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This week at CES, Nikon is introducing the D4, the first of Digital SLR camera which will take advantage of a new type of Compact Flash memory card called XQD.

The first XQD cards from Sony were announced today and will go on sale in February. The 16GB XQD card is expected to sell for $130 U.S. while a 32GB version will sell for $230.

The primary benefit of the new type of memory card is speed. Using PCI Express as a data transfer interface, the new cards offer read speed from 500 MBps, write speeds from 125 MBps (expected to go up to 500 MBps in future generations), and potential future storage capabilities beyond 2 TiB.
 

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The following image (courtesy of Nikon) shows the dual CompactFlash and XQD slots of Nikon's D4 SLR. The XQD slot on the left with the card sticking out is significantly smaller than the CompactFlash slot.

 

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Why don't we all settle on SD as a standard and just make that a bit faster, if it is really necessary to have faster cards. I would hope that the days of proprietary Memory Cards are behind us and you will no longer need a 58-in-1 card reader.
 

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Because this is engineering, and in the real world you have to weigh the benefits.

There are always 4 criteria in the balance here: speed, capacity, size and cost.

SD, while an awesome format, is physically very thin. This makes the capacity and speed criteria hard to hit without causing cost to go nuts.

CF had the advantage of a large size. This meant you could up the capacity and speed without affecting cost to much.

The problem is CF is physically too big. Pro cameras have multiple memory slots, supporting 2 CF cards takes up ALOT of room, room that is much better used in other ways.

XQD is slighlyt more then the length and width of an SD card, it's just thicker. This, combined with a physical interface capable of PCIE speeds makes it possible to get a card that has high capacity, awesome speed, for not to crazy a price. You can't do that with today's tech in the physical size of an SD card. Give it a few years, it'll come.

FWIW, every single device I use is SD based, in the consumer world it IS the defacto standard. The format is greast because it has 2 options, normal SD for bigger items, and micro SD for smaller items. The beauty is the microSD format is electically compatible, so just use a passive adapter and you only need one card reader to handle all your devices.

This of course assumes you don't buy a product that doesn't use SD, I don't, it's one of the reasons I don't even look at Sony products.

TTYL
 
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