Patrick Zeller

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Mobile SSD - SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD 2TB

Review: SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

It`s the one thing we Photographers can`t never have enough. No, I am not talking about money. It`s all about storage. Fast Storage!

So let`s see what the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD can do for us.

SanDisk released the Portable (SSDSDSSDE60-2T00)  from their EXTREME series already a while ago, but I had no need so far, as I was always pleased with my Angelbird PKT SSD2GO. I will talk about this one separately.

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However, with Marvin, the Mavic 2 Pro* and 4k video I am as most of us always for the look of new, better and faster storage solutions. And I had the unusual idea to re-organize the whole content of my current Synology DS218+*. The NAS runs on two mirrored 2TB disks at the moment and is about 75% full. That`s why I decided to use a separate, external 2TB disk to backup the data and bring it back in a new structured way.

Don`t get me wrong, of course, I have multiple additional backups of my NAS. I run a nightly rsync to another NAS and do real-time sync into my 2TB Google Drive. That`s the basic of backups – three versions on three different locations!

But this shouldn`t be only a one-time shot. I mean, if I invest in a new portable drive, I want something useful — a keeper for following tasks, maybe even a replacement or addition to my Angelbird SSD*.

After some research, I ended up with the choice of the SanDisk or the Samsung T5. Both have about the same specifications, are at the same price range and have excellent customer reviews. Honestly, I ended up with the SanDisk because of the different and sporty design.


As the name already says, it is an SSD, a Solid State Drive. So it has no spinning or moving parts inside which makes it super robust and fast. By using a USB3.1 Type-C connection to your MAC or PC, this drive claims to reach up to 500MB/s read speed – more about this later!

It comes with a USB-C cable that includes an adapter from USB-C to USB-A.

It is also IP55 dust and water resistant and should survive up to a 2-meter drop.

And of, of course, it is small and light. Actually, it is a lot lighter than I expected, which is partly due to the plastic case that gives it light but also a very cheap feeling. Not comparable to the solid aluminum-block of an Angelbird – which also costs significantly (3x) more.

Here is a side-to-side size comparison between the SanDisk Portable SSD and a Compact Flash Card, an SD-Card and a Micro SD. 

All available versions, 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and my 2TB come in the same form-factor and with the same specs. In the world of SSD, sometimes more storage equals faster file-transfer rates due to parallelization, but not in this case.

The drive weights only 38,9g or 0.086lbs. 

It can be operated between 0°C and 35°C (32°F to 95°F) and stored at -20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F) what makes it a great companion for all adventures.

Read / Write Speed

If you do everything right than the drive keeps it promised speed and maybe even more under best conditions. But what does „everything right“ mean?

Three golden rules:

  • Use the super short and solid (massive screened) USB-cable that comes with the drive and connect it to a USB-C port.
  • Use only the USB-A adapter, if you have to.
  • Under no circumstances should you use any low-quality cable or extensions cord.

If you follow those rules, the disc provides enough speed for a truly „mobile“ workflow and enables you to even live-edit pictures and videos from the disk.

USB-C with Adapter to USB-A
USB-C via a 1m / 3ft extension cord

I run several tests with different tools and different settings, but the above screenshots of CrystalDiskMark are easy to read and represent the overall outcome excellent.

The first picture shows a connection directly via USB-C with the short cable that comes with the drive. The Read speed slightly exceeds the promised 550MB/s. As the drive never mentions write speed, I am also positively surprised that this is just about 10% slower.

The middle picture shows the connection via the delivered adapter from USB-C to USB-A, connected to a USB 3.0 port. USB 3.0 can deliver up to 625 MB/s, so this shouldn’t be the limiting factor. However, the speed is still noticeable reduced and about 100MB/s slower than the drive proofed to be capable of.

