The latest trend in professional removable storage media is fast approaching. At CES 2019, ProgradeDigital — a relative newcomer to the memory game built on the promise of highly reliable media for working professionals — revealed its first CFexpress card, featuring a 1-terabyte capacity and bewildering 1,400 megabyte-per-second transfer rate. The card was demonstrated inside of Nikon Z series cameras running beta versions of an upcoming firmware update that will unlock CFexpress support.
While cheap and widely available SD memory cards have remained a mainstay of removable storage media for all manner of consumer devices, professional storage solutions seem to come and go at breakneck speed. CompactFlash, once found in all high-end DSLRs, has all but vanished, making room for CFast, CFast 2.0, and XQD. For as recent as these formats are, they’re now about to be completely outclassed by yet another.
CFexpresses, which conveniently uses the same physical form factor as XQD, promises both bigger capacities and vastly faster performance than anything that has come before it. The 1,400MB-per-second read speed of ProGrade Digital’s 1TB card is well over twice as fast as its fastest CFast 2.0 cards, which top out at 550MB per second. The peak write speed, at a full 1,000MB per second, is also quite impressive — again, over twice as fast as CFast. ProGrade Digital says the card is certified for a minimum sustained performance of 400MB per second, which is many times greater than the fastest V90-class SD cards designed for high-bandwidth video operations.
With this kind of performance, CFexpress will be able to handle everything from sustained high-resolution continuous photography to RAW video workflows. As the industry inches toward 8K video, CFexpress will likely play a big role in future products.
While the 1TB card was being used live on the CES show floor, we still do not have a release date or price. We have reached out to ProGrade Digital for more information and will update this article accordingly.
In other CES memory card news, Lexar unveiled a 1TB SDXC card. The V30-rated card is hardly the fastest SD card we’ve ever seen, but its huge capacity may be useful in sustained, low-bandwidth situations like video surveillance, or if you want to be able to shoot many thousands of photos without swapping cards. Available now, this massive card doesn’t come cheap, with a list price of $500.