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The 5 Best External SSDs For Photographers

While mentioning photographers, it is more than clear that they need external SSDs, fully portable, so they can carry them wherever they go.

In this article, I have listed the top picks as the best external SSD for photographers so that you can easily choose between them.

A quick look at my favorite External SSDs For Photographers

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
The Most Durable
Transcend StoreJet
Transcend StoreJet
8.6
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Best Compact
Lexar SL200
Lexar SL200
8.6
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Best Value
Crucial X8
Crucial X8
8.5
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The Most Reliable
SAMSUNG T7
SAMSUNG T7
8.8
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Best Overall
SanDisk Extreme Pro
SanDisk Extreme Pro
8.6
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Key Takeaways

  • External SSDs are the best purchase any photographer can make to keep their photographs safe.
  • SanDisk Extreme PRO is the most highly-priced SSD when compared to many others in the market.
  • The storage capacity and the security of an SSD card are two of the most important things that everyone should consider.
  • External SSDs should be compact and portable since you would want to take them wherever you may go.

Without losing too much time, let’s take a deeper look at the best external SSD for photographers all around the world!

The Top Five Best External SSD for Photographers

5. Transcend StoreJet – The Most Durable

What I Like

  • Super-Rugged
  • 2TB Storage
  • Auto Back-Up Button

What I Don’t Like

  • Not Very Fast

Transcend is a well-known name in the world of SSDs and the Transcend StoreJet is one of the company’s most famous SSD. Starting directly with the full body of this SSD, it measures 5.1 x 3.24 x 0.74 inches and weighs 6.6 ounces.

What is special about the build is that this SSD comes with a three-stage shock protection system and it fully protects the data that is on it. It includes a silicon rubber case. You can also choose between two colors, military green, and grey.

The storage capacity of this SSD is a full 2TB allowing you to store on it large media files, in this case, large pictures. This SSD works with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface that has a speed of up to 5Gbps.

Based on the connector, this SSD is easily used with different types of computers, and since we need them for photography, it can easily work with cameras that own that type of connection port.

This SSD owns Transcend’s software the RecoveRx, which is a recovery utility, that allows you to restore files that were deleted or removed accidentally.

Why should you buy it?

This SSD comes with a three-stage shock protection system and fully protects the data on it.

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4. Lexar SL200 – Best Compact

What I Like

  • Affordable
  • Durable and Portable
  • Secure

What I Don’t Like

  • The Transfer Speed Isn’t Very Fast

Moving on to another SSD, the Lexar SL200 is a quite used SSD by many photographers. It measures ‎3.39 x 2.36 x 0.37 inches and weighs 1.44 ounces.

This SSD has a great design and a very sleek look. It is portable based on its weight, and it is also a durable device. It can easily resist any type of temperature and also it is an SSD that is resistant to vibration as well.

This SSD’s storage differs from the one mentioned above because on it you can store data on up to 512GB. It can store the normal capacity of data which is in between large and small media files. The Lexar SL200 uses a USB 3.1, its read speed is 550MB/s, and the write speed is 400MB/s.

You can use this Lexar SSD with any device that you own because it is compatible with almost everything, especially it is great when it is connected with MacOS.

For safety, this SSD owns advanced encryption, that protects your files. It is the 256-bit AES encryption. Based on the encryption, if you delete the media files you cannot recover them.

Why should you buy it?

This SSD can store the normal capacity of data which is in between large and small media files.

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3. Crucial X8 – Best Value

What I Like

  • Super-Versatile
  • Durable
  • Works with USB-C and USB-A

What I Don’t Like

  • No Recovery Software

The third external SSD that I chose is the Crucial X8 and it differs a bit from the ones that I mentioned above. The dimensions of this SSD measure 4.33 x 0.45 x 2.09 inches and the weight is ‎3.53 ounces.

The Crucial X8 comes in black color and it is a super durable SSD card. Build with an aluminum core, it is drop-proof up to 7.5 feet, resistant to temperatures, shock, and also vibration-proof.

Keeping data on this SSD is quite easy because it has the ability to store up to 1TB. The speed works at 1050MB/s and it is considered a quite fast reading ability, it works with USB-C 3.1 Gen2 and USB-A connectors.

