5 Best NAS for Photographers in 2021

When looking for the best NAS for photographers, there are a few features you need to zero in on as the main requirements.

The first of these is storage. Depending on how often you shoot, you will end up needing a lot of storage space for your files. From raw unedited photographs to touched up shots, having a library of your work is ideal.

Secondly, you’ll need a good performance. It may not need to be ultra-fast, but decent speeds to let you move photographs around or load up imaged quickly is ideal, especially for professionals.

Below we compare, review and talk about the various NAS suitable for photographers.

List of Best NAS For Photographers in 2021

We have selected these rather small sized NAS drives that can appeal to a photographer for saving data.

  1. Synology DiskStation DS220j – Diskless system with 512MB RAM
  2. Synology DiskStation DS920+ – 4GB memory and 4 drive bays
  3. WD My Cloud Home – Quick Setup with automatic backups
  4. WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra – High-performance processor, 1GB RAM
  5. Synology DiskStation DS620 Slim – Expensive, has 6 drive bays

1. Synology DiskStation DS220j – Recommended Small Diskless NAS for Photographers

This affordable NAS from Synology is the ideal unit for users who are just getting into photography and those with a tight budget.

It is designed for ease of use with an easy installation process and you also get a wide array of features that will make file handling a breeze. It also has a user-friendly operating system that makes extended use comfortable for most people.

The unit has 512MB of RAM which may seem little. This is, however, suitable for photography as you will not be doing a lot of encoding and decoding files on the drive itself.

It comes with two drive bays. The drives aren’t included with the NAS, however, hence why it’s diskless. Nevertheless, this offers users the freedom to pick their storage devices from the get-go as per their perceived needs.

The maximum capacity you can equip it with is 32TB, with each bay taking a 16TB drive at most. This will grant you enough space for countless photographs, making this the best NAS for photographers.

You get a single LAN port for wired networking as well as USB ports for file transfers.

2. Synology DiskStation DS920+ – 4GB memory and 4 drive bays

Just like the DS220j, this unit is easy to set up as well as use even for first-timers. That said, it does offer better performance which makes it the best NAS for photographers.

If you have multiple connections to the NAS constantly, the 4GB of RAM that this unit comes with will be handy for enhanced multitasking. This can further be bumped up to 8GB if need be.

You get two high-performance NVME slots and dual 1Gb Ethernet ports that can be configured via a link aggregation protocol so that they work as a single logical connection. This will result in increased data bandwidth which is necessary for high traffic usage.

It can take either a 2.5 or 3.5-inch drive in any of its four drive bays. With the smaller size drive, you will need to secure them to the bay with screws for a firm fit.

You get high storage capacities. Each of the drive bays can take up to 16TB drives which give you a large total capacity of 64TB. An expansion module from Synology can raise this to 144TB.

3. WD My Cloud Home – Quick Setup with automatic backups

This unit offers users remote access to their files without the need for recurring charges. It comes in two flavors, a single-drive unit and one with two drives.

It is a basic NAS that offers decent features with good sizes of 4TB and above as well as an affordable price tag.

Being easy to set up and use makes this the best NAS for photographers. It comes with several apps that can be used to set up things like automatic backups. This will safeguard your files in case you suffer any losses.

Furthermore, with the two-drive unit, you can clone the files from one drive to another and keep them synched. It uses RAID for this and it helps ensure that you can bounce back in case of a loss. The only drawback of this is you end up sacrificing half your storage capacity in the process.

You get a 1.4GHz processor inside coupled with 1GB of RAM which will be enough for saving and previewing your photos. Furthermore, the unit ships with NAS-grade RED drives from WD for optimal performance.

4. WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra – High-performance processor, 1GB RAM

If you have a large collection of pictures that need easy storage in a convenient location, this is the drive for you.

The My Cloud EX2 comes with a high-performance 1.3GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and 8TB HDD. With this, it offers fast access speeds and seamless operation that makes it the best NAS for photographers.

Users get to enjoy an easy setup that entails connecting the powered NAS to your network via the high-speed ethernet port at the back. You will then be able to copy your photos to and from the NAS via your computer file explorer.

Through companion Android and iOS apps, you will be able to access the NAS from your mobile phone. You can avoid the app and use any compatible browser instead and still get access to your files.

The unit is available in different configurations in terms of storage space. And, if you’re up for it and need custom drives, you can get a diskless one and easily install the drives you want.

5. Synology DiskStation DS620 Slim – Expensive, has 6 drive bays

The Synology DiskStation DS620 Slim is a 6-bay unit that offers high performance. It is ideal for photographers with terabytes of photos that need to be stored as well as accessed conveniently over the internet.

Because of its features, it’s quite expensive and is a good buy for photographers who are looking for extra features like performance improvements.

The unit comes with 6GB of DDR3 RAM out of the box. The high performance will make it easy even for sharing, hence making this the best NAS for photographers.

You get two 1GbE ports that support link aggregation for higher data bandwidths. Furthermore, two USB 3.0 ports can be used for physical connection to other storage media or devices.

The bays can be easily equipped with drives, and the unit has support for both HDDs and SSDs.

It comes with 12TB HDD, but can handle up to 5TB drives which grant you about 30TB of space for your photos. With a good RAID policy, you will get better peace of mind with data redundancy.


How To Find a Suitable NAS for You As a Photographer

NAS stands for Network-Attached Storage. These devices allow you to network your storage devices, like HDDs and SSDs.

Their main aim is to increase user access to files, by having them in a central location. The fact that it’s connected to a network will let users who are connected to the same network, either locally or over the internet, access the files.

With NAS, you no longer have to carry a hard drive with you when going to take some shots. You get the convenience of having access to all your photos whenever you need them.

Benefits of NAS for Photographers

best nas for photographers
NAS is essential if you have a huge raw data that needs storing.

Because it provides a central storage solution that’s similar to owning your private cloud server, NAS drives offer high convenience for traveling photographers.

Convenience for Travelers

Besides the camera, in the age of digital photography, you need a lot of storage space as well. Failing to take extra storage with you on your projects will mean either cutting the project short or deleting some already taken pictures.

With NAS, you won’t need to pack any extra storage devices. As long as you have an internet connection, you will be able to transfer pictures to the NAS. This can potentially grant you access to terabytes of storage space.

Also Read: Best NAS for Small Business

Ease of Use

Just like regular hard drives, NAS systems are easy to use. Many have an intuitive user interface that offers a lot of features at a glance.

You also do not require any advanced technical know-how to get up to speed with NAS drives. All you need is a little patience with the setup, connecting it to the internet. Thereafter, learning to move files between the device and your devices will be easy to grasp.

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High-performance drives will give you good performance in the long run. This is why some NAS systems come with SSD bays that let you install high-speed SSDs to cache the hard drive and make the system as a whole significantly faster.

Similarly, a good internet speed will play a pivotal role for users who do most of their reads and writes over the internet. Fast internet speeds are also ideal if the NAS will be connected to a network with high traffic.

NAS systems come with onboard processors as well as memory. High-performance ones tend to have more RAM as well as faster processors. They can serve multiple users without lags.

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