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admin 03-16-2009 05:47 PM

Sony or Ritek discs for photography archives?
From e-mail...


The only dvd's I could find locally were the sony d 21 I purchased at Wal Mart. They smelled the same and potentially have the same chemical composition as some that identified as ritek f16 and only burn at 4x. Are the sony's much better? Can you really get good dvd's at Wal Mart, or will these break down over time? I am a photographer and don't want my hard drives to crash and then find out that my back ups went bad.
  • Sony made in Taiwan would be better media.
  • Sony made in Malaysia would be inferior quality, probably worse than RITEKF16 discs.
  • Ritek media is mediocre media, only worth buying if the price is $20 per 100 discs, and only if it's being used for duplication. Never use Ritek for archival or mastering quality. The discs review poorly, have issues with playback/reading, and bad burns are common at least 10-25% of the time.
I'm also a photographer (Nikon D200/D3 shooter, mostly), and store all of my photos on external hard drives for archives. There is a primary working drive, and monthly I copy the working drive to an archive drive. Yet another batch of archives is saved on Taiyo Yuden DVD+R and Verbatim DVD-R, stored at another location.

The best place to buy these discs (Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden) are going to be, as they have the best prices, free shipping, and no sales tax. Use our affiliate links, if you plan to buy from Amazon. We've already picked out some of the best deals on the media review pages.

Sony discs made in Taiwan are a great third choice, although these are really not sold online. Even if they were, you'd want to be careful to avoid the Malaysian versions.

If you need the discs immediately, and can't wait for the best prices, OfficeMax and Best Buy carry Verbatim, and Walgreens, Sears and Target carry Sony. Walmart sometimes has Sony too.

Personally, for photography archives, I would not use Sony. I would only use Sony for computer data (software installers, for example) or DVD-Video. The Sony would be great for duplicates, discs given to clients or for TFCD/TFP.

The best idea might be an external hard drive, for your own first-line archives. Use discs on a second-line archive.

The Ritek and Sony definitely use different dyes and materials. The smell of the media is often caused by the container in which they are stored, be it DVD cases, jewels cases or spindles. Most spindles appear to be made by the same few manufacturers. The same can really be said of the polycarbonates and glues on the discs, too. So smell isn't a really reliable method of determining quality. I wouldn't worry or put much stock into that.

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