Sony quietly announced new G Series XQD version 2 memory cards

I have not seen any coverage online for the new G Series XQD version 2 memory cards (used in the Nikon D4/D4s DSLR cameras) that can deliver 400MB/s read, 350MB/s write speed and capacity up to 128GB. All cards also include a USB 3.0 reader ($38 value). The price range from $163.50 to $799.95:

Lexar's XQD memory cards currently go "only" up to 64GB and 168MB/s read speed (write speeds are even lower).

The new Sony XQD cards will start shipping on November 3rd. Additional information from Sony's website:

The new G Series is compliant to XQD Format Version 2, both PCI Express Gen.2 and USB3.0 interface are supported on a newly-developed controller for high performance.
The G Series delivers increased read 400MB/s and write 350MB/s speeds, which is three times the speed of the previous N Series cards.

Sony's unique media technology enables these G Series cards to provide efficient data writing, dependable recording of 4K video while avoiding speed degradation.
The larger capacity 128GB model expands the line-up allowing up to 40 minutes of 4K XAVC Intra 422 60p (600Mbps) recording with Sony's 4K video cameras.

The G Series is supplied with a dedicated USB 3.0 adapter, which offers convenience and efficiency for professional workflows. It dramatically reduce ingest time by less than half compared to the fastest Compact Flash card even for large quantities of RAW images or data-intensive 4K video files.

Here are the detailed specifications of the new XQD cards:

The XQD 2.0 specifications were announced back in 2012.

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  • Joseph

    That’s fast…

  • whisky

    specs certainly sound like they’re 4K ready. november? hmmmm …

  • affinityseattle

    These would be good as dual cards in the D751 camera

  • Jon

    It is for the new Sony FS7 being released at same time.

  • John Baxter Photography

    who’s going to use these?

    • Chris Daigle

      People on a deadline. Events shooters who have to upload to editors, sports shooters etc.

  • Kriztoper

    I’m going to ask a stupid question but does that mean fps not applicable anymore?

    • waterengineer

      NO. It doesn’t mean that.

  • Ian

    They were announced with the release of the Sony FS7 in early September, stoked that they finally have prices and dates!

    • The Sony FS7 press release I mentioned on PhotoRumors did not say anything about the new XQD cards:

      • sarahnoel84

        I am buying an FS7 so very familiar, the cards give larger capacity in addition to faster offload speeds than previous cards, so they are preferred for the 4k FS7 although not required. The camera holds two cards so a total of 256 GB of storage.

        • Chris Daigle

          The XQD has a future limit of 2TB of storage on a card.

  • Hennry_s

    Apart from D4, are there other brands or models supporting or using XQD?

    • fred

      The mythical speedy D400 may need this new card next year…. 😉

      • Sports

        Aha, this must be explanation number 25 for its delay (if “delay” is the right word …) 🙂

      • Neopulse

        I hope so, would destroy the 7D Mark II and many other brands of it’s category thanks to it.

      • McBall

        at this point I m expecting D500…

    • Daniel D

      Nikon d4/d4s sony PXW Z100

  • rt-photography

    My friend who has 2 d4s says the current XQD cards are lightning fast. I can only image how amazing these will be.

    maybe CF cards have met their limit?

    curious why high capacity doesnt price in proportion to the size. like the 32 to 64gb

    • Ken Elliott

      Compact Flash is based on the PATA hard disk driver interface. XQD is based on PCI-Express, which is much faster and has much more life in it. Lots of work is continuing with PCI-E, but very little (if any) on PATA – it is at the end of life.

      • MyrddinWilt

        True, Compact Flash has been dead some time, it just hasn’t stopped moving. But it was based on the PCMIA spec, not PATA.

        XQD looked like the best bet when Nikon picked it. But it didn’t get picked up by anyone else. CFast looks like a much better bet as a flash memory format as it is based on the SATA interface and so they can make use of SSD parts. And right now the available parts are faster (500MB/sec) and have twice the capacity.

        But at the end of the day the latest SD cards will be fast enough for 4K which only requires 30MB/s or a third the speed that the fastest currently available SDXC cards support (there is a 300MB/s spec defined). So SD is going to win. XQD and CFast together will amount to less than 1% of the market. So they are going to cost a lot more than the equivalent SD.

        I have used Compact Flash since the 2MB cards were current but I don’t see any point to keeping them now. I use them as backup but no more. My largest Compact Flash card is only 8GB anyway. Being able to move up to SDXC was one of the attractions of moving from my D300 to a D800.