Those great connectors that are included allow you to use this SSD with different laptops, gaming consoles, desktops, tablets, and even smartphones. It also works properly with a camera.

The Crucial X8 works with flash storage from Micron, and it is the largest one all over the world. If you don’t know what flash storage is, it is based on the speed of the SSD.

Within the SSD, is not included any recovery software, but you can easily use it with Windows Backup, macOS, Apple FileVault, and many others.

Why should you buy it?

This SSD comes with great connectors that allow you to connect it with different laptops, gaming consoles, desktops, tablets, and even smartphones.

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2. SAMSUNG T7 – The Most Reliable

What I Like

  • Portable
  • Shock Resistant
  • Fast Transfer of Files
  • LED Indicator

What I Don’t Like

  • Bit Pricey

Everybody all around the world has heard about the Samsung portable SSD! It is one of the most famous and prestigious brands worldwide. The Samsung T7 is the brand’s great external SSD, used by many people.

As a whole, the Samsung T7 measures 3.4 x 2.2 x 0.3 inches and weighs about 2 ounces. It comes in two colors, black, and silver, so you can choose between them based on your preferences.

Like the other external SSDs already mentioned the Samsung T7 is strongly built as well and it is resistant to shock and easily withstands drops from 6ft. 

The storage capacity of the Samsung T7 is 2TB, which as you already know is one of the best ones when it comes to photography media. It has a pretty good data transfer speed. The read speed of this SSD is 1050MB/s which shows that it is in a way the same as the one mentioned above. The connector that this SSD uses is a USB 3.2.

Compatibility is another thing that Samsung is proud of. It can easily work with Windows7 or higher, Mac OS, and also Android devices. With a camera, it works fine in general.

With the 256-bit encryption, you can add your fingerprint in order to safely keep your data within the SSD. It also allows you to use a password.

This Samsung portable SSD is one of the most popular ones used by many people, so I’d definitely recommend it to everyone!

Why should you buy it?

The feature that makes this SSD stand out from the other SSDs is that it has 256-bit encryption, you can add your fingerprint in order to safely keep your data within the SSD.

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1. SanDisk Extreme Pro – Best Overall

What I Like

  • Accepts 4TB of Data
  • Read Speed of 2000MB/s
  • Usable with Two Connectors

What I Don’t Like

  • Expensive for an SSD

The last external SSD that I chose to tell you about is the Sandisk Extreme Pro. Just as the name supplies, this SSD is really extreme!

The Sandisk Extreme Pro measures ‎0.41 x 2.28 x 4.36 inches and weighs 2.75 ounces. It has a quite compact body and it is portable as well.

Resistance is a great feature that is added to this SSD! The Sandisk Extreme Pro is drop-proof on up to two meters, plus it owns a rating of IP55 of water and dust resistance. You can use this SSD whenever you want. On the side of the SSD is placed a carabiner in order to attach it wherever you want.

This SSD works with the highest storage capacity that you can find! It accepts data on up to 4TB without any problem. The speed is another thing that the SSD fully shines because it has a read speed of 2000MB/s. It owns two types of connectors, the USB-C and USB 3.2 Gen.

Compatible with any type of device that includes the ports for the particular connectors of the SSD. It is compatible with computers, cameras, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and many other things.

You can keep private the data that is added to its SSD because it features 256-bit AES hardware which can lock the SSD and it requires a password.

Overall, I would say that this is an amazing external drive that is shock resistant, has great read-write speeds, and works great on a laptop or desktop computer.

Why should you buy it?

With water and dust resistance, it is one of the most durable SSDs you can get.

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How to choose an External SSD – Buying Guide

Storage Capacity

The storage of an SSD is the main reason that you are buying an SSD. That’s why it is the first most important thing that you should consider.

As you can notice above all of the SSDs that I mentioned are quite strong regarding the capacity since most of them accept up to 1TB storage, or even more.

Speed

It would be very weird and annoying if you want to quickly transfer your files, in this case, the pictures, into your SSD and the transferring is very slow. When choosing an SSD, the speed of its transfer is a very important thing; since you don’t want to lose your time for anything.

