Lexar has today announced that it is now shipping a 4 GB 40x Type II Compact Flash card. This card's claim to fame is the ability to store 600 RAW images taken with a 6 megapixel digital camera. It also features Lexar's WA (Write Acceleration) technology which can improve performance further with WA enabled cameras. Because this card is larger than 2 GB you will need a camera which is FAT32 compliant. This card is available now at the heady price of $1,499 ($0.37/MB).

Phil: While I can see the attraction of large cards I am personally a 'not all my eggs in one basket' user, I prefer to carry several 512 or 256 MB cards (depending on the camera / image format). It seems to me that the compact flash manufacturers are chasing capacity just like the digital camera manufacturers are chasing megapixels. It would be refreshing to see someone talk about something other than the pursuit of big numbers.

A 4 GB card could be useful in a digicam capable of shooting continuous video, however most of todays manufacturers aren't taking advantage of decent video codecs such as MPEG-4 / DiVX (most use Motion JPEG). And anyway I'm sure nobody will be buying a $1,499 card to shoot movies...

Press Release:

Lexar Media Leads Industry with World's Highest Capacity CompactFlash Memory Card

Lexar Media Brings 4GB CompactFlash to Photographers Worldwide

FREMONT, Calif., August 4, 2003 -- Lexar Media, Inc. (Nasdaq: LEXR), a leading designer, developer and marketer of high-performance digital media and accessories, today announced that the company is shipping the world's first and only 4GB CompactFlash memory card. Specifically designed for professional photographers shooting hi-resolution images, the 4GB card stores about 600 images captured in RAW mode using a 6-megapixel professional camera. Amateur photographers shooting with lower resolution cameras could expect to capture as many as 45,000 JPEG images using the high capacity memory card. The actual number of images a 4GB card can store depends on the camera quality, resolution and image file selection mode.

The 4GB memory card is designed to meet the insatiable demand of professional photographers for high-capacity storage. For many professionals, 600 RAW images is comparable to the number of images shot in a day, which allows for extended, uninterrupted shooting and fewer memory cards to manage throughout the day.

The 4GB card is speed rated at 40X, which is capable of a sustained minimum write speed of 6MB/s. As with all of Lexar Media Professional Series CompactFlash, the 4GB card features Write Acceleration (WA) technology, to achieve even greater speeds in WA enabled cameras. Lexar Media Image Rescue software is included free with the 4GB card, enabling photographers to recover deleted or seemingly lost images, or permanently erase the card preventing future image recovery.

"Once again Lexar Media is leading the memory card industry by delivering the highest capacity CompactFlash on the market," said Jim Gustke, Lexar Media, general manager of marketing. "Many segments of the professional photography market have a real need for extraordinary capacity CompactFlash cards. Commercial, wedding, celebrity, fashion, and sports photographers often shoot hundreds of images uninterrupted and many shoot in RAW or TIFF mode to capture the highest quality image possible. Because professional cameras can generate RAW files over 9MB and TIFF files in excess of 15MB, extremely high capacity CompactFlash cards, such as our 4GB, are now a necessity."

"By allowing this large number of high quality images to be saved on one CompactFlash card, we expect professional photographers will increasingly shoot the highest quality image possible," said John Omvik, director of product marketing, Lexar Media. "We also expect professionals with our 4GB card to become more adventurous and shoot without concerns of capacity limitations. This unique combination enhances the photography experience and increases the chances of capturing winning shots."

"Until the introduction of this card, I was shooting with 1GB cards and often I filled four in a single afternoon," said Jim Jordan, advertising, fashion and celebrity photographer. "With a 4GB card, I don't waste time changing cards in the middle of a shoot. With the high profile clients I typically shoot for, regular card changing can be an inconvenience to both of us. At the end of the day, I only have one card to keep track of, which simplifies my life and my assistant's life."

"I'm on location almost 250 days of the year and many times in unpredictable climates and on unpredictable terrain," said Jeffrey Aaronson, internationally recognized photojournalist. "With Lexar's huge capacity 4GB CompactFlash card, I can keep my card in my camera at all times and not worry about changing the card in dangerous situations or exposing the inside of my camera to the elements, which provides ease of mind and allows me to focus on creating images."

The 4GB card is CompactFlash Type II and requires the host camera to support the FAT32 file system. Most digital cameras today support the FAT16 file system, but the FAT16 system only supports data up to 2GB. All CompactFlash cards above 2GB require the camera to support the FAT32 file system. Compatible cameras include Canon Powershot G3, Canon Powershot G5, Canon Powershot S45, Canon Powershot S50, Canon EOS 10D, Canon EOS-1Ds, Kodak DCS 720X, Kodak 760, Kodak DCS Pro Back (all models), Kodak DCS Pro 14n, and Olympus E-1. Most higher-end camera models being introduced today will support the new FAT32 standard. More information about FAT32 and a regularly updated list of compatible cameras is available at www.lexarmedia.com/FAT32.

The 4GB card is available now at many photo specialty stores at an expected price of $1,499.

FAT32 compliant

Cameras that accept CompactFlash Type II that are also FAT32-compatible:

Canon Powershot G3
Canon Powershot G5
Canon Powershot S45
Canon Powershot S50
Canon EOS 10D
Canon EOS-1Ds

Kodak DCS 720X (A CompactFlash-to-PC Card adapter is required with these models)
Kodak DCS 760 (A CompactFlash-to-PC Card adapter is required with these models)
Kodak DCS Pro Back (all models)
Kodak DCS Pro 14n

Olympus E-1