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Lexar midrange pro memory cards reach 32GB

The memory card maker releases a 32GB, 300X CompactFlash card, two 233X models, and faster SDHC models as well.

Lexar's new 32GB card can transfer data at 300X rates, or 45MB per second.
Lexar's new 32GB card can transfer data at 300X rates, or 45MB per second.

Lexar said Tuesday it's increased the capacity of its midrange professional CompactFlash memory cards with a 300X transfer speed to 32GB.

Lexar, which competes chiefly with Sandisk for the attentions of photographers who need both high capacity and high transfer speeds, has been fleshing out its CF cards that can transfer data faster by virtue of the UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) interface technology. Lexar already announced in October a 32GB card and a transfer speed of 600X (90MBps), but the 300X (45MBps) card should do fine for those who don't need quite that data transfer speed.

Lexar didn't announce pricing, but I found the 300X 32GB card at B&H Photo for $168. The company also announced two other professional-grade cards, 16GB and 32GB versions of its 233X (35MBps) models that you can expect will be a notch or two cheaper.

Sandisk is a step ahead of Lexar right now, offering a 64GB card with a 600X transfer speed. But a single one will cost at least $620--the cost of a complete respectable SLR and lens--so obviously this class of products is for a pretty demanding customer. Bear in mind also that only dedicated card readers today can come close to the full data transfer rates when copying photos to a computer, and that not all cameras can take advantage of the faster rates.

The CompactFlash format these days is found only on SLRs; even many of those come these days with the more common SD format. In that area, Lexar also on Tuesday announced its Professional 133x SDHC memory card with a write speed rating of Class 10, or 20MB per second. The SDHC format tops out at 32GB, but the consortium behind the format has anointed a successor called SDXC.

Also on Tuesday, Lexar announced flash USB drive models it bills as good for backup. The Echo SE will ship with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities, and the Echo ZE will ship with capacities of 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities. They'll be available in the United States in February and in some parts of Europe in 2010, Lexar said, but didn't release pricing.