17 Portable Pieces of Gear for Photographers on the Move

September 6, 2018

By Greg Scoblete


OWC ThunderBlade

OWC calls the ThunderBlade “the fastest external drive in the world,” and while we haven’t traveled the globe looking to debunk the claim, it is fast, with transfer speeds clocking in at 2,800MB/s (read) and 2,450MB/s (write). It features a hard-shell carrying case and capacities ranging from 1TB to 8TB, and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Prices: starting at $2,000

LaCie DJI Copilot

A joint offering from LaCie and DJI, the Copilot gives drone pilots the option of leaving the laptop behind and backing up their aerial files to the smaller, more durable Copilot. The device offers 2TB of storage housed in a tough rubber bumper with an SD card slot and an included microSD-to-SD adapter with support for the speedy USH-II memory specification. It can ingest your drone footage and display its status on its built-in display. You can navigate the Copilot’s contents using a free iOS or Android app. The Copilot BOSS app also lets you playback videos, copy, rename, delete and move files. Your smartphone connects to the Copilot through one of its bundled cables (USB-C, Lightning and micro-USB). When not used for backup, the Copilot can be used to charge mobile devices. While it’s ostensibly aimed at drone owners, the Copilot can really serve as an all-purpose field backup device for any camera.

Price: $369

Angelbird SSD2Go PKT XT

This compact SSD drive is available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB capacities. It connects via USB-C (3.1 Gen 2) for write speeds up to 900MB/s. It’s shock-, dust- and waterproof. The drive ships with a USB-C-to-A adapter cable as well as a USB-C cable. You can order yours with a free engraving. “Thanks, Rangefinder” works nicely (just saying).

Prices: starting at $800

SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1

According to WD (SanDisk’s owner), the Ultra Fit is the world’s smallest 256GB flash drive. It’s aimed at users who want to add more storage to laptops, tablets and other USB devices. The Ultra Fit features a USB-A connection and is sold in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities.

Prices: starting at $20

Glyph Tech Atom RAID

This durable SSD delivers transfer speeds up to 860MB/s via a USB-C (3.1 Gen 2) connection. It’s configured for RAID 0 (i.e. optimized for speed). The Atom RAID ships with a USB-C-to-A converter cable and is Time Machine-compatible. The drive can also be reformatted for use on Windows PCs. It’s sold in capacities of 1TB and 2TB.

Price: $480 (1tb)

WD My Passport SSD

Thanks to its USB-C port (3.1 Gen 2), the My Passport SSD zips along with transfer speeds up to 540MB/s. It has built-in hardware encryption to keep your files safe and is built to endure drops from up to 6.5 feet high. The drive ships with backup software and is sold in capacities ranging from 256GB to 2TB.

Prices: starting at $100

G-Technology G-DRIVE mobile Pro SSD

The new G-DRIVE mobile Pro SSD lineup is capable of transfer speeds up to a blistering 2,800MB/s, fast enough to edit multi-stream 8K footage or transfer 1TB of footage in 7 minutes, G-Tech says. The drives are sold in capacities of up to 1TB. The SSD is housed in a rugged, shock-resistant design with one Thunderbolt 3 port.

Prices: starting at $660


The second generation of this powerful portable drive uses SSD memory (from 256GB to 1TB) and packs an Intel Quad Core processor and four-core Intel Graphics card so you can store files on the drive, and edit them, too. Connect your mobile device to the GNARBOX via Wi-Fi and you can preview RAW files stored on the drive, make selects, preview and render high-res video, including ProRes format video. The drive features an SD card slot, two USB-C ports and a single Micro HDMI port with one-touch backup capability.

Prices: starting at $499

PNY Elite Portable SSD

Available in capacities from 240GB to 960GB, the Elite drive offers read/write speeds up to 420MB/s via its USB 3.0 connection. Its aluminum housing is tiny, measuring just 0.35 inches thick. The drive ships with Acronis True Image Data Protection Software, which enables you to back up, sync and restore data you’re storing on the Elite drive.

Prices: starting at $110

Sonnet Fusion Thunderbolt 3 PC

If you need the two fastest storage technologies around—SSD and Thunderbolt 3—the Sonnet Fusion is worth a look. The drive uses 1TB worth of 3 PCIe Flash Memory, currently the fastest flash memory on the market with data transfer speeds up to 2,600MB/s, depending on your computer. It’s fast enough to serve as a 4K video editor but also to run applications and operating systems. The drive is completely Bus-powered so you can run it off of its Thunderbolt 3 connection. It measures a compact 2.8 x 4.1 x 1.25 inches. The Fusion uses a so-called captive Thunderbolt cable to ensure that if the cable is accidently broken, it can be quickly replaced by Sonnet or an authorized service center.

