It’s funny to think about, but technology is only able to move as fast as technology lets it.

And that’s true for not just film and video tech, but any industry as we see time and time again new innovations springing up that promise big changes, only to be nerfed by the infrastructure around it which hasn’t caught up to the most recent trends.

For the latest example, we have the new CFexpress 4.0 cards that have just been announced with specifications which double the performance of these iconic memory cards in all formats. Great news for us filmmakers and video pros, right?

Yes, while it’s obviously great news, it’s also moot at this point because no camera currently exist which can utilize these new cards and their updated specifications. At least not yet…

Introducing CFexpress 4.0

Rumored to release earlier this year, the Compact Flash Association (CFA) officially announced the specification for CFexpress 4.0 in August and confirmed that it is set to double the performance of current memory cards in all formats. This includes Type A cards (which only Sony uses) and the more common Type B cards (which are usually cheaper).

These new CFexpress 4.0 cards are set to double the theoretical maximum throughput which is set to make these new 4.0 Type A cards as fast as current Type B cards, as well as push the new Type B cards to some insane levels never before seen for these types of memory cards.

CFexpress 4.0 for Video Recording

On top of that, because of these new speeds and specifications, the CFA is also set to add a new specification for Video Performance Guarantee (VPG) which will go well beyond the current VGP 400 certification, guaranteeing that these new cards will never go lower than 400 MB/s transfer speeds.

But what does all of this mean for video recording? Well, at first nothing really as cameras have not been designed with these new speeds in mind. However, in theory, CFexpress 4.0 is going to unlock new speeds for video recording which should provide higher resolution at faster frame rates and with much greater bit depth.

This all sounds well and good, but when will we actually see cameras and gear that can handle this new generation of CFexpress cards?

Credit: ProGrade Digital

The Next Generation of CFexpress 4.0 Cameras

Luckily we do have news that ProGrade Digital has announced a new third generation of its CFexpress Type B memory card which is set to be fully compliant with these new CFexpress 4.0 specifications. This new card will allow for read speeds up to 3,400 MB/s, burst write speeds up to 3,000 MB/s, and sustained write speeds up to 2,800 MB/s — all great specs for high-resolution and cinema-grade video recording.

Still though, even with these new ProGrade Digital cards, we’re only talking about relevant speeds for post-production workflows. There are no current cameras capable of handling these speeds unless you have some setup with USB 4.0.

In the next year or so we’d expect to see more new cards released as well as a host of support features like updated card readers and new internal camera tech which will be able to support CFexpress 4.0. After all, even while technology might be in its own way right now, it’s also been very good at catching up to the curve.