The last picture is my worst nightmare scenario. I used a short USB-C extension cord to connect the drive because my native USB-C port is on the back of my desktop computer and hard to reach.  I run the test several times and with different cables as I couldn`t believe the results. With this short extension, the drive delivers suddenly less than 10% of the promised speed and is even slower as an old USB2.0 connection. The odd thing is, old hard-drives (none SSD) can provide 50-100% more than the SSD in this setup.


There is not a lot bad to say about this drive. It looks nice and sporty, is small and robust enough for all kind of outdoor adventures and provides the promised speed if you take care of the connection. With available storage of 250GB and up to 2TB in a price range of $70 to $330 it is a solid, mobile storage extension. 

Just the very cheap rubber haptic of the plastic makes me sometimes thinking about how nice and premium my Angelbird feels. 

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My experience with Canon CPS Gold Service


...stands for Canon Professional Services and is Canon`s dedicated in-house service for imaging professionals.

To benefit from Canon`s program, you need to own some of their gear to get "points" to qualify for a membership.

I am a „Gold Member“ since 2016 and currently just one single point away to qualify for the Platinum Membership. Of course, Platinum comes with even more benefits but also costs more than Gold. 

As I am just an amateur or hobbyist, I feel quite comfortable paying $100 a year for Gold, as Platinum would increase those costs to whopping $300. And to be honest, Gold is all I need at this point.


But why would I go with a pricy membership like CPS at all?

It depends… first of all, as you sign up, you get:

  • 1 CPS Pro Camera Strap for posing in public 😉
  • 1 Body Cap
  • 1 Rear Lens Cap

I believe, the only thing that is really interesting here, was the Camera Strap, which I never used. But if we go more into the details, we get to the exciting stuff and the actual reason why I am writing this blog:

  • 5x Canon Maintenance Service (CMS) for DSLR & EF Lens 
  • 20% Repair Discount for up to 10 pieces.

Maintenance and Repair

I am in a fortunate position that one of Canon`s CPS location is just 20 Minutes away from my home at the North-East in the suburbs of Chicago. Not that living elsewhere would be an issue. However, I feel more comfortable to drop off and pick up my expensive gear instead of shipping it.

So it was time to get the annual maintenance of my 5D Mk IV and a couple of lenses, as well as the replacement of the upper LCD of my 80D. I dropped the 80D a while ago. It wasn`t too bad, but bad enough to break the LCD. Bad luck!

But that`s precisely what CPS is for, right? And the best part: If you are not a CPS Gold or Platinum member, the „Canon 18-Point DSLR Maintenance Service“ would cost you about $130 per camera body and the „Canon 11-Point EF Lens Maintenance“ is about $90 per lens.

So just for this service, the annual membership fee pays off several times!

And the repair of the LCD? Well, it`s Canon, and of course, they charge you for their original manufacture parts and labor. But again, the Gold Membership saves you %20 what was in my case about 2/3 of the annual fee. The good part is, every repair includes a full maintenance program automatically.

In my case, I had one repair including free maintenance and four maintenance, so I have still one service left for later.


I make it short: I have never experienced better customer service! Periode! 

It was Monday morning when I called the CPS Hotline to make an appointment for drop-off. And they offered me more or less anytime during the week. So I made an appointment for the same day at 2 pm to stop by during a late lunch break.

First of all, I was welcomed by a friendly receptionist/security and directed to the CPS entrance right next to the front-desk. In there, we reviewed my gear and my order and talked about if everything is fine.

Of course, there is the 80D and the LCD… and I got my estimate right away within 2 minutes. Bang! I accepted and even before we continued with the other items, I got my receipt and order confirmation via e-mail on my phone.

Next, we had a look at the gear that required maintenance. CPS checked my shutter count, only 22k out of 150k – good! So the time lapse didn`t hit it too hard yet. After that, they had a visual check at the aperture blades and the image stabilizer. Then they took the lenses quickly to the back to make a first test of the optical alignment of the glass.

