SDXC, CFast, XQD, CFexpress – which media card is best?

SDXC, CFast, XQD, CFexpress – which media card is best?


They say time waits for no man and the same is true for all technologies including media cards. The most common cards used today are SDXC cards, followed by CFast but in the last two years we’ve seen XQD card slots appear on new cameras. More recently we’ve seen CFexpress media cards appear but what is the difference, and which is best?

SDXC cards

The first Secure Digital or SD card was launched in 2000. As demand for larger volumes due to larger file sizes and better data rates grew so the humble 32MB card evolved through SDHC (High Capacity around 2006) into SDXC cards (eXtra Capacity from 2011). SDXC cards are fast, very common in the market and are relatively affordable. The very latest standard is SD Ultra Capacity (SDUC) with volumes up-to 128TB. Like current SDXC cards SDUC has a UHS-II interface to deliver data rates of up to 985 MB/second, good for recording compressed 8K video. Holdan offers a range video rated SDXC cards from AngelBird (V90), Panasonic (V90) and Wise (Class 10).

SDXC Pros – Very widely available, compact, light and affordable

SDXC Cons – Not as rugged as other media cards

CFast cards

Originating with the Compact Flash card back in 1994, today’s CFast cards use a PCI Express interface and can achieve data rates up to 550 MB/second. Volumes have grown from a humble 2 MB to around 512 Gigabytes. Holdan offers a range video rated CFast cards from AngelBird and Wise.

CFast Pros – Widely available, rugged form factor

CFast Cons – An ageing standard, largest card physically in this comparison

XQD cards

First arrived in 2012, XQD has been largely used on high end Nikon, Sony cameras and more recently on Panasonic’s DC-S1M and DC-S1RM full frame cameras. XQD cards were designed with significantly higher data rates and larger volumes than CFast. In fact, the upper data rate for XQD is still only theory. Based on a PCI express 2.0 standard XQD is also capable of a bit rate at 985 MB/second like SDUC. However, the latest XQD cards are claiming speeds of 1.4 GB/s. Physically, they have a toughened outer shell which makes them suitable for use in most environments and conditions.

XQD Pros – Very rugged, very fast

XQD Cons – Available from specialist retailers, more expensive than SD and CFast

CFexpress

Also a product of the Compact Flash Association, CFexpress is hailed as the successor to CFast and XQD. Three tough CFexpress versions were announced in February 2019, types A to C. These are distinguished by their physical size, A being the smallest and C being the largest.  The theoretical performance increases in parallel with the physical dimensions of the card (Type A @1GB/s, Type B @2GB/s Type C @4GB/s). Many devices that were designed for QXD cards could be firmware upgraded to accept CFexpress cards. Currently Holdan offers WISE CFX Type B cards at 128, 256 and 512GB capacities.

CFexpress Pros – Small, rugged and fast

CF Express Cons – Specialist retailers, more expensive than SD and CFast

Tony Benson Technical Sales Specialist at Holdan

Article by Tony Benson
Technical Sales Specialist at Holdan

For more information on these products please call us or follow the links below.

Angelbird Match Pack for BMD PCC4K
Angelbird Match Pack for BMD PCC4K

Match Pack for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - SSD2GO PKT Grey 512GB | AV PRO CFast 2.0 256GB

Angelbird Match Pack for BMD PCC4K
Angelbird Match Pack for BMD PCC4K

Match Pack for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - SSD2GO PKT Red 512GB | AV PRO CFast 2.0 256GB

Angelbird Match Pack for BMD PCC6K
Angelbird Match Pack for BMD PCC6K

Match Pack for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K - SSD2GO PKT MK2 Grey 1TB | AV PRO CF 512GB

Angelbird Match Pack for BMD PCC6K
Angelbird Match Pack for BMD PCC6K

Match Pack for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K - SSD2GO PKT MK2 Red 1TB | AV PRO CF 512GB

Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic EVA1
Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic EVA1

Match Pack for Panasonic EVA1 - Dual AV PRO SDXC V90 128GB

Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic EVA1
Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic EVA1

Match Pack for Panasonic EVA1 - Dual AV PRO SDXC V90 256GB

Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S
Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S

Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S - Dual AV PRO SDXC V90 128GB

Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S
Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S

Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S - Dual AV PRO SDXC V90 256GB

Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S
Angelbird Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S

Match Pack for Panasonic GH5 / GH5S - Dual AV PRO SDXC V90 64GB

Angelbird Match Pack for URSA Mini
Angelbird Match Pack for URSA Mini

Match Pack for Blackmagic Design URSA Mini - Dual AV PRO CFast 2.0 256GB

Angelbird Match Pack for URSA Mini Pro
Angelbird Match Pack for URSA Mini Pro

Match Pack for Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro - Dual AV PRO CFast 2.0 256GB | Dual AV PRO SDXC V90 128GB

Wise Advanced CFA-10240
Wise Advanced CFA-10240

1TB CFast 2.0 Memory Card - 3500X

Wise Advanced CFA-1280
Wise Advanced CFA-1280

128GB CFast 2.0 Memory Card - 3400X

Wise Advanced CFA-2560
Wise Advanced CFA-2560

256GB CFast 2.0 Memory Card - 3400X

Wise Advanced CFA-5120
Wise Advanced CFA-5120

512GB CFast 2.0 Memory Card - 3500X

Wise Advanced SD1-128U3
Wise Advanced SD1-128U3

128GB SDXC UHS-I Memory Card

Wise Advanced SD1-64U3
Wise Advanced SD1-64U3

64GB SDXC UHS-I Memory Card

Wise Advanced SD2-128U3
Wise Advanced SD2-128U3

128GB SDXC UHS-II Memory Card

Wise Advanced SD2-64U3
Wise Advanced SD2-64U3

64GB SDXC UHS-II Memory Card

Wise Advanced CFX-B128
Wise Advanced CFX-B128

128GB CFexpress Memory Card

Wise Advanced CFX-B256
Wise Advanced CFX-B256

256GB CFexpress Memory Card

Wise Advanced CFX-B512
Wise Advanced CFX-B512

512GB CFexpress Memory Card

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