        • Ken Elliott

          “But it was based on the PCMIA spec, not PATA.”

          It has some roots in the PCMCIA, but it is absolutely PATA:

          SSDs are already at the limit of SATA, and are now moving to directly connect to the PCIe bus. Why bother adding PCIe-to-SATA interface, when a PCIe-based interface is faster, simpler and cheaper?

          SDXC may be fine for highly-compressed consumer formats, but not professional 4K.

          • MyrddinWilt

            Ken, various sources say that 30MB/s is sufficient for 4K. Why do you think differently?

            Or more to the point, why would you imagine that the SD card association would have designed a card for the 4K market that could not record 4K?

            Or is what you really mean here ‘4K raw’? Which is of course an entirely different issue. 4K Raw is certainly a need for folk working on movies costing upwards of $50 million. But very few other folk are going to ever need or want it.

            I was not aware that my Compact Flash to PCMCIA adapter had any circuitry inside it. Obviously it must do. But its a dead standard either way.

            XQD could carve out a nice niche if it could get itself adopted as a SSD form factor. It would be nice to see that happen. But that isn’t looking very likely right now since he SSD card manufacturers have come up with a way of ganging two 6Gb SATA ports to make an express port combo.

            It looks to me as if the reason Sony has launched its faster second gen XQD cards now is that SanDisk and Lexar look set to announce cards with the 350MB/s interface in the near future and the whole rationale for XQD goes away if they are slower.

            XQD and CFast both offer a performance advantage over SDXC but the problem is that they don’t deliver enough of a performance advantage to justify a completely different form factor.

            • Ken Elliott

              Consumer cameras throw away a lot of data for a 4K data stream to fit a SDXC card. The Panasonic G4 can record 4:2:2 in 8 bit. If that’s good enough, they you are all set. But that’s not so good for green screen usage, or for color grading. The professional Sony F5 shoots 4K 16bit RAW at 352 Mbps @ 24fps. It can record at frame rates up to 240 fps, but that would take about 3.5 Gbps – 10x higher than the camcorder can record, so you have to compromise on the bit depth, resolution, fps and/or compression codec.

              Yes, you’re right that SDXC can do the job for consumers. But I think you can see why a much higher data rate is of interest to many of us.

            • MyrddinWilt

              As I said, some folk use raw. But these new XQD cards aren’t anywhere near fast enough to record 3.5Gbps. But that 352Mbps speed looks like it exactly matches the rated speed of the next gen SDXC card.

              The Panasonic is generating 200MB/s at 4K but can only record 100MB/s so it has a finite recording time.

              It is however a pro camera for HD that is capable of shooting 4K when necessary rather than a full on HD camera. While those will come, I really can’t see XQD being a significant part of what makes that happen.

              The problem is the interface speed, not the capacity. So having a larger form factor isn’t paying dividends.

            • MyrddinWilt

              The point is that XQD should be far ahead of SDXH to be worth while. Its only a couple of years ahead at most, not four or five.

            • Ken Elliott

              OK, now I get your point. You make a very important observation, and that may be the very thing that prevents XQD adoption from hitting critical mass.

              Let’s set claims of future speed aside for just a moment. I think XQD has the advantage of being based on PCIe, thus more scalable (add more lanes) and doesn’t need “glue chips” to change protocols. So direct PCIe to the interface should be capable of being no slower than anything else, and likely faster than anything else. I base this opinion (I could be wrong) on the understanding that PCIe is used as the system bus used in many high-end cameras. Less translation = better performance. Thus I don’t pay much attention to certain claims of performance, as they are often unable to deliver, due to system bottlenecks.

              But I also thought OS/2 was going to be a winner, and I was sadly mistaken!

              Thanks for your insights and comments.

            • MB

              What Panasonic is generating 200MB/s (1.6Mb/s) at 4k?

            • MyrddinWilt

              The G4 4K version can capture 200MB/s but can’t write it to the card at that speed. So you are limited to the internal memory.

              Card capacity is an issue but that would argue for SD as there are larger cards and they are cheaper.

              If you really, really need 4K right now then there are cameras that can do it. But you are not going to future-proof your camera choice by buying anything on sale now. By the time 4K is mainstream everything will have changed.

  • Pepe

    Probably an accesory/indication for sonys upcoming big launch in january-february CES sony a99 II and evenutally their fixed lens medium format camera….plausible somehow…

  • Pat Mann

    Must be getting ready for 4k video in the D400. Why else would they release this?

