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Lexar promises XQD cards later in 2012

By dpreview staff on Jul 11, 2012 at 13:52 GMT

Memory card maker Lexar has announced it will start to offer XQD format cards later this year. The company says the cards will support the Nikon D4 and 'future XQD-based camera models,' and will be available from the third quarter of 2012. The XQD format was developed by companies including Sony and has been promoted through the Compact Flash Association. Despite this, Nikon is the only camera maker to have made use of the format so far. The format's popularity is likely to be defined by the level of manufacturer support seen at the forthcoming Photokina trade show in Cologne, Germany, this September, around which major models are usually launched.

The announcement comes soon after Sony announced its 'S Series' XQD cards as the fastest memory cards of any format.


Lexar Announces Support for XQD Memory Card Specification

XQD promises faster cards in a convenient format, but is only supported by one camera so far.

Fremont, CA, 11 July, 2012 – Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory products, today announced its support of the XQD™ memory card specification for compatibility with Nikon D4 and future XQD-based camera models. Expected to be available in the third quarter of 2012, Lexar® XQD memory cards will offer high-speed performance in a range of capacities to effectively capture and store high-quality images, 1080p full high-definition (HD) video, and 3D video content.

“By collaborating with Lexar, we’re reinforcing the fact that the XQD specification represents one of the futures of high-performance memory cards,” said Nobuaki Sasagaki, General Manager of marketing department, Imaging Company, Nikon Corporation. “Our cooperation efforts demonstrate the vision shared by Nikon and Lexar to continue advancing the photography and imaging market with innovative technology and extremely high performance.”

“We are committed to offering innovative and industry-leading photography solutions, which is why we’re working with Nikon to offer and co-market XQD memory cards. We view the XQD standard as one of the most logical ways to increase interface speed beyond that of existing CompactFlash technology with the capability of offering performance up to 5Gb per second, in time,” said Wes Brewer, vice president of products and technology, Lexar. “This collaboration provides assured compatibility with Lexar XQD memory cards and Nikon D4 and makes this technology available to the entire photo industry.”

XQD memory cards are based on the PCI Express® specification, which offers 2.5Gb per second performance today with plans for 5Gb per second performance in the future.

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Comments

Total comments: 39
herebedragons
By herebedragons (Jul 12, 2012)

Why only 1 XQD slot in Nikon D4? Why no XQD support in Nikon D800? I suspect the upcoming Sony A99 will have dual XQD support? Why did Canon not support XQD in its EOS 1dx?

Never liked CF cards - too sensitive with the pins and all, and I've always suspected that the transfer speeds are overstated by the mfgs. Good riddance to bad rubbish ... welcome XQD, but I'll believe it when SanDisk announces their support for XQD.

1 upvote
ivan1973
By ivan1973 (Jul 16, 2012)

Aren't you asking a stupid question? XQD is a new format and uncertainty is always present. Anyway I have used numerous CFs and none of them had pin breakage.

0 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Jul 12, 2012)

CF is dead. with its clusmy pin design that leads to borken equipment due to the smalles miss aligment, it is suprising it has lasted this long. the future is XQD and canon made a huge mistake not including it on its bodies.

2 upvotes
LakeT
By LakeT (Jul 12, 2012)

We need XD cards to come back.

0 upvotes
Tom Arto
By Tom Arto (Jul 12, 2012)

Absolutely.....along with Floppies for my two Mavicas :-).

2 upvotes
jj74e
By jj74e (Jul 12, 2012)

Does any camera even offer performance that needs that much speed?

Comment edited 14 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
William Koehler
By William Koehler (Jul 18, 2012)

Yes. There are a number of video/cinema cameras that require very high storage speeds. And then there is the whole question of how fast can you transfer your pictures/footage off the card and onto the computer.

1 upvote
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Jul 12, 2012)

There must be a law enacted to STOP these companies from making more memory card FORMATS.

For the sake of sanity, just adjust the number of pins or contacts! Pah Leeze!

We have had enough of BlueRay vs HD DVD, BetaMax vs VHS, memory sticks, APS cartridges, etc etc...

.

2 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Jul 12, 2012)

@CameraLabTester "For the sake of sanity, just adjust the number of pins or contacts! Pah Leeze!"

Adjusting number of pins is another name for introducing new format.

3 upvotes
Under The Sun
By Under The Sun (Dec 22, 2012)

I don't get the comments about bent pins on CF cards. I owned more then a dozen of these cards over the years and abused them to death. Dropped, thrown, and tossed these things like it was nothing. Some even got a bit bent but never had them fail on me. My oldest card - a 1 gb card has its surface scratched off and bent from being thrown hard by my nephew but it still works flawlessly.

