Previous news story    Next news story

SanDisk introduces first CFast 2.0 memory card

By dpreview staff on Sep 13, 2013 at 13:36 GMT

Cementing its commitment to the CFast standard, SanDisk has introduced the Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 memory card, the first of its kind. The card boasts read speeds of up to 450MB/s and write speeds of up to 350MB/s, and will be sold with 60 or 120GB of storage. As a competitor to the Nikon-backed XQD standard, this first CFast 2.0 card is introduced alongside with an ARRI AMIRA documentary-style camera that records to internal CFast 2.0 cards. Users of some models of ALEXA XT cameras will also be able to use the new CFast 2.0 cards with an adapter.

Canon has pledged support of the standard, hinting that it may be integral as they develop 4K video-capable cameras. No consumer pricing has been announced at this time for the CFast 2.0 card, and they'll be available through ARRI retailers.


Press Release:

SANDISK LAUNCHES WORLD’S FIRST CFAST 2.0 MEMORY CARD  

SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 Memory Card is The World’s Fastest Memory Card For High-Performance Professional Photo and Video Capture

IBC, AMSTERDAM, Sept. 13, 2013 – SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced the SanDisk Extreme Pro® CFastTM 2.0 memory card, designed for professional broadcast, cinematography and next-generation professional photography. 

The 120GB1 SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 memory card is the world’s fastest memory card, with read speeds of up to 450MB/s2 (3000X) for maximum workflow efficiency and write speeds up to 350MB/s2 (2333X) for faster recording performance. The SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 memory card’s industry leading transfer speeds offer up to double the shot speed of today’s fastest cards. With the new card, industry professionals are able to manage large files faster than ever. For example, a 100GB file takes nearly 20 minutes to transfer from CompactFlash at 90MB/s. With the SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 memory card, it takes only four minutes to transfer at 450MB/s3.

"With the SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 card, we are enabling a next generation card format to meet the needs of high-end professional cinematographers," said Dinesh Bahal, vice president, product marketing, SanDisk. "These cards will enable new digital solutions for professional filmmakers looking to embrace technologies such as high-quality 4K video, and are another example of SanDisk's innovation and leadership in flash memory storage."

The SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast card is the first to utilize the CFast 2.0 specification. This specification was a collaboration of leading CompactFlash Association members to meet the demanding requirements of professional video and photography applications. Early adopters and endorsers include SanDisk, Canon, ARRI and Codex. The result of this alliance is the CFast 2.0 specification, delivering a new level of performance for next generation professional video and photography cameras. 

Leading motion picture equipment manufacturer ARRI, will be the first to implement CFast 2.0 as recording media in a camera. The new documentary-style ARRI AMIRA will record to in-camera CFast 2.0 cards, and ALEXA XT camera users will be able to use a new CFast 2.0 adapter, allowing ALEXA XT cameras, as well as ALEXA Classic cameras upgraded with the XR Module, to do the same. Stephan Schenk, general manager of ARRI’s camera and DI systems business unit said, "SanDisk’s new SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 cards deliver tremendous performance, allowing professionals to record ProRes 4444 up to 200Fps with AMIRA, and up to 120Fps with ALEXA XT/XR cameras, on cost-effective recording media."

Canon is also a supporter of the CFast 2.0 standard. Masaya Maeda, managing director and chief executive of image communication product operations at Canon said, "With extremely fast performance, CFast 2.0 memory cards will enable us to develop next-generation cameras with more powerful features, enabling future 4K Ultra HD video recording capability."

Durability and Reliability

This new high-performance card format is reliable and equipped with a durable form factor. The SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 cards are created to withstand real-world exposure to temperature, shock and vibration, and include a pinless design, which lessens the chance of damaging the card or camera while changing cards. The cards will also be marked with a unique individual serialization number that can be registered into SanDisk Pro Care Customer Support. Additionally, a lifetime limited warranty4 and a downloadable offer for a one year subscription to RescuePRO® media recovery software5 are available.

Availability 

SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 memory cards are available in the U.S. and Europe at select photo specialty stores and at ARRI authorized storefronts in 60GB and 120GB capacities. 

Also available is the SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 Reader/Writer, the world’s first CFast 2.0 memory card reader, designed for professional photographers and videographers in the broadcast, cinema and photography industries. Small enough for field work, the reader is built to handle the high performance demands of CFast 2.0 technology and increase workflow efficiency with support for USB 3.0 interface transfer speeds up to 500MB/s6.  

