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Sony launches ‘world's fastest’ USB hub, new rugged SD cards

Sony has announced a new USB hub with integrated card reader that is targeted at photographers, videographers and other creatives. The company claims its MRW-W3 hub is the ‘world's fastest’ UHS-II SD (and microSD) card reader, supporting read rates up to 300MB/s and making it ideal for transferring large numbers of Raw images or 4K video clips to your computer.

In addition to the card reader, the hub offers a 100W power delivery for monitors and other power-hungry peripherals. USB-C and USB-A connectors allow for the connection of a wide range of devices and an HDMI output is good for 4K video at 30 frames per second. All the technology is housed in an aluminum case that is IP68 dust and water resistant. The MRW-S3 will be available sometime in the fall.


Alongside the hub Sony will also sell its new SF-M Tough SD cards in 64, 128 and 256GB versions. With a read speed of up to 277MB/s and write speed of up to 150MB/s the new cards will take full advantage of the MRW-W3 hub. Sony says the SF-M TOUGH is ‘the world’s toughest UHS-II SD card that is 18x stronger than a standard SD card.’ the cards also offers the highest-grade waterproof and dustproof levels, making them an interesting option for photographers working in difficult environmental conditions.

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AlephNull

These new cards are slower than the existing Sony Tough G cards. Guess they are the cheaper version. Don't know how they compare in "toughness", but it's nice to have options.

1 month ago
adengappasami

DPREVIEW should follow sony rumours as the news there seems to hit way before here.

1 month ago
chriswilliams10
chriswilliams10

Maybe that's because Sony rumors is 100% dedicated to Sony only? Just sayin'....

1 month ago
Johann Kruger

Kinda too slow for Alpha 9 ...

1 month ago
AlephNull

How can a card reader be slow for an A9?

1 month ago
Tim Gallo
Tim Gallo

sony xqd card reader greatly suffers from overheating... hope this one does not have this problem.

1 month ago
sirhawkeye64

Which one? I have one of their cheaper ones (the $30) and haven't experienced this....

1 month ago
ewelch

This is a joke right? It can't touch what Sonnet and others have done with Thunderbolt 3 hubs, and those card speeds are ludicrously slow compared to the imminent CFExpress cards coming.

1 month ago
MikeRan

These are not Sony’s fastest SD cards... and these are SD cards... not CFE cards... how do those CFE cards work in those SD Card cameras?

1 month ago*
Marcelobtp

4K 30...Why Sony?

1 month ago
Cariboou
Cariboou

Is arrived just yesterday a e-reader for card XQL/SD today is arrived another e-reader for CF/SD cards that I use with my cameras Nikon D810/D850 the e-reader for XQL was very expensive and build from Sony while the othe e-reader was buid from Sandisk, I dont't understand the sense of build another SD e-reader when for me the future is the XQL format

1 month ago
A9RIII

XQL-cards ??.. What have you been smoking?

1 month ago
Cariboou
Cariboou

Because you don't understood that was XQD? Sometime also I make a mistake, while you need learn the education eh.....

1 month ago
MikeRan

Are these the fastest 256GB cards available?

1 month ago
Henrikw
Henrikw

No. Toshiba Exceria Pro is faster.
I bought the 128gb version for £150 which is a bargain for the speed and built quality
https://xsreviews.co.uk/reviews/toshiba-exceria-pro-n502-review/

1 month ago
nikcha

From where? Link please

1 month ago
Duncan M

What's the use of a rugged SD card when the technology itself is flawed and doesn't offer any protection from corruption.

Right - Marketing is the point.

The USB hub is nice though.

1 month ago*
Horshack

What's flawed about the technology?

1 month ago
Duncan M

What do you think of no checks at all if the data is written correctly to the SD card? A fail on the TOC (table of content for readout) results in a direct corruption of the SD card. Next to that it uses very cheap storage chips that are prone to fault within 10.000 writes over the same memory block. That's seriously flawed.

It is also the reason why SD is cheap, but the technology inside these cards is pretty insecure. This is why CF and XQD are actually better, but that extra safety does come with a price.

FYI - Secure in SD is a reference to the little connector on the side of the card which you can use to protect writes to the card. Not to its technology

It is also a good reason to use larger storage capacity cards over smaller storage capacity as rewriting the same data block over and over will occur less often to larger capacity cards. Unless you use these cards up to the last bit of storage each time you use them.

1 month ago*
Entropy512

"FYI - Secure in SD is a reference to the little connector on the side of the card which you can use to protect writes to the card. Not to its technology" - No, it has nothing to do with write-protect switches. It is due to SDMI/CPRM DRM support (which almost no one used, partly due to SDMI dying by 2001).

I've seen SD DRM support used a grand total of once - by a Magellan GPS receiver back in the early 2000s that required a "special" nonstandard USB SD reader in order to transfer map data.

1 month ago*
Horshack

@Duncan, I think your understanding of how SD differs from XQD is misinformed. Both SD and XQD have data-in-flight protection via CRC on the data I/O pathways. Both use NAND technology - some XQD cards use SLC cells but most use a combination of SLC and MLC and SD uses MLC. Both use the same class of flash controllers, which includes both wear-leveling and bad-block detection and remapping.

