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Posted by Steve Messa – January 10, 2014 browse all

The Key Differences Between Mosaic, Dropbox, Google Drive and Box For Photographers

First of all, Dropbox rocks and so does Google Drive and Box. At Mosaic, we use these services to share important files with each other every day. I also used them to share music with my friends, and Dropbox was an integral part of my podcasting workflow back in my broadcasting days. These services meet many needs, but they differ from Mosaic in several key ways.

The first way is the sheer amount of data you have to work with. Photographers know that a single raw photo can be over 25 megabytes in size. If we’re talking about 10,000 photos, we’re already at 250 gigabytes of data. If we’re talking 100,000 photos, we’re looking at 2.5 terabytes of storage. Dropbox wasn’t created to backup 2.5 terabytes of photos, but Mosaic was built for this exact purpose. In turn, Mosaic is able to provide this amount of storage to photographers at an affordable rate.  

Mosaic’s functionality also differs from Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. Mosaic backs up your original photos in Lightroom, but it also lifts your Lightroom previews (complete with all of your edits) to the cloud and pushes them back down into your Mosaic app for a detailed viewing experience. You cannot do this with Dropbox, Google Drive or Box. If you have your original files in Dropbox, then they will not reflect your Lightroom edits (since Lightroom is a non-destructive editor.)

Let’s also look at how your images appear in the Mosaic iOS app compared to Dropbox.

Mosaic and Dropbox present photos in very different ways. Mosaic is in familiar gallery format, and also provides access to metadata (like starts and flags) and your Lightroom folder structure. Dropbox has a more traditional, basic folder structure, with a list of photos by file name.

Dropbox’s presentation is perfectly acceptable and works very well in many situations, but what happens if you’d like to show a client a specific photo you’ve been editing? How quickly would you be able to find this photo? You can’t search for it by metadata like stars or flags in Dropbox, and you certainly can’t scroll through images one by one in a gallery setting.

Moreover, Lightroom is a non-destructive program, so it doesn’t apply edits to your original photo unless you export the photo to jpeg (or some other format). In turn, Dropbox users must export each of their edited photos prior to loading to Dropbox in order for the edits to be visible on their mobile device. Since Mosaic pulls the previews generated directly in Lightroom, all of your edits are visible in the gallery.

The final key difference is Mosaic’s new two-way sync feature. With this, you can actually use the Mosaic app to “work” on your photos from anywhere, anytime. So not only can you sort and search by metadata, you can add and edit metadata as well. Changes to your photos’ metadata will sync directly with Lightroom on your primary computer.

Each of these storage solutions can have an important place in your workflow, but it’s important to understand the way each of these services work to get the most value from them.

How do each of these services fit into your workflow? Let us know in the comments below!

Steve Messa

Director of Sales and Marketing at Mosaic: A NH tech/software company dedicated to helping photographers access, share and protect their photos.

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  • umijin

    Typo in the 3rd paragraph. “Since lightroom is a destructive editor” – should be non-destructive…

    • MosaicArchive

      Thank you. Fixed.