Best DVD burner, etc for archiving pictures


I would like to choose the most appropriate DVD burner for the use of archiving my photography. I have taken pictures for years, but have just recently switched from film to digital. The digital storage issue is a bit overwhelming to me at this point.

I have been reading about an error scan software to check the dvd after burning and in some cases prior to burning. Some of the ones I have looked into include Plextools and Kprobe.

Are there other software error rate programs anyone can recommend? I understand Plextools is designed for Plextor and Kprobe is made for Lite-On. Do these programs work with other DVD burner brands? Is there software like this available for Pioneer or will Kprobe or Plextools work with a Pioneer burner.

My main criteria in choosing a DVD burner will be to ensure the best burnt DVD possible to safekeep my photos. I plan on doing other things like having backup storage on an external harddrive, etc. I have been reading until my eyes are sore on this subject. I realize the importance of using a high quality DVD. I plan to use Taiyo Yuden R+ 8X DVD’s, this seemed to be a good choice from my research. It also appeared from the info I read that some burners may be better for doing error scans and others better for burning, is this true?

Some burners that I have interest in so far have been the Pioneer 112 which seemed to get a good review on this site. Also Lite-On 20A1H seemed okay. I am also looking into the Plextor models now.

Speed is not something I need at all, it is the quality of the burn that I am interested in. Taking this into consideration I would appreciate any recommendations someone might have. On the burner, the error scan software to use with it, etc.

Thanks very much

Pioneer makes very good burners as far as the quality of the output, but are not the best scanners around. If you absolutely want to scan your disks for errors, I’d go with a Lite-On burner.

Plextools and Kprobe only work for Plextor and Lite-On respectively. Another scanning tool is Nero CD/DVD Speed, which can be downloaded separately from the Nero burning applications.

CD Speed is free to use, and can be used in most burners, though not all will support the quality tests. The transfer rate test in Nero can be used in most drives, and is fairly useful for indicating how well everything is being read off the disk.

So, first choice would be to get a Lite-on and use either Kprobe or Nero CD Speed.

Pioneer 111 or 112: use the transfer rate test in CD Speed (they will do the quality test, but results won’t be consistent)

BenQ 1655, 1640 or 1650: extremely hard to find nowadays, will use all the tests in CD Speed and do a good job of scanning disks burned on the same drive.

Plextor: overpriced, maybe not the best quality on burns, but if you want to spend the cash, they will scan very well

One thing to remember is that every burner will give you different scan readings in CD Speed which you will find that it really doesn’t matter as CD Speed could show a bad scan but the picture quality is the main thing to look at not the scans, It seems as though everybody swears by CD Speed scans which isn’t always a sign of a good burn, one of the main things is to use good media for burns. Such as TY’s or Verbatim media :bigsmile:

But everybody will swear by CD Speed who has it except me, but everybody has there own opnion I guess like I said the main thing is the burn quality not the scan go to the pioneer burner forum and look at the review on the 112 which got the CD Freaks Editors Choice Award

I don’t know that everyone disagrees with you Jimbo. I put burn quality ahead of anything else when I shop for a new burner too. But the op did ask for a combination of burners and scanning programs, so that’s how I answered him.

I rarely scan disks anymore, especially with the quality tests. I usually just scan when I get a new batch of disks, and if I get a smooth transfer test on the first few I’m pretty much done.

My main burner now is a Pioneer 111L. Very satisfied with it so far.

Hello from the OP,

Thank you for the advice. I think I am going to go the route of getting a burner with good reviews on the quality of the burn. I agree with the information provided. As a newbie I kind of got caught up in all the info about the scanning. I did read the excellent review on the Pioneer 112 and that’s why it was one of the ones on my list. I think I will go with it. All this scan stuff is quite over my head anyways. This being said, with the Pioneer can I still do some kind of scan on a few disks in a new pack as you talk about Kerry56? Just to give piece of mind.

While I have some knowledable people answering my questions, can I bother with one more. Forgive me if this is a dumb one.

I just came back from travelling for over a year. I have approx. 50,000 pictures, (no that was not a type O!) Right now the only place they are is on two sets of DVD’s that they were burnt onto while I was travelling, which really freaks me out! I am going to be putting them onto some harddrives asap, but I am going to edit them down and reburn them onto new DVD’s.

