Lyn Carter Via Email

I use a Nikon D60, and now that I've amassed a few thousand images I'm beginning to think of the best way to store and preserve them. I'm worried that if I invest in a hard drive it will crash and I'll lose all my data anyway. Would storing images on CDs be a better idea?

□ Matt replies: Over the past few years, hard drives have become a popular storage option as the price of memory has fallen. The convenience of having all of your images on a single drive is clearly a bonus too, and the portability of smaller drives makes them ideal if backing up from a number of computers. A popular alternative is an online backup service; these range from free options to paid-for programs, and have the advantage of needing no additional hardware. On many you can even set it to automatically backup certain types of files as soon as they appear on your computer, meaning you can leave it running in the background. Some external hard drives also have a similar feature, where any new files are automatically backed up when detected.

Of course, hard drives and computers are both liable to crash (but if your computer crashes this doesn't necessarily mean that the hard drive can't be removed and the data recovered). Similarly, CDs and DVDs get

scratched, and files become corrupted - put simply, every option carries some degree of risk. Arguably the best option, therefore, is to backup the same files in two places, if at all practical. There's also the risk that file formats will cease to be supported in the future, so it's best to avoid more obscure file formats, for long-term storage at least. Adobe's DNG format is widely now seen as the safest Raw storage option, though if you use a different editing program for your Raw images than Photoshop you may want to stick to your camera's proprietary Raw format.

If you do go for an external hard drive.

I I am looking to purchase a zoom lens for my old(ish) Canon EOS 20D, preferably in I the 70-200mm range, but one with an internal zoom feature if possible. Neither Canon nor my local high street outlets have been able to help me with this quest - can you assist me, please?

□ Matt replies: There are currently five lenses available that would be suitable: Canon's EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, Sigma's 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG

Macro HSMII and Tamron's AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro. All of these lenses zoom and focus internally, and feature comparable specifications. At around £600, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM is the cheapest of the bunch, but with the smallest maximum aperture and no image stabilisation. You should be able to find both the Sigma and Tamron lenses for around £650-£750, which benefit from constant f/2.8 maximum apertures, but again, no image stabilisation. Lastly, the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM are priced at around £1,100 and £1,600 respectively.

Which lens has internal zooming?

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