1 120GB: Up to 450MB/s read speed; Up to 350MB/s write speed. 60GB: Up to 450MB/s read speed; up to 225MB/s write speed.Based on internal testing; performance may be lower depending upon host device. 1MB=1,000,000 bytes. X=150KB/s.
2 1GB=1,000,000,000 bytes. Actual user storage less.
3 Approximations; Results will vary based on host device, file attributes and other factors.
4 30 years warranty in Germany, Canada and regions not recognizing lifetime warranty.
5 Registration required; terms and conditions apply.
6 Based on USB 3.0 specification; performance may vary depending on use case and host device. 1MB=1,000,000 bytes.

Comments

Total comments: 58
janrifkinson
By janrifkinson (1 month ago)

Does the cfast 2.0 work w a Fuji xt-1? Does anyone know cost?

0 upvotes
Nafees A Bazmi
By Nafees A Bazmi (7 months ago)

where the hell they will stop...
it is just risky to keep this much data in just one place...
what is the opinion of larger card users here... i prefer just 16GB. be safe ;)

0 upvotes
E Nonymous
By E Nonymous (7 months ago)

Compact Flash technology while faster than any of the cheaper SD tech, it was shunned by the industry and budget conscious consumers due to its prohibitive price.
I'm not at all surprised that it has more room to grow.

0 upvotes
Mike_V
By Mike_V (7 months ago)

Arri Amira.

0 upvotes
fastglass
By fastglass (7 months ago)

+1

Long live CF!

While the State of the Art here certainly isn't affordable or needed by most users, the development of the media means its still a viable technology - a good thing for all current CF users.

When a technology becomes obsolete - the availability suffers & prices seriously increase.

Cheers.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

Um, okay but these new CFast cards won't work with CF compatible cameras.

3 upvotes
William Koehler
By William Koehler (7 months ago)

At this point CF has begotten two children: XQD and CFast. Given flash formats have been consolidating, I don't see that kind of fracturing as a good thing.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

What I don't understand is that XQD has been shipping for a while, so what's the reason for not simply going with that format?

Is it much more expensive to mass produce, are the licenses closely held by say Sony or Lexar?

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DaytonR
By DaytonR (3 months ago)

Its similar to the VHS vs Betamax & Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD battle, different companies invested, developed and had supporters for their format...

what is holding back mass production at present is the dearth of devices supporting the XQD card - only one professional stills camera and a few expensive niche video cameras from Sony support the format so demand is still a trickle at best :)

0 upvotes
vFunct
By vFunct (7 months ago)

You still need about 1GB/s to shoot 4k/60fps raw.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

And a couple of terabytes on a card is within reach, as is that write speed.

No such cards won't be 20 bucks when first released.

0 upvotes
Joe Ogiba
By Joe Ogiba (7 months ago)

Sandisk is pricing their new 256GB 160MB/s CF card at $1,809.99 and the small 16GB version at $219.99 and it looks like this will cost even more.

I paid $18.95 w/FS for a two pack of 16GB 94MB/s Sony Class 10 UHS-1 SDHC cards at B&H that is more than fast enough for my current cameras shooting 1080p60 etc. The new UHS-II SD cards are coming out next month with up to 312MB/s speed so I don't see any consumer camera needing more than that even for 4K. The ARRI ALEXA XT camera body pricing starts at $78,558 so the cost of CFast 2.0 cards is not a problem for ARRI users.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

When 2GB CF cards first became easily available is about 2002, they cost $700.

Will these new UHS-II SD cards be able to record 4K raw video?

0 upvotes
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (7 months ago)

Currently Class 6 (6 Mbps) cards record FHD video pretty well though on consumer codecs like AVCHD or MPEG. So 4k video should easily be recorded by the 95 Mbps cards available today.

However professional video formats use far more MBs of data than consumer formats so current cards probably won't suffice for pro 4k video.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

brendon1000:

Right in the second paragraph.

Some problems with the first: 60p MPEG4, 1080, is about 34MB per second--at least on the Canon G30.

0 upvotes
William Koehler
By William Koehler (7 months ago)

@ HowaboutRAW

The Canon HF G30 shoots AVCHD/MPEG4 at a max 35 Mbps which works out to 4.25 MBytes/sec. No strain for Class 6 or 10, much less USH-I or UHS-II.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

Yep, you’re right about the Canon’s speed.

However card speed can’t always keep up with how video cameras buffer files before writing to the card, case in point the Panasonic X900 had horrid frame drop out with all but the fastest cards, and even those cards had to be deeply formatted ahead of time. (Fast card here means UH1 writing 95MB per second) So class 6 ain’t always fast enough for video.

0 upvotes
The Andy G
By The Andy G (7 months ago)

Does this new SD have a micro controller like Compact Flash/QXD?

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

It's a CF card, not SD.

0 upvotes
The Andy G
By The Andy G (7 months ago)

D'oh!

