Forget XQD, CFexpress is on the way with speeds of 8GB per second

cfexpress announcement memory card  flash
Rafael Ben-Ari/123RF
As if the memory card market wasn’t confusing enough already, the CompactFlash Association (CFA) has officially announced its new initiative: CFexpress. The new format is designed for use with high-bandwidth applications, including professional photography and videography, and has a maximum theoretical transfer speed of eight gigabytes per second.

CFexpress reaches that speed thanks to PCIE architecture, which is also used in XQD cards. XQD, however, has a theoretical limit of just one gigabyte per second. CFexpress moves beyond this by running multiple PCIE lanes in parallel.

“The higher performance provided by CFexpress formats will further increase the capabilities and value for photographers, videographers, cinematographers, industrial, and compute applications,” said Canon’s Tom Ando, who also serves as co-chairman of the board at the CFA, in a related statement.

But CFexpress can also scale down, making it suitable for a wide variety of applications. It will use the low latency NVM Express storage protocol, which, like PCIE, is compatible across multiple form factors and types of products. The CFA sees CFexpress as a new standard not just for a single type of memory card, but for many different formats in different types of host devices.

It also noted that actual performance will vary based on the needs of a device. This suggests that CFexpress products could come in at a variety of price points as well.

The CFA cited professional cinema as one application where the speed advantage of CFexpress could really come into play. 4K RAW video at 30 frames per second currently requires about 400-500 megabytes per second, but that data rate can shoot up dramatically at higher frame rates. Presumably, CFexpress would also be able to handle the demands of 8K video, which is just now becoming an option for filmmakers.

Don’t expect CFexpress to reach its full potential anytime soon, however. The format is still in the early days of development, and initial form factors will focus on two-lane and four-lane architectures. Still, such designs would theoretically allow for up to two and four gigabytes per second, respectively. The CompactFlash Association says anything from one to eight lanes is feasible.

Product Review

When your phone camera disappoints, grab the Olympus E-PL9

With a healthy dose of style, solid performance, and beginner-friendly controls, the E-PL9 is the perfect camera for the smartphone generation. Well, other than an actual smartphone.
Photography

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.
Photography

Photo FOMO: Leica Elpro turns plain lenses into macro, Fujifilm Fest returns

In this week's photo industry news, Leica launches a way to turn plain lenses into macro lenses. Artificial Intelligence keeps growing with new uses with Getty Images and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 camera.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Gaming

8 Nintendo Switch tips and tricks to get the most out of your hybrid console

Have a new Nintendo Switch? Awesome! It's a great console from the moment you turn it on, but owners can make it even better by exercising a few simple tips and tricks. Here's what every Switch owner should know.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Photography

For Monaris, it’s a photography career launched on an iPhone and Instagram

On Instagram, she's known just as Monaris. But street photographer Paola Franqui has built a following largely with an iPhone and a smile. We sat down with her to talk photography, style, and Instagram, of course.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

Starting a vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability.
Photography

Snap, print, and go: The 8 best portable photo printers

Printing your favorite smartphone pictures on the go is easier than ever with a portable photo printer. They are compact and easy to use, transforming your digital selfies into souvenir.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robo sidekicks, AC for your bed, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

How to take pictures of the Perseid meteor shower and the stars

The night sky can be both one of the trickiest and most rewarding shoots to master. Stop putting your camera away at sunset and learn how to photograph the stars in this tutorial on the night sky.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Photography

Watch how Nikon tests the durability of its D850 professional DSLR

Nikon's D850 DSLR won many plaudits when it launched in 2017. Praised for its robust, weather-resistant body design, the Japanese camera firm has released a video offering some insight into how it came to be built that way.