What is XQD and Why Should I Use it?
XQD is a media card format that was designed to be a successor to the CompactFlash (CF) card. XQD has been adopted by Nikon and was first incorporated into the D4 and D4S and subsequently into the D5, D500 and D850 DSLRs and Z 7 and Z 6 full-frame mirrorless cameras.
The XQD format is designed to take advantage of the speed that these cameras can offer photographers. For instance, the Nikon Z 6 can shoot at 12 frames per second and can record up to 34 uncompressed, high-resolution NEF/RAW images in a single continuous burst.
Faster speed and higher capacity
The two main benefits of the XQD format are its blazing fast read/write speeds (current and proposed for the future) and high-capacity storage limit. The cards were introduced with a read/write speed of 125 MB/s [N series], and currently have a read/write speed of 440MB/400MB/s [Sony G Series]. Future series cards will be able to go as high as 1GB/s. The projected maximum storage capacity of the card format is over 2TB.
For photographers shooting sports, action and other fast-paced events or videographers capturing 4K UHD video, it is vital to have a media card format that can keep up with the camera. XQD is the solution.
Powerful cameras require a powerful storage solution
CompactFlash (CF) can only be developed to a specific speed and capacity. The format simply won’t be able to support the shooting speeds and high capacity of RAW images and video that future cameras will require.
As cameras can offer faster and faster continuous shooting rates and longer video recording times, the media cards need to keep up, otherwise your camera becomes slowed down or limited by the card.
CompactFlash cards will max out at write speeds of 167 MB/s. The XQD media card format uses a PCI Express 3.0 interface that writes at 400MB/s and theoretically will be able to offer read/write speeds of up 1 GB/s.
Get a bonus XQD Card with the Nikon Z Series*
For a limited time only, the new Nikon Z 6 is available with a bonus 32GB XQD Card & Reader valued at $159, and the new Nikon Z 7 is available with a bonus 64GB XQD Card valued at $227.
CFexpress compatibility with Nikon Z Series Cameras
The Nikon Z Series will continue to adapt to changing user needs through the development and roll-out of firmware updates to meet and exceed creative expectations.
As well as continuing to support XQD Cards, CFexpress cards will also be made compatible with the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 in an upcoming firmware update. CFexpress cards have the same form-factor as XQD cards but will offer even faster read/write speeds in the future. Thanks to fast PCle 3.0 pipelines, theoretical read/write speeds of up to 8 GB/s are