Tether Tools is well known for its variety of wired and wireless products that make tethering easier and safer for your equipment. They have consistently been able to create products that solve problems that most photographers experience. Today with the release of their newest cables, the TetherPro USB-C products, they solve what has been a huge frustration for many early USB-C adopters.
USB-C is by far the best version of the USB standard available. Not only is it a more user-friendly design allowing for it to be inserted in any orientation. It is a more capable and convenient cable combining the previous purposes of several different cables in one. For these reasons, many companies have begun adopting it over the last couple years including several camera, laptop, and cell phone manufactures. With any new technology, adoption can be slow and accessories that work with newer devices can be hard to find. Especially when companies like Apple decide to abandon legacy USB ports on its latest laptops. This has created a market for dongles, hubs, and a lot of frustrated consumers.
Tether Tools now has 12 new USB-C cables in their TetherPro line of products. There is a USB-C to USB-C cable for any photographers who have switched to the new Sony a7R III, Panasonic GH5, or Hasselblad H6 and also have an upgraded laptop like the new Apple MacBook Pro. For those who have upgraded computers but are still using older USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 cameras, there is a new cable for each of the possible USB port types. Lastly, there is even a new cable that has a USB-C to USB-A adapter for extending the reach of an existing USB cable.
Recently I tested out one of these new cables as well as some of Tether Tools cable management accessories like the TetherBlock. I shoot mostly Canon which uses the USB 3.0 Micro-B port type, though I hope this will change to USB-C within the next generation of cameras. So they sent me a USB Micro-B to USB-C 15-foot long bright orange cable. The cable looks and feels every bit as good as their older cables. It's not thin so it wouldn't crimp or be crushed easily if stepped on, which as I'm sure many have experienced is often a problem with the OEM cables that come with our devices. The 15-foot length is really nice as it is very hard to find USB-C cables that work well at that length. I don't typically shoot tethered in the studio and tend to use tethering more often for remote cameras rigs. I will also use tethering when teaching workshops. As a result, I will often tether my camera to a tablet or sometimes even my cell phone. On a whim and to my surprise, I was able to use the USB-C TetherPro cable to connect my Canon camera directly to my cell phone without the need for an OTG cable. This is great as it removes the need for one more cable when out shooting and makes my mobile tethering when outdoors shooting sports that much lighter.
I think the option to get the cables in bright orange is genius. This "high visibility" orange does exactly what it is meant to do. I can't count how many times a properly taped down cable still managed to get tripped over by a client, model, or even myself over the years. There is no missing these cables. If you still prefer the black that is an option too.
The one downfall to just about any cable is that they easily fall out. Tether Tools does have several clever tools that solve this issue like their Jerk Stopper Kit and TetherBlock. The TetherBlock connects to the bottom of your camera and prevents the cable being pulled at its connection point. At first I thought this would get in the way of mounting the camera to a tripod, however, Tether Tools did plan for that. There are four threaded mounting points, three 1/4"-20 and one 3/8". This allows for a variety of mounting directly to your tripod/monopod or quick release plates. It does add a little weight and I wouldn't probably use this on outdoor shoots but for anything indoors especially a studio scenario it works excellent. I would love to see Tether Tools one day include camera specific locking adapters similarly to those that come with a lot of manufactures but this is a minor issue.
What I Like
- Super fast USB-C speeds even at 15 inches.
- Thick, durable build quality.
- A variety of options for any camera or computer.
- Bright orange or black option.
- A variety of lengths.
What I Don't Like
- Cables fall out easily, so you need to buy an additional item (though this is a problem with all cables).
- A high visibility red would be cool (but I just like red gadgets).
If you have already or are planning to upgrade to a camera or computer that has switched to the amazing USB-C standard and you shoot tethered a lot, there just isn't many options out there for a good quality USB-C cable. These new Tether Tools cables fill that need especially going forward as we will only see more and more devices adopt it. The 15 foot and bright orange options are almost none existent in the market and are specifically geared towards photographers needs for tethering. Overall, the cable does what it is supposed to perfectly: transfer files at high speed. The surprise that I was able to connect my camera directly to my Android phone via this cable and shoot tethered was a huge plus for me. I can't think of anything more I would need in a cable. Except maybe a backup.