Wise launches CFexpress Type A card for Sony A1 with 650MB/sec min write speeds

Aug 25, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Wise launches CFexpress Type A card for Sony A1 with 650MB/sec min write speeds

Aug 25, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Wise has announced its first-ever CFexpress Type A cards. The 512GB CFX-A (buy here) and 160GB CFX-A Pro(buy here) mean Wise joins other companies who’ve succumbed to demands from Sony users not to let Sony be the only company that makes cards for their cameras.

Sony’s pretty much the only company using CFexpress Type A in their cameras. Everybody else jumped on the twice-as-fast Type B format. So, that’s where most manufacturers started, but now it looks like they’re all starting to add Type A to their lineups.

Wise 160GB and 512GB CFexpress Type A cards

Wise joins companies like ProGrade Digital, Angelbird, Lexar, Exascend, Delkin and even Pergear in producing CFexpress Type A cards. The two new cards have been released with capacities of 160GB and 512GB. But there is one big difference between these cards other than just the capacity.

One would hope that there’s certainly a difference, given that both cards have the exact same price. It wouldn’t exactly be fair to those that want the lower capacity cards if their specs were exactly the same.

What’s the difference?

The two cards are the Wise 512GB CFX-A and the Wise 160GB CFX-A Pro. Both cards boast maximum read speeds of 820MB/sec and max write speeds of 730MB/sec. The biggest difference between the two however, are the minimum read speeds.

The Wise 512GB CFX-A has a minimum guaranteed write speed of 200MB/sec. This falls far below the VPG400 specification, although it will be plenty enough for a lot of users. 200MB/sec is a 1,600Mbps bitrate. So, anything below that should be fine.

If your needs are higher, though, the Wise 160GB CFX-A Pro provides minimum guaranteed writes speeds of 650MB/sec. This lets you shoot footage with a bitrate all the way up to a hypothetical 5,200Mbps. While this is far more than required for most Sony cameras, the Sony A1 (buy here) saves at bitrates of up to 600MB/sec.

No VPG 400 or VPG 200 rating?

It’s not surprising with the slower 512GB card, which offers minimum guaranteed write speed of 200MB/sec does not carry the VPG 400 certification. VPG 400 is like the CFexperss equivalent of a UHS-II SD card’s V90. That is to say, it’s a measurement of speed.

VPG 400 means it’ll handle at least 400MB/sec guaranteed minimum write speeds. Naturally, this is much higher than 200MB/sec, although there is a VPG 200 spec. The card doesn’t carry that, either.

The smaller capacity 160GB card easily qualifies for VPG 400 specification, offering a maximum guaranteed write speed of 650MB/sec. In fact, it far more than qualifies for it. VPG 400 is currently the highest speed rating standard for CFexpress, however, it doesn’t really meet the needs of the Sony A1’s 600MB/sec top-end requirement. It also doesn’t do justice to the card’s 650MB/sec minimum speed.

A VPG 600 speed rating would certainly go some way towards solving this, with a 600MB/sec guaranteed minimum write speed, but such a rating does not yet actually appear to exist in the CFexpress spec.

Given that the V90 spec for SD cards was announced long before any cards were actually capable of handling the minimum speeds defined by the spec, I’m surprised we’re not seeing faster VPG ratings already. With as fast as the cards are developing, boasting faster minimum speeds than the spec, it seems that it’s becoming obsolete already.

Whatever the reason why there’s no speed rating spec on either card, if they do indeed meet the advertised minimum speeds, they should do you just fine. I guess the reviews with speed tests will have to prove this one out for us.

Price and Availability

The larger Wise 512GB CFX-A CFexpress Type A card is available to pre-order now for $229.99. The lower capacity but faster 160GB CFX-A Pro CFexpress Type A card is also available to pre-order now for $229.99. They should begin shipping in the next couple of weeks.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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