At the end of last year a new format called XQD was unveiled as the eventual replacement for CompactFlash. About a month later at CES 2012, Sony announced the first XQD cards. If you’re not sold on the new format, here’s some good news for you: Lexar and SanDisk have both announced that they have no plans to release XQD cards in the near future and that they’re both committed to the CompactFlash format (a bit strange though, given that SanDisk was one of the companies that announced XQD in November 2010). Lexar’s actions certainly back up its words: at CES it unveiled its largest (256GB) and fastest (1000x) CompactFlash cards ever.
Well, well, well, look who’s first to the XQD game. It’s not Sandisk or Lexar, but Sony. On the same day Nikon announced its new D4 with XQD compatibility, Sony has announced the first line of XQD memory cards (intended to eventually replace CF cards). They offer 125MB/s transfer speeds, and can quickly store up to 100 RAW images in continuous shooting mode. A 16GB card will cost $129, while a 32GB one will be priced at $229. They’ll hit store shelves sometime in February.
In other news, Lexar has announced new 1000x CompactFlash cards, which can read at 150MB/s. A 128GB one is priced at a staggering $900. They’ve also announced the industry’s first 256GB card, which has read speeds of 60MB/s.
Perhaps in response to the growing capacities and falling prices of SD cards, the CompactFlash Association has announced a new format to replace CF cards for professional photographers. It’s called XQD, and has a size that falls between CF and SD cards (it’s thicker than SD cards, but smaller than CF cards). The interface used is PCI Express, which has a theoretical max write speed of roughly 600MB/s, though the target for real-world write speeds at first will be 125MB/s. It’ll start making public appearances at trade shows early next year, and will be licenced out to card makers around the same time.