With more and more cameras reading and writing higher quality video and image files, photographers increasingly seek out cards with high capacities. The two frontrunners in flash-based memory card formats, namely XQD and CFexpress, combine fast speeds and higher storage capacities to meet this demand.
CFexpress cards replace SD Express cards as the next-generation of high-performance removable storage. The CFexpress Type B form factor is compatible with the XQD standard, while the SD Express is compatible with the full-size SD standard.
What is a CFexpress memory card?
CFexpress is the new dominant memory card format for digital photography and videography, boasting benefits in strength and speed for a more productive workflow when using high-end DSLR, mirrorless and video cameras.
Three different sizes of CFexpress cards
CFexpress features three different card sizes, namely Type A, Type B and Type C:
- Type A: Measuring 20 x 28 x 2.8mm, Type A cards are for smaller cameras and devices in which size is more important than speed. They have one PCle lane for a maximum speed of 1GB/s. The SD Express standard has one PCIe lane for a maximum data transfer rate of 1GB/s.
- Type B: Measuring 38.5 x 29.8 x 3.8mm, Type B cards are identical in size and thus compatible with XQD slot cameras such as the Nikon Z6/Z7 mirrorless and Nikon D4 and D5s, D500 and D850 DSLR cameras via firmware updates; however, the card may operate at a slower, single-lane speed depending on which version of XQD was originally supported (XQD 1.0/1.1 slot only supports a single lane). The newly released Nikon D6 and Canon 1DX Mk III incorporate support for dual-lane CFexpress cards.
- Type C: Measuring 54 x 74 x 4.8mm, Type C cards are for storage in larger devices. They have four PCIe lanes for a maximum speed of 4GB/s. These large cards are designed to be used as flash storage drives in computers and larger devices.
What are the benefits of using a CFexpress card?
- Fast speed: Built for speed, CFexpress cards are fast enough for high-speed action photography and 4K RAW video with low latency, and speeds up post-production workflow.
- Tough design: Designed with a metal housing (instead of a plastic housing as with SD Express cards) CFexpress cards are incredibly tough. The metal housing also allows for better heat dissipation, which allows the card to run cooler when operating at high performance.
- Compatibility: Uses same form factor as XQD thus future format updates will make the format compatible with Nikon, Sony, Panasonic & Phase I cameras and camcorders.