Sony introduces new SD and XQD cards designed for the Nikon D5 and D500 cameras

Sony-XQD-card-for-Nikon-D5-and-D500-cameras-2Sony-XQD-card-for-Nikon-D5-and-D500-cameras
Sony announced new SD and XQD memory cards designed to support the new Nikon D5 and D500 cameras:

Sony is expanding its lineup of memory card options for professionals to include newer and faster XQD and SD media, as well as card readers for the XQD and SD formats, and an XQD USB adapter, all designed to support the latest high-performance DSLR cameras like Nikon D5 or D500.

Sony’s XQD-M series provides users ultra-high data transfer speeds of up to 440MB/s (read) and 150MB/s (write) for stable burst shooting, and the ability to backup 64GB of data in approximately 3 minutes, when using Sony’s newest card reader technology. The XQD format’s unique and robust structure, featuring card thickness and pin protection, and a tough, reinforced outer case is made for reliable use.

The rest of the press release:

In addition, Sony’s newest SD cards, SF-M series, are UHS-II supported cards optimized for digital imaging devices including professional, DSLR and mirrorless cameras.  With high-speeds up to 260MB/s (read) and 100MB/s (write), SF-M series contributes quick data transfer to and from a PC with Sony’s new UHS-II supporting card reader, which maximizes SF-M series’ performance.

Both new media offerings are extremely dependable and durable, dust-proof, X-Ray proof, anti-static and magnet proof to protect the most sensitive photo and video content.  Downloadable File Rescue Software aids in the recovery of photos and videos that may have been deleted, including RAW images, MOV files and 4K XAVC-S video files.

“As digital imaging cameras become more advanced, capturing larger high resolution files, the demand increases for faster and more efficient ways to manage photo and video data, giving shooters peace of mind they’ll never miss a critical shot,” said Darin Scott, President of Sony’s AMEG, Americas Media and Energy Group.  “These latest media options allow files to be transferred and backed up even more seamlessly and efficiently, offering users the flexibility and convenience to embrace workflows that frequently require the need for content in real-time.”

In conjunction with the new card options, Sony is introducing the world’s first XQD/SD card reader, model MRW-E90, which supports reliable, ultra-high speed data transfer to a PC from all XQD series and UHS-II SD cards, eliminating the need for multiple adapters and readers.  The new card reader also supports SuperSpeed USB (USB3.1 Gen. 1). Sony developed the E90 together with Sony’s XQD and SD cards, which optimizes reliability and ensures the cards will be well matched, offering professionals the best performance.

QDA-SB1 is a USB XQD adapter compatible with the M and G Series XQD cards. The adapter is streamlined to occupy only one USB port, and comes with an extension USB cable.

In addition to the new XQD-M series,  Sony offers XQD-G series which is able to record up to 200 frames in continuous burst shooting with the latest high-speed cameras including models like Nikon’s D5.

Check pricing and availability at B&H and Amazon.

This entry was posted in Nikon D5, Nikon D500 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • doge

    Holy shit I had no idea XQD cards were so expensive.

    • Spy Black

      Right, and people proposed putting XQD slots in all Nikon bodies…

      • Jordan C. Leyva

        Get over it man lol. Personally I’d be happy with uhs2 support, but whatever. Lol

        • Spy Black

          Actually, I’m not the one who has to “get over it”. It people who think this is the next big thing that are the ones who have to “get over it”. If this had been a compact system along the lines of SD, it would’ve had a lot of traction by now. But nobody wants this format, because you can only put it in a big camera like a D4/5. They could only fit one slot on the D500 and had to resort to SD for backup. Think about that for a moment.

          If SD tech has reached it’s throughput limit, a new compact tech will take its place. XQD isn’t going anywhere, not in it’s present size format anyway. The industry need high speed storage tech that is COMPACT. You can’t put XQD in a compact APS-C camera, or a Micro 4/3rds, or a 1-inch camera. That’s why this isn’t going anywhere.

          • ITN

            SD cards are very fragile, in my experience not suitable for professional use. XQD cards are smaller than CF. Nikon offers the option to cripple the D5 with CF cards in some markets but the buffer is reduced to one quarter of what you get with XQD and transfer times are several times longer as well.

