CFast 2.0 might be on the way out, thanks to CFexpress, but it’s a popular format still in use by a lot of cameras. The Pocket 4K and 6K, for example, pretty much require one for their highest resolution and highest data rate raw recording. But what happens if a card goes bad? Yes, it can happen. Well, that’s when you send it off to somebody to crack it open and have at it with a soldering iron.
Since the demise and maybe-rebirth of Lexar, the memory card news has been quite interesting. We’ve had world’s fastest, world’s biggest, world’s fastest again, and an entirely new company, ProGrade Digital has risen from the ashes of Lexar & SanDisk execs. With the race to bring out newer, faster, larger memory cards, though, also comes the race to bring out faster memory card readers.
And with that in mind, Atech Flash Technology has now launched a “premium line” of products under the “Blackjet” brand, the latest being a new CFast 2.0 card reader. The Blackjet VX-1C is a USB 3.1 Gen 2 CFast 2.0 card reader with a rugged metal enclosure for maximum durability.
When Micron announced they were quitting the Lexar brand last year, it came as quite a shock. Many long-time Lexar fans were worried about where their future memory cards would be coming from. A short time later, the Lexar brand was acquired by Longsys, a Chinese manufacturer of flash storage. Very little seems to have happened in Lexar’s story since then, though, except for the continued production of Lexar XQD cards.
Now, though, it seems a new company, sort of, is entering the fray. ProGrade Digital is a new brand of professional grade memory cards and card readers aimed at photographers. But while this is a new company, they aren’t newcomers to the memory card game. It’s being headed up by a team of former Lexar and SanDisk executives and senior management.
A couple of months ago, I asked all of you to email me with ideas for future blog posts. One of the suggestions that came up numerous times was the request for me to explain all the different memory card formats.
I guess that my 12 years in the industry, marketing memory cards for Lexar, makes me slightly more knowledgeable than most photographers about this subject. With that in mind, I am writing this blog post to explain the many different memory card formats, including those from the past, current card formats and what might be the card of the future.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. At least, that seems to be the sentiment offered by Sony as it announces a new range of pro CFast memory cards. It’s a surprising move, given that CFast competes directly with XQD; A format that Sony had a hand in developing along with SanDisk (who don’t make XQD cards) and Nikon.
The new “G Series” memory cards are aimed at meeting the needs of demanding photographers and videographers. With read and write speeds of up to 530MB/sec and 510MB/sec respectively, these cards should be able to handle just about everything thrown at them. At least for now.
The current CompactFlash and SD Card standards have been around with us for a good while now. CompactFlash has already had its dominance challenged in the new battle between XQD and CFast, but SD has thus far been relatively unscathed.
Samsung looks set to take SD head on with their new removable Universal Flash Card format, which packs up to 256GB onto a card about the same size of your thumbnail, but with performance five times faster than the fastest microSD cards available today.
Canon just released an advisory asking photographers to avoid using some of Sandisk’s CFast cards on 1DXmkII‘s because it may corrupt images stored on the card (which is kinda funny considering Amazon is offering CFast cards in their premium kit).
SanDisk developed the CompactFlash (CF) format and manufactured the first devices back in 1994, which makes the technology 22 years old.
That on its own is enough of a reason to replace it, and it seems Nikon is doing its best to crown the XQD format as the successor.
Not only will the newly announced D500 use an XQD memory card, the flagship D5 will be available with either dual CF slots or dual XQD slots, and according to a recent rumor 90% of the new cameras will come with the latter.