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.
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.
This is a little strange and surprising. Nikon appears to be making their own memory cards now. Or, at least, they’re rebranding somebody else’s if not making them themselves. A new listing has shown up on the Nikon website for a Nikon 120GB XQD card. It’s listed as coming at some point during September 2018.
When Longsys acquired Lexar from Micron last September, it threw the storage card world into disarray. What was happening to all of Lexar’s products? Were we still going to get support? And what about XQD? Well, it seems when it comes to the last one, Lexar might not have been telling us the whole truth since it went under new management.
B&H switched the status of Lexar XQD cards over to “discontinued” in October. Lexar publicly announced via Twitter back then that they will continue to produce XQD cards and fulfill the B&H inventory “in a few weeks”. Well, it’s now 6 months later, they’re still listed as discontinued. Now, according to Nikon Rumors, Lexar is telling us to wait until the summer. But they may not be back even that soon.
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.
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.
When Micron Technology announced they were discontinuing Lexar, one of the customers’ concerns was the availability of XQD memory cards. A recent post on Nikon Rumors caused even more stir, as they noticed all Lexar XQD cards were discontinued at B&H. However, a response from Lexar says there’s nothing to worry about after all – they will continue producing XQD cards after all and fulfill B&H’s inventory again.
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.