This test drive was conducted by Mike Gee, a professional events photographer based in Sydney. Samsung Electronics Australia provided Mike with a Samsung Portable SSD T5 for the purposes of this test drive.
As a photographer I shoot thousands of files each year - my last camera ran up 97,000 shots in 32 months! I have filled three 2TB external drives in that period of time. With my current camera, it is also seeing the same kind of fairly frenetic action.
There are a few bottom lines; firstly, photo files don’t live on hard drives - not on my desktop or laptop - they swallow space at a massive rate. I would have filled up my 3TB desktop hard drive in 15 months! And the laptop would have been done and dusted in five months, probably less.
The more you have on your desktop the slower the PC gets. That’s fundamental.
Then there is the issue of hitting the road. On a recent road trip I shot well over 1000 shots in four days; I can shoot 1500 shots in two days at an event, perhaps more. With a file size of around 26MB for each shot - that’s 26GB/1000 photos or more than 10 per cent of space on the laptop hard-drive.
I have a 128GB SD Card in my camera - that is a lot of shot space. But more than 20 per cent is gone in one two- or four-day shoot. I also do a lot of back country and wilderness shooting when both conditions and weather can play a big part. Backing up those photos while I’m away can also be vital as there is always the possibility I could lose the lot. The same applies when I’m shooting an event.
That leaves an obvious question: best process is? Downloading and backing up each night is the equally obvious answer. But often I’m post-processing so I don’t want to spend hours while files trickle down to my laptop.
The Samsung Portable SSD T5 offers a real option. It comes in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB versions. We tested the 500GB version which comes in a nice shade of metallic blue. Firstly, it’s light - and I don’t need any more weight than I’m already carrying. A camera, four lenses, flash, monopod and/or tripod plus assorted filters and other gear and hello 12-15kg! This thing is little and light. Alright!
With my work I don’t like to be wasting time so I want to be able to download straight off the card to the T5 which you can do thanks to the Samsung coming with a USB C to A cable for older PCs and a USB C to C cable for compatible smartphones, laptops and so on. This means there is no need to download to the computer then upload to the SSD!
I took a folder of 1828 photos, averaging 26MB/photo, totaling 47.83GB and downloaded direct from camera memory card to the SSD T5 using the USB C to A cable - 8 mins 52 secs. Uploading from the T5 to my desktop with a 4 GHz Intel Core i7 processor took 30 seconds longer at 9 mins 22 secs.
Those are handy real world times and hard to beat. And I was still working while down - and uploading. And talking about times: the set up time was negligible.
I also uploaded several photos from the T5 to Photoshop, processed them and saved back to the T5 with no problems. I then uploaded the worked on files to both Flickr and Facebook direct from the T5. Nice functionality.
The only problem I can see for Mac buyers is that the latest MacBook Pro has done away with the SD card reading slot so that means carrying a compatible card reader around which adds another piece of equipment for owners (including photographers) of the latest MacBook pros. And, of course, the iPhone isn’t compatible.
Road trips are all about functionality but they can be hard on equipment. The T5 is shock resistant from most accidental drops of up to two metres which is good because photographers (especially me!) often drop things from their pockets or bags. While I love the small form and fit of the T5 it’s good to know that if it gets dropped it isn’t going to die a thousand deaths instantly.
It also comes with security software that allows you to password lock the entire drive. Photos can be income in my case, and I don’t want them being stolen should I leave my storage device in a hotel room or it falls out in an airport terminal in these or other worst case scenarios. And I’m sure you don’t want - like me - your precious personal photos and trip shots suddenly appearing on social media or photo sites around the world. And that does happen when media isn’t protected.
The T5 seems to have most angles covered. As a photographer and journalist that is something I appreciate.
I would rate the Samsung Portable SSD T5 5 out of 5 statrs. It is quick, tough, small, light, password protected, there’s nothing to fault and everything to like about it.