            • Spy Black

              That’s not the point. They’re simply not compact enough. That’s why this format will have limited, if any traction.

              SD cards are not fragile either. I’ve never had an issue with them and I’ve been dealing with them for 10 years now. I have no idea what you’re doing with your cards.

            • PhilK

              Actually size is not really the reason why XQD hasn’t sold in large quantities so far – Cfast is physically larger than XQD and sells in larger quantities and for lower prices at the moment. (Doubtful there is any physical reason the cards are cheaper outside of simple economy of production scale)

              The reason for that is mostly politics: Cfast gained a foothold in industrial applications probably due in part to when it became available combined with industry politics and alliances. (Sandisk “sponsors” the Cfast standard at the Compact Flash Alliance, whereas Sony “sponsors” the XQD standard at the same standards group. You can imagine which standard gets greater affinity there – the one which A) shares the CF external form-factor and borrows from its name (despite being just as incompatible with legacy CF cards as XQD is), and B) happens to have as part of the Cfast “camp” a gentleman who works for Canon who also happens to be the chairman of the standards organization. 😀

              Neither does it help that Sandisk initially was part of the group working on the XQD standard as well and had their name as part of the initial documents and press releases, then inexplicably abandoned it. (I say “inexplicably” only because it didn’t appear to have a *rational* cause – I actually suspect it was down to politics and alliances as per above.)

              Now that XQD is used in more devices, and crucially in a relatively “mass market” device (the D500), I think you will start to see more XQD usage as well as more competitive pricing as the production quantities ramp up. (It would help if Sony would start releasing consumer devices that use XQD – but so far they have reserved it for their professional products)

            • Spy Black

              Well, think about this; how many cameras use Cfast? Other than some Canons and Nikons, where else is it used? Are there Cfast in any M4/3 cameras?

              Size. It’s all about the size. In this day and age anyway. A new compact standard is needed and will probably emerge. If Sony is smart they’ll introduce a “Compact XQD” The moment you have a card with the specs of XQD in a form factor that fits into all modern cameras, you’ll have a winner.

            • PhilK

              There will always be devices that require smaller cards, and for those (cheaper, mass-market) products, they can use a smaller/cheaper memory card.

              SD was introduced in 1999, yet my old D70s (introduced in 2005) and D300 (introduced in 2007) used CF. Any guess as to why? (Hint: CF is better, and had much better capacity/performance at the time)

              CFast has a 3-year head start on XQD in the marketplace (2009 vs 2012), and as you should be aware, prices of flash memory and other popular storage tech drops precipitously over time.

              Care to guess how many cameras used CFast at this stage of its presence in the market? ZERO.

              FOUR YEARS after CFast was released, ONE photographic device added support for it: a $50,000 USD ARRI video camera. LOL.

              In short: XQD is doing much better at this stage of its life than its closest competitor did.

            • Jordan C. Leyva

              I just stepped on an sd card and nothing happened. Never had a problem as well.

            • Cristian

              OK. SD are fragile but also very cheap, and you can find them almost in every small shop all around the world. What about an SQD? They are very fast, but only Nikon uses them at the moment, they are much expensive than a CF or an SD and I doubt you can buy one in the first shop you find.
              In my opinion, especially if you do the most of your shots far from the very civilized world, even if XQD are (probably) more reliable than SD, you can’t rely only on them. You will have to bring with you SD cards if you want a real-time backup of your shots (as I’m used to do with a “less professional” slr like D750)

          • Jordan C. Leyva

            You don’t need to get defensive when someone sarcastically says something. The “lol” is there to show you it was a “light” context.

            Unless you need ridiculous buffer performance, uhs2 is where I’d like it to go.

            • Spy Black

              Playing with words essentially. Didn’t mean to sound defensive. As I said elsewhere, if the SD standard can’t handle greater capacity and throughput (and I bet it will), they’ll simply create a new compact standard. Or, you’ll simply see UHS III, IV, V… 🙂

            • m35g35

              Currently the SDXC designed capacity tops out at 2TBs. As for throughput I did not see anything on that at the time.