0 upvotes
Karroly
By Karroly (7 months ago)

@Under The Sun,
My first DSLR body was an EOS 300D with broken CF pins that I bought on eBay. Then I bought an EOS 350D the same way. I managed to repair them so I got two bodies at low cost ;-).
It's a pity the Olympus OM-D EM-5 does not use CF cards...

0 upvotes
KewlEugene
By KewlEugene (Jul 12, 2012)

The CF Card Industry had a booth at DESIGN West Apr 2012 San Jose Convention Center. The rep verbally told me that the XQD pinouts are 16 Bit PCI Express and is so fast in the D4 it would record the 100M Dash from start to finish at 10 frames per second if you held the button down the whole 10 seconds time.

I tried it at the USOC Track and Field Team Trials at Eugene Aug 22-Jul 01 and he was right. I shot my D4 bodies at 10fps, RAW+JPEG Full Frame, for the heats and multis of the 100M dash, and 110/100 Hurdles and the XQD card kept up beautifully.

2 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Jul 11, 2012)

As much as I love the CF card, the pin connection was a weakness and the overall size was too large. XQD will probably be the format of the future for high end cameras, with SD cards in everything else.

2 upvotes
dstarr3
By dstarr3 (Jul 11, 2012)

I'd love to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting where Nikon got on the floor and begged Lexar to help them get the ball rolling on this XQD thing.

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Jul 11, 2012)

Lol. Funny guy. Rather Lexar simply sees buisness oppurtinity, so it tries to earn cash. So far Nikon got very nice deal with Sony (they given away free cards and readers to some of D4s, while thier cards perform great beating any SDs avaible, and with new generation: also any CFs), hardly can see Nikon begging Lexar for anything.

5 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Jul 11, 2012)

Makes sense to have something physically more robust than SD with the interface gains. Better if XQD to CF adapters could be made. Will every new photo product have an X in the name-I guess it's mandatory-unless it has a 1.

0 upvotes
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Jul 12, 2012)

EOS 1 D X?

0 upvotes
MaikeruN
By MaikeruN (Jul 16, 2012)

G1X?
X-pro 1?
GX1?
ZX-1?

lollll

0 upvotes
makeitworst
By makeitworst (Jul 11, 2012)

Where the hell are the XD Cards!!??? I have Olympus cameras, GREAT Cameras, that are now media card Orphans because these jerk Flash Card makers adopt and DUMP formats at their whims! The largest XD cards that were ever made were 2GB! And those are nearly impossible to find! Even CF cards are becoming too expensive and hard to find (for older DSLRs like the early Nikon's before the switch to SD)!! There was nothing wrong with CF, considering the size they could have made 128 or 256GB cards by now!

This is BS!

2 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jul 11, 2012)

2GB xD are $22.95 a pop on Amazon (Olympus branded).

3 upvotes
BryMills
By BryMills (Jul 11, 2012)

CF Cards becoming too expensive and hard to find??? What?????

7 upvotes
dstarr3
By dstarr3 (Jul 11, 2012)

I know I can't find cheap CF cards anywhere. Excluding every place I've ever thought to look.

3 upvotes
DanCart
By DanCart (Jul 11, 2012)

@makeitworst
Lexar recently announced 128Gb CF cards, as for XD cards well its not too big a deal that they top out at 2Gb because the only cameras that use those cards are very old models discontinued years ago so chances are they have low resolution and a 2GB XD card will hold a lot of pictures, there are some XD cards still around if you look them up....

0 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Jul 11, 2012)

To the editor,

i am not sure why you didn't mention the XQD cards' major pros and cons right _in the front-page part_ of this news (maximum capacity, speed, maybe size, etc.) It seems to be a rare format right now so it seems fit to expect a tad of background information beyond the fact that it's usable in the Nikon D4.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Jul 11, 2012)

I've added a link back to the card announcement (and included our much-duplicated size comparison diagram), but maximum capacity is currently unclear, as is maximum speed.

The fastest speed currently available (on any card system) is mentioned and linked from the story.

2 upvotes
Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Jul 11, 2012)

For start 2010 specified PCI-e v3.0 ups to 1 gigabyte per second and retains backwards compatibility between devices and hosts meaning PCI-e v3 XQD would work in older cameras.

Compare that to how every newer specification of MMC/SD has broken compatibility with old hosts (cameras/card readers) which should already mark it as bad format for future.

