Memory Cards: Time to try CFExpress?

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I did read, but didn't really consider starting to use CFExpress cards when the FW update made this a possibility at the end of 2019. However, I am in need of larger capacity memory cards now, and wonder if it makes sense to give them a try. Price is not too much higher.

Do I understand the following correctly?
  1. Just the appropriate firmware update is needed (no requirement to send the camera in to Nikon to make any physical changes)
  2. There is a speed advantage when transferring from card to computer via USB C.
  3. XQD performance might be slightly better in terms of reaching buffer limits than CFExpress.
  4. CFExpress heats up a little more than XQD
  5. CFExpress card reader differs from XQD
Any other considerations?
 
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I am looking at cards for the new Sony a1.
Only difference I can find is speed.
If you are shooting in large bursts, your buffer unloads faster than any of the sd formats.
Download speeds are higher.
Otherwise no real difference.
If you need the speed they are better, otherwise I’m unaware of any advantages.
No downsides except for price and needing an additional reader.
Sony uses different cf cards than nikon, same general issues.
Gary
 
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Butlerkid

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If I needed to buy cards, I would only consider a card format that gave me the highest probability of being compatible with a future camera body.
 

JLH

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I would tend to agree with Karen, look to the future. While I have a few XQD cards for my D500 and don't need any new cards just yet, if I were replacing these I would go with the CFExpress to future proof my gear. Face it, CFEpress is likely to be "the thing" now while XQD will start to fade.
 
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I really appreciate all the thoughts and perspectives. Blending them together, I decided on a hybrid solution, in part because of a listing on FM:

Buy a used 128GB XQD card, which covers my immediate need to handle larger files, a used card reader that is capable of handling both XQD and CFEXpress cards, which replaces my XQD-only card reader that is being held together by tape. This solution "eases into the future," allowing my next card to be a CFExpress when the price is right.
 
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Buy a used 128GB XQD card, which covers my immediate need to handle larger files, a used card reader that is capable of handling both XQD and CFEXpress cards, which replaces my XQD-only card reader that is being held together by tape. This solution "eases into the future," allowing my next card to be a CFExpress when the price is right.

Here's a very limited time deal that might also be a good solution, $79 net for a 128GB CFExpress card,
https://ritzcamera.com/products/rit...-panasonic-canon-sony-dslr-mirrorless-cameras

There is also a faster 256 GB version ($149) on the same website (1100X write speed), the same deal expired on Amazon a week or so ago. One of my good friends bought one of each from Amazon for his D500 and both work well in my Z7ii.

This is a $50 card reader that he purchased via Amazon that reads both XQD and CFExpress. I tested it against the XQD R/W speed on my Sony SB1 XQD reader and it gave identical XQD speeds and of course, much faster CFExpress performance for both of the above cards:
https://www.amazon.com/Dual-Slot-CF...14610778&sprefix=trebleet+cfex,aps,451&sr=8-3

After the above testing, I bought one of the 256GB cards and the same XQD/CFExpress card reader.
 
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Here's a very limited time deal that might also be a good solution, $79 net for a 128GB CFExpress card,
https://ritzcamera.com/products/rit...-panasonic-canon-sony-dslr-mirrorless-cameras

There is also a faster 256 GB version ($149) on the same website (1100X write speed), the same deal expired on Amazon a week or so ago. One of my good friends bought one of each from Amazon for his D500 and both work well in my Z7ii.


Thanks, that seems like a good price for the CFexpress cards. I wonder who makes them?
 
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The Ritz card at that price is certainly attractive. The single review I was able to find was disappointed in the read/write speed, way under spec. I don't give it much credence but I'd love to hear if anyone has direct experience with the Ritz cards. FYI, I just got a Delkin Power 128GB with reader from Hunt's and it seems to work fine in my Z7. Read speeds measured with Crystal Disk Mark were ~450 MB/s.
 
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The Ritz card at that price is certainly attractive. The single review I was able to find was disappointed in the read/write speed, way under spec. I don't give it much credence but I'd love to hear if anyone has direct experience with the Ritz cards. FYI, I just got a Delkin Power 128GB with reader from Hunt's and it seems to work fine in my Z7. Read speeds measured with Crystal Disk Mark were ~450 MB/s.

Here's an interesting article to checkout https://petapixel.com/2020/09/22/cfexpress-a-real-world-performance-comparison/ all cards sustained speeds are below the advertised specs. Those numbers on the cards are bs for the most part..lol A number of different factors can go into what speeds folks get during test: card/reader heat & the brand of reader.