      • ITN

        The price is mainly high because only a few expensive cameras use XQD so far. I think the D500 will change this and the format may become more widely used. Prices will go down as there are more users.

        • Spy Black

          I doubt it. Read my reply to Jordan below.

    • It looks like only the G models are, the fastest ones.

    • Umano Teodori

      It’s a matter of time I think. This new “slow” xqd from sony cost around 100$ while a fast compact flash (150mb write) around 60 and has slower reading speed.
      Now it is not so crazy to buy d5 with xqd

    • T.I.M

      and for only 150mb/s writing speed…

      • Brian

        Go Lexar

        64GB—Up to 440MB/s read, 400MB/s write

        • T.I.M

          Ok but in which country are they made, I want to make sure they can write and read in English.

          • Brian

            Pretty ridiculous statement.

            • T.I.M

              no, you’re fine.

            • LOL. You sure have been smoking something special since yesterday.

            • Carleton Foxx

              I don’t shoot color, when will the black and white versions come out?

    • Brian

      There are slower cards out there.. You can get the Sony S card 180mbs for less then $100 and it is blazing speed.

    • br0xibear

      They’re so expensive because only Lexar and Sony make them, and only two high end Sony cameras (If I’m wrong someone please correct me), the D4s and now the D5 and D500 use them.
      I watched an interview with film maker Philip Bloom yesterday, he said he didn’t use XQD because they were too expensive, he uses SD cards.
      Things might change if Canon’s next flagship uses XQD, then there’s more of a market and Sandisk might say yes…I don’t know.
      It’s all a bit expensive and niche in an already expensive and niche sector.

      • David Peterson

        Canon is going with CFast instead

        • PhilK

          Yep. See my comment above regarding the stupid politics of it all.

  • DSP~

    Am I mistaken or aren’t the fastest CF cards already writing about 150 MB/s?

    • A_Lwin

      Sony G series XQD cards read at around 400MB/s and write at around 300MB/s.

    • PhilK

      It should also be pointed out, that CF is at a technological dead-end. There will be no further performance upgrades. It is electrically based on the old IDE standard and there will be no further generational improvements.

  • Francis Abuyuan

    Why not just call these cards as “Nikon Cards” or “Nikon FX Cards”, since practically only Nikon D4/5 are using it.

    • A_Lwin

      Some Sony video cameras use them.

      • Francis Abuyuan

        yea, for sure, just that i have not seen many of them…

        • David Peterson

          That is just because you don’t operate in the video world. Sony cameras are very very popular, and I’ve often used XQD cards.

    • Fifi

      Fyi, this is Sony card and their 3 best selling cameras use it, even more, on most markets you get SXS to XQD adapter with cameras which use SXS cards. And there’s quite a lot of them.

      • David Peterson

        I used an SXS to SD adapter! 😉 For my Sony CineAlta PMW-F3 camera

        • Fifi

          Yes, for HD you can even use SD, but 4K is something else.

  • Blagoya D.

    They should have switched to M.2 standard by now. 512GB m.2 drives (samsung sm951, 950pro) go for around 260Euro. Drop all the sd, cf, xqd, or whatever which cost x3-x4-x5 times as much.

    • vFunct

      Not as durable for insertion. M2 was only designed for a few insertions over the course of a computer’s lifetime.

      They also have heat problems.

      • Blagoya D.

        Insertion is non issue, depends only on the female end. Heat issues are non existent for small work loads such as petty camera input bitrates, not like you’ll be doing 1500megabytes/second these drives are capable of writing

        • AlphaTed

          I agree. I hope Nikon is already collaborating with Samsung for this type of future storage.
          Make this built-in, no need to remove it.
          Then transfer images via USB 3.1 whenever the camera is not in use for backup purposes.

          • Hmm, unremovable storage *and* blocking the use of camera in the middle of shooting if the card gets full? I hope we never get there…

            What if I’m on a 2 week trip through, always have to carry laptop as well? No thanks 🙂

            • TheInfinityPoint

              Agreed, built-in storage is a terrible idea. Much easier to carry a few 64 GB SD or CF cards weighing a few tens of grams than carry a whole laptop just so one can offload photos…

            • ninpou_kobanashi

              Lol, was gonna respond the same. Some people should not be in engineering, even if only in an arm chair version.

