Sony quietly intros super-swift XQD flash cards with 350MB/sec write speeds
posted Monday, October 27, 2014 at 1:22 PM EDT
Of the many flash card types we've seen over the years, it has to be said that the XQD card format hasn't been a resounding success in the still camera market. Jointly-created by SanDisk, Nikon and Sony, the XQD specification was adopted by the CompactFlash Association in late 2011, and quickly superceded by XQD version 2.0 just eight months later.
First featured in the Nikon D4 that was announced in January 2012, the XQD card has only been seen since in a single camera -- the followup Nikon D4S. (In fairness, it also appears in some of Sony's professional video cameras, but it's certainly still a minority format compared to CompactFlash and Secure Digital cards, which are widespread in both consumer and professional applications.)
Be that as it may, Sony is still standing behind the format, and as spotted by the folks at Nikon Rumors, has quietly introduced its new G-series XQD cards with some fairly impressive performance claims. The first-generation N-series XQD cards had a manufacturer-rated 125MB/second read speed, and either 60MB/sec or 125MB/sec write speed, depending on capacity. These were followed by the swifter S-series cards, with a claimed 180MB/second for both read and write.
Now, both earlier card series are blown out of the water with the company's first XQD v2.0 product, the G-series. These cards are claimed to provide a stunning 400MB/second read and 350MB/second write speeds, and will be offered in capacities of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB.
By way of contrast, the fastest CompactFlash cards we're aware of -- Lexar's Professional 1066x series -- have a rated read speed of 160MB/second, and the write speed isn't stated (but based on the VPG-65 spec, meets or exceeds 65MB/second.) Lexar's Professional 3400x CFast 2.0 cards still lead in terms of their manufacturer-rated read speed of 510MB/second, but these aren't on the market yet, and again, have no rated write speed.
The new Sony XQD 2.0 cards are pretty clearly aimed at 4K video capture, where this kind of performance is a must. Sony rates the 128GB card as suitable for up to 40 minutes of 4K XAVC Intra 422 60p (600Mbps) capture, and says that the G-series should allow transfer of 60GB of data to an SSD drive in just three minutes -- assuming, of course, that your PC is up to the task.
Pricing and availability of the new cards hasn't been disclosed at this time.