USB 2.0 Cable Specs & Guidelines – Q&A

Posted by: on Apr 11, 2015

USB 2.0 Cable Specs & Guidelines – Q&A
Photo courtesy of Brian Smith.

There are many questions out there about USB 2.0 cables and their capabilities for tethered photography. There is a lot of information on the web about this topic… we’ve done our best to simplify the information with a quick list of Q&A’s to help you identify any issues or misnomers about USB 2.0 cables.

I think my camera may take a USB 2.0 cable, but I’m not sure – which cable should I choose?

Most cameras on the market today that offer tethering capabilities require a USB 2.0 cable. Currently, there are only a few DSLRs and a couple of Medium-Format Digital backs utilizing a USB 3.0 cable. You can confirm the proper cable compatibility for your camera by visiting the Tether Tools’ Camera Compatibility Guide

How long of a USB 2.0 cable can I use without any loss in signal quality?

USB cables can be up to 15′(4.6m) in length. For distances longer than 15 feet, you can add Active Extension Repeater Cables every 15 feet. With TetherPro Cables, you can daisy chain one base USB 2.0 cable, plus four Active Extension Cables for a total distance of 80′ (24.4m) without seeing any reduction in signal quality or transfer speed. Distances longer than 80′ for USB 2.0 is not recommended.

I want to make sure my USB 2.0 cable stays in the camera during tethering. Is there a way I can secure this connection?

Yes! By utilizing the Tether Tools JerkStopper Camera Support you will be able to take any tension off the cable to stay in the camera port. This also will help prevent any damage if you accidentally step on your cable causing it to be pulled out from the camera – the JerkStopper will prevent this.

What is the transfer time of a 30mb file using a USB 2.0? And does that change with the more extensions I add?

With transfer speeds at 480Mbps you are looking at about a 2 second transfer time. Computer RAM, camera buffer and tethering software can also play factors in transfer speeds. The more extensions you add should not affect the transfer time, because the Active Extension signal booster preserves the signal integrity.

When switching from landscape to portrait shooting, having the cable come straight out of the camera gets in the way. I would like my USB 2.0 cable to come out at an angle from my camera? How can this be achieved?

Tether Tools has a right and left angle adapter that can fix this problem. The TetherPro angled adapters are designed to extend down the side of the camera allowing cables to be used during shoots and adapt to one’s shooting style. 

To make sure your angle adapter does not disconnect from your actual tether cable, be sure to get the JerkStopper In-Line Cable Supports. This 4-pack of supports will eliminate stress on the adapter cable connection and ensure your connectivity is solid from camera through to the computer. 

I want to upgrade from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 so my images will transfer more quickly.  Can I do that?

It’s not quite that easy. Since it is camera-dependent you’ll have to upgrade your camera to get the increased speed. Overall USB 3.0 is a faster standard than USB 2.0 if all components, camera, cable & computer in your chain, are USB 3.0, then yes, you should experience increased file transfer speed. However, if your camera and/or your laptop is USB 2.0. you will only achieve USB 2.0 speeds. It always defaults to the weakest link in the chain. USB cables are designed to be backward compatible so the USB 3.0 will perform at USB 2.0 speeds.

I’m having connectivity issues tethering with my USB 2.0 camera. Is there any help for that?

If you are using a USB 2.0 camera and the correct USB 2.0 cable, check if your computer has USB 3.0 ports. If so, you can look into adding a Tether Tools TetherBoost to your setup to help regulate a consistent signal. For more information, check out Why does my USB 3.0 connection fail?

Hope this helps a bit. If you are looking for information on USB 3.0 Cables, visit our USB 3.0 Q&A Post.