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Two gadgets every pro drone pilot needs

You're going to be creating a lot of data, so you need to plan how you're going to handle it right from the start.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Profession drone pilots need to consider that they will be generating huge amounts of data in the form of photos and video.

High-quality images, along with 4K and even 5.4K video takes up a crazy amount of space, and if you don't plan for it right at the start, you'll quickly get swamped by it.

I've been a pro-am photographer for years and know just how quickly gigabytes can fill up, but even that didn't prepare me for getting into drone photography and videography.

There are two aspects to handling the photos and video once they have been captured onto high-quality microSD cards (I only use SanDisk Pro or Extreme Pro cards from reputable suppliers -- cheap cards can't handle the data speeds needed for 4K and 5.4K, and fake cards are hugely unreliable).

The first is ingesting the data off the cards, and the second is storage.

Also: What do all those microSD and SD card numbers and letters mean?

For a while, I messed about using a cheap SD card reader with a converter, then I switched to a dedicated microSD card reader, but that wasn't enough.

See, I don't like to keep too much data on a single card, so I end up with a number of microSD cards and ingesting the data off them one by one is tedious.

This is why I have a dual-microSD card reader from ProGrade Digital. This unit is fast (up to 1.25GB/s / 10Gb/s from both cards simultaneously), reliable, well designed, and comes with a 2-year warranty.

It even comes with an adhesive magnetic plate that you can attach to your notebook's lid to stick the card reader to when in use.

Great bit of kit.

ProGrade Digital Dual-Slot microSD UHS-II Memory Card Reader

Then there's storage.

For storage, I'm using Crucial X8 portable SSD drives. They work with pretty much anything (Windows, Mac, iPad Pro, Chromebook, Android, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One), offer read speeds up to 1050 MB/s, and are tough, featuring an anodized aluminum unibody core that's drop-proof up to 7.5 feet as well as offering protection from extreme temperatures, shock, and vibration.

And I don't just have one of these. I have several.

Crucial X8 Portable SSD

Using this combination, I've been able to process huge volumes of data from shoots in less time than ever.

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