I’ll be honest, it’s hard to get excited about memory cards sometimes. But the ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type A card is one you seriously can be excited about if you’re a passionate photographer. And even if you’re not receiving gainful financial compensation from photography, this could be the card for you. We’ve tested a bunch of the new Sony cameras that take the new format. And each and every time, we noticed the same thing.
The Essentials of the ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type A
- Smaller than an SD card
- Fits into the same slot as an SD card
- Writes at 700 megabytes a second
- Reads at 800 megabytes a second
- You’re going to be impressed at how fast your computer will read it with the right card reader.
- Incredibly durable
- 160 GB capacity is perfect for the sports shooter, the wildlife photographer, or the portrait photographer who sprays and prays.
Sony’s History of Changing Things
Sony has a long history of randomly changing things. If you’ve been shooting for a long time, then you probably remember the memory stick duo. There were other card formats too. XQD and CFExpress Type B can be found in a few options from other camera manufacturers. But Sony is the only one to use CFExpress Type A right now. Make no mistake, the SDCard is sticking around to be the standard for most photographers. But don’t be surprised if more cameras start using cards like the ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type-A.
The CFExpress Type A Advantage
Look through all the specs of comparably priced SDXC cards. It’s probably not going to be fast in either writing or reading. At least, we couldn’t find one in our research when writing this article. To be clear, we’d recommend you not use dual CFExpress cards: stick to one. In one card slot, you should have an SD card of some sort. I say this because experience has taught me not to get two of the same card type. Typically, you’ll have more variety of what you can connect to when exporting photos from the card. I’m not a huge fan of connecting my camera directly to my iMac to extract the images, as a lot can go wrong. And, quite honestly, I can be a bit paranoid.
If anything, shoot your RAWs to the ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type A and JPEGs to an SD card of some sort. I to do this because I shoot in a way that doesn’t require me to edit all the time.
Would I be fine using only SD cards? Theoretically, yes! But if I’m photographing wildlife for a review, I can potentially give myself fewer issues with things like buffering. Typically I’d shoot in the AF-C mode with animal or bird autofocus detection activated. In a situation like that, I’d shoot in burst mode. When shooting portraits, I tend to be more conservative and shoot one photo at a time. If you’re a slower shooter, I don’t think the ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type A will make a lot of sense for you. But if you shoot a lot of frames very fast, and very often, then this is one of the best cards you can get.
Essentials is a series featuring products we’re currently lusting over in quick, easy-to-digest posts.