Durability and Portability

Considering the fact that you are here to choose an external SSD plus you are a photographer, durability and portability are super important.

There are some SSDs that are fully portable but they aren’t durable. If they can be broken easily they don’t allow you to do anything. To avoid this issue you should choose a portable SSD that is in a way shock-proof, water-resistant, or some that are vibration resistant.

Security

If the pictures that you are storing into your portable SSD aren’t safe, it is the worst thing that could happen. You don’t want to lose your pictures, right?

A great thing to do about security is encryption! Encryption is a means of securing digital data, that can be used with a password or a key. Those two things, password or the key are used to decrypt the information or the data that is placed into the SSD.

I’ve owned a Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD for many years, and it has never let me down in the security department.

What capacity of SSD do I need?

Almost everybody knows that SSDs and even SD cards come with different types of capacities when it comes to storage. The SSD has definitely more capacity available, and they are as follow:

  • 128GB – The 128GB of storage in an SSD is a low one and you should in a way stay away from them since we need more.
  • 250GB – What you should keep in mind about the 250GB SSD, is that they are restricted when you use them with large pictures.
  • 500GB – The 500GB of an SSD is a normal range and a middle one. It should be enough for those photographers that take not too many pictures.
  • 1TB – 1TB is a quite captivating capacity since many photographers use them. It is the normal amount.
  • 2TB – This capacity is for those photographers that work with large media and the 2TB is more than enough if you shoot videos as well.
  • 4TB – A capacity that goes higher means getting better! The 4TB of an SSD is a great thing that you can purchase, but they are more expensive.

FAQ about the Best External SSD for Photographers

What is an external SSD?

An external SSD or an external hard drive is a device that is plugged into another device, in this case, a camera, and it gives immediate additional storage space. When using an external SSD you don’t need to open your PC and make upgrades, it works immediately.

Is there a difference between SSD and HDD?

Both a portable SSD and HDD are storage devices that are used in order to store data. However, some things make these two devices differ from one another.

An HDD (hard drive disk) works with the help of magnetic disks in order to store data and they need some changes that should be done by you, for example, you should change the read or write heads in order to function properly.

The SSD (solid-state drives) use tiny transistors, that can flip on and off based on the electric pulses. The SSDs are faster than HDD and also they are a little bit more expensive.

Why do I as a photographer need an SSD?

Photographers, especially professional ones, take pictures of almost everything and the number of their shots goes higher and higher during the day. If you are a traveler and a photographer at the same time, a portable SSD would be the best thing to buy. What is important to know about the SSD usage in photography is that the can be directly connected with your devices, a camera as a first thing.

SSDs accept pictures and videos as well, so that you can freely use them for anything, and also they back up those data quickly and very safely. You shouldn’t worry in any way about the quality because it won’t destroy it.

Is an SSD expensive and is it worth it?

As you can see the portable SSD types that I mentioned above all have a normal price range, and it is similar to one another. The price of a portable SSD fully depends on the capacity that it owns and both the price and capacity, are linked to each other.

If you need my opinion, the SSDs are worth it in any way, since as already mentioned, they are the best thing that a photographer can buy.

Can an SSD get slower?

Everything that arrives at its full capacity can get slower. Since SSDs have a limited number of read/writes, they in a way slow down when you put more files on them. What I as a photographer do, I use them when I take pictures and then when my job is done, when I put the pictures I took on a PC, I clear the SSD before using it for another job.

Final Thoughts

As you can notice, SSDs are important things that are needed by photographers, and the ones that I chose and reviewed for you in this article definitely are some of the most popular ones.

Finally, if you own a Macbook, then i recommend you get an external drive that supports usb-c connection. Most of the newer MacBooks have only USB-C ports, so if you don’t want to purchase an additional adapter, i recommend you choose an SSD that comes with an USB-C Port.

I really hope this article will help you decide on any of them!

Further Reading

It may sound a bit funny but I have read that some people are confused about whether to get an SD card for a camera or an SSD. SD cards are things that are a must to be bought, and if you are searching for an SD card, let me introduce you to the best SD cards for Sony a6000, the best SD Cards For Nikon D3300, or if you are a fan of trail cameras, check out the best SD cards for trail cameras.

Michael Fortin