    • Ken Elliott

      Sony makes professional video and cinema camcorders that currently use much more expensive storage media. I suspect the next round of design updates will begin the process of switching to these cards. Nikon’s use is good for them, but unlikely to be the sole reason.

  • Pat Mann

    At 771.8 gm, these are going to add a lot to the weight of your camera. You’ll notice that even with a D4. Though that must be when they’re full of data. It wouldn’t be an honest spec if it was when they were empty.

    • Jobbelob

      Don’t be stupid. To pack 128 GB on the same sized card would of course require the zeros and ones to be 1/4 the size of the 32 GB, so when the cards are full they will weigh the same…

      • That’s silly. You’ll need a pipe double as large for all that bandwidth!!!!!!1!

    • ND

      at ~178225 kg/m³, those cards are about 17 times as massive than if they were made of lead. Actually, they are even more massive than the core of the sun ( Impressive!

      • Ken Elliott

        You’ve discovered the secret! They are solar powered. Each card used a tiny bit of the sun, compressed with H.264, causing the rise in density.

    • Michiel953

      Amazing isn’t it? One of these, empty, will add just over three quarters of a kilogram to the weight of your camera. Then when you start shooting and really using that memory capacity, by the end of the day you’ll be on your knees.

      That’s modern technology for you. I’ll stick with my FM2n. Reasonable weight to begin with, add a canister of film of known weight (I always choose the lightest available, regardless of imqge quality), and it doesn’t really get a lot heavier exposing up to 36 images. “Light” weight you know.

  • Daniel D

    I think is too expensive – for that reason I’m using onlu CF on my D4. I know another 14 photografers with d4 /d4s – no one use XQD – I think is the same reason #

    • guest

      The price will drop once the counterfeits hit the market.

    • Neopulse

      Have used the XQD S-Series on the D4 for outdoors. F*cking awesome card to have. And there are plenty of people who use XQD, just because they don’t post to babble how good it is doesn’t mean that noone uses it. Plus CF is much older, and people still like using their old CF cards on their cameras.

    • Felix C

      What do you use for backup? I use the CF Card for backup and the XQD as the primary card.

    • neversink

      What!!!!!!!!!! –
      That’s insane. You buy a camera that costs more than $6000 and you won’t buy the XQD cards, which I find work fantastic on my D4.

      Get a life.
      And you expect anyone to believe that you know another 14 photographers who use the D4/s and don’t use XQD cards…..
      How naive do you think we are????

  • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

    That’s good but we need more Cameras – Both Sony and Nikon to support this card Format. Nikon should have added XQD slot into the D800 / D810 in the first place to increase the take up of this format and make it easy for pros to use a D4 and D800 got hi-res rather than them needing to carry more than 1 card/media format.

    It was good for them to add in the SDXC format to the D8xx meaning that photographers who started off with a camera with SD/media and updated upwards could still use the same card/media format in the Pro Hi-res camera.

    • MyrddinWilt

      Support for SD on the D800 was far more important than Compact Flash. I wouldn’t mind swapping the Compact Flash port for an XQD but a CFast would be better and a second SDXC just as good.

      The thing with the SD is that most larger laptops have an SD slot built in. Which makes the whole processing chain so much easier to deal with.

      • neversink

        Yeah… It’s so, so, so hard to plug a card reader into a computer!!!!! Where do these people come from????

        • MyrddinWilt

          It is really hard to plug a card reader into your computer when you haven’t got one with you.

          SD is faster than Compact Flash, cheaper than Compact Flash, has higher capacity than Compact Flash and it is more convenient to use than Compact Flash.

          So explain to me one possible advantage of Compact flash other than you think it might make you look ‘professional’.

          • neversink

            I always carry card readers with me in the field. I don’t care what kind of card one uses or what kind of camera one uses. However, I need to know that even if I use SD, i have a back up to my built in card reader, along with USB cables to directly download from my camera to my laptop, just in case all else fails….

      • Pat Mann

        I’m not so sure. I recently had my SD card in my D800 disconnect in the slot from a modest impact to the camera. I didn’t notice until I slipped it into my PC and tried to offload it, found no new images. The CF card remained solidly in place, fortunately, but I had to use my separate card reader to get the data. But a card meachanism that can just disconnect that easily isn’t something I’d like to have to depend on.

  • lorenzo

    I still have to logon on Disqus every time I post here…. bye.

    • Robert

      Strange. I agree with that not being able to post without logging in is a hassle and my gut reaction is the same, but I can post without logging in as you can see from this post.

    • can you try from a different browser or computer?

