Lexar announces its first XQD memory cards
Photographers using the newer high-end flash memory format now have another supplier besides Sony for the cards. Also: a big, fast SDXC card for a big, fat price.
Nikon photography pros will be happy to know there's a major new supplier of: Lexar.
They might not be so happy about the price for the new high-end format: a 1100X 64GB model costs $580, and a 32GB model costs $300. At CES today, the Micron subsidiary also announced a $45 USB 3.0 card reader for the new format.
Nikon's flagship D4 SLR uses the XQD cards, which before were. Lexar's 1100X models guarantee a 168MB/sec read speed, though write speeds are somewhat lower.
XQD is one of two formats vying to be the replacement for the venerable CompactFlash. Perversely, the CompactFlash Association is overseeing standardization of both. Nikon signed up for XQD, which is based on the PCI Express data-transfer technology, but, which uses the Serial ATA data-transfer technology.
Having two high-end flash card formats means the market is fragmented, making it harder for photographers to switch between camera models or use multiple brands. It also means shipment volumes of either format will be lower than if there were a unified standard, which typically translates into lower availability and higher cost.
Lexar's top rival, SanDisk, is making CFast 2.0 cards but not XQD cards.
Meanwhile, SD card is the victor of the mainstream flash-card market.
That victory doesn't mean SD is immune from stratospherically priced options for buyers who need to keep up with 3D video or other high-throughput demands, though.
Also at CES, Lexar announced new high-performance SD cards. The Lexar Professional 600x SDXC UHS-I card comes in a 256GB size that costs $1,000.