Lexar announced support for XQD memory card

Today Lexar announced that they will start producing XQD memory cards that are currently used only in the Nikon D4 DSLR camera. The first Lexar XQD cards are expected in Q3 of 2012. Currently only Sony sells XQD memory card and they recently announced a faster S version.

Press release:

Lexar XQD Memory Cards to be Compatible with Nikon D4 and Future XQD-based Camera Models

Fremont, CA, 11 July, 2012 – Lexar, a leading global brand of flash memory products, today announced its support of the XQD™ memory card specification for compatibility with Nikon D4 and future XQD-based camera models. Expected to be available in the third quarter of 2012, Lexar XQD memory cards will offer high-speed performance in a range of capacities to effectively capture and store high-quality images, 1080p full high-definition (HD) video, and 3D video content.

“By collaborating with Lexar, we’re reinforcing the fact that the XQD specification represents one of the futures of high-performance memory cards,” said Nobuaki Sasagaki, General Manager of marketing department, Imaging Company, Nikon Corporation. “Our cooperation efforts demonstrate the vision shared by Nikon and Lexar to continue advancing the photography and imaging market with innovative technology and extremely high performance.”

“We are committed to offering innovative and industry-leading photography solutions, which is why we’re working with Nikon to offer and co-market XQD memory cards. We view the XQD standard as one of the most logical ways to increase interface speed beyond that of existing CompactFlash technology with the capability of offering performance up to 5Gb per second, in time,” said Wes Brewer, vice president of products and technology, Lexar. “This collaboration provides assured compatibility with Lexar XQD memory cards and Nikon D4 and makes this technology available to the entire photo industry.”

XQD memory cards are based on the PCI Express® specification, which offers 2.5Gb per second performance today with plans for 5Gb per second performance in the future.

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  • Paul

    Aaaaannd…..every one breathe again. The D4 is fine.

  • OrangeBox

    cool should bring the prices down, its a good thing in my opinion!

    i bet someone a fiver someone will post on here and whine about a D800 focus issue even though the topic is un-related lol seems be be a rash of people who don’t have a D800 on the forum lately complaining about a camera they don’t even own 🙂

    anyway back on topic good too see other manufacturers getting involved XQD is defin the future wonder when scandisk will wade into the mix?

    • wublili

      Great job bringing the D800 focus issue up.

      • Aldo #2

        Did someone say d800 focus issue???

        • BartyL

          I don’t own a D800, but I read “somewhere” that there is an issue with the left focus points. Can anyone expand on this?

          • J

            OMG THERE’S A D800 FOCUS ISSUE? #panic

            • “I did not expect the D800 focus issue”

              “Nobody expected the D800 fucus issue”

              best wishes

              The Spanish Inquisition

            • Pablo Ricasso

              Oh SHIT. I was going to order that with the new 800, a 500, 14-24, 70-200vrII, strobe, and a whole array of Nikon filters. I guess I had better cancel my order and get a crappy Canon so I can shoot pictures of the rest of my airhead friends and family…


      • Aldo #2

        I own a powershot but in the next 3-7 years I plan to buy another camera. I spend hours online drooling at cameras and on forums because I want to make sure that when I buy “my perfect camera” (which is gonna sit on my shelf forever ), it has no issues at all. I’m not a professional so if you call me out on stuff you will look stupid not me. Which reminds me, I hear there’s a d800 focusing issue?

        • On Pins and Needles.

          Clearly the D800 has focusing issues. So when is Nikon going to release the D900???? What are the specs??? If I refresh NR more often will it come faster?

    • Steven Georges

      Do you get your five bucks now? 😉

  • D400

    5gb/sec: There goes my 16gb card in three seconds . . .

    • lefantome

      It’s Gb rather than GB: they are different.

      • Texasjoe

        Whats the difference?

        • Ben


        • David

          GB (big “b”) is a gigabyte. Gb (little “b”) is a gigabit. Eight gigabits make up one gigabyte (starting from 1 byte = 8 bits). Data transfer speeds are usually given in Gbps (gigabits per second) so take that number, divide it by 8, and you know how many gigabytes per second the rate is.

          • Jan

            That’s also bus speed. Actual usable speed is usually 1/3rd of bus speed.

