Monday, December 12, 2011

Compact Flash Association introduces the new XQD Memory Card

Fragmenting a market with new standards is never a good idea, unless technology has moved so far up that you need to keep up. While DSLR cameras are getting worldwide acceptance by regular folks, not just photography enthusiasts, the megapixel game takes a new turn when picture sizes start to becomes ridiculously huge.

So targeted squarely at professional photographers, the Compact Flash Association announced the new standard in memory cards: XQD. These new cards cards are smaller than the aging Compact Flash cards, but bigger than the current SD cards. These new XQD cards are supposedly more rugged than SD cards as well. However, what makes their existence a necessity is the bandwidth of 2.5Gbps. By using the PCI Express interface, these new XQD memory cards are more like first-gen SSDs, with transfer speeds of 125MB/s up to 250MB/s. That equates to almost fifteen to thirty 20-megapixel photos per second!

The XQD cards will be first shown in February 2012 in a trade show in Japan, with full on licensing available to camera manufacturers from then on. Even so, don’t expect XQD camera to be available even in prosumer cameras any time soon. Perhaps another 2 years before XQD becomes the norm in professional cameras, and another 2 to 3 years before it filters down to mainstream DSLRs. Of course, that’s assuming that some other SD card manufacturer doesn’t come up with a even faster transfer speeds than XQD first!

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