XQD availability?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Rick Helmke, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. Evening everyone,

    I paid a visit to my local camera store this afternoon to pick up a very well done wedding album. While there I was looking for several items one of which is at least one XQD card for my D4. I have yet to be able to buy one locally and am wondering if they are in short supply. This store keeps very good inventory for anything else I need but so far no luck with this item. I know they are on order and am certain the local demand for them is not so great that they sell out almost immediately so I wonder if there is some kind of shortage? Thanks.

    Rick H.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have 8 XQD cards; all of which are from B&H. Both Adorama and B&H have Sony XQD cards in stock. Lexar cards are in short supply, but Adorama has 32G ones in stock. Unfortunately it looks like prices have gone up lately.

    XQD is still a niche item. Only a few high-end Nikon DSLRs plus a few Sony camcorders use them. Does your local store have D5 in stock?
  3. The G series 128GB one seems to be in stock at B&H.

    The D850 is popular, and its big files and high fps rates eat XQD cards like there is no tomorrow. ;) Since Lexar temporarily stopped making cards as the ownership changed this may have affected card availability (and increased demand for Sony cards).
  4. No they don't keep the D5 in stock, not a big business and I expect keeping $ tied up with that inventory doesn't work for them. I've bought most of the high end bodies in the Nikon line from them though. They do keep new and used from both Canon and Nikon, bodies through D850 and Canon at the same level as well as all kinds of glass, flashes and anything else I've needed. I thought the XQD cards would be in wider use than they apparently are. I need some for my D4 and like to do business locally if possible and practical. Comes to it though I'll be ordering from B&H probably.

    Rick H.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  5. Lexar are still having supply problems it seems.

    Meanwhile Sony XQD prices have risen.

    It appears the Nikon D850 is the most popular selling camera in a major Japanese store. Shame it can only be fed cards from one supplier!

    Not that it means much, but if I type Lexar XQD into Amazon UK all you get are Sony cards. if you search the rest of the UK, there are NO Lexar cards in stock.

    Seems my Post about such things exactly a month ago is still relevant.....;)

    Lexar XQD dead... Again!
  6. It seems the Sony G series 64GB XQD card has gone up in price by about 20% in the US stores since July when I got two of those in anticipation of getting the D850. In Finland the cards are >2x as expensive as in the US (even though I often buy lenses and cameras from local stores I don't buy memory cards from them because they're robbing the customer on such items, always have been).
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Mike, I wish you would stop posting this false information to this forum over and over. Clearly Lexar has some difficulty supplying sufficient XQD cards, but on October 31 last year, Lexar had made it very clear that they would continue to manufacture XQD cards: Lexar responds to rumors: will continue making XQD memory cards

    As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, Adorama had the 32G Lexar XQD cards in stock, and they still do today:
    Lexar Pro 2933X XQD

    B&H indicates that the 64G version of the Lexar XQD is expected to be available in 7 to 14 days:
    Lexar 64GB 2933x XQD 2.0 Memory Card LXQD64GCRBNA2933 B&H Photo
    That completely contradicts the so called "news" from rumor sites.

    I had asked Rick the OP about whether his local store has the Nikon D5 in stock. If they don't, it sounds like they are not a store that stocks high-end items. In that case I am not that surprised that they don't have XQD cards, which is still a niche item.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
  8. erik_christensen|3

    erik_christensen|3 Self-employed

    Sony obviously apply the same price policy all over Scandinavia - 128gb is USD 400. The demand of the XQD must be big even it is a niche product, as you can find them 2nd hand on Ebay at B&H prices + 20% !!
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  9. Prices have been rising, though not uniformly, for CF cards too. Last September, I bought a Lexar 64GB 1066x CF card for $60. Right now, the same card is $85, but it was $95 a week ago. Seems that supply of NAND chips has been somewhat constrained for a few months.
  10. It's still relevant here in Europe.:(

    I linked to my own post and haven't been to 'Those Rumor Sites' since.:)
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  11. So, does anyone using XQD cards notice a meaningful difference in performance over a fast SD(XC) card?

    I think it's telling that even Sony themselves don't fit XQD slots in any of their still cameras. Not even the 20 FPS Alpha9. Surely 20 x 24 Megapixels needs faster storage than 9 x 45.4Mp?
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Absolutely. On my D500 I use one XQD card and an UHS-II SanDisk SD card, which is either the latest 300Mb/sec or an older 280Mb/sec one. I typically use the backup mode to write each NEF file onto both cards.

    For XQD I have several Sony and Lexar ones, all are the current fastest versions.

    If I shoot birds in flight “machine gun” style at 10fps, lossless compressed RAW, after a long sequence like 7, 8 seconds, the D500’s buffer can become full and the frame rate will slow down; the bottleneck is the SD card. That would never happen on the D5, which is also 20MP just like the D500, but the D5 uses two XQD cards and is faster at 12fps.

