Sony XQD memory cards now available for pre-order

As you probably already know, the new Nikon D4 is the first and only camera (for now) to use the new XQD memory cards. So far Sony is the only XQD cards manufacturer and Adorama just started taking pre-orders for the 16GB, 32GB versions and the new XQD card reader:

The Sony XQD cards are expected to start shipping in February 2012:

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  • at least there is a slot for a cf card i have many of those

  • If somebody buy this memory it mean this person will have Nikon D4 too, lol 😀

  • OlfertsDiller

    wooow! a new memory card!

    weeeeee! I’ll just order 4 of them right away.

    surely there will be some gadgets I can shove them into pretty soon 🙂

  • photdog

    I do value technology and development. But in our days one certainly have to take a second look on which technology serves whom in the first place. Sony very obviously wants to get a foothold in the flash card market which is pretty dominated by brands like SanDisk and Lexar, especially if it comes to high speed cards. Eye-Fi was a smart move and Samsungs rugged cards were another attempt to wave Hello, there are other innovative makers as well. But apparently they couldn’t get the cream off the business and they did their development on established card formats. Thus Sony might have said to themselves is We have to establish a different format, a format which won’t or cannot easily become dominated by SanDisk or Lexar.” And with Nikon they managed to get already a strong horse to pull their wagon.
    At this juncture I hardly could have find better words and thus quote another commenter pointing to “Sony’s track record”. It was trying their luck on the back of customers.

    However, the last word has the market by customers voting with their wallet. And this will be an interesting game as there are at least 2 obstacles: many potential customers do have stacks of SD and CF cards already and a bunch of them will not be overly happy to carry another format around and thus rather wait on the development of SD and CF card formats since they have been backward compatible so far.
    Other customers do not want to be the early adaptors since these more often then not they’ll get the proverbial bananas ripening at the customer.
    Only time will tell, but I wont be among those putting down a couple of hundreds of $ before XQD format is established. Therefore I hope, that the D800 comes without.
    The technical experts among us have pointed out, that a newer bus technology (PCi) is necessary to achieve advancements in speed. And that might be right. But the issue here is not the technology but Sony’s business practice.

    • Jabs


      Good points but somewhat not relative to the merits or demerits of Sony’s past practices as this is a new Compact Flash Association spec and not a Sony one, even though they are co-developers along with Nikon.

      The problem that many here do not know is that we have come to the end of the tunnel so to speak in terms of speed and more importantly throughput with the older cards. What most here do not know is that the D4 really ushers in a new Era as does the Nikon 1 Series wherein you have the Expeed 3 SYSTEM with a higher bit rate pipeline plus it is digital and multiple channel and multiple processor = crazy speed or output/input requirements.

      This alone dictates a clear need for a new card as the older Standards cannot offer the amount of throughput needed for a multi-channel digital pipeline that includes, stills, Video and also stills from Video. The exact same thing happened in computer processor Memory as they went from DDR to DDR2 and then DDR3. The latency increased in some cases but the throughput increased so much that it offset the latency issues and thus a clear gain.

      No one else but Nikon has a digital pipeline that I know of, so YES, the D4 does need the new cards as it basically is faster than any of the old Standards could deliver even now at their zenith of performance. Sony merely beat the others to the Market first but I seriously doubt that others will not soon follow.

      Many here are like people with ‘sour grapes’ as their D3s has been passed or they wish for Technology to stall and give them the convenience that they wish – not happening. In video cards, they are up to GDDR 5 as the memory type like HD Video, those Video cards need additional throughput not available in the slower memory types and thus equate that with Nikon’s bold move. People here are sort of blown away and even somewhat ‘jealous’ of this advance as it renders their gear obsolete and no longer at the cutting edge, so it’s merely a way forward due to the better still and Video capabilities of the new D4.

      I feel that is an expensive development perhaps at first limited to high end Pro cameras and as the price of producing it lowers plus the development costs are recouped, then it will probably go into lower end gear. Throughput is the name of the game as speed trumps convenience often no matter how unpleasant the adjustment to this new card format is, it seems to be here to stay. Remember this new card format like the newer memory types, is at its starting point while the older ones are at their apex in performance and thus little more headroom to grow versus this new card.

      I personally see the D4 and the Nikon 1 as breakthrough camera designs due to Expeed 3 and again others will have to play catch up while detractors throw darts at it – Technology moves forward despite people’s complaints – look at smartphones and them being up to quad core now. It’s all about throughput and NOT politics!

