The SD card market seems to be hotting up, and getting pretty competitive (and fast!). With Lexar seemingly back, ProGrade taking square aim at the high-end market, and SanDisk & Sony releasing new cards boasting big numbers like there’s no tomorrow, who really is the fastest these days?
Although this won’t be of much to iOS users, Lexar has announced a new 512GB 633x (100MB/sec) A2 microSD card for smartphones. Designed for lots of fast read and write operations per second, this card is ideal for Android smartphones. Especially those used by photographers and filmmakers shooting lots of photos and footage.
ProGrade Digital certainly seems to have settled into the swing of things nicely since their launch earlier in the year. Initially starting up with a range of CFast 2.0 UHS-II V60 SD cards, and a dual format card reader, they quickly expanded out into UHS-II V90 SD and the next major high-end format; CFexpress.
Now, they’re going small, announcing three new V60 UHS-II microSD cards. With users demanding higher quality footage from their drones, action cameras & 360 cameras, it’s a logical path to pursue. They’ve also announced two new USB 3.1 Gen 2 card readers, too. One contains SD and CompactFlash slots while the other takes a pair of microSD cards.
It looks like more companies are coming to steal SanDisk’s thunder. Along with Integral, who in January announced their 512GB microSDXC card, PNY now joins the ranks by announcing a 512GB microSD of their own. The new PNY 512GB Elite microSDXC.
There are many reports out there claiming that PNY is the first to bring a 512GB microSD card to market, but they’re not. This one isn’t for sale yet, and Integral’s has been out for a while now.
Announced at Mobile World Congress, SanDisk is pushing the limits again. After announcing the SanDisk Ultra 400GB microSD card only 6 months ago, they’ve now announced a new Extreme Pro version with read and write speeds of up to 160MB/sec and 90MB/sec respectively. And while support will vary depending on the device you’re using, it seems squarely aimed at video and VR/AR creators, offering V30, U3 and A2 speed guarantees.
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.
We’ve seen memory cards that have survived the wash, explosions, four years in the ocean and more. But as if memory cards weren’t tough enough already, SanDisk just had to go and make them tougher. Their new line of Industrial and Automotive cards designed to stand up to the intense extremes to which they’re exposed.
The Automotive SD is designed for use within vehicles and drones. The Industrial SD, Industrial microSD and Industrial XI are intended for more mainstream use. The standard Industrual can withstand temperatures of between -13°F (-25°C) and 185°F (85°C). While the top end remains the same, the Automotive and Industrial XI cards are rated down to as ridiculous low of -40°F (which is also -40°C).
Memory cards are the biggest pain in the backside for photographers. We have to keep getting new ones whenever we upgrade because cameras make bigger files. Video requires higher bitrates. Our low capacity slower cards can no longer keep up. And we need a bunch of them, because we need to shoot backups, use multiple cameras, or lose them.
Storage technology is always changing, too. You have to keep up-to-date with what’s the best, and the best value, to spend your money wisely. Tom of Tom’s Tech Time decided to put 10 of the current range of popular micro SD cards up against each other to see how they compare.
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.