Move over, SD card. There’s a new sheriff in town. The Compact Flash Association recently announced the development of a brand new memory card format called XQD. The new XQD card can write at 125Mbps and faster. According to the press release, XQD cards will even be able to reach theoretical 2.5Gbps and eventually 5Gbps write speeds via PCI Express bus interface.
“The XQD format will enable further evolution of hardware and imaging applications, and widen the memory card options available to CompactFlash users such as professional photographers,” said Mr. Shigeto Kanda of Canon, chairman of the board, CFA.
As far as form factor, the new XQD cards are promised to be more robust and durable than a standard SD card, yet more portable than a Compact Flash card. XQD cards will be shown off for the first time in Japan at the CP+ trade show in early February.
This is interesting because the SD Association has developed UHS-II SDXC card technology that can reach up to 300Mbps, and even faster speeds via an optimized bus interface. What we’re seeing here is a battle between Compact Flash and SD cards. Compact Flash cards were drowned out by the rise in popularity of SD cards, which were lighter, faster and more portable. It looks as though Compact Flash will be making a comeback with the XQD card in February.
Whatever the case, it looks like your DSLR with Compact Flash memory slots will some day be outdated, and I wonder if the delay in new Canon and Nikon models has anything to do with the release of the XQD card.