of how you’re using it, part of
the workflow on this thing that’s really cool is the ability to simply pop in a card, hit
one button, and it starts backing up. Now you have a lot of other options in here. You can set up preset folders where you can
have, let’s say for a particular type of job or client, you copy into a certain location
and that can all be handled in there as well, which is pretty neat, but for the most part,
all you got to do is fire up your GNARBOX, little power button on the side there, pop
open the door and slide in a memory card, push any button on here to activate it, and
that’s it. It starts copying and away you go. This is all weather sealed. You can hang this off of your backpack, or
stick it into a pocket, or whatever and all of your content copies over. It’s just a couple of quick clicks and things
are backing up. So when you’re out in the field shooting that
way it can be pretty handy. If you are certainly working on something
critical, you want to get those backups right away. It’s definitely worth doing, but even if it’s
not super critical, just getting everything copied over there so that when you do finally
sit down at the hotel and the restaurant later on in the evening, and you want to start looking
at the pictures, they’re already on here. They’re ready to go, you start swiping through
them on the app and doing that star rating. And then of course bring those into your system
when you get back home. Overall, I think it’s a really cool product. I think it’s a huge step up from version one. It works a lot better. It’s faster, it’s more convenient. The buttons on here that allow you to copy
files over without having to launch the app are absolutely tremendous. If you are doing still photography, not using
Lightroom CC, I think this is something you should very seriously consider, especially
if you’re doing mission critical work. Or you’re traveling somewhere where you’re
going to be out for a long time and not have access to your backup systems, I think this
is absolutely phenomenal. If you’re using Lightroom CC and you’re just
doing still photography, probably not the right product for you. If you’re doing video production though as
well, then you definitely are going to want to consider one of these, especially if you’re
doing video editing on your iPad, and that is something we will talk about in a future
video.

Comments 5

  • FileExplorer Power 😃✌️

  • Wow, PJ you look like you were enjoying this job a little too much, I guess you were really focused on the GNARBOX 2. I would be too; he he. Great work as usual. Like your unbiased assessment.

  • Would love to see this use to back up video, I am really thinking sometimes might be useful with the GH5 though files are pretty big, anyways, looking forward to next videos. Thanks for the recent videos, as a university student I find them super useful before even thinking on buying new gear 😀

  • Was this the model slam you were talking about? Great location and great images 😀

  • Yup – you got that thing… 😀 I'm sticking with my 4tb simpler, slower WD wireless pro blah, blah…you know which I mean.

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