      Here is an example of throughput at work and why we need faster camera pipelines plus newer format cards:

      • Richard

        @photdog & Jabs,

        I doubt many here would doubt the benefits of adopting a PCIe interface at some point in time, but there are questions about both Sony’s judgment and past track record with storage media, in particular, as well as their business ethics. Despite the fact that Sony have been a long term provider of sensors to Nikon there are quite a few people who neither trust nor like them. That may or may not be fair, but that is the way it is.

        There is something about this situation that just does not smell right.

        • Jabs


          If your ‘enemy’ makes a better product and it is included in your new gear, would you refuse to use it to make money?

          That is an emotional problem and not a professional problem!

          I am a Business person and thus don’t care about the political or emotional aspect of a thing as much, so don’t care about Sony’s past performance as I am evaluating a Nikon camera and not a Sony one.

          The problem here to me is that many use Sony as a prop or tool to complain about Nikon and the weird thing is that most of them are the very same ones who told us to buy a Sony A77 as it is at the bleeding edge of Technology and Nikon has ‘lost the plot’.

          Now, when Nikon leapfrogs everyone, they turn on Sony in some artificial ‘blame game’ leading me to now conclude that their whole point was to bash Nikon, so I don’t care. Disinformation is apparently their ploy and I am not biting!

          Results is what speaks to me and not personal opinions devoid of FACTS!

          I don’t make gear – I buy and USE gear and thus have to deal with finished products and not my own fantasies which are NOT reality. I can’t live in my head or dream up an idealized camera and then tout that as my wish or choice when it does not even exist – Sorry but not insane or stuck on myself.

          How can I chose that which does not exist?

          • Richard


            You miss the point. This is not my opinion. It is a fact that many people are suspicious when Sony is involved, even though, as I pointed out, Sony have been a sensor provider to Nikon.

            Your point that time and technology move on does not
            Mean that it will move on with Sony’s implementation. The dust bin of history is filled with earlier Sony efforts.

            There is little practical performance difference between the latest CF offerings and the initial XQD offering. Presumably, that will not remain the case in the future.

            If one is to use the D4 the use of XQD cards is a given, but that does not mean that its Sony implementation is the one which will prevail in the long run.

            Anyone should be concerned when the two largest suppliers of storage media make announcements that are just short of opting out of this format.

            • Jabs

              It perhaps is you who keeps missing the real point.

              The new card is NOT a Sony development but a Standard decided on by an Association of Manufacturers in which Sony got to Market first with a card from THIS Standard plus Sony is also one of the co-Developers including Nikon.

              And YES, the new card ‘whomps’ the older Standard by a mile no matter what the other Manufacturers state and they probably did not have a D4 to test and compare with both cards, as Nikon alludes to faster performance only with the new card.

              The performance of a Product is dependent on what you tested it in and since they did NOT specify a D4 as the test subject, then their results have no bearing on the D4.

              The D4 has the first that I know of 16bit digital pipeline with multi-channels and multi-cores in Expeed 3, so there is nothing else currently on the Market besides maybe the Nikon 1 System that can challenge the bandwidth of this new card.

              You keep telling me about Sony and I keep telling you, it has nothing to do with them, as it is not proprietary but an Association’s NEW Standard being first produced by Sony.

              Sony got to Market first with a new Standardized card is all.

              ‘Sour grapes’ to me from the other Manufacturers then and misunderstanding of what it is and means on your part, perhaps!!!

              Simply put:
              Bandwidth is DIVIDED by the amount of available channels and usually when the amount of channels and the core count goes up, then the available bandwidth goes DOWN as it is now shared, so we have to compare both cards on a D4 as it is the only one currently on the Market, as all else is mere posturing or vain talk.

            • Richard


              You don’t actually know anything about D4 transfer rates and none of us will until production models are subjected to independent testing.

              You obviously skipped over the part where I said using a XQD card is a given.

              There is still something very, very odd about the tone of the announcements of Sandisk and Lexar. Somehow you believe that the XQD card is the be all, end all. It may or may not be.

              125 man/s is not all that fast for a PCIe based transfer. The potential for the interface is much greater. As I recall it, RAW HD video requires bandwidth in the neighborhood of 238 mb/s.

              Only time will tell what the intentions of Sandisk and Lexar may be and why they are taking such a seemingly unusual stance.

              None of us know what is behind this situation.

            • Jabs


              We already do know what the D4 can do with the new cards per Nikon’s own published specs.

              Look here:
              The camera’s large buffer memory allows shooting up to approx. 100 frames in RAW and up to 200 frames in JPEG (when using SONY XQD Memory Card H series QD-H32 with 32 GB capacity).