    I have considered giving up the backup mode and only use the XQD slot on the D500 to avoid this problem, but at least in my case the D500 buffer full issue is pretty rare. Meanwhile, after almost two years, I still have never had any XQD card failures.

    One thing to keep in mind is that a 64G SanDisk UHS-II card is more expensive than a 64G XQD, although they are pretty much even now with the recent price increase. Unfortunately some CF and SD prices have also gone up recently. My newer UHS-II SD card is more expensive than the one I bought two years ago; both are 64G SanDisk. The old version is discounted and the new one a tiny bit faster.

    However, to me, the main advantage for XQD is not the speed. Rather they are far more robust than the fragile SD, which are physically too thin and I have lost count of how many I have cracked. But SD are smaller and are more suitable for smaller cameras. The only Nikon bodies than have two CF or XQD slots (including one each) are the D3, D4, and D5 series; they are all huge.

    BTW, only a few high-end mirrorless cameras have dual SD slots; most still use only one SD. I think space is the issue. And for those with two SD slots, only one SD slot is UHS-II compatible. (I won’t claim that I have checked the specs for every latest mirrorless body, but among the ones I have, only one SD slot is UHS-II.)
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  13. "That would never happen on the D5, which is also 20MP just like the D500, but the D5 uses two XQD cards and is faster at 12fps."

    - Imaging Resource claims a buffer size of 27 shots (RAW + JPEG) for the D500, and 74 shots for the D5. Is the difference really down to a card bottleneck then?

    If so, then giving up the backup mode should solve any speed issue. But then again, does writing to 2 cards take more processing/storage time anyway?

    And isn't a 70 to 80 shot burst sufficient?

    "Meanwhile, after almost two years, I still have never had any XQD card failures."

    - After several more years, I've never had an SD card failure either. Nor snapped a single one in half. I imagine it must take about as much pressure to do that as to crush or pop the end cap off a 35mm film cassette.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    First of all, I don't shoot RAW + JPEG, which is a waste of resources to me.

    I shoot lossless compressed RAW, and at 10fps on the 20MP D500, any latest Sony or Lexar XQD card can receive those NEF files faster than the D500 can generate, such that buffer size is irrelevant. In other words, if I only use the XQD card in the D500, the buffer will never be full. Theoretically I can keep shooting at 10fps until the memory card is full or the battery is exhausted, or the camera fails.

    If I only use one UHS-II SD card, e.g. the 300Mb/sec SanDisk, the D500 can capture about 70 images (i.e. 7 seconds at 10fps) before the buffer is full and the camera will slow down to about 5.7fps, which is slow for action photography but not a disaster. When I write to both cards, the slower SD is the bottleneck and the D500 has the same limitation as using the SD card alone.

    A 70-shot burst is pretty good most of the time, but when there is continuous action, sometimes that is not sufficient. That plus the fact that the D500 doesn't quite have Nikon's top-of-the-line AF capability means it is not my first choice for serious action photography.

    To me, it doesn't matter whether someone else has problems with SD cards or not. I have lost a few of them and have also damaged several of them over the years. IMO they are simply too small and too fragile. The flip side is that SD cards are convenient for those smaller mirrorless cameras. I have never lost any CF card or damaged them either, but I have damaged the pins on a CF card reader, although thankfully not the CF pins inside any DSLR CF slot myself. Therefore, I am glad that Nikon no longer uses CF in their new cameras (although still an option for the D5).
  15. Depends on one's definition of "meaningful". I do not have - nor do I plan on getting - an SD UHS-II card; they are too expensive and even their highest rated ones don't come close to the speed of the highest rated Sony and Lexar XQD cards (which are fairly similar). Thus my fastest SD card is still the SanDisk Extreme Pro 95/MB/s (which write at about 85MB/s). For comparison, the fastest UHS-II card will be about twice as fast, the fastest XQD more than 3 times.

    While I do not shoot 7-8s bursts (like Shun) on my D500, I do not use the backup mode since the SD card will slow things down too much, limiting bursts to about 30-35 (3-3.5s) before the slow SD cards forces the buffer to fill up and the camera to slow down (doesn't matter if I shoot RAW (lossless compressed) or RAW+JPEG with the JPEGs on the SD card). With just the XQD card, the buffer never plays a role and one can go on forever (not quite, there's a Nikon-imposed limit of 200).

    To me the "meaningful" difference is that I do not have to worry about the buffer on the D500 despite it being the highest performing DSLR I have ever owned. In fact, I only had two DSLR where I ever an against the buffer limitations: D200 and the truly awful in that regard D7100. And I had my D810 (backup mode) slow down on some rare occasions when I was shooting a longish burst (but I am not using the fastest CF card either).