      • lorenzo

        Not sure yet but it might have been caused by the unmarked “Accept third party cookies” in FF. I unchecked it as I don’t want extra cookies and extra junk on my computer.
        I rather might have to live with the multiple logon.
        Despite I am here every day to read, I rarely post my stupidities, so not a big deal. Thanks Admin!

        • Can you just allow cookies from certain websites?

          • lorenzo

            Firefox lets me Allow or Block cookies as you say for specific sites, however can’t do the same for 3rd party cookies: either you let them pass ALL or NONE.
            If I let them pass, just clicking on a couple of sites I see dozens and dozens of them and don’t like that.
            Thanks again!

        • Robert

          FWIW I have all kinds of cookies enabled in FF on my PC since it gives the best functionality. What you can do (I do that) is to let FF only keep them during each session, i.e. they are deleted every time you close FF. If you want to keep some cookies you can create exceptions in FF for them.

          • lorenzo

            I know that, thanks. But if you delete them when closing you have to logon on Disqus again.
            The exceptions don’t work in this case… I think.

            • Robert

              If it is certain cookies you need it should be possible to identify them and store exceptions in FF. Have not tried with Disqus though since I find it to much work to have to create an account just because I would like to write a few comments every now and then.

            • Robert

              too much

    • lorenzo

      O.K., this is from IE (veeeeeery slooooooow), after logging on Disqus, next I try a refresh and see if I have to logon again.

    • lorenzo

      Still from IE: Great! Neither refresh nor restart of the browser require a logon to disqus. The bug is in Firefox, then but using IE is much more painful than having to logon again – thanks MS 🙂
      Thank you.

    • lorenzo

      test from FF

    • lorenzo

      Test2 from FF

    • neversink

      I don’t have to log in all the time…. Only on occasion….

  • Not sure why a D4s user would need this. The current cards already write data as fast as a D4s can produce it.

    • MyrddinWilt

      If you are just going to use the standard XQD cards at 180MB/s you might as well be using the SD cards at 95MB/s and a third the price…

      I have no idea why people obsess so much about this feature. At the end of the day it is like the idea that 77mm is a ‘professional’ filter size so Nikon stuck a flange on the 10-24mm DX lens so it would take a professional filter rather than the 72mm the original manufacturer had on the design they bought in…

      Yes, if you have a bag full of lenses it is easier if they all take a small number of filter sizes rather than having to carry a variety. But that is only a benefit if you have a lot of lenses and make use of filters quite often but not often enough to have a set per lens…

      • neversink

        Just get a step up adapter for your more expensive filters on your lenses with smaller diameter sizes on the filter housing.

        • MyrddinWilt

          Yes, its not exactly a biggie. But look at the number of folk who think that having a 77mm filter ring makes a lens ‘professional’.

        • Ken Elliott

          The problem with that, is you can’t fit the lens hood on it. Nearly all my lenses have a 77mm or 52mm filter threads. Except the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AF-S. It gets really annoying, too. When I change lenses, I move the lens cap from one lens to the next. But I can’t do that with the 35. For me, it is a one-of-a-kind lens cap. I fail to grasp why Nikon would do such a thing.

    • Neopulse

      The D4 can write up to 500mb/s as I recall. So the cards haven’t reached that peak yet.

      • What I meant was that, at 11 fps in RAW or with 1080 video at 60 fps, you aren’t sending much more than 240/sec. Yes, the camera may be capable of it, but it doesn’t produce any content in that volume, so why would anyone spend the extra $ on these cards? I’m probably missing something, but I’d like to know. My question was actually a bit rhetorical.

        • Neopulse

          Having higher quality cards that do an overkill in the limits of the camera is in itself better than having one that just barely beats it or is under it. It’s an investment the card, that’s why people still haul CF cards from several years ago today. These cards exist for investing in also. The next generation might have different specs with higher video output that would require better storage media. 4K already exists and people have been stocking up on faster & bigger SSDs/HDDs and other storage devices to cope with the evolution of video and imaging that come every couple of years pretty much. I’m already getting asked (a private seller) to pre-order on a 32GB and 64GB card already and I live in a 3rd world country, so you can imagine people in the US and EU must be doing also.

  • E-Nonymouse A

    I’ll be more impressed when these storage companies marketing guys stop quoting read speeds and focus on sustained write as the number shown on the packaging. It’s not as much of an epidemic it used to be but still needs work.

  • Neopulse

    Although I’m happy the Nikon Pro line has these, I just keep thinking wouldn’t it have been better to have put one of these in the D810? Maybe the D400 might have one of these put in there in order to help the buffer and keep shooting for longer periods of time.

