Best CD's or DVD's for Backing Up Photos?


TPF Noob!
Jun 12, 2006
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I've just started digital photography.

I want my precious pictures to be protected for many years
to be passed down to my grandchildren.

In copying them from my hard drive, which CD or DVD would you
recommend I use or does it matter? Are the brands pretty much
the same or is one known to be better for preserving digital photos?

I appreciate your feedback.

It really doesn't matter, just make sure to check them once they're written, no matter how much you spend there will always be a few duds around. The most important thing with DVD/CD back up is to make sure they're kept safely as they're pretty delicate things. it's not a bad idea to keep 2 sets of backups in seperate places just in case (heat, spillage, cold etc. can ruin all your backups in one go). A hard drive backup in addition is always a good idea as well.

Sorry to scare you but to me, backup is one of those things to be extra careful about, especially if you're going to sell any photos.

Welcome to TPF, There are loads of really helpful people here if you need to know anything about anything... :)
I've read about this a little bit, but not enough to really know all about it.

They brand does seem to matter. Some discs are just better than others. The problem is that there is no system to identify which ones are better. A lot of discs have been know to deteriorate within a few years.

There are special "archival" discs that are "made to last" but they are, of course, more expensive. Google it.

There are different strategies. Multiple back ups, in different locations is a very safe thing to do. Some people suggest re-burning your archives every so often...six months, a year, two years...etc.

Another factor, which is hopefully growing compatibility with readers/burners. I've heard of people upgrading their cd/dvd drives...only to find out that the new one will not read any of their old burned discs.
DVD-Rs will have a significantly shorter life span than a CD-R of the same quality.

Re-Writeable anything will be shorter than the write once versions

I've heard good things about efilm from Delkin and use them myself. They are a bit expensive but available in many camera shops. Available in DVD-R and CD-R but the CD-R's have 3x the life span.

Make sure you don't store your archival CDs in vinyl or paper envelopes and store them in archival safe storage. I purchase plastic jewels and they are inturn stored in a binder via archival safe inserts. Each is labeled with the date I burned the CD so I know when its time to reburn or move them to new media. I have two copies of each CD-R burned; on efilm gold and another on a good quality regular CD-R. Only the "regular" copy gets handled. The efilm golds are stored and not touched (avoid oils from hands).

For those really serious about archival, there are also commercial level magnetic tape products out there too.
Whatever you use, make sure you keep up with technology. CD's have been around unchanged for almost 30 years. DVD's are barely 10 years old and we've seen several changes.

I spent a squillion on saving to ZipDiscs in the 90's, then had to re-save to CD's in the early naughties. With 116 Zips it was a slow job.

So now I still back up to CD, keeping 2 copies in seperate locations AND saving to a external hard drive which $/mb represent great value and give me far easier access to files when I want them without clogging up my PC.

I've got the nice blue one :wink:

Thanks for all of the input...very helpful. alanH, I found your link to be very useful, as I am a newbie to all of this.

To show you how new I am, I just learned that Windows XP does not support writing to a DVD...CD only. If I want to go the DVD route, I've got to buy special software in order to do so. It never ends, does it?

Thanks again to everyone for your replies.


P.S....which software would you recommend for writing to DVD's?
check google for software called deepburner, it's not as use friendly as Nero but it's free and does the job just as well...
erm a external hard drive works out cheeper and better than dvds just a thought
hot shot said:
erm a external hard drive works out cheeper and better than dvds just a thought

External Drives indeed have more capacity, however what storage method do you have for storing multiple hard drives. Put em on shelves, and if so do you have a single enclosure and just swap out the drive or do you have an enclosure for each drive and leave it in it's enclosure?

I am thinking of going this route but am curious about an archival workflow. Hard Drives are obviously more sensitive to handling and moving around than DVD-R's are......

Your thoughts are appreciated.

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