My question would be, since I have two copies of DVDs for all the pictures. Should I be using one DVD over the other to get the pictures from. Will one possible be higher quality then the other, or is this relevant? Any suggestions you have on the matter of this huge amount of pictures and what to do with them would be appreciated.

My plans as I said, is to edit them down to a lesser amount, reburn probably to two sets of DVD’s again. Put them onto an external harddrive as well as my main computer harddrive, or maybe just another external hardrive, and suggestions have been made for to do some kind of online storage as well.

Thank you

If you get the 112, it will do transfer rate tests in Nero CD/DVD Speed. What you want to see is a smooth curve on the reading of your dvd. A little bump here and there isn’t important, as long as you don’t get massive downward spikes in reading speed.

You can chose just the transfer rate test by clicking the Run Test tab at the top of the main window in CD Speed, then hit Transfer Rate. Or I believe F2 works also.

The quality tests will run on the Pioneer, as I said before, but no one around here recommends using it in their drives.

As for your question about your dvds, I don’t think it really matters which you use to transfer as long as you can still read the disk. With that many pictures, I’d be looking into a program to manage and organize them. I have so few I can get by using something like Picasa, but I’m not sure what to recommend to you. Best to do some research at photography sites.

The rest of your storage plans sound good. Always have more than one solution for important data. You might want to burn some of your photos onto Taiyo Yuden +R 8x as you stated before, and some onto Verbatim 16x +R.

I’d recommend an LG drive for burn quality, but alas, they don’t support disc quality scanning.

Fully agree with you on this, have a good day my friend, as I see to much relying on how fast they can burn & ect. Seems like the burn quality is forgotten about.

Thanks for all the great advice everyone. One last question. What burning software would you recommend to use with the Pioneer 112?

Sorry if I come back at this point of the thread, but this is a subject that demands more than just the drive’s model and maker.
When you archive photo files you have to decide how you do value them, before choosing the solution.
Here, you can find some remarks around the problem aspects:

Coming back again:
You have several solutions to check data integrity, and not just recording quality - these are aspects linkend in a very close way but not exactly the same.
The media that performs the best data integrity check it is probably DVD-RAM.
Not the mainstream, but catridge protected discs prevent duts, disc scratches and more problems, as you don’t touch the disc.
More expensive and drives are not that easy to find (I’ve got a Panasonic that does).

Second, you have longevity (DVD-RAM included) that it is not the same for all media types:
Keep away of all RWs, being CDs or DVDs.
There are arguments that favour CDs over DVDs in terms of longevity (but you have the capacity limitations) - and there are CDs labeled as photo archive quality, and all the discussions around the surface (gold was said to offer advantages).

Third - you can consider other supports like Hard Disks that today offer a good cost relation, including the external ones that you can keep out of the machine to prevent virus.
But these have moving parts and also have problems. HDD rescue software first question uses to be if your drive is over 3 years old.

Fourth - obsolescense - after some years you may have problems in terms of hard and/or software to access your files, thus it is advisable to move files to an udated media when necessary.

    • Don’t trust on just one material media - burn 2 (CD, DVD, whatsoever) and keep them apart.
      From time to time, open some files using each of the burnt units, and with a longer interval (only experience can tell you) burn new copies.

All this can be seen as an archive policy, that can be extended to the actual conditions of the places you keep your backups, etc. And all depends on how important your files are to you.

Software it is not that important, providing you use a reliable one (many of the ones around match this), buy a good burner and don’t choose your elected media by the lower price criteria.
Good luck and good pictures.


I would agree with [B]agomes[/B] summary for archival. It would be better making copies of your photographs to CD-R aswell as DVD+R. For every 6 CD-Rs of photographs, you would only need 1 DVD+R also, so it’s not much more inpractical for space.

Independant on which digital image format you have your photographs in (JPEG/RAW/TIFF) , you should be able to fit quite a lot on even a single CD-R, and price relative to film processing per roll is very cheap :bigsmile: (even if you purchased archival grade media).

I imagine the personal value of your photographs is high enough that you would prefer to be safe.

Any burning program capable of creating data compilations should be fine.

I would rather go for BenQ or NEC drives since they are well established quality drives.