I used the cards in my D500, D850 & Z7 and haven't had any issues so far, I knew going in that speeds would be capped at XQD speeds. The main reason that I switched was CFexpress card are less expensive in relation to amount of memory.
 
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Here's a very limited time deal that might also be a good solution, $79 net for a 128GB CFExpress card,
https://ritzcamera.com/products/rit...-panasonic-canon-sony-dslr-mirrorless-cameras

There is also a faster 256 GB version ($149) on the same website (1100X write speed), the same deal expired on Amazon a week or so ago. One of my good friends bought one of each from Amazon for his D500 and both work well in my Z7ii.

This is a $50 card reader that he purchased via Amazon that reads both XQD and CFExpress. I tested it against the XQD R/W speed on my Sony SB1 XQD reader and it gave identical XQD speeds and of course, much faster CFExpress performance for both of the above cards:
https://www.amazon.com/Dual-Slot-CFexpress-Compatible-Thunderbolt-Support/dp/B08KP966ST/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1SSTJY9RRFB6C&dchild=1&keywords=trebleet+xqd+cfexpress+card+reader&qid=1614610778&sprefix=trebleet+cfex,aps,451&sr=8-3

After the above testing, I bought one of the 256GB cards and the same XQD/CFExpress card reader.

The sale on ritzcamera.com will run for 2 more days
 
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Here's an interesting article to checkout https://petapixel.com/2020/09/22/cfexpress-a-real-world-performance-comparison/ all cards sustained speeds are below the advertised specs. Those numbers on the cards are bs for the most part..lol A number of different factors can go into what speeds folks get during test: card/reader heat & the brand of reader.

I used the cards in my D500, D850 & Z7 and haven't had any issues so far, I knew going in that speeds would be capped at XQD speeds. The main reason that I switched was CFexpress card are less expensive in relation to amount of memory.


There is an interesting CFExpress memory card test and discussion over on Nikonians, by a very well respected Nikonian pro:
https://www.nikonians.org/forum/topic/477-11678-11678/memory-card-comparison-cfexpress-and-xqd

While there are mostly minor differences among these expensive and technically faster cards, I wonder if the Z7ii data bus/data R/W capabilities are able to take full advantage of the fastest CFExpress cards.
 
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There is an interesting CFExpress memory card test and discussion over on Nikonians, by a very well respected Nikonian pro:
https://www.nikonians.org/forum/topic/477-11678-11678/memory-card-comparison-cfexpress-and-xqd

While there are mostly minor differences among these expensive and technically faster cards, I wonder if the Z7ii data bus/data R/W capabilities are able to take full advantage of the fastest CFExpress cards.
The data in article I linked to above (#5):
https://nikonrumors.com/2021/02/20/...-throughput-with-cfexpress-memory-cards.aspx/
was collected using a Z7ii (y)
 
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I wouldn't hesitate to get another XQD. The performance improvement is likely not noticeable to my one to three shot photo life. I also suspect the world will always support XQD. I see it a bit like USB2 and USB3. Though USB3 is faster/newer, USB2 still works everywhere and is fine for any low data rate needs.
 
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There is an interesting CFExpress memory card test and discussion over on Nikonians, by a very well respected Nikonian pro:
https://www.nikonians.org/forum/topic/477-11678-11678/memory-card-comparison-cfexpress-and-xqd

While there are mostly minor differences among these expensive and technically faster cards, I wonder if the Z7ii data bus/data R/W capabilities are able to take full advantage of the fastest CFExpress cards.

Hopefully firmware updates will allow for the Z7II to take advantage of the faster cards.
 
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Since I shoot lots of short bursts, I am less concerned about improving write performance than most.

However, improving the read speed is of interest for my workflow. I know there are numerous variables, such as reader performance, USB port and cable versions, etc. But if the new card technology can achieve the advertised read performance of the older cards, I’d be happy.
 
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Hopefully firmware updates will allow for the Z7II to take advantage of the faster cards.

Yes, this would be nice. But if the Z6ii/Z7ii hardware wasn't designed to take advantage of this speed, firmware cannot make the data bus faster.

The article that Palouse references in #16 above indicates a 30% average increase in Z7ii speed with fast CFExpress cards. Given that these cards have write speeds 3-4 times those of Sony G XQDs, there must be other throughput bottlenecks. Most likely, hardware limitations.

Still, CFExpress cards look to be the way of the future for us Z owners. Future Z cameras will surely take more advantage of what these cards can do.
 

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