            • Rob

              Usually? I don’t think so. That’s an over-generalization that’s certainly not true for most interfaces. It depends on the protocol, but I don’t know of any that slow once they mature. The bus speed for PATA (CompactFlash) is 133MB/s, and Lexar’s newest CF cards have been benchmarked at 129.2MB/s. 97% > 1/3

    • randomstranger

      bit != byte
      b != B

    • n/a

      1 byte (B) = 8 bits (b)

      5Gb/s = 640MB/s theoretically. practically there are all sorts of overheads, so you will be lucky to hit 500MB/s peak bandwidth 😀

    • Andrew

      b => bit (used for data transmission)
      B => byte (used for storage)
      G => used to represent billions (10^9, that is ten to the power nine which is one and nine zeros. Remember in math, ten to the power zero is 1, ten to the power one is 10, ten to the power two is 100, and ten to the power nine is 1,000,000,000).

      8 bits = 1 Byte. This is the storage length in memory for one alphabetical letter such as “a” or “b”). So in computer science, 8 bits can be expressed with any combination of binary numbers – for example “10101010” or “10000000” so long as there are a total number of eight digits. But instead of saying “8 bits”, we can simply say “1 byte”. So “10101010” represents 1 byte. Now if 8 bits represent 1 byte, then 16 bits represent 2 bytes, and 24 bits represent 3 bytes, etc.

      A bit is a binary digit representing “0” or “1”. Like a light switch, the OFF position can be represented as zero – “0” and the ON position can be represented as one – “1”. Electrical engineers use voltages to represent the zero or one binary states.

      16 GB = 16 Billion Bytes . This is the same as saying 16 billion characters or simply taking the letter “a” in the alphabet and saying 16 billion “a”. So as you can see, 16 GB of storage can hold a lot of books.

      16 Gb = 16 Billion bits (We can convert the bits to bytes by simply taking 16 billion bits divided by 8 which is equal to 2 billion bytes or two billion letter “a”). So as you can see, 16 GB is 8 times the storage of 16 Gb.

      Conclusion: As a general rule, memory storage is always expressed as byte and not bits. Only use bits when talking about data transmission such as 5 Gb/s (i.e. 5 Gigabit per second). It is incorrect to say 5 gb/s, the “g” is always expressed as an upper case letter such as “G”.

      Hope this helps.

  • Ric

    Who cares.

    Now fix the D800 focus issue

    • Bob

      I’m switching to Canon.

      • Bernard

        Well Canon seem to like CF cards so it won’t surprise me if they are the last to make a miltipin IF card Cam…

        Think I will have to move to Nikon… LOL

      • Fritz

        Poor guy.

      • -Slow clap

      • Andrew

        I was also thinking of switching in 2020, that is the year of perfect vision.

      • Rudi

        As XQD is the successor of CF you have to switch anyway one day. But maybe Canon will build then it’s own CF cards for those living in the past!

        So good luck with Canon (though I guess you are a Canon fan boy,)

  • Banksie

    Good news. Sandisk will be next. And we’ll see dual XQD slots in the future D4s and D4x. Maybe they’ll even switch over production to dual XQD slots with the current D4 sometime later this year. It really should have been identical dual slots in the first place with the D4.

  • Bernard

    This is all very funny when Lexar were quoted not long ago saying no to XQD… LOL

    ”SanDisk and Lexar Say No to XQD

    Despite the excitement, it seems that two of the biggest memory card companies around won’t be having any part of these new cards. Both still plan to support CompactFlash over XQD. After all, CF cards have a long history and are still very popular.

    To add to the decision, Lexar points out that their new 1000x CF card the company just announced is faster than the XQD cards that Sony is putting out.”


    • CF may have a long history but the popularity may just be by default.
      In the past year I’ve had two CF card readers go bad with bent pins. Now my D4 has a bent CF pin! This is not from abuse, I’ve been shooting with CF camera’s since the Nikon D1 and have always been carful when plugging CF cards in.
      My guess is that CF pin manufactures are skimping on quality due to (I’m guessing) companies looking for the best price on an old technology.

      BTW – My XQD D4 slot is humming along just fine!

      • bob d

        Weird, my D4 just came back today after a bent CF pin. Took about six weeks from sending it in to getting it back. (I am not NPS.)

