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    • SmugMug and Flickr are wonderful for sharing photos, but I don't use them for backup for two reasons. 1) They do not support RAW and 2) unlike dedicated backup services, restoring photos to a local hard drive is painful because they don't provide bi-directional syncing.

      Google Photos has amazing software for search and organization, but it compresses your photos to 16 megapixels.

      Like @Chris, I use Google Drive because I shoot and store all my photos in RAW. I found Google Drive to be the cheapest lossless way to store and access RAW photos in the cloud. Dropbox is great too, but if you have terabytes like me, Google Drive is cheaper. I have an enterprise Google Drive account where I pay $40/month for 10TB.

      Like @petebocken says, "remember that you shouldn’t trust any of these services as a true single backup." Losing photos in the cloud does happen, like in the case of PictureLife. Or hypothetically, what if your billing lapses while you're on an extended vacation, and Google deletes your account?

      For this reasons, I have a Synology NAS at home that stores a complete local copy of my photo library. The Synology runs a Google Drive assistant that manages syncing and archiving the photo library.

    • Google Photos has amazing software for search and organization, but it compresses your photos to 16 megapixels.

      This is a setting you can configure for yourself. You can either back up your photos in "high quality" (16MP) for free, or you can back them up in "original quality" using your storage space:

      Every Google account has 15GB of storage space for free. This space is shared between Photos, Drive, Gmail and probably some other apps. If you run out of space, there's a range of plans starting from 1.99/month for 100GB:

    • Ah, that is good to know. Thanks for pointing that out. Google says that for Original Quality backup option:

      All photos and videos are stored in the same resolution that you took them.

      Reading in between the lines, it's possible to store them in the same pixel resolution they were taken in and compress the heck out of the image. So, do we know if they compress the file size even if you're paying for "Original" backup?

    • I totally agree that the services are worth it for the ease of sharing and distribution.

      Remember Google+ and Photobucket?

      That's why I choose to manage my own backups.

    • I feel like Amazon, Apple and Google are pretty reliable in terms of backup — especially if you're willing to pay. I had a NAS for a long time and it kept needing maintenance and repair, so I eventually gave it up for Google, with redundancy at Amazon.

    • Reading in between the lines, it's possible to store them in the same pixel resolution they were taken in and compress the heck out of the image. So, do we know if they compress the file size even if you're paying for "Original" backup?

      That is a valid concern, given that images <16MP are still recompressed when uploading in "high quality" - but I don't think that they do this to "original quality" uploads. Paid space is paid space, after all. :)

      I just tested this:

      - take a high ISO image in a dark room while image qualities are set to high, resulting in basically black images with a fair amount of noise (~2.5MB JPG, ~22.5MB RAW @ 20MP). These images should be fairly easy to recompress, because none of the noise in the lower bits is really visible.

      - set Google Photos to "Original quality", upload images.

      - set Google Photos to "High quality". At this time I'm asked if I want to recompress formerly uploaded images, which I decline.

      - download images again. The duplicates have the same size in bytes as the originals.

      Recompressing images could still be done at a later point, but I doubt that this is the case.