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.
Many of us have experienced a memory card failure at some point, and although manufacturers have gotten much better at producing reliable cards, it still occasionally happens. Failure used to be fairly common in the early days of CompactFlash (when their capacity was still measured in MB) and in SD cards, but it’s rare that you hear about it in modern formats like XQD. It does happen, though.
I’ve been following HDD Recovery Services on YouTube for a little while now. I just find it fascinating to see how hard drives and other storage mediums work on the inside, and how they evolve over time. Recently, they received a Sony XQD card that wasn’t reading, and the client needed the data recovered from it. This video shows us what’s inside, and how they get it working again.
Version 2.20 firmware for the Nikon Z6 and Z7 is available to download free of charge and you don’t need to send off your camera to have it implemented, although that support is somewhat limited. It only works for Type B CFexpress cards manufactured by Sony.
Nikon announced their XQD cards back in August 2018, but they’re now finally in the USA, just in time to become obsoleted by the wave of CFexpress cards being released by everybody else. It only seems to be available in 64GB capacity, and not the 120GB previously reported, but they are showing as available right now to pre-order from B&H for $129.95.
The release comes just at a time when SanDisk, Delkin, ProGrade, Wise and Lexar have just released their CFexpress cards for order (in the case of SanDisk) or pre-order (everybody else), offering 3-4x the speeds of Nikon’s (or anybody else’s) XQD cards.
CFexpress is coming. Of that, there is no doubt. It’s the drop-in replacement for XQD and will also replace many of the CFast 2.0 slots on the next generation of cameras. ProGrade Digital was the first to announce support for the new format, back in April last year, but they’ve been holding off on releasing it until hardware comes out that actually supports it.
See the update at the bottom of this article containing a response from ProGrade Digital.
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.