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

To spare others users familiar with PC innards a trip to the Wikipedia:

CFast. Though similar to CF, the cards are not backward compatible. Instead of Parallel ATA (PATA), they are based on Serial ATA (SATA). Backed by SunDisk and a number of other smaller companies.

QXD. Based on PCI Express instead of ATA. Backed by Sony and Lexar. Nikon D4 appears as an oddball in all this story, as the main application intended was the video.

PCI-E (~1GB/s) is faster than the SATA (600MB/s). But if any previous experience is indication, CFast would win because SATA is cheaper than the PCI-E. But. Since the Sony is in the picture, videographers might be heading into another Betacam thing.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

Quote:

"SATA is cheaper", cheaper for what reason?

And does that reason always apply?

In other words couldn't PCI-E become much cheaper to make if it is adopted en mass? Or is it like a CMOS sensor which takes more steps to make than a basic CCD?

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

PCI-E requires a pretty sophisticated controller, being based on the PCI bus.

SATA was designed specifically to be cheap for implementing, yet still enjoying the advantages of the higher bandwidth.

And most importantly: PCI-E requires more pins than the SATA. That pretty much guarantees that the PCI-E based products would cost (even if only slightly) more than the SATA based ones.

P.S. It is in some ways like USB vs. FireWire. The later was better, but the price of USB made it widely adopted. And the broader mass market means more R&D cash. Thus USB is developed faster, while FireWire lags.

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW, Sorry. That was rushed answer based purely on the technological aspects.

Better answer:

CFast and QXD would both cost literally the same, and a lot, regardless of the technology inside. Because they are both niche products, and would never get to the adoption rate of SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. Thus it is impossible to predict with any certainty who would win. Typically, among niche products wins the one which survives longer or whose vendor survives longer.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

TheP:

Right, whoever can keep the price down, keep shipping it and get it accepted will win with time.

However: Today Sony+Lexar, or subs, have been making the XQD cards for more than a year, and Nikon is sure selling D4 bodies.

So unless SanDisk is sure that Canon is only going to use CFast cards in the future, why wouldn't SanDisk make a commitment to XQD exclusively? Or are only Lexar and Sony allowed to make XQD cards?

(You may realize this, but of course SD/HC/XC cards are simply to physically fragile for use in cameras like the Nikon D4--whereas CF+XQD cards are harder to break.)

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (7 months ago)

I have absolutely no idea about licensing of the formats. Though Sony is known to be pretty "exclusive" in some such things. SunDisk is generally stays away from the wars and simply makes the cards.

"You may realize this, but of course SD/HC/XC cards are simply to physically fragile [...]"

Man, do not buy into the silly marketing. The stories of what SD cards survived are pretty unbelievable. There are many of them already. (BTW, larger cards are more fragile. That's physics 101: longer the arm of force, less force needs to be applied.)

The only difference between QXD/CF and SD is the physical size. Larger the card, more electronics it can accommodate, faster theoretically it can be. That's all to it.

And of course: Sony/friends love to have a dedicated incompatible format to rip off professionals.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

I'm not too worried about leverage breaking SD cards, it's the exposed flanges.

And that's something XQD cards avoid.

0 upvotes
Kiong003
By Kiong003 (7 months ago)

Sorry, what pins ?

0 upvotes
dr.noise
By dr.noise (7 months ago)

A row of thin metal pins in camera slot that matches the CF card holes. Easily broken or bent if card is not inserted carefully.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

Does this new CF card design use pins within the camera? SanDisk, and camera makers, need to be really clear on this point.

Pins are trouble. And of course neither the XQD cards nor SD cards use pins.

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (7 months ago)

If my memory serves me correctly, at long last this new CF card standard gets rid of those silly pins.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

pleyvy--

So catching up with XQD.

And one needs cameras that take this new pinless design.

Why not just agree on XQD? It's fast. Does SanDisk make more money sticking with the CF format, even if the new CF cards won't work in a pinned camera?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
William Koehler
By William Koehler (7 months ago)

Read the press release.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

Does this new CF card design use pins within the camera? SanDisk, and camera makers, need to be really clear on this point.

Pins are trouble. And of course neither the XQD cards nor SD cards use pins.

0 upvotes
tonywong
By tonywong (7 months ago)

Ahem, it's in the Press Release:
The SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 cards are created to withstand real-world exposure to temperature, shock and vibration, and include a pinless design, which lessens the chance of damaging the card or camera while changing cards.

4 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

Got it. Odd I searched "pin" on the webpage.

Good to learn about the pinless thing.

Though I don't simply chase down press releases.

1 upvote
Hobbit13
By Hobbit13 (7 months ago)

Seems a bit like the SACD / DVD-audio war: the CD won...

Don't think there is a large market for whom the fastest CF and SD won't suffice. Current top-of-the line SD cards reach 250mbyte/s, which is only half of these, but still a lot faster than the writing speeds of most bodies.