    • Me

      There are constraints along the entire chain from heat dissipation, to the ADC, to the main board, to the processing, to the I/O board. Putting a massive reservoir at the end won’t do anything but add costs of the rest of the camera cannot keep up.

      There may also be the issue of patents. I’m no expert but the license fees may be a bit dear for QXD yet. Putting it in lower tier cameras may cut into the margins a bit.

      It’ll be here for what ever comes after the D810.

      • Neopulse

        I’m pretty sure in this day and age it’s possible for them to handle the flow of information from the sensor to the memory card especially since older technology can handle gigabytes of data streaming over old silicon from 10+ years ago and do it in a much more effective matter that won’t cause overheating. Nikon has rights over the patent and I don’t think royalties would be a problem.

        The problem would be if that they don’t try to make “XQD” (PCI-E) more of a desirable product to everyone across the demography it’ll hinder progress in that area of technological evolution. CompactFlash which is PATA (Old) is easily surpassed by XQD (Newer) which is PCI-E and if we go back to using PATA cards it will make newer technology and software stay at somewhat a stand still because something is holding back it’s progress.

        And example would be the Pentax 645z with it’s UHS-I SD card readers that it has when in this day and age there is already UHS-II that easily surpasses it and expands more it’s horizons a bit. But because of cutting corners like that, it makes it annoyingly longer to read and write files onto it. And I say cutting corners because the “Fuji X-T1” has it and it costs just over $1000 the crop camera in comparison to the other cameras we’re talking about that are worth +$6000 USD.

        All in all the D400 needs a step up from old CompactFlash and UHS-I SD cards in order to keep surviving in today’s day and age of non-pro and pros alike.

  • Me

    The people screaming for 4k video need to understand that the entire pipeline for production nevemind broadcast needs to be lined up before we’re in the promised land.

    Of course, broadcasting is barely at 720 so it’s not like there’s much rush. And there’s no accepted standard yet but it’s nice to see some of the pieces falling into place.

    • Ken Elliott

      True – if you are talking about broadcast 4K.

      But for the shooter, 4K is extremely useful today. You can do the Ken Burns effect on 4K video, and that can reduce the crew size. Lock down a camera with a wide angle lens, shoot, then you can pan and zoom in post. Or swap between wide and tight shots from a single camera. You also future-proof yourself.

  • Maji

    There must be something wrong with the specifications about the weight. I see that a typical CF card weighs 10gms.

    I can’t see a card similar to a CF card weighing that much. Density wise, it is almost ten times that of Uranium (178,225 vs18,800 kg/m3). I did not double check my calculations, but the weight just seems too high.

    • Michiel953

      Are you sure? Please check again. And again. And again, jus to be sure, and let us know what you find.

    • Michele Perillo

      AAAnd that is the secret reason nobody wants the XQD cards to succeed! the moment a critical mass of cards is produced, they will trigger the process to make Earth into a Black hole and life on Earth will sink into -300000 EV obscurity. Oh wait, the Fuji and Panasonic users will survive…

    • Me

      Yeah, someone must have made a conversion error for the weight. That would make it heavier than the EN-EL-18 battery used by the D4.

  • KnightPhoto

    Given what we’ve seen in the D750, how about a monocoque D350 model with DX sensor and XQD card? Personally I would prefer that over a D400…

    Anyhow glad to see XQD development is continuing!!

    • Neopulse

      That is indeed a good idea. I think a D350 sounds about right

    • kassim

      Smaller buffer is tolerable with this level of writing speed.

      • KnightPhoto

        You raise a good point. If the camera had a DECENT speed emptying the buffer, the hesitant shutter and slower fps that people experience on full buffer conditions currently would be over quicker.

        It’s been 2.5 years since I had a camera where the limited buffer intruded on my shooting. I really don’t love the idea of going back to that.

  • Cool! Now hopefully the S series will drop in price & I’ll finally stump up for a couple of ’em…

  • Matt012

    Why don’t Sony’s A99, A7r,A7,A7s use their own Sony XQD card?

    • Neopulse

      Because SD is more common an inexpensive to own. Helps people own also their first FF coming from crop DSLRs or point and shoot cameras.

    • Ken Elliott

      Physical size and the lack of any need for the higher data rate. Wait for the next round of pro 4K cameras from Sony and it will all make good sense.

  • Funduro

    Wicked speeds.

  • Martin

    Does anybody already know if the D4 even supports the G-series? I asked Nikon and all they told me was the only officially tested cards are those mentioned in the manual. Anybody?

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