SanDisk has quietly launched its new Type B Extreme Pro CFExpress media cards in Europe. The new CFExpress media cards promise an advertised read/write speed of 1700 MB/s and 1400 MB/s respectively, so not only is the era of CFExpress cards finally here, but it's bound to kick the RAW era for 4K and above into overdrive.
Designed to be compatible with XQD supported DSLR and Mirrorless cameras, SanDisk's Type B CFE media card can technically reach a theoretical limit of 2000 MB/s read/write, at least according to the standard spec. But it looks like SanDisk is hedging its bets and being a bit more conservative with its benchmarks, and that's likely a wise idea.
Still, with that kind of blazing speed, it now makes full sense why Nikon stuck with the XQD media card slots, and why other companies like Blackmagic adopted it as well. The spec is just blazingly fast.
At that speed, SanDisk says that the cards will be able to write low-latency, high-speed RAW 4K recording directly to the card without the need of buffering to keep up the flow and avoid dropped frames. This is leading PetaPixel to speculate that in future camera designs, image buffers may become a thing of the past, in favor of what they call "true stray and pray" shooting.
SanDisk is also launching a new USB Type C card reader, which connects using the USB 3.2 Gen 2 spec and offers a max transfer rate of 1250 MB/s. That's not as fast as the card itself, but that's likely due to the limits of a Type-C connector. But USB 4 is coming soon, that should mitigate that in the future model.
What's interesting, is that in the SanDisk video, a Nikon Z6 can be spotted as being used, while the Z series hasn't officially updated its firmware to support the CFE spec yet. The overdue update is said to come "later this year" after Nikon announced it at the Consumer Electronic's Show last January. But you can bet that Nikon will be coming out with it soon since EyeAF was a central feature that enabled the Z6 to take top honors at the annual EISA Awards back in August. Both features, along with the long-overdue (and paid) 12-bit RAW video update, were announced at the same time, so the firmware launch for CFE and 12-bit RAW should be imminent.
Back to the SanDisk Type B Extreme Pro CFExpress cards. The cards are currently only available in the UK, France, Italy, and Spain and cost about $200 for the 64GB version, $350 for 128GB, $600 for 256GB and $840 for the 512GB size. That price does not include VAT. You can pick them up at Amazon.UK, along with a new SanDisk USB-C card reader, which will set you back another $80. International shipping will be extra.
So, if you're a new 6K Pocket Cinema Camera user, there's no time like the present to pay a little international shipping and see what these cards can do. Sadly, Nikon Z series users will have to wait a tad longer. And Panasonic? Well, they dumped XQD in favor of dual SD Cards. So, they're stuck in the slow lane. Pity because that new S1H could sure take advantage of all that CFE horsepower!