At the ISE fair I've seen a few 4K recorders that used 2.5" or 1.8" Sata SSD's, these CFast cards are equal in speed, a bit smaller and A LOT more expensive :-)

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (7 months ago)

nope doesn't fit in my sd-slot either...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

Toshiba just announced something for you. But your current camera won't be able to take advantage of the speed of the new Toshiba SD cards.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (7 months ago)

well maybe a usb-3 cardreader can ;).

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

D1NO:

Um, oh so speed from card to computer is the only important thing?

Not speed of recording while the card is in the camera? Or can you attach a USB3 card reader/recorder to your particular camera? Which model is that? And why not just attach a hard drive, like when recording raw video?

The fact remains that only newer cameras will be able to take advantage of the new really fast Toshiba SD cards’ speeds.

0 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (7 months ago)

Current cards are plenty fast enough for my photography style, so the only reason I would buy a faster card is when I want to import my pics faster. But i don't really think that is necessary.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (7 months ago)

D1NO:

There be video too, and current cards mostly can't keep up with the shooting rate of the D4, still only.

Right, many can find cards that work for them for still shooting today--this may change with future cameras.

0 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (7 months ago)

I want a CF card that has a slot for SD within it for backup purpose. The CF card itself must be at least 64GB @ 90mb/s. Supports WIFI. For SD card.....that I don't really care as long as it backups what is in the CF.

1 upvote
miejoe
By miejoe (7 months ago)

Wonderful. Time to buckle in and prepare for yet another format war. When either XQD or CFast loses the battle, we can look forward to wasted investment dollars, obsolete equipment, and the consumer paying the price, as usual.

7 upvotes
chaos215bar2
By chaos215bar2 (7 months ago)

My experience is that by the time I buy a new camera, my old memory cards are already obsolete even if they're supported by the new one. (i.e. I can get something so much better for a fraction of the camera's price that it would just be silly not to.)

0 upvotes
kaizen63
By kaizen63 (7 months ago)

The problem is not the memeory card you throw away. The problem is that your camera becomes worthless. Imagine owning a camera with QXD card and XQD is dropped. Nobody will by your used body. Think of dumping a Nikon D4.

Even Nikon went only half way with their D4 with XQD+CF. They should have gone with 2 XQD and use XWD in the D800 and D600.

In the end SD cards will win

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Donnie G
By Donnie G (7 months ago)

XQD or CFast 2.0? Now things are getting really interesting. Neither of these new media standards will have any effect on us regular folks in the near term, but it will be fun to see which format is eventually favored by cinematographers and other pro users. XQD has been available for a while now and hasn't picked up any support beyond Sony and Nikon that I'm aware of. So, My money's on CFast 2.0, especially since both ARRI and Canon are backing the standard. Let the games begin!

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
SHood
By SHood (7 months ago)

This will kill the Nikon backed QXD. That would explain why no one else supported QXD.

4 upvotes
Donnie G
By Donnie G (7 months ago)

Now it becomes clear why Canon chose to stick with CF for all of its pro camera bodies, including their new Cinema cameras. It is downright scary to think about what the specs on the next 1series body will be with the availability of these CFast cards in combination with Canon's own dual pixel AF sensor.

0 upvotes
Alberto Tanikawa
By Alberto Tanikawa (7 months ago)

Donnie G, CFast is not compatible with CF. The former uses a serial type transfer, while the latter uses a parallel type. Wish they were compatible though.

4 upvotes
Donnie G
By Donnie G (7 months ago)

Thanks Alberto, but what I'm thinking is having the CFast built in, and using CF the way it has always been used (as removable media). The two products compliment each other and save space too.

1 upvote
AshMills
By AshMills (7 months ago)

Eh?

1 upvote
Paul Guba
By Paul Guba (7 months ago)

Pretty incredible stuff the last two days from memory makers. Though unlikely I will need the speed in camera be nice not to take forever to download cards. I really hope Nikon get on board with this format as well.

0 upvotes
SHood
By SHood (7 months ago)

At these speeds cameras no longer needs a large buffer as you can continually write RAW images with no limit.

3 upvotes
Donnie G
By Donnie G (7 months ago)

SHood, that's exactly the point.

0 upvotes
Donnie G
By Donnie G (7 months ago)

SHood, that's exactly the point.

0 upvotes
PredatorsPrey
By PredatorsPrey (7 months ago)

"At these speeds cameras no longer needs a large buffer as you can continually write RAW images with no limit."
Till the time this is appears on a few D-SLRs, there will be a 35+MP D-SLR with a high burst rate which exceeds the speed of the card so you still need a large RAW Buffer ;)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 58