      • Logan

        I’m surprised to hear that on this blog there are already two new D4s with damaged CF sockets. I just got my D4 CF socket repaired by Nikon because of a bent pin. They did not perform the work under warranty, claiming that the card damaged the socket. I’m skeptical. The card works fine in the reader. The camera came back still not fixed. It reports the err message whenever a CR card is inserted.

        I think I remember reading that Nikon had problems with the CF socket in the D700 at one point. I wonder if that’s the problem here. Did you try the suspect CR card in your card reader?

        • New Transcend 32 GB card, no problems with card readers or other CF cameras. Must have pulled the CF card from the D4 less that 5 or so times since I received the camera in April. I only use the CF card as a backup so it just sits in there. I use the XQD card for my everyday use.

          How much did Nikon charge you for the pin repair?

    • Rob

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but “Steve’s Digicams” is NOT a reliable source of information. Lexar never said anything like that, and no competent PR rep ever would. They were non-commital, just like SanDisk.

      “As a leading CFA member, Lexar has been evaluating this technology, and will continue to do so as the market develops to determine if we will offer XQD cards in the future,” said Manisha Sharma, Lexar’s director of product marketing for cards (Jan 2012).


    • Rob

      Incorrect. Your source completely distorted what was said. Actual quote:

      “As a leading CFA member, Lexar has been evaluating this technology, and will continue to do so as the market develops to determine if we will offer XQD cards in the future,” said Manisha Sharma, Lexar’s director of product marketing for cards.

      So they were completely non-commital. In no way did they say they weren’t researching and developing the technology – just that they had no current plans (in January) to sell the cards. That’s from cnet, not some guy’s blog like your “quote.” I can’t post the link or this won’t post (already tried).

    • @Bernard,
      I have both the XQD “H” 32GB and the Lexar 1000X CF; the XQD is faster by far, at least in the D4. I suspect the bottleneck is the CF interface on the D4, and not the Lexar 1000x card. So though it may be true that the fastest Lexar CF cards are faster than XQD, the only test that counts in my book is the real world results I get when shooting both technologies in my D4. As for bent pins, my condolences go out to those that suffer. I personally use the XQD for backup only, while my CF cards get the work out of being inserted and ejected; no bent pins so far. On my D700 however, I did see an occassional ERR message, but that had more to do with the cheap 600x Kingston 32GB cards I used; from now on, only Lexar or SanDisk for me.

  • Discontinued

    CF is dead, dead, dead ! ! !
    And I am dancing on the grave (even though my D800E still has one CF slot).
    CF is dead, dead, dead ! ! ! Yeah, yeah, yeah ! ! !
    F##ing hate those pins!

    • Bernard

      Makes my eyes roll back when I see yet another camera with the pinned cards…

    • BartyL


  • Good news for the D4 crowd, but I continue to wonder if this new format will ever gain traction.

    • Andrew

      I am sure Nikon did their homework before adopting this new memory format. The fact that Sony just significantly increased its performance a mere few months after its release is a good sign. Look at Blu-ray, Sony bet the house on it and it has gained solid traction. I predict the same will be for the XQD memory card. And the fact that other manufacturers are adopting this new standard is also another good sign.

      • Rudi

        As XQD is not a propietary format developed by Sony but from a consortium the acceptance will be given. And it’s develped as the successor for CF.

        I think the Lexar announcement that they won’t jump on the wagon was pure politics to be ahead of SanDisk etc. (but maybe all other also where about to start production…)

        Anyway, I like that XQD but I wish I had two XQD slots in my D4. I’m always hoping that there is a possibility to exchange the mechanical part of the D4 that is housing the card slots and that it can be replaced with two slots. Normally that shouldn’t be a bigger issue.

    • Jan

      I know. Like all those other standard only took 2-3months to spread to 90% of the market. But the D4 has been out for the whole FOUR months and still the XQD hasn’t gained traction. It’s a failure if you ask me.

      • Steven Georges

        Available on only one camera that is so popular that you can’t find then on most store shelves because Nikon can’t make them fast enough? Sounds like a success to me.
        I’m not aware of any other card standard that only took 2-3 months.

        What you don’t see are the repairs being made on CF cards, readers, and cameras (actually, the readers are just being thrown away, not repaired) due to short circuits and bend pins. Places like Canon and Nikon are not publicizing it, but they know about the failures of the CF format.

