Thoughts on D500 Memory Cards

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Mary Doo, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. Quite a lot of camera parts are one supplier only, so I don't see that as a huge problem. For example where do you get a new sensor for a camera if you damage it? You go to the camera manufacturer's service rather than to a garage repair shop. If your lens' AF motor fails? Same thing. When I get a new camera I review my needs for cards and if necessary, buy them along with the camera. Afterwards I only need new cards for it if my existing card(s) fail(s) and if I didn't buy extras. I generally keep a bit more card capacity around than I need. The XQD cards seem well made and rugged and likely they will outlast any of my XQD cameras.
  2. Fingers crossed about the reliability. My impression from the wording of the Wikipedia article is that Longsys took the Lexar name, but not necessarily their manufacturing capacity, so they may be in no position to spin up an XQD production line. I'm not entirely comfortable relying on CFExpress compatibility in the future, especially if Sony have decided that their current XQD cards are all we're getting. I can't imagine the production rate is all that high - the D850 and D500 may sell well for what they are (less so, according to something Thom Hogan wrote recently, for the D5), but I doubt they're at the volume which would sustain market competition like SD cards do. If lots of manufacturers start picking up CFExpress and if all the Nikon bodies interact properly, maybe the situation will improve in the future.

    Not that there appears to be anything much wrong with the Sony XQD cards (though at least some real-world tests seem to suggest better results from CFast), but competition is a good thing.
  3. Ilkka, I'm not sure you'd be happy if there was only one petrol/gasoline/diesel supplier for your car.... and they could charge what they want.

    Imagine being a twin-slot XQD D5 owner.....:(
  4. Petrol/diesel is a consumable. XQD cards can likely be used practically indefinitely (at least on the time scale of the camera itself). I don't expect ever to need to buy another XQD card for my current cameras. I have more than the capacity I need. However the fragile SD cards are a problem for me.

    I am a twin-slot XQD D5 shooter and very much would prefer the D850 have two XQD slots as well so I could use in camera backup feature without significant performance issue and additional costs of SD UHS-II cards (which, if they are like my UHS-I cards, cannot be trusted to last indefinitely).
  5. Out of interest, has anyone done an XQD-to-SD adaptor, like the CF-to-SD adaptors that are out there? Not that I suggest it on speed grounds, but it's been known to be useful when you want to get images off in a hurry, and SD is all your laptop has.
  6. I read that Longsys actually was the manufacturer of Lexar products even before the sales and thus should be able to continue the product line. (I don't know if this is correct.) Also when some customers have enquired about it, Lexar have stated that they are currently producing XQD cards. Whether this information is reliable is of course something to be seen. On their Twitter account Lexar also stated the XQD cards will be continued. I don't understand why this hubbub about the cards arose - they seem to be working on it and in the meanwhile you can buy Sony cards which work just fine and are typically less expensive than other similarly fast card types such as CFast.

    All fast cards are expensive and consequently small in volume of sales compared to cheap consumer SD cards which is what most people seem to buy. I believe XQD volume is comparable with CFast and UHS-II (until recently few cameras used the fast SD UHS-II and the market leader Canon mostly use old, slow card types in their still cameras, as do several other manufacturers of still cameras). Nikon have two comparatively well selling models that use XQD (D850 and D500) and the only still camera that uses CFast is the 1DX II which uses it in one slot only. I doubt very much 1DX II sales exceed that of the D4, D4s, D5, D850 and D500 combined. As for relative performance of CFast vs. XQD that is not trivial to compare since other aspects such as physical buffer memory size etc affect the burst performance.

    On this site

    Best Memory Cards For The Canon 1DX II - A Speed Comparison - Alik Griffin

    258MB/s is quoted as the fastest write speed using CFast (101MB/s using CF) using the 1DX II.

    The same site lists 238-289MB/s for XQD on the D850. Cameramemoryspeed clock 297MB/s on XQD and 163MB/s for SD UHS-II on the Nikon D500. So it would seem Nikon manage better write speeds than the Canon flagship. The D850's slightly worse compressed result may be a processing bottleneck in the camera itself (compression requires processing power).
  7. I have no idea, probably not an easy thing to do. I would assume people use XQD card readers (I originally had four XQD readers but sold one of them to a friend.) It's super fast, have transfer speeds around 250-280MB/s on mine, limited by the write speed on my computer's SSD.
  8. Oh yes - and I have a reasonably fast (Lexar, coincidentally) CF/SD combo reader that I use when pulling stuff into my MacBook for editing. But the reason I shoot JPEG to the SD card is that sometimes I need to take an image on short notice, and need to get it off the camera in a hurry - and I'm often not carrying the card reader around. Say what you will about SD, but a lot of laptops come with integrated readers. It doesn't help that the camera doesn't look like a mass storage device (I think it uses MTP, which is a pain) so trivially pulling the data off the camera directly isn't trivial for me even if I happen to have a cable.