1 month ago
Duncan M

Horshack - You are completely wrong over the type of memory used and also over the way protection works. But if you think they are the same good for you.

Just do a google search on the technologies and you will soon see how they much differ!

1 month ago
Horshack

@Duncan, A Google search isn't necessary - I was a storage firmware engineer for 25 years. But if you'd like something to read you can start here - even microSD cards have it:

https://www.alliedelec.com/m/d/04db416b291011446889dbd6129e2644.pdf

1 month ago
Entropy512

Given my knowledge of Horshack's qualifications (including from his other posts here), and the fact that Duncan made a blatantly false claim (that the "Secure" in Secure Digital comes from the presence of a write protect tab as opposed to the fact that when it was created, it added CPRM/SDMI support lacking in the MMC it was derived from) - I'll trust Horshack's judgement over Duncan's.

Even full-size SSDs can experience catastrophic failure due to manufacturer screwups in their wear levellers (no particular technology is immune here) - some Samsung EVOs had the same fatal secure erase firmware flaw that many Samsung eMMC products had back in late 2012/early 2013.

1 month ago*
Horshack

The article's first image shows the ghosts of insertions past.

1 month ago
User1234567890

They will announce new cameras tomorrow.
DPR could write about what they expect.

The teaser has a giant explosion ....

1 month ago
BrightTiger

This is so 2019. Still waiting for the quantum entanglement feature so when we take a picture, it's there on the hard drives.

1 month ago
otto k

Pft. I'm waiting for the ghost imaging - I T to see images I never took

1 month ago
BrightTiger

Or multi-universe support so I can get the best possible image out of all possibilities of time and space.

1 month ago
otto k

Leibniz always gets the best possible photo ;)

1 month ago
BrentSchumer
BrentSchumer

So why do we still have UHS-1 card interfaces on the A6XXX cameras? Sony loves to throw in the kitchen sink but randomly overlooks the basics.

1 month ago
brendon1000
brendon1000

Sadly they are trying to save costs by recycling old parts. Not a good decision when the competition has moved on a long time ago and you aren't a market leader.

Hopefully the new semi pro APS-C camera that Sony is about to launch in a few days will be a step in the right direction with new parts that will match or beat the competition. One major flaw is that only one of the SD card slots supports UHS-II. Both slots hopefully in the new body supports UHS-II

1 month ago
Bob Janes
Bob Janes

Because they didn't/don't have a UHS-II slot that also takes the legacy MS cards...

1 month ago
brendon1000
brendon1000

They should just kill off memory stick support. That format needs a quick and sudden death!

1 month ago
BrentSchumer
BrentSchumer

Memory stick is so dead that Victor Frankenstein wouldn't put it in his camera.

1 month ago
loadofcobblers
loadofcobblers

It's so old it has an autographed bible.

1 month ago
BrightTiger

MS is so old Kodak thought it was obsolete.

1 month ago
xeppelin

Interestingly Sony themselves do not support their XQD cards. No CF/CFast/XQD slot. LOL.

But I am perfectly fine with SD UHS II, as I have standardized on MicroSD (+ wire-thru adapter to SD form factor) . I will definitely never buy a device using XQD cards.

1 month ago
RubberDials

@xeppelin

XQD was developed for video, not stills and Sony 'supports' it in all their pro video cameras.

XQD cards make no sense for still cameras, except perhaps for sports cameras like the D5 or A9 – they're just a way of passing on the cost of memory to the consumer by keeping the buffer small.

1 month ago
T3

Sony uses XQD in their pro video camcorders. But for stills cameras, no one uses XQD except for Nikon. Medium format camera manufacturers aren't even using XQD. Fujifilm and Hasselblad's latest medium format mirrorless bodies all use SD.

1 month ago
peterv-

Don’t forget Panasonic S series.

1 month ago
Duncan M

XQD makes a lot of sense - It offers better and safer technology as it protects for TOC mismatches and offers a internal checksum. The technology is much more like SSD drives. Not so with SD. XQD also offers better memory chips inside. Its faster and more reliable.

There is a lot of use for XQD / CFExpres and those who think its not for photography are the silly ones that don't know anything about the architecture inside these storage media.

1 month ago*
noirdesir

Panasonic S1 and S1R also use XQD, as does Phase One in its IQ4 back. That's not quite no one.

1 month ago
T3

@noirdesir - But the Panasonic S1 and S1R also have dual SD slots. So one could easily use the S bodies and never use the XQD card. What I should have said is that Nikon's are the only ones that force you to use XQD exclusively in some of their bodies. The point is that XQD still seems to be a card that is not widely adopted or used only for specialized purposes-- and ultimately it's up to each camera manufacturer to decide which card format they feel is the best choice for them . And Sony seems to be fine with that.

1 month ago*
ewelch

CFExperess is vastly faster. The cards are more reliable than SD cards can be. SD is the past, it's slow. CFExpress is just getting started. And with the size of files getting bigger and bigger performance becomes more important.

1 month ago
RubberDials

@Duncan M

"There is a lot of use for XQD / CFExpres and those who think its not for photography are the silly ones that don't know anything about the architecture inside these storage media."