Price: $899

Fixed Lens Compacts

Sony RX100 VI

Sony is a master of miniaturization, and the RX100 VI is no exception. The company has managed to cram a 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5 optically stabilized lens in a body shape that’s nearly identical to its Mark V predecessor, which had a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. The lens’s stabilization is good for up to four stops of correction, per CIPA standards. The RX100 VI boasts a 20-megapixel, 1-inch stacked CMOS sensor and can deliver up to 24 fps continuous shooting with autofocusing engaged. The camera can acquire focus in .03 seconds, making it the world’s fastest in its class, according to Sony. Beyond the longer zoom lens, the Mark VI features improved eye AF tracking (2x better than the Mark V), plus touch focusing and touch shutter on its 3-inch display. The display can be tilted up 180 degrees or down 90 degrees. The camera has 315 AF points, 4K video recording with S-Log3/S-Gamut3 and a 1,000 fps slow-motion mode.

Price: $1,200

Panasonic Lumix ZS200

Panasonic’s latest advanced compact features a 1-inch, 20-megapixel MOS sensor with a top native ISO of 12,800 (expandable to 25,600). Its fixed 24-360mm (35mm-equivalent) lens offers five-axis image stabilization to keep you steady. You can focus on objects as close as 3cm. The ZS200 can record 4K video or full HD at up to 100 fps and uses Panasonic’s 4K Photo Mode to isolate 8-megapixel still images from 30 fps bursts of 4K video. Panasonic has added two new modes to 4K Photo. The first is Sequence Composition, which lets you select frames with a moving subject and have the camera compile them into a single image. The next is an Auto Marking mode where the camera scans your stills for signs of motion or a face and tags them for easier retrieval. You’ll hit 6 fps in burst mode with continuous autofocus or 10 fps with focus fixed on the first frame.

Price: $800

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

The Mark III is the first G-series camera to feature Dual Pixel CMOS AF for smooth and speedy autofocusing during video or live-view shooting. The Mark III is built around a 24.3-megapixel APS-C-size CMOS sensor and a fixed 24-72mm, f/2.8-5.6 (35mm-equivalent) lens with optical image stabilization and a 2.36-million dot OLED viewfinder. The 3-inch vari-angle display supports touch focusing as well as a touch-and-drag autofocusing feature that lets you change focus points by dragging your finger across the display while looking through the EVF.

You’ll enjoy an ISO range of 100 to 25,600 and continuous shooting speeds up to 7 fps with AF tracking of 9 fps with AF fixed at the first frame. The G1 X Mark II is dust- and weather-resistant, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and full HD/60p video recording.

Price: $1,299

Fujifilm X100F

This rangefinder-style compact boasts a 24-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III APS-C-sized sensor. It uses an Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder that combines the features of an optical viewfinder (OVF) with an electronic viewfinder (EVF) for rangefinder-style composition. While in EVF mode, you can change the magnification to improve focus confirmation. The EVF window can display 100 percent of the field of view as well as 2.5x and 6x magnifications. You’ll enjoy 91 AF points with approximately 40 percent of the imaging area covered with phase detection pixels. There’s a focus lever to select AF points. The X100F has a fixed 23mm f/2 lens (equivalent to a 35mm lens on a full-frame camera) with an ND filter equivalent to three stops.

Price: $1,199

Ricoh GR II

With a 16-megapixel APS-C-sized image sensor, the GR II is a street-photography- friendly compact. The fixed 18.3mm f/2.8 lens gives you a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 28mm for a nice, wide angle of view. The lens has nine aperture blades to bring the bokeh when you’re shooting wide open. You’ll enjoy a max ISO of 25,600 along with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. The camera records full HD video and has 17 effect modes.

Price: $600

Compact Drones

DJI Mavic Air

The Mavic Air is an incredibly compact, foldable drone featuring a 12-megapixel camera placed on a three-axis gimbal. The cameras features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and an ISO range of 100 to 3200 for both stills and video. Where the larger Mavic Pro records at DCI 4K (4096 x 2160), the Air delivers a slightly lower resolution 4K capture (3840 x 2160). However, DJI has bumped up the bit-rate on the Air to 100Mbps from the 60Mbps found on the Mavic Pro. 2.7K recording is available at up to 60p and full HD recording can be captured at up to 120p. The camera is fronted by a 24mm-equivalent lens with a fixed f/2.8 aperture.

Price: $799

Parrot ANAFI

Like the Mavic, Parrot’s ANAFI boasts foldable propeller arms so it can be packed down into most traditional photo bags. It has a 4K camera capable of capturing 21-megapixel still images. The camera rests on a three-axis gimbal that can tilt 180 degrees. Video is captured at a high bit rate (100Mbps) in a cinematic 17:9 aspect ratio. The ANAFI is one of the few drones to offer an optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent of 23mm-69mm (in photo) and a slightly tighter 26mm-78mm when shooting video. You’ll enjoy flight times up to 25 minutes.

Price: $700

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