    I, for one, would have welcomed had Nikon furnished the D500 with two XQD card slots as it is impossible to have cards of equal performance in both slots and two XQD cards would be significantly cheaper than one XQD and one (inferior) SD UHS-II.

    A9: unless one uses the 2nd slot for backup or to store JPEGs, the 130 frame buffer (RAW uncompressed with the fastest SD UHS-II) should be sufficient (even though it takes 45s to clear if it does fill up); there would be no limitation had Sony chosen to use XQD instead. There's some reduction in frames when the 2nd card slot is used, the main drawback is that IF the buffer does fill, then the time to clear nearly doubles from the above figure. Seems that Sony's use of only one UHS-II slot doesn't have much of an effect: Sony A9 SD Card Comparison UHS-I vs UHS-II and Recommended Memory Cards for Alpha 9 Mirrorless Digital Camera - Camera Memory Speed Comparison & Performance tests for SD and CF cards

    SD cards: have not lost or damaged one but they do seem fragile.

    To me so far it is - which doesn't mean I won't have a situation where it won't. Incidentally, if I were to replace my SanDisk SD UHS-I with an UHS-II, I would eliminate the bottleneck with using the 2nd slot - at a cost of $240+ for a 128GB card. Not all SD cards perform equally: Nikon D500 XQD and SD UHS-II Card Performance comparison test for continuous shooting, buffer and write speed - Camera Memory Speed Comparison & Performance tests for SD and CF cards

    Maybe the days of XQD are already numbered - CFexpress will have the XQD form factor and might even be usable in an XQD slot (aka backwards compatible).
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  16. FWIW, one recent comparison seemed to show the 1Dx2 managing not to run out of buffer at all, when the D5 did with an apparently top-of-the-line XQD - despite the 1Dx2's slightly higher frame rate. Which suggests either that the D5 isn't using the interface as well as it could have done, or the current XQD cards aren't doing as good a job as the CFast cards. I don't know when the camera is the limitation; I'm curious how much the technology is moving on. 95Mb/s was the limit for UHS-I for a long time, as was 1066x CF. The latest cards are clearly faster, but I don't know whether they're continuing to speed up.

    That said, while I occasionally hit the buffer, I've only had a real problem once, and that was trying to use an Eye-Fi as a back-up SD card and recording raw to it.
  17. I have given up trying to get a QXD without being gouged - so got a really nice SD card instead and spent the money I would have been (over)charged on a 50mm f1.4 lens. No regrets.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Andrew, do you have any link to that comparison? It is difficult to comment on it without knowing the test parameters.

    As Dieter and I pointed out above, on the 20MP D500, which tops at 10fps, if I shoot 14-bit lossless compressed RAW, the current Sony and Lexar XQD cards that can process about 440Mb/sec can record images faster than the D500 can generate. Therefore buffer size doesn't matter at all and it can never be full.

    The D5 is also 20MP but can go up to 12 fps, and I have never filled up its buffer either after 2 years.

    The Canon 1DX Mark 2 is also 20MP but can go up to 14 fps. However, it has one CFast slot and one CF slot, both have inferior technology than XQD. I would be surprised that the CF card is not a bottleneck, but again, without knowing the test details, it is difficult to comment.

    In any case, since SATA in CFast is pretty much obsolete, the future will be CExpress that uses PCI Express just like XQD, The thing is that for still photography, even XQD already has a write speed faster than what the D500 can capture, I wonder what will require CExpress, which will certainly be more expensive than XQD at least initially. Maybe 8K video?
  19. CFast cards have faster than XQD card speeds printed on them but actual real world test that I could find show that their performance in the 1DXII is nowhere near those numbers (half at best) and actually slower than numbers obtained for XQD in a D5 (but still faster than UHS-II SD - not surprisingly since the specs for CFast cards claim almost twice the speed of UHS-II cards (note, always looking at the fastes card of each category available)). Specs for fastest XQD: 440MB/s, fastest CFast: 510-560MB/s, fastest UHS-SD: 300MB/s. Technically, XQD could do 1GB/s while CFast max is 600MB/s.
    Actually MB/s.
  20. Sorry, that took a while to find. Apparently I stumbled across it on YouTube rather than the usual sites I go to. It's here, anyway. I don't know how authoritative it is.

    I'm sure the quoted card speeds are fast enough; what I'm less clear on is how close to that rate the cards get given image data, and how close to it the camera can drive. I'm not really objecting to XQD, but I'd like to feel that the technology is progressing, since I've not really seen XQD cards with numbers on the front increasing significantly. But since I'm still saving for a D850, I've not been looking that closely.

Share This Page