Tom's Hardware has written about an interesting adapter from Sintech that allows users to put an M.2 2230 NVMe SSD in a CFexpress Type B housing, allowing motivated photographers and videographers to bypass the high cost of CFexpress Type B cards.
CFexpress Type B cards are used in numerous cameras, including the Nikon Z6/Z7/Z9 series cameras, Canon EOS R5 and Panasonic S1/S1R. The cards are notoriously expensive. For example, the latest SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO CFexpress type B card retails for $250, although it's on sale on Amazon right now for $140. A ProGrade 512GB CFexpress Type B card is much more expensive. It's currently on sale for $500.
While CFexpress Type B cards are pricey, they're essentially a small M.2 2230 NVMe 1.2-compliant SSD with a PCIe 3.0 x2 interface inside a special housing. You're paying a premium for a genuine CFexpress Type B card.
|ProGrade CFexpress Type B compatibility and performance chart. The 512GB card on the chart is currently on sale for $500. Click to enlarge.
However, the premium isn't just because it's a CFexpress Type B card. You're also paying for the extensive compatibility and reliability testing performed by memory card manufacturers. Companies like SanDisk and ProGrade aren't just slapping storage into a case and calling it a day. They spend a lot of time ensuring reliable, sustained performance across a wide range of devices and applications.
PetaPixel spoke with a storage and memory expert about the Sintech adapter, and the general takeaway is that for someone comfortable with DIY and assuming some risk, the adapter could work well. Further, cheap SSD storage may work well in optimal conditions but may falter when pushed to its limits. Premium-priced storage isn't always better than cheaper options, but it usually is. PetaPixel writes, 'But knowing those risks, the basic idea behind the Sintech solution is sound, and it's absolutely a viable option for photographers who want to save some money.'
If you're interested in giving it a go, the adapter costs $44 directly from Sintech. The instructions are straightforward. You purchase a separate 2230 NVMe SSD, remove the label, install it into the case, apply thermal silica onto the chipset, use the provided scraper to smooth the silica application and close the case.
Sintech has tested the adapter with different NVMe 1.2-compliant M.2 2230 PCIe 3.0 SSDs from manufacturers such as Koioxia, Samsung, Western Digital and Toshiba. Not all SSDs are supported, so your mileage may vary. The company says the adapter works with the Canon EOS R5, C300 Mark III, C500 Mark III, Nikon Z6/Z7 series, D5, D500, D6, D850 and the Panasonic S1 and S1R cameras. Using the adapter, it's possible to get a 512GB CFexpress Type B card for $155. This is a significant discount compared to off-the-shelf CFexpress Type B cards.
Of course, as mentioned, you do assume some risk by doing so. Whether it's worth the risk is up to you. In any event, it's good for consumers to have more options.