        Lexar would not say they would support the XQD format while quietly developing for it behind closed doors. Canon is doing the same thing.

  • lol

    and just like that, canon is behind the times yet again.

  • Fast expensive cards are fine, but the gap in the market place is for slower affordable XQD cards. Considering that a slow XQD card should still be faster than the majority of CF cards out there and the huge cash that is found inside the D4, such a card would sell like hotcakes. Not every D4 shooter is shooting long HD video clips or 300 RAW files at a time. Transcend, for example, could sell more cards than they realize.
    BTW – I stopped buying Lexar cards because I didn’t want anyone to think I kept any cards from my old job. Since then, I’ve never had a Transcend card go bad on me. It could be luck, but I’m impressed.
    My one Sony XQD card is still good as well.

    • Rob

      They probably can’t make slower, more affordable cards. The protocol is just that fast in its first iteration. You’d have to spend more money to make a slower card, because you’d have to physically cripple it somehow.

    • @SG, now that the “S” version of XQD is out, the prices on “H” versions are surely going to drop. So here is how I see things, and I am sure the manufacturers of the memory cards see it this way too….You spend $6K for a camera, probably just as much on glass, and yet another $6K for for all of the other little things you need to have to do your photography, but yet you are worried about spending a few hundred dollars more to get the most out of your investments?! As the D4 still has a CF slot, you have all kinds of cheaper options….if you want XQD (Xtra Quick Dollars), you gotta pay to play!

  • James

    I never had problems from CF card pins as I the D4 will be my 6th Nikon camera over the years all using CF based Cards.

    It’s great to see other companies finally jumping onto the XQD cards as someone said Sony but Sony learned their lesson from their BATA vs VHS years ago and open their doors to other companies to produce their technology.

    • arizonaSteve

      +1 I have never had a problem with CF cards and pins.

      That being said, I hope XQD 1. sticks around, and 2. comes down in price. I currently have one XQD card, and that came with the camera. I know it is a pipe dream, but I would love one card to rule them all.

      • matgay

        where will cf cards be in a year or two??? CF has already maxed out the bus speeds on the pci-bus.

        xqd uses the pcie bus. the pci-express bus. and its base speed (yes, BASE speed) are pretty much maximum speeds of CF cards.

        but, however it only matters if the camera can handle it. with sony full frame cameras coming out doing 12fps bursts, it’ll mean the difference between not missing the shot.

  • Jonathan

    I could care less about XQD.


    • Carsten

      Do you except to download from this site?

      Strange that almost nobody complained about the AF issue before it got mentioned here and suddenly it becomes a deal-breaker.

      Perhaps some should get a D800 before they demand a fix:-) (Disclosure: I own a D800e and can’t see so far a reason to send it in for a fix)

      Back to the topic: XQD wasn’t developed for stills only, rather for high end video. It was rather clever to start rolling out this format on a low-volume product like the D4 to get manufacturing of the cards stable. I only wished that the D800 would have had XQD as well, it produces even more data than a D4 – well we got USB3

  • Jonathan

    I don’t even care about forums. Once they fix the D800’s autofocus and green lcd screen stuff, i doubt i’ll ever visit these silly forum websites again.

    • Andrew

      You first have to buy the camera. Then determine if your camera needs adjustment. Then download the fix. There you go, it is fixed! Will talk to you again on Canon forum.

      • Rob

        You can’t download a hardware fix. You have to send the camera in to be fixed.

        • Andrew

          I know, I was just having fun. A lot of the folks posting here think they have found a “blue herring” and thus a point of attack. I like to confuse them suspecting they are trolls.

  • ImageX

    I’m guessing the XQD will eventually become the new standard…. as SD cards are now. CF cards need to go because of the vulnerable pins and larger size. The XQD cards will get super fast(faster than anything else), are small, and no pins. Every DSLR will have only XQD slots soon. They are a SD card on steroids.

    • Rob

      I doubt XQD will become the standard in anything other than DSLR bodies, and that would be a stretch. They are too big (especially compared to microSD) for most applications, faster than is necessary, and more expensive. Most consumers don’t need anything more than SD offers, and won’t for awhile.

      • Rudi

        Where are CF card used other then in DSLR? microSD? isn’t that for mobiles? I hope I never have to fiddle around with microSD while I have to switch memory cards in a hurry.