Unfortunately, they noticed a misalignment of my EF 100-400 II at the 400mm range in the upper left corner. I never saw it before, and they confirmed that it`s just slightly out of the specs. Again, they provided me with an estimate right away. However, I opted out for the $230 fix at this point.

Overall, the whole process took me about 30 minutes. But it was not 30 minutes of waiting or wasted time. No, it`s been 30 minutes of excellent service from knowledgable and well-trained professionals, and I left with relief that they would take good care of my gear.

Before I left the building, I received five confirmations in my e-mail account, including a PDF with all details like service description and my serial numbers. Every e-Mail also included a link to a Youtube video, where Canon explains their service process:

The next day: Pick-up

My Gold Membership includes an expedited service of two business days. However, I already received a call at 1:30 pm the following day – exactly 23h after I left Canon in Itasca. They told me that everything is ready and I can stop by for pick-up anytime. Alternatively, CPS can ship it for free.

Their office hours are Monday to Friday, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. 

I stopped by after work, about 10 minutes before they close. Again, there was no rush, and they treated me great. All of my gear was single wrapped into plastic bags. And even those bags felt like high quality. I received a detailed report per item explaining precisely what was done and, unfortunately, confirmed the issue with my 100-400mm. 

At home, I unwrapped everything and checked it. Wow! All like brand new!


I am a hobbyist with photography. An amateur! I never made any money out of it but spent a lot of hard-earned dollars over the years in equipment. However, adding another $100 a year for the Canon Professional Services (CPS) Gold Membership doesn`t break the bank and provides a lot of benefits. 

Besides those smaller perks I mentioned at the beginnend, the by far biggest benefit and money safer is the 5x maintenance service. Paired with Canon`s world-class customer experiance, it is absolutly worth joining this club – if your owned gear quallifies you for it.

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Manfrotto Super Clamp and Magic Arm

Review: Manfrotto Super Clamp and Magic Arm

In this post, I would like to introduce two very helpful tools from Manfrotto.

- Manfrotto 035 Superclamp*
- Manfrotto 4N Magic Arm mit Feststellknopf*

The Italian manufacturer Manfrotto has, with no doubt, much useful equipment for photography. I am personally a huge fan of their air-cushioned light stands and I am using them in several sizes in my home studio.
Well, who knows me, knows the I am always curious and on the watch for new gear – or as my wife Tanja says „men toys.“ So I browsed B&H to check what other Manfrotto gear they have within their portfolio. And what did I find? Something that covers multiple of my use-cases right away. The Super Clamp and Magic Arm. Both can are great on their own, but they work perfectly together. 

Manfrotto Super Clamp

A helper for everywhere! No matter if you want to attach a camera, a flashlight, umbrellas, hooks or other Super Clamps to it. This is indeed a  versatile and robust tool you can rely on in many different situations. You can attach the clamp to nearly anything between a thickness or diameter of 13-55mm (0.5″ – 2.1″). Pipes, branches, plates, doors, walls, shelves – you name it! The Super Clamp holds up to 15 kg (33lb).

The Super Clamp has a quick-release fastener for standard studs and an additional M6 (3/8) thread for universal usage.

I use the Super Clamp on my 2×4″ ceiling beams in the home studio in my basement as well as on tables. As soon as the weather gets better I can well imagine using the Super Clamp outdoors on trees or fences.

Manfrotto Magic Arm

It`s all about engineering. And the Magic Arm is an excellent piece of Italian craftsmanship. With two ball joints on each end and a pivot joint in the middle, the aluminium arm gives you maximum flexibility for all situations.

It has an official weight limit of 3kg (7lb). Well, this is probably true if you use it in very extreme angles like widely spread. Based on my experience, it easily holds a lot more than just this.

If you use the Magic Arm together with the Super Clamp, it just „snaps“ into the clamp and an additional screw ensures a solid lock. 


Let`s keep it short: This is one of the most versatile and useful tools in my bag, both for my home studio as well as for on-location shoots. 

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