This post is by Michelle DeLateur from ProVideo Coalition

As creatives, we want to work at the speed of thought. We want to move quickly from our idea to the screen, and we want our technology to work just as fast, maybe even faster, regardless of the codecs we use, the resolution we shoot in, or the size of our photos. 

Alongside that speedy creative journey, we want a creative companion, human or otherwise. A Watson to your Holmes. A Robin to your Batman. A favorite lens for your favorite camera. Or, in this case a hard drive for your creative endeavors.

Photo by author

The Samsung Portable SSD T7 Shield USB 3.2 is a creative companion that you can toss into a bag. And I do mean toss. The unit is IP65-certified to be dust proof and water resistant. In addition, with a 9.8 foot drop certification, it should survive a hefty drop should you miss said bag. A note from the Samsung website: “Tested to withstand 9.8-ft (3 meters) drop under controlled conditions. Drop resistance capability may vary depending on the actual environmental conditions.”

The unit has a read/write speed of 1,050/1,000MB/s, and to further the speed testing, we put the hard drive through the Blackmagic speed test paces and dove into Blackmagic’s recommended media.This particular unit was paired with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 6K and formatted as Mac OS Extended directly through the camera. The material shot was 6K open gate in Blackmagic Raw at 23.98 fps.

Review: Samsung Portable SSD T7 Shield 4

According to Blackmagic Design’s Support Center, the Samsung T7 Shield SSD is recommended for the Blackmagic 6K Pro camera for 6K Blackmagic RAW 5:1 up to 50fps, 6K 2.4:1 Blackmagic Raw 5:1 up to 60fps, and 2.8K 17.9 Blackmagic Raw 3:1 up to 120fps. Although this mobile hard drive can be used with the new iPhone in order capture ProRes at 60fps, the T5 Shield is listed for 4K DCI ProRes HQ up to 60fps, but not the T7. The T7 is listed for 1080 ProRes 422 HQ up to 120 fps.

The Blackmagic Disk Speed Test gave mixed results for ProRes 422 HQ at 4230p60 (you will see a green check mark, and a red x, for Write). That said, at $99.99 for a 1TB model, snagging one of these hard drives to test it out before a shoot, would be an inexpensive part of your research.

Review: Samsung Portable SSD T7 Shield 5 Review: Samsung Portable SSD T7 Shield 6

Speaking of the Blackmagic site, the Cinema Camera 6K is displayed alongside the infamous Sandisk Extreme SSDs, the subject of multiple lawsuits, hard drive failures and firmware updates. For most of us, the T7 became our next mobile hard drive investment i.e. our next creative companion. Indeed, with my own high school students, we purchased, delivered, and easily set up 20 T7s for film editing. And despite their best efforts, and excessive skill in walking around the classroom with the unit dangling from their laptop by a “thread” aka the USB-C cord, we had no failures or issues.

Transferring from the T7 to a 2020 iMac through USB-C

The word I use most often with the T7 is always. It always loads, always ejects quickly except when in use by an application like Resolve, always is easy to set up, and easy to edit off of. It’s zippy, and one of them (full disclosure: I have three personally) is always in my bag.

Warning!

The Shield does have a few quirks worth highlighting. While the Shield rubber does make the hard drive durable, it also tends to collect dust, glitter, or whatever else you have around (I found a small white feather on it once). On an iMac, it is possible to eject the hard drive while working in Premiere (No error was prompted by the operating system). While working with 6K material and multiple layers of materials such as text, Resolve can be a bit slow without 50% quality playback enabled (again this was on a 2020 iMac).

The deadly red screen in Premiere

Way back in the day, everyone had a GoPro in their camera bag. It was the durable camera you just tossed on the ride to every shoot. Today, the constant creative companion is a mobile hard drive, and it could be, perhaps should be, the T7 Shield. Grab one for 100 bucks, trust your creative instincts, and know you have a way to transfer material even in the snow. It’s your new creative companion.