And sturdier bigger size of card allows internal RAID0 for always faster performance and higher capacity with same memory tech.
Final capacity limit is probably going to be same as what it will end up for PC storage devices connectable to PCI-e...
And we all know how PC HDDs were supposed to be limited to 128GB. (actually limit in first 17 years old CF spec)

That should be enough for tuning down this so fashionable complete overhyping of SD and give attention to formats which aren't slapped together by marketroids.

3 upvotes
h2k
By h2k (Jul 11, 2012)

Richard, thanks for clarification!

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jul 12, 2012)

UHS cards do not break anything and work perfectly in old devices not compatible with UHS. Problems with SDXC were caused by incompatibility with file systems on the hosts. If the software in the device cannot handle FAT32 and/or partitions with more than 32GB of data, nothing a card interface specification can do about it (see the same problems with HDDs, first at 2GB threshold, then at 32GB threshold, and then at 2TB - we are yet to see the latter in the memory cards, and don't count XQD out for that one yet).

0 upvotes
Ahmet Aydogan
By Ahmet Aydogan (Jul 11, 2012)

The physical pin configuration coupled with the sheer size of CF cards are both major issues that are negatives in my book. I'm not sure if XQD's have taken care of the contact pin issue, but do we really yet another card format (remembers SM, XD, MS, etc.)? The speed is a plus, but like Pelasdf, I feel that SD cards are the way to go if they can be speeded up.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Grevture
By Grevture (Jul 11, 2012)

XQD does not have the physical pin configuration of CF cards, but rather a much simpler and more robust physical interface.

SD/DSHC cards are ubiqutous and getting faster, but are more problematic to use in embedded systems where you want a standard interface as CF cards and XQD cards have (IDE bus and PCIe bus repectively). Keep in mind the really large volumes of CF cards has not been used in cameras, but rather for industrial use in embedded systems. If XQD is successful in that market is probably a key factor in its success or failure. But moving to the faster PCIe bus seem logical for embedded use.

1 upvote
DanCart
By DanCart (Jul 11, 2012)

@Graevture
SD cards are not as problematic in some embedded systems because they can use the SPI bus which is supported in most embedded systems and they do have have the advantage of smaller size and low power consumption hence in some embedded systems were space and power consumption are crucial SD cards are still the preferred choice

0 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Jul 11, 2012)

Now try to swap SD in gloves on top of the mountain.
ROTFL
CF and now XQD is the way to go for pro uses. SD is neat on smartphones, everywhere else it's a cheap substitute. I'm glad to see Lexar joining the pack :)

3 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jul 12, 2012)

@Plastek
SD is not used in smartphones, it is too big. Even miniSD is not used in smartphones anymore, for the same reason. It is much much smaller microSD.
XQD is about the same size as SD - see picture above. Surely it is cheap - because nobody demands way too much money for the license and there is real competition. In terms of interface itself, even 104MB/s UHS-1 is not limiting anybody yet, no camera is able to take full advantage of the speed, they just don't flush they buffers fast enough.

0 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Jul 11, 2012)

lets hope the XQD format becomes a genuine replacement for the current CF cards. Sandisk should support this, as far as I remember they were one of the members who defined the standard.

2 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jul 11, 2012)

I think they should just figure out a way to make SD cards faster and do away with the CF and XQD format.

4 upvotes
Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul
By Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul (Jul 11, 2012)

I think consumer should just not read professional news and the world will be better.

8 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Jul 11, 2012)

UHS-2 interface is very fast (up to 300MB/s), but there are no implementations yet. And for a good reason - not a single SD card is limited by 104MB/s UHS-1 interface, even SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s just comes close in absolutely best of circumstances, and most cameras and card readers/writers limit the speed even further.

0 upvotes
Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Jul 11, 2012)

SD's small physical size (volume) limits its speed:
Bigger size cards have space for using more memory chips for striped read/write just like in RAID0 enabling lot higher speeds.

And non-PC based data buses/interfaces are hornet nests of incompatibility for future expansions. Flexibility of parallel-ATA bus is reason why CF has still modern performance despite of being oldest format. PCI-e bus would provide similar capability for future. (gigabyte/s PCI-e v.3 specified in 2010 with hosts and devices retaining backwards compatibility)

And SD is really too flimsy for convenient handling.
I can accept it for small cameras... but in case you forgot decade ago engineers fitted CF just fine even to Canon IXUS.

2 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jul 11, 2012)

Thanks peevee1, Esa Tuunanen and Grevture (below) for explaining the transfer protocol and internal structure.

As for Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul (aka Sheiden Cooper), the world cannot handle your genius so please stay within Caltech's campus.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 39