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Sony announces 168MB/s 'S Series' XQD cards for Nikon D4 shooters

By dpreview staff on Jul 2, 2012 at 14:18 GMT

Sony has launched second-generation 'S' series XQD memory cards capable of sustained read-write speeds of 168MB/s, making them the fastest cards of any format. A 64Gb card will be available from July 2012, with a 128Gb version following in September/October. Sony talks about sports photographers achieving their best performances this summer - suggesting the company isn't an Olympic sponsor and hence isn't allowed to associate itself with the games. Prices have not been announced.

Press Release:

XQD™ S Series from Sony outpaces limits of CF

Sports photographers can achieve their best-ever shooting performance this summer with the new XQD™ S Series memory card from Sony.

The high-speed memory card also offers the capacity and reliability that’s demanded by professional photo journalists covering sports and other tough shooting assignments.

Offering sustained read/write transfer speeds of 168MB/s (actual speed), XQD™ S Series outpaces the maximum interface speed limit of Compact Flash cards (167 MB/s).

Partnered with Nikon’s D4 professional DSLR, XQD™ S Series effortlessly captures a non-stop burst of 108 RAW frames3 (at 12-bit compressed RAW, approximately 10.5MB file size). At a shooting speed of 10fps, this lets photographers document the men’s 100m sprint final from start to finish in a single, sustained burst of RAW images.

The new card’s blazing transfer speeds also slash PC backup times, boosting workflow for busy journalists and creative professionals facing pressured deadlines. Photo professionals can take full advantage of the card’s unsurpassed transfer speeds, with back-up times slashed by over 30%2 compared with the fastest CF cards. A high-speed driver for the MRW-E80 XQD card reader is available now for free download at

Also available, free driver software allows XQD™ memory cards to be used with the latest Thunderbolt™-enabled computers through a compatible card reader.

The card’s high capacity of 64GB makes XQD™ S Series ideal for storing large volumes of data-heavy RAW files. This makes the card attractive for sports photographers who may be triggering the camera’s shutter remotely and cannot conveniently change media cards.

From August, XQD™ S Series users can also download free new version of File Rescue, Ver 3.2, software by Sony, allowing recovery of accidentally-deleted photos and videos. It’s the world’s first file recovery utility that now supports latest AVCHD and 3D5 formats as well as RAW and MOV files. File Rescue software is also available for XQD H Series users.

The new XQD™ S Series memory card is available with 64GB capacity from July 2012. A 32GB card will also be available later in 2012 (September/October).

For more details please visit


1 As of June 2012. Based on Sony internal testing as compared to leading industry manufacturers.
2 Based on Sony internal testing. Transfer speeds vary and are dependent on host device.
3 When used with Nikon D4, with capture of compressed 12-bit NEF (RAW) images. Based on Sony research.


Total comments: 4
William Koehler
By William Koehler (Jul 18, 2012)

So is this what Sony will replace its own SxS cards with? If XQD is faster and achieves wider distribution than just a few of Sony's own products, it would seem Sxs has little future.

What do I know
By What do I know (Jul 26, 2012)

No Sony's SxS cards were developed for Sony camcorders and Nikon asked Sony to build the XQD card as a collaboration new standard to deal with future fast and high pixel count cameras that CF cards and their limitations lack for.
When tested in the Nikon D4, it was amazingly fast and will keep up with demanding video on any DSLR
One thing that I do not understand is why Nikon did not adopt this for the Nikon D800.
I'm sure you will be seeing this in future Sony and Nikon camera's with up to 15 fps and 36MP or more.
It will just be a matter of time for Canon to adopt it as well.
@ Guy, why would you buy a great camera and cheap out on memory? If you think Lexar and SanDisk will treat you better you are making a mistake.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
Guy Swarbrick
By Guy Swarbrick (Jul 11, 2012)

And until the Lexar (and hopefully SanDisk) cards start to arrive, Sony will be able to charge even more ludicrous prices for the S series than the current cards...

By Boerseuntjie (Jul 11, 2012)

If you can buy a Nikon D4, you have money to buy this card.

Total comments: 4