I guess you're referencing me but chickened out about using my name.

It's not about not knowing the architecture, it's the fact that the cards are large, expensive and only available in specialist shops. The last fact alone severely limits them for all but professional use. What are you going to do if you need a new card or more storage in the middle of a shoot or on holiday for example. SD cards can be bought everywhere.

The principle benefit is write and read speed not error protection and for most cameras you won't see the benefit as the camera's architecture and the slot speed will choke the card. Even the D5 can't utilise the full speed of most cards and cameras like the z7 certainly can't.

It simply makes much more sense to use SD cards in these cameras.

1 month ago*
noirdesir

T3, you have conveniently moved the goal polls. Your original statement was: „But for stills cameras, no one uses XQD except for Nikon. Medium format camera manufacturers aren't even using XQD.“, it was not „only Nikon forces people to use XQD“.

1 month ago
T3

@noirdesir - Does it really matter? It certainly does seem like Nikon is basically going it alone with XQD. I'm interested to see how Nikon's choice of going all-in on XQD will pan out. As I mentioned, Panasonic uses XQD in the S bodies, but only in addition to having two SD slots. They still leave the choice up to the user. They aren't going XQD-only, which I think is a smart move. Will Nikon's XQD-only strategy work? Time will tell. But so far, it looks like Nikon is the only one doing it. For the average pro already spending $6500 on a Nikon D5, the extra cost of buying a bunch of expensive XQD cards might not matter. But to the average price-conscious consumer spending less on a camera like a Z6, I suspect it does put a bit of a damper on Z6 sales.

1 month ago*
noirdesir

It matters to me whether somebody who made an incorrect statement admits to it instead of changing the subject.

1 month ago
vegasdood
vegasdood

I will end up buying one of these...I currently use Sony cards and they seem to perform flawlessly. This will really help me on the road when I need to transfer to my Lacie portable drive attached to my laptop. 100mb files from my a7RII can get tedious for a weeklong photoshoot. And, as file sizes get larger, I see this as a basic need.

1 month ago
Imager of
Imager of

My MacBook Pro sd card reader is fast enough thanks. Don’t need another thing attached to it.

1 month ago
Horshack

How about those who bought a MacBook Pro in the last three years, which lack an SD card reader?

1 month ago
4sofnature

I went with Surface Book 2 cuz it has a full-size UHS-II slot.

1 month ago
T3

My old MacBook Pro has an SD slot. I refuse to buy another MacBook until Apple puts the SD slot back in. I think it was ridiculous that Apple got rid of the SD slot. And it's even more ridiculous when you consider that the SD slot in MacBooks don't even take up that much space between the SD card doesn't go all the way into the SD slot like the SD slot in most other laptops. On a MBP most of the SD card still sticks out!

1 month ago
Thomartin

To be honest, with most modern cameras having reliable USB connection, there is less and less point in taking the card out to discharge it.

Yes, it is still necessary for professionals who have huge loads of data, need the most speed etc... but it will eventually get there.

I'm pretty sure we will eventually get to the point of the Zeiss camera, with integrated ( and upgradable?) storage.

1 month ago
ewelch

No thanks, because it's crazy to take up space with an obsolete card reader that locks the computer's internals to that slow interface. With Thunderbolt 3 readers (and soon USB 4 which will be open and free for anyone to use and includes Thunderbolt 3 at no charge) anyone with those slow readers won't be using them any more thus wasting space inside the laptop. Not to mention another way for liquid and dust to get inside.

1 month ago*
Horshack

@ewelch, USB 3.0 came out 10 years ago and is still faster than most SD cards on the market today.

1 month ago
4sofnature

3 reasons why I think SD card slot is still useful:
1. You can hand off the card to someone who will transfer files while you can continue taking photos with the camera.
2. Most camera these days still have usb2.0 with a micro-usb slot. Why try to remember bringing an extra unpopular cable for slow transfer?
3. An SD card slot is also useful for laptop storage expansion with SD card being so cheap these days (Samsung Evo 256g only costs $50). Today's laptops mostly have non-upgradeable storage.

1 month ago
Kid Plutonium
Kid Plutonium

@T2... I feel your pain. Sometimes, however, it might be better to spend energy on figuring out a solution than sharing your plans to "...refuse to buy..." with the public.
For now, I believe Apple has made its choice :(

1 month ago
ewelch

Guys. Look at what Sony just introduced. Their new A7R Mark IV. Holy smokes. The only flaw in this camera is the SD card is slow. But they now have USB 3 (USB-C) and they have 2.5GHz and 5GHz true WIFI.

They are getting there. Now if they only put CF Express cards in that thing I'd dump my Nikon Z.

I use NVMe PCIe SSDs in USB 3.1 gen 2 enclosures. I just bougt the SSD and enclosure a few months ago for under $200 for 1TB. So fast on my new MacBook Pro. SD would be a joke in comparison. And can you even get 1TB SD cards?

1 month ago*
Horshack

@ewlch, The Z's implementation of the XQD/CFE interface is capped at around 230 MB/s with a Sony 400 MB/s card.

1 month ago