This USB SSD recording feature is a total game-changer for timelapse photographers.


The new S5IIX can record photos onto an SSD connected via USB-C.

Does this mean we're done with SD cards?

Let's find out.

Why is the S5IIX better than all of my other cameras?

Depending on who you ask you’ll get different answers.

Video shooters might say stuff like internal ProRes recording, external Blackmagic RAW recording, or proper heat management and unlimited recording times etc.

For me though, as a timelapse photographer, it’s all about this one little feature called USB SSD recording.

By mounting the correct Solid State Drive you can enable this menu option and record straight to an SSD instead of a memory card.

Here is a list of compatible SSD drives.

When this was announced I was extremely excited but also had two big questions.

Firstly, would this feature work for photo capture, or is it only for video recording? 

The promo materials only talked about video write speeds and I couldn’t find anything about photography.

Luckily, once I got my hands on the camera thanks to Lumix UK I was able to quickly verify this.

All you need to do is enable the USB SSD recording option and then format the drive using the camera.

Now you can shoot hectically long timelapse sequences straight to the SSD.

The second important question is, can I add project files, etc to the SSD so I can work off of this drive?

I need a Lightroom catalog and After Effects project file on there ideally, so I can plug this drive into my laptop and start editing straight away without having to wait to transfer stuff.

Luckily the answer here is also yes.

After formatting the SSD with the camera you can add other folders and files to the drive.

So, one more great thing about this SSD recording: capacity!

Currently, SSD’s up to 2TB are confirmed to work which cost you under £200.

You can get SDXC cards up to 1TB in size currently, but if you want the fastest write speeds with V90 UHS-II specs, which won’t even come close to the SSD speeds you’ll be coughing up well over double that price for much lower capacity.

So sounds pretty ideal right, but there’s a problem!

You’ve got a crazy amount of storage to shoot with, but your battery will die well before you fill up the drive.

I usually use wall power or a battery bank with USB-C PD (Power Delivery) to keep the camera charged while shooting.

That is obviously not an option because the USB-C port is now used by the SSD.

The solution here is to use a dummy battery that gets power from an external source like a battery or wall plug.

By the way, the GH6 has this USB SSD feature ages ago, but now we have it on a full-frame camera too!

What else would you like to learn about the S5IIX?

Let me know in the comments.

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