The GNARLIEST of boxes: GNARBOX

October 9th, 2017 Posted by Photo, Tech No Comment yet

I have always been a fan of simplicity and streamlining my process as a creative. When I am out in the field, I am constantly downloading images to backup drives and editing on the go. I am always a bit fearful that I am going to lose a memory card, or format a card that I have yet to backup. I am not the most organized person so keeping track of files has always been a weak point for me. Not only that, but when I am traveling, I like to have multiple backups of my files as a failsafe in case the worst happens.

As a wedding photographer, I’ve definitely eyeballed memory card backup devices before, but they always seemed way too expensive for what they do, so I settled for the cheaper, more cumbersome option of carrying around my MacBook Pro to back up to.

Enter: GNARBOX. I remember the day that I heard about this cool new piece of tech on kickstarter that had people on social media talking. It was super appealing to me, and at a much better price point than anything else on the market. It seemed perfectly primed for the action sports and video market, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to have the backup capabilities that would make it a must-have device, so I decided to wait on it and see what people said about it once it was released.

Fast forward to a few months ago when I finally got a GNARBOX of my very own. I was definitely into the simplicity and ease of getting started. After familiarizing myself with its capabilities, and the accompanying iPhone app, I immediately put it to the test and started dumping my cards form the day before. To my surprise once all of the data was transferred, the GNARBOX had read the metadata and separated all of my files into folders by date shot. This alone is worth its weight in gold to me. Not only that, but when I do forget to format my cards (let’s be real, we ALL do it) the GNARBOX intelligently knows what has already been imported so you don’t end up with duplicate files. I can’t even count the number of times that I will forgo formatting a card out of fear that something wasn’t backed up, and then i end up with multiple shoots on a card and duplicate files backed up on my external drive. Yes this is partly my own fault for not being more organized, but I am very much a creative process person, when I am in the moment and I want to get to editing, the last thing I want to think about is filesystems and organization. Present-Bryan never cares about future-Bryan and the mess he will inevitably have to clean up. So the fact that I can have a piece of tech come in and eliminate that problem for me is a no-brainer.

Sold yet? Because I haven’t even gotten to the part where you can edit RAW files and export them directly to your camera roll. I’ll admit that the backup capabilities of this little black box are far more enticing to me personally. But knowing that I can literally walk out of my house with my X100F, GNARBOX, and iPhone, all of which fit easily on my person with no extra bags, and I can backup and edit on-the-go, is absolutely unreal to me. And with the latest firmware update (1.5.0) you can navigate the GNARBOX, as well as any card or device you have mounted with a traditional filesystem view. For me, this means that once I have imported all of the cards from a session or a day of shooting, I can also plug my external SSD drive into the GNARBOX, take all of the nicely organized file folders and copy them over to the backup drive to have them safe and backed up there.

Shot with X-T2 + 16mmf/1.4 Edited on GNARBOX

A post shared by B R Y A N M I N E A R (@bryanminear) on


Shot with X-T2 + 16mmf/1.4 Edited on GNARBOX

I know a lot of people might see the 128GB SSD inside the GNARBOX as a limitation, but with the filesystem view and ability to backup files to another drive if you need to, I see it as an advantage. For me the GNARBOX isn’t meant to house my files indefinitely. It’s my temporary, on-the-go solution for organization and editing on the fly. I always end up archiving the files to my external drive and clearing the GNARBOX so it’s ready for the next thing. But for anyone interested in more storage, a 256GB model is now available!

The real magic here is the ability to do all of this without being tethered to a computer. Don’t get me wrong, I love my 15” MacBook Pro for its speed and processing power, but it’s not exactly the best travel companion. Now when I travel, I am able to drop that extra weight on the day-to-day by leaving it in the hotel. For Fujifilm shooter specifically, this should pique your interest. I know the majority of you have come to the system so you can be free of the chains of heavy gear, and this is the perfect companion to that mindset.

Simplicity and portability are a couple of factors that made me fall in love with the Fujifilm X Series to begin with. To think that I can have a completely capable setup that only consists of a Fujifilm X100F and a GNARBOX is absolutely amazing.

I’ve also gotten word that the team behind GNARBOX have some absolutely killer features planned to build on the success of their platform. One of the biggest new features they are working on is direct Adobe Lightroom Mobile integration on iOS. It’s nice to know that much like Fujifilm, they are dedicated to updating and supporting their product moving forward. I have already incorporated it into my workflow, but it will be interesting to see if it becomes even more indispensable in the future.

Check out GNARBOX on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

And if you are interested in purchasing a GNARBOX, consider shopping via the link below on Amazon to help support my blog:

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Bryan Minear is an Official Fujifilm X-Photographer & Vanguard Professional based in the Midwest.




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