    • Umano Teodori

      the m2 is a connector for pci express bus.
      from wikipedia
      XQD version 2.0 support PCI Express 3.0 with transfer rates up to 8 Gbit/s (1000 Mbyte/s).

      we can have almost m2 ssd performance , we have to wait and hope more brands will adopt xqd

      • PhilK

        You mischaracterized it, either that or you read a different wikipedia article than I did. M.2 supports interfaces using either PCIe, SATA or USB 3.x.

        FWIW: Cfast is based on SATA and has a top theoretical throughput of ~600 MB/s. (Cfast 2.0 revision) You are correct about the XQD characteristics: XQD is based on PCIe and has a top throughput (should get this in practice, not just theoretical) of 1000 MB/s. (XQD 2.0 revision)

    • Reggie

      That’s designed for internal use in a computer.

  • nwcs

    So when is Sony going all in with XQD on all their performance cameras?

  • D700s

    I just bought 3 new 64GB Lexar XQD Cards. $630.00.

    • Blagoya D.

      Why so much, I see them listed at “$94.48” for the 64gb models from ebay (reputable vendors). By the time d5/500 ship, 128gbs will hover around the $100/pricepoint.

      • Brent Busch

        Why, probably because they were newer, faster cards, not old 1100x speed cards.

        • D700s

          Correct Brent. The 1400X 64GB 210MB/s were on sale a week or so ago at $100 ish.

    • Brent Busch

      I just bought two new G series (400 MB/s) cards a couple weeks ago.

  • Ray Justice

    I also just purchased two 64GB Lexar XQD cards from B&H, shipped today, for $203.99 each, great deal. 440MB/s read and 400MB/s write. Faster than the new Sony XQD and cheaper…

    B&H # LEXQD2933X64 MFR # LXQD64GCRBNA2933

    • Ray Justice

      The fastest CF cards from Lexar, which works in the D5 has a max. read speed 160 MB/s and max write speed 155 MB/s as noted on B&H website… As I understand the D5 does not support CFAST cards, unless I am wrong…

      • PhilK

        Correct. Both Cfast and XQD are incompatible with CF. The D5 has a CF card option, not a Cfast option.

        And it bears repeating: if you look at the D5/D500 specifications in detail, you will see that the only way you can get the top burst transfer performance out of *either* camera is to use XQD cards.

    • ckuklbac

      Check the prices on Amazon.ca $215 Cdn which is about $135 US Of course they are out of stock right now, but then the camera isn’t available so I am OK with waiting for both.

      http://www.amazon.ca/Lexar-Professional-2933x-Rescue-Software/dp/B012PKYW1U/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1452211981&sr=1-1&keywords=xqd+memory+card

      • D700s

        Won’t ship to US.

  • Brian

    Little late to the party Lexar’s 440 card writes must faster…
    64GB—Up to 440MB/s read, 400MB/s write

    • D700s

      That’s why I buy Lexar.

      • Brian

        Yep!

  • D700s

    They are more expensive than CF but it’s not like I buy a dozen a week. So far the original that came with my D4 keeps chugging. No telling how many photos have cycled through that card. I don’t worry about pins or exposed contacts. Waterproof (I don’t know if they are supposed to be but my wife ran one though the wash) and it works fine.

    • TheInfinityPoint

      Lol. Just curious what your reaction to her was when you found out it went through a whole wash cycle?

      • D700s

        Hard to get mad at her. She condones my obsession with photography.

  • BJ

    In the last paragraph, I’m a bit confused as to why the buffer size is limited by the memory card- is that just a crippling feature so that they sell you the more expensive card? I don’t see how the camera’s buffer could change, if that is like a temporary internal memory inside the camera.

    • AlphaTed

      Can’t find the paragraph you’re referring to. But what it probably mean is that fast cards can empty the buffer as fast, if not faster, the camera fills it.
      Basically the data just pass through the buffer and not staying there for too long, as if the camera is writing directly to the card. Therefore you’re burst is limited by the memory card.

      • John Picking

        Agree. There is a video showing two D4 cameras in high speed continuous, one with CF and one with XQD. They both just about fill the buffer but the XQD camera is emptying much quicker and keeps shooting at high speed while the CF camera bogs down because buffer can not empty fast enough.

  • MonkeySpanner

    how much you want to bet that sony xqd card gets a slot in a new e-mount body with the new 20MP sensor?

    • David Peterson

      Doubtful, as even the FS5 didn’t use XQD

  • caribousteaks

    Why does the G variant seem to have a faster write speed (350) than this new M card (150)? I must be missing a technicality? The use of USB 3 gen 1 seems a bit lackluster given the availability of thunderbolt 3 (same cable)? For 4K video transfer, and given the already high cost of the cards, it would seem thunderbolt 3 would have been a much better choice. If not that then surely USB3 gen 2 (again same cable) would have been better. USB 3 Gen 1 is just old news and for a future proof product lasting for the next 3 years Sony should have looked forward not backward.

    • PhilK

      Thunderbolt is not very common outside of the Apple world. USB is ubiquitous. (And cheaper, for those who are complaining about the price of XQD cards. 😉 )

      I agree that it might have been a bit more forward-thinking to use a USB Type-C connector (which can support either USB 3.0 or USB 3.1), but it’s possible that the hardware to support that was not widely available or not practical (eg, high power usage) at the time the D5 electrical design was finalized. USB Type-C connectors have only recently appeared on devices.

  • Oh, this is very useful, thank you very much!

  • caribousteaks

    Thanks for the link. Apparently, it says, the new “Adapter” card reader cannot read the first S, H, and N SQD cards? Thats amazingly bad. Eliminates the usefulness for anyone with “old” cards. I hope this is not true nor that it applies to the main external card reader variant. I would hate to be the person who buys this card reader and then finds they can’t use it.

    • KnightPhoto

      I noticed that too, for those of us with older XQD from the D4/D4S it looks like the “…E90 card reader” listed further down is backwards and forwards compatible. Also my April 2012 card reader is forwards compatible with all XQD series, it just doesn’t achieve the speeds of the new card reader.

  • George Kalogeris

    Short question
    I use only one main card XQD all the time. (and a backup CF)
    It has taken over 200k photos until now. (about 400 full re-writes)
    Does it have MTBF ? or max read/write capabilities ? Should I change it ?

    • PhilK

      There probably is a lifespan – just like any flash memory including SSDs – but I don’t personally know of a mechanism to measure it on the cards. I would however feel a lot better about that level of usage on an XQD card compared to an SD card. 😉

      Assuming you have a D4 and are referring to the original card that came with the camera, I’d bet you can get an equivalent level card today (eg, “new old stock”) for a song. If I were in your shoes that’s what I would do if I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it (either that or get one of the more recent lower-priced XQD cards now being sold), and move the original card to backup duty. (Tho if you’re using CF as backup, that lowers the risk quite a bit for sure)

      • George Kalogeris

        True a 2nd slot is a relief as long as one uses a huge card that rarely gets formatted.
        By the way the XQD card has never given an error while the CF did more than once

        • PhilK

          Very interesting. What kind of CF card?

          • George Kalogeris

            Always extreme and extreme pro 32 & 64GB.
            I ve used 4cards, all of them gave errors at least once.
            (That’s why I don’t dare to change my XQD, it’s my lucky one!)

            • PhilK

              I see what you mean. 😀

  • Andy Skinner

    Whats the big deal if XQD cost more, they are super fast, after all if you are spending £5K on a body and £9K say on a lens whats a couple of hundred quid for a card, nothing. If you want the winning shot and best performance out a pro camera, you don’t want to be let down by the card speed!

  • Chandra Venkataramani

    Apart from the fact that the M-series cards are cheaper, why would I use them with the D5 as compared to the G-series cards which seems to have a much faster write speed? M-series is 440 MB/s read and 150 MB/s write. The G-series is 400 MB/s read and 300 MB/s write. Am i missing something?

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