        And I don’t know any P&S camera that has CF cards inside. So they also won’t have XQD.

        It’s so fucking awesome that my 500 or so RAW images are loaded much much quicker while in the field. To wait one hour or 12minutes makes a big difference. And when I need 10fps for some seconds I don’t have to care about. It’s just working!

  • GP

    Why isn’t Sandisk supporting the XQD card?

    • Rudi

      They have to… don’t worry!

  • I knew this day would come. CF is finally going to start being phased out but I think it’s interesting that Lexar started making them before Sandisk since Sandisk had a hand in developing this new standard.

    I wonder what camera Sony will put an XQD slot in. Wonder if the D400 will have it too.

  • Jabs

    Off Topic but Important – Nikon and Government recall DSLR batteries for D800 and D7000:

    • Andre

      Only about two months late.
      The battery issue was announced, fixed and buried that long ago.

      • Rudi

        Yup! Canon fanboys need a bit longer to realize, so what?

  • andy

    Just for the info. Canon will switch to XQD eventually as they are board members of the CompactFlash Association. And so is Lexar. So it is no surprise that Lexar is getting on the wagon. It was only a matter of time really.

    Why Nikon and Sony (also board members of CFA) were the first ones, no one really knows, but who really cares. XQD is CF successor and that’s the end of it.

  • Max

    XQD seems like the new memory stick…

  • I got my D4 on wednesday. Neither XQD memory card, not XQD reader, not green cast in the screen. The price, cheaper than I supposed: 5430 €.

  • Jabs

    I wonder if an upcoming Nikon D400 or maybe another Pro camera will have this XQD memory card and thus Lexar is jumping on the bandwagon now?

    • MB

      Who says Nikon D400 is upcoming?
      Strangely enough XQD was announced in 2010 by SanDisk, Sony and Nikon and later adopted as a standard by CF Association, but I don’t see SanDisk announcing anything yet.
      XQD cards would be ideal for professional video application too and I think Sony will be using them for that in the near future.
      It seams to me that XQD is here to stay.

    • That makes a lot of since Jabs, but more likely one will be but in the D600 and perhaps the D810, er, D801 . . . or D800s, or whatever they wind up calling it.

      SD is here to stay in consumer camera’s.

      . . . oh, and it’s time to get rid of that CF slot in the D4, if I never see a bent pin again I’ll be happy.

  • DY

    I need to comment on the whole CF pin issue. I’ve been using CF cards almost daily for the last 3 years using primarily Sandisk, Lexar and a few Kingston branded. I have never had a pin failure or card issue of any sort. (thank my lucky stars)
    Anyhow, I like the XQD card for its speed potential and size and hope it gets mainstream traction so I will never need to go back to CF again. However, XQD is not as invincible as some people make it out to be. CF card construction is tough and always feel industructible. XQD on the other hand has a weak area around the internalized contact points. XQD is like a thick SD card but instead of having exposed contact points it is covered by a thin plastic “roof” to create a socket. It is this “roof” that I think can easily crack or break under pressure. Now, look inside your D4 and although I agree it is better than the 100 pins that stick up for the CF slot, the XQD slot is comprised of three ~8mm panels acting as the male contact for the female contact of the card. Being a panel it is more durable than a pins, but not immune to damage if you stick your XQD in the slot backwards.

    • @DY, same here. 5+ years of CF, never a bent pin, but always quality cards. As the CF cards are keyed to prevent accidental reverse insertions, I wonder what the manufacturing tolerances are for the keyed slots on the CF card. Lets say I take a cheap card, that has lesser manufacturing standards, and thus wider keyed slots; what is the likelyhood of someone inserting that cheap card at a slight angle which catches a pin on the edge of a hole and bends it? Does anyone have an optical comparitor and a stack of various CF cards to make that evaluation?

  • Justin Katz

    4+ years of CF. I have had a ton of problems with CF Cards because of the lack of speed and size, even on UDMA cards. Now with a lot of photographers shooting 1080p full high-definition (HD) video, and 3D video content, like myself, I will need cards that handle these file types more efficiently.

    I have no doubt that more and more brands will release their versions of the XQD Cards. Sony just released to new flavors: http://bit.ly/MEjSDq

  • Anyone heard any updates on this? Is Lexar moving forward or not?

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