    I'm not saying that's in any way more important than being able to have dual XQDs for backup (or even RAID0 for speed), but it's a factor.
  9. My laptops also have SD readers but I shot and scanned 6x7cm film, now that was a time-consuming workflow. I don't require such ultimate convenience so that I wouldn't be willing to pull the XQD reader from the laptop bag and connect it to read the card. I've waited enough time to transfer images from slow cards so that I enjoy now the thrill of almost instant downloading. I understand why Nikon chose XQD/SD for the D850 and D500, it is to reduce cost of entry and to provide convenience such as you mention (also, SD cards can provide wifi functionality). But I would rather not pay multiple times for expensive fast cards to be able to use dual card backup without a severe performance penalty. If I do shoot a critical event I may just use my UHS-I card as backup and avoid shooting in a way that tests the card's speed. I've obviously shot with much slower cameras and survived.

    By the way I don't have scientific data, just a feeling, that the D850's slight relative sluggishness in responsiveness compared to the D5 is largely absent with EN-EL18a in the MB-D18. I haven't had a single instance using it gripped and with the D5 battery where I felt the camera wasn't responding quickly. Without grip and battery it feels a little more sleepy (but quieter as well) for a lack of better words to use. I wish I had some concrete quantitative data (maybe someone can measure and provide it) but my impression so far is that there are noticeable benefits to the higher voltage battery use for action subjects. Perhaps others can confirm or deny my observations.
  10. I use the XQD cards in my D500. First I bought the Lexar then Sony. 32 and 64 Gb are plenty for what I shoot. One of the things I like about shooting with XQD card in the Nikon is a housekeeping thing. Since I also shoot with a Leica M-P (SD cards) I easily keep the "Nikon" pictures separated from the other camera. Depending on what I'm working on this just simplifies things. The pro photographer rep at where I buy said another advantage of the XQD card is that it downloads faster to the computer. I haven't noticed that.
  11. The downloading speed depends on the computer as well. I have a less than 2 year old desktop PC (quite basic model with SSD main drive and i7 processor) and the transfer speeds from SD UHS-I are around 80MB/s, 100-120MB/s from CF, and 250-280MB/s from XQD, typically. With my laptop the speeds are not quite as fast.
  12. Yes - I absolutely use (or did when I hired a D500) XQD for raw images, as I currently do with CF in my D810. The computer on which I run image editing and raw converters is usually in the same place as my card reader, and it's way faster even for an SD card. But that's a 15" Macbook, whereas my 13" Dell XPS (which runs Linux) or my work laptop (which is heavy, but I'm obliged to carry to the office) both have integrated SD readers that can be useful in a hurry. I suppose there's the wireless transfer stuff, although since I've never used it I'm a bit wary of assuming it could do something as trivially helpful as bluetoothing an image across as a one-off without installing anything...

    Thanks for reporting on the grip, Ilkka - I've been wondering. Several people have suggested that the D850's slight reduction in AF tracking ability (which I hope is what you're getting at by "responsiveness") compared with the D5 might be down to the increased black-out time, combined with the reduced frame rate. A louder mirror suggests it's actually being moved faster (not just "cocked" faster) by the bigger battery. Since I'm not so fussed about the battery life, this encourages me further to shell out for the grip when I get one.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  13. Okay. srry, i see that this is allready covered in a newer threath of PH.N

    Today i read an article on the website of "Prograde Digital " (follow-up of former Lexar Company) describing the expected CF-Express cards

    Excerpt from : CFexpress White Paper | ProGrade Digital

    The benefits of a CFx Type B card for use in digital imaging applications are several:

    1. Form Factor ideally suited for higher capacities needed in imaging applications – up-to 1TB with current NAND flash memory technology
    2. Physical size that is easy to handle – slightly larger than SD and slightly smaller than CFast or CompactFlash (29.6 x 38.5 x 3.8 mm)
    3. Performance capability capable of >1GB/sec transfer rates, through the use of two PCIe data lanes.
    4. NVMe protocol support for optimized performance with flash memory in newer computing architectures
    5. Backward compatibility possible to XQD host platforms through upgrade of host operating system (firmware)
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  14. Seems CFX is the future and XQD 2.0 and CFast are Dodos......;)
  15. I suspect those 1TB 1400/1000 MB/s cards may cost in the ball park of $3000+ (if we assume the capacity and speed affect price approximately linearly; which is a conservative assumption IMO). So ... nice, but not something I could justify even if Nikon updates the camera firmware to be compatible.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Spend $1900 on a D500 and then $3000 on just one memory card? :)
    I'll stick with XQD for now.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Mary, the OP, any luck with your new XQD card?
    Mary Doo likes this.
  18. Shun, I appreciate all the good info you have provided, as usual. :)
  19. "– up-to 1TB with current NAND flash memory technology"

    Hmmm. 28,000 RAW + fine images, or 20 hours of 4k video in one handy, disposable package.

    Think I'll stick with 'wasting' a few seconds of my life swapping cards now and then.

    Sensor resolutions would have to get ridiculously fine to make 1 TB storage essential.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka's $3000 price estimate for the up-coming 1TB CFX card could be way off, but even though it is going to be $1000, I don't think its target market is any one of the existing devices that can accept XQD cards, i.e. several Sony camcorders and the 5 Nikon DSLR models we have discussed.

    Most likely a 1TB memory card is for future 8K video cams that can capture at a high frame rate or mirrorless sports/action cameras. Keep in mind that 8K video is 7680x4320. That is like 33MP, in the D800/D810 range but with a different aspect ratio. When you shoot 33MP at 30 fps, you can generate a lot of huge files in a hurry. That kind of cameras are not quite available yet. And whether there is really the need for such resolution is debatable.

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