CFast card alternatives, SolidPod Slim vs CCTECH
by Samuele Lilliu | 5 May 2020
A comparison between the NKI SolidPod Slim with 2TB SDD with the CCTECH Cfast card adapter.
- Client: NKI
- Budget: £1500
- Producer: Samuele Lilliu
- Camera operator: Samuele Lilliu
- Editor: Samuele Lilliu
- Solidpod Slim
- Canon C200 (body only)
- Canon C200 with Edelkrone slider with tripod kit 2
- Xrite Calibrate Colorchecker Passport Video
- Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8 L Usm Lens
- Two Aputure Ls 1c Lightstorm Video Led
- Sound Recordist Kit: MixPre-3, 2x416, 2xAVX
- Manfrotto Nitrotech N8 Video Head and 535 Tripod
- Lightstand Clamps
- 4 Short SDI Cables
- DECIMATOR MD-LX HDMI/SDI Bidirectional Converter
- 3 x BlackMagic Design Micro Converter SDI to HDMI
- BlackMagic Design Micro Converter SDI to HDMI
- Sumo 19 Inch Hdr Director Monitor Recorder
- Canon Ef 24 70mm F 4 L Is Usm Lens
- Software: Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve
This video is about the new SolidPod Slim from NKI.
As I mentioned in the video I published last year, CFAST cards are relatively expensive and do not offer much storage space. If you want to save money and you are looking for large storage you should definitely consider a CFAST card adapter system. A CFAST card adapter system is made of a dummy CFAST card connected to an mSATA SSD mount. In the previous video I recommended the CCTECH CFAST card adapter as the best solution in terms of device size and cost.
However, something happened, and this is why I decided to publish this video!
What happened is that two weeks ago I was recording a podcast here in my studio using two Canon C200 cameras. I was recording everything in raw on the CCTECH CFAST card adapters with 1TB SSDs. This gave me a bit more than 2 hours recording time. After 2 hours recording, we took a break, so that we could mount 2 new CCTECH CFAST card adapters on the Canon cameras.
I must say I am not a big fan of opening up the card adapter and replacing the SSD in the middle of a production. The reason is that the SSDs are safer inside the adapter. In fact, when you handle an SSD, you could damage it with an electrostatic discharge and obviously you don’t want to go around carrying an anti-ESD wrist strap while filming. That’s why I would rather prefer to just insert another CFAST card adapter with an empty SSD. I removed the full CCTECH adapters and placed the empty ones, but when we were ready to restart… one of the cameras would not record. So we had to interrupt the podcast. It turned out that the CCTECH adapter was faulty. The SSD was fine. Therefore I would imagine this happened because of a faulty cable.
I immediately contacted the CCTECH card seller on Ebay. They didn’t even bother to reply. So I asked myself, shall I buy a new CCTECH adapter for £90 and risk again that this thing breaks due to a bad cable? Or maybe shall I look for another solution. If what you are filming is critical and the adapter breaks, obviously you lose money. Is it worth?
I thought, why not getting a CFAST card adapter with 2TB instead of one? Is that possible? Has that been tested?
I contacted NKI, which is manufacturer of the SolidPod card adapter and I told them what happened. I asked them if they had tested any of their products with a 2TB SSD. They told me that they have a new CFAST card adapter and that I could order one with a 2TB SSD already mounted on the new device.
The new adapter is called SolidPod Slim and I think it’s way better than their original SolidPod. It costs about £160. This does not include the 2TB SSD. If you want to install the 2TB SSD you can read the instructions in their website. Essentially you’ll need to open up a Samsung T5 and remove the mSATA SSD. A T5 costs about £300. Alternatively you can also ask NKI if they can do that for you. Shipping was fast in spite of the current situation. I received the parcel in a week from the day I placed the order.
This is what comes with the box. There are multiple adapters included in the box that you can use to mount the SolidPod in many different configurations. The advantage of the NATO Clamp Module and the NATO rail is that it provides the most stable solution, meaning that you don’t risk that the SolidPod rotates or moves while filming. Other options include the standard quarter inch mounts.
I tested the SolidPod Slim on my C200 this morning. I filmed 4 hours and 43 minutes of nonsense clouds, which are available in the link below. Obviously I didn’t get the SolidPod Slim with 2TB SSD to just film clouds. I got it to film long interviews and podcasts.
Here is why I think it’s a good idea to substitute your CCTECH adapters or your standard CFAST cards with the SolidPod Slim:
- The most important reason is the cable strength. The CCTECH cable broke, the SolidPod Slim cable is thicker and I doubt it will break.
- There is no support from the CCTECH guys, but you’ll Customer Service support from NKI. The NKI guys told me that, in the unlikely event that the SolidPod Slim malfunctions they’ll send a replacement.
- If you wish to swap the SSD from the enclosure with the CCTECH you’ll need a screwdriver, instead the SolidPod Slim has a quick release system, which is much faster.
- In terms of design, if you want your rig to look ‘more professional’, whatever that means, get a SolidPod. I personally don’t care.
- The SolidPod Slim NATO rail mount system is great and overall it takes less space than the CCTECH.
- In terms of size and weight the adapters are similar. The weight is irrelevant as it is less than 100 grams. Watch also this review if you own a Z-cam.