              NOW – This tells us that only with this new card in 32gig size can the D4 shoot up to this many frames!

              Next – you cannot use my former argument against me, as Nikon itself states that this card is now faster than the other older card in throughput, so nothing to argue or debate about.

              Many Companies often refuse to support a new Standard for whatever strategic reasons of theirs BUT this has absolutely nothing to do with the newer Standard, as it is already known to be faster than the older one, so you cannot make an argument based upon that.

              FACT – the newer Standard is faster and thus who does or does not support it has no bearing on this.

              Anyhow, this is getting stale and redundant – Bye!

    • photdog

      @ Jabs
      I have no reason to doubt any of the technical aspects you’ve mentioned. And I see very well, that at some junctures in Technology one have proceed to another way of doing something to achieve advancement. I’m not deep enough in electronics and computer technology (as you certainly are) but I can understand the concept behind it.
      However, in my business and private life I’ve often found that people first argue with “technical” or factual reason while their real battle zone is in another field. Now, that you and others have illuminated the technical side and have proved that a lot of the technical arguments of some can’t withstand the technical truth you have to proceed (and you are intelligent enough to do so) to figure the true reasons BEHIND their reasoning. I think this is true for this discussion as well as for a good part of the (partly premature) criticism of the Nikon 1.

      And this is what I was after in my previous comment, maybe not distinguished and clear enough.
      I think that one battle zone is probably the money. It’s the driver for a lot of business moves of the makers but it does play a role for the vast majority of the customers too. I furthermore think that the assumption being approached in quite some comments here, that someone who put down 6 Grants for a new camera body, must be wealthy enough to also being able and willing to cover all additional costs going along with this investment with ease. I rather believe, that for many of a people the D4 means stretching themselves to the ceiling. (and I even don’t go the avenue for which reasons these people think that they have to have this camera…) If now something pops off, which leaves them with the impression that they can’t have the full joy with this investment without subsequent investments, they’ve not considered in their equation, likeliness is high that they’ll go against it.
      Furthermore I believe, that there is a good share of people (in western societies), supposedly the older ones of us, who go with their old experience or even with the experience of their parents generation, assuming that buying a costly top of the line product should last “forever”. I my country a certain brand of washing machines do have the name, if you buy one of their expensive products, you’re good to go for the next 10 to 15 years in which you don’t have to have any worries about this topic again. In the discussion about Jason’s 60,000 actuations D700 we could observe this effect. Plus this discussion divided the commenter in basically 2 parties clearly pro and clearly con towards Jason’s expectations. It seems that the maybe younger generation have already adjusted themselves more to 1) the development speed of the present times and 2) the “shit happens” attitude and perception.
      We can only speculate about the real reasons why Sony is trying this avenue and why Nikon jumped on this train. I agree with you, that it is nearby to anticipate the technical reasons you’ve mentioned. But again, I doubt that all of their reasons can be explained plainly with the technical aspects.

      Now, Sony has made its name with some moves trying to establish their own standards. And the interesting thing is, that not always the best technical standard prevailed. I think to remember that in one or two occasions the Sony format was even better from a technical viewpoint. However, it appears to contain something of stubbornness on Sony’s side, why alliances have been welded against the Sony format. Anyway, not only Sony, but Sony customers had to suffer in one or another way, from what have happened. For a simple consumer its not the end of the world if he got to change the storage card format with the purchase of the next P&S cam. But to have an idea, of what fears it might trigger in them who are highly invested in top of the line storage cards we could look back on those who where invested in Sony’s Beta video. Well, two entirely new generations of video storage formats down the road, this cry out back then may appear hilarious. And maybe 15 years from now the storage media used with a D2H may be only preserved in a museum.
      In summary I think that the makers would be well counseled, coming up with a good share of more openness instead of letting experts and engineers like you doing their homework. Had they stated: “we are at the brink of a new technology since the advancements implemented in this camera (D4) require a new storage technology enabling for more speed…” they could have avoided a lot of fuzz and buzz around their products which have some sort of venom effect, as doubts always have.
      And a closing sentence to the Nikon 1 criticism (in which you’ve heavily engaged yourself defending Nikon’s strategy): could it be that a good share of it was simply venting the disappointment, that another consumer product was given priority over their long awaited pro gear?

      • Jabs


        Again great points and since I have been in Technology so long, then I can relate to your talk and motives very well. I loved Sony and had all Sony gear years ago until Sony dipped their hands into too many pots.
        Sony excelled at Video in Semi-Pro and Pro gear and I used and rented lots of it myself. I owned Beta gear with Beta 1 speed and Sony 8mm Handi-Cams and Editors which I all loved above VHS, which I basically hated and thus was in the minority then. Loved Super Beta over Super VHS too and still prefer Sony Trinitrons – lol.

        Sony bought Move Studios and Music Labels as they blamed their lack of control over Content as the reason for their losing even when they had better formats with superior performance, so I am aware from experience of their track record. I also have some Sony computers and one has a Memory Stick, which I still see as ‘advanced’ for its time but don’t use now.
        Sony has migrated into too many areas now and has reined in their desires to make everything proprietary and thus earn revenues from that. However, like you say, people have ‘long memories’ and rightly reflect on that. Me, personally – I overlook much as being Professional means to me – I make non emotional decisions based upon the technical merits of a thing and then damn the politics, as I am in this to make money and one-up or stay ahead of the competition.

        The D4 has a new card that is based upon newer Technology and has been standardized, so I don’t look at it as a Sony product, but as Sony manufacturing a standard product and getting out there first, therefore a boon to Nikon and their D4.
        I do not wish to now shoot myself in the foot because of some disdain for a simple card and then lose the benefit of a better camera filled with more new ideas than even the revered D3 Series.

        To my thinking, Sony is after the fact and not a prime reason to chose or not chose gear, as it is a Nikon camera that I am buying and not Sony gear – this seems lost on many here especially those who complained about Nikon’s thrust in the Nikon 1 and falsely claimed that Nikon was now stuck at 12 megapixels and overlooking them for some ‘toy’ system like Apple’s thrust. The problem is that I thought and still think, that they were wrong as they suggested Sony bodies, especially the A77 (which is crap to me) due to Sony ‘getting it’ above Nikon while telling us here clearly that Nikon was off-track.

        In hindsight, it is obvious that Nikon has been working on several fronts and the delays in Release are mainly due to several unfortunate acts of nature in Japan and Thailand, so their arguments were pointless and mean spirited as the released Products show them to be wrong. The Nikon 1 is now a best seller and the D4 has now surpassed the D3 Series and even Canon jumping the gun has not diminished nor equalled it, as they are in two different ‘technical zones’ with us merely waiting to see the real world performance now between these new Pro bodies.

        To me, this place is filled with a few Nikon haters who jump at any opportunity to bash Nikon without any semblance of merit to their claims, as in pulling the wool over your eyes. And YES, I know of Maytag and its reputation, but that is the past as there are better machines now due to technical advancements. We often get lost in name brand recognition, but I look at the technical merits and keep moving.

        • Jabs

          I posted this – “Loved Super Beta over Super VHS too – – – –

          It should have been – Loved ED-Beta over Super VHS too


  • Jabs

    A Simple Comment:
    Throughput is a function of how much bandwidth you have available PER channel and how much is available to SEND and to RECEIVE simultaneously.

    Basically, the D4 exceeded the capability of the older cards plus their sub-systems and a newer Standard HAD to be made up to accommodate it.

    Digital has a higher throughput generally that analog PLUS with the Expeed 3 having I think 20+ channels, the throughput of the older cards would suffer greatly due to the available bandwidth of the older cards being divided by the sum of the greater available channels.

    Nothing to complain about if you understand even remotely WHY there is a need for a newer Standard, as the old one would ‘choke’ the D4 basically – time to move on here!

    And – don’t ask me why not two new cards as that makes as much sense as putting a newly unavailable card or something with limited availability on your new flagship – ignorant at best!

  • Q

    Idoitic design this new card. It is based on pciexpress. Its dead end, pci express is no good for periferials it have the same security issues as firewire. Will people never learn?

    • Jabs

      Please tell us here what ARE the security issues of both FireWire 400/800 and PCI-Express???

      • Q

        Any device can read and write any memory address with dma access. With that you can install any software, or manipulate data. Unlock screensavers etc.

  • broxibear

    Sony XQD memory cards pre-order in UK, 16gb £145, 32gb £229…

  • Zoot

    Jessops UK now offering a free battery, and 4GB Sandisk, with D4 pre-orders.

    First UK freebie so far, to the best of my knowledge.

    No XQD on their site, thus far.

  • kind of bummed that the newXQD card reader doesn’t have a standard CF slot as well…

  • Zoot

    Thom Hogan twice uses the word “very” in his latest “ByThom” commentary.

    The subtext, as far as I can make out, is that he has access to a D4, and is hugely impressed.

  • Ray Justice

    B&H is now offering pre-order on the XQD cards and readers……

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