Hot on the heels of ProGrade Digital’s CFexpress announcement, Sony, too has announced that new CFexpress cards are coming. While Sony’s cards don’t come in the same high 1TB capacity as the ProGrade cards, they are even faster, offering up to 1700MB/sec read and 1480MB/sec write speeds. They’re also built to be rugged, falling under Sony’s “Tough” line of memory cards.
ProGrade Digital has officially announced the launch of their new CFexpress cards. But the range has expanded since they teased us with the 1TB CFexpress card last year at NAB. It’s also gotten a bit of a speed boost, too! Along with a new CFexpress card reader, two lines of CFexpress cards are coming in Gold and Cobalt flavours offering read speeds of up to 1.6GB/sec and write speeds up to 1.4GB/sec.
After Lexar’s Polish distributor announced that Lexar will no longer produce XQD cards in order to focus on CFexpress, Lexar has issued a further statement to Nikon Rumors. In the statement, they say that availability of XQD has been “held up by multiple parties”, specifically naming Sony.
This is probably not much of a surprise to some, but it will be very disappointing to others. Especially those who might have recently bought or pre-ordered a camera with an XQD card slot. It seems that Lexar is now not going to be making XQD cards since it moved from Micron to Longsys, after all.
The news comes as Polish distributor, My Adventure, issued a statement. The (Google) translated release reads “XQD cards with the Lexar logo will not appear on the market”. They say that Lexar’s focus is now on the XQD & CFast successor, CFexpress.
Just as we start to accept UHS-II into our lives, and before UHS-III is even a real thing, a new standard hits the streets. That’s right, folks, SD Express has now been announced, offering data transfer speeds of up to 985MB/sec. It also bumps up the maximum capacity from SDCX’s 2TB to the new SDUC’s 128TB.
SD Express uses PCIe and NVMe interfaces to deliver these faster transfer speeds. To read about how the SD Association talks about SD Express, it’s almost like they want or expect people to start using these as portable SSD replacements for general use.
It seems that ProGrade Digital really isn’t messing around here. Early last month, they said they were going to skip XQD in favour of its next-generation replacement, CFexpress. Today, ProGrade Digital announces a new 1TB CFexpress card capable of transfer speeds up to a whopping 1.4GB/sec. Also announced today are three new 64GB, 128GB and 256GB UHS-II SDXC cards aimed at video shooters with write speeds up to 200MB/sec.
I was hoping that new memory card company ProGrade Digital would give photographers some good news about XQD at some point. And this simultaneously isn’t good news, but it also sort of is. ProGrade Digital have confirmed that they are not going to be pursuing the XQD memory format, which isn’t going to make some Nikon shooters happy. They are, however, working toward XQD’s successor, CFexpress.
CFexpress is backwards compatible with XQD – if the device manufacturer allows it – but with much faster transfer rates. This means that while there won’t officially be a ProGrade Digital XQD card, there should be XQD compatible storage coming at some point. That is, assuming Nikon updates the firmware in the D500, D850, D4, D4s, D5 and any other XQD bodies they may produce.
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.