Stop Being a Technophobe

The latest protests from users I see boils down to this: XQD and CFexpress cards are too expensive. 

Well, when compared to ten-year old SD cards, sure. 

But a new 128GB Sony Tough UHS-II SD card is US$210, while a new Sony 128GB Sony Tough CFexpress card is US$220. Not exactly a big difference in price. Next, look at the maximum speeds. The CFexpress is 1480MB/s write speed, the SD is 299MB/s write speed. Read speeds are actually even wider apart, and that would make a big difference in ingest speed if you're using the right card reader (which isn't, ironically, Sony's; the Atech TX-1CXQ [advertiser link] would be faster, as it runs on Thunderbolt 3; of course, you'd need a computer that uses Thunderbolt 3, such as those MacBook Pros that everyone says have terrible ports ;~).

The arguments about card costs are basically technophobic. The people making them are perfectly satisfied with slow writes, slow ingests, and poor buffer performance, perhaps because they bought a lower end camera in the first place that writes slowly and has only a modest buffer. They're okay with that, apparently. Unfortunately, the market to sell such cameras has shrunk so fast that it's not likely that the camera makers want to really be in that market anymore.

I'll admit I'm a technophile: I want camera companies to be at the forefront of technology because I know that there are benefits for doing so. That said, I still have to ding Nikon—the company that took the primary risk with XQD and is now poised best to utilize CFexpress—for not putting state-of-the-art card slots in their cameras. Even the fast D5 maxes out below what a current XQD card can actually do these days. 

The SD standards group is trying keep up with the CF standards group (which started in CompactFlash but migrated to CFast, XQD, and now CFexpress). The SD group has a proposed update to SD—SDexpress—that gets them to older XQD speeds (mainly because they limit the PCIe bus to one lane), but won't keep up with where CFexpress is going (four lanes). Moreover, if your present or future camera doesn't support the SDexpress standard, that new card will fall all the way back to UHS-I speeds. Yikes. 

To my knowledge, no camera maker has committed to SDexpress. Quite a few are now on the CFexpress bandwagon, though (Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, and Sony). This is, in my opinion, the correct choice, particularly since CFexpress has three physical card sizes defined, of which the XQD-like one is the middle size (Type B). Type A is more like the SD size and more likely than SDexpress to get design wins because it means engineers are creating to one standard, not two. 

Cameras are already well behind current tech state of the art in so many ways (Wi-Fi capabilities and speeds, serial port speeds, card speeds, to name just a few). If the camera business is going to have a future, it needs to catch up to the 21st century expectations ASAP. 

Heck, maybe cards should only be a "backup" slot. In other words, stick some NVMe SSD into the camera as main memory, and only have the card slot be used for backup, copy, or overflow solutions. But for that to work, you'd need fast Ethernet, Wi-Fi, serial connections, and maybe 5G to get the data off the camera when you're not using a card. See what I mean about cameras not living in modern times?

Please stop complaining about card costs. All that's doing is allowing the camera makers to claim they're doing the right thing by remaining far behind the times with their tech. The accountants at the camera companies are using it as a form of confirmation bias that then forces their engineers to use cheap, outdated parts that just put their cameras further and further behind modern tech standards. Some day in the future (or present ;~) you'll complain that there's nothing really new or useful with the latest camera that's announced and you'll just keep your old one instead of updating. 

If you don't see the problem with that, let me explain it clearly: the fewer reasons camera makers give you to update your camera, the more likely they go out of business.

I want a camera that can keep up with the latest MacBook Pro. That can keep up with my networks, both wired and wireless. That doesn't put arbitrary limits on shooting because it's waiting around for sluggish internal bandwidth to finish its job. 

You should want that kind of camera, too. And if it appears, it's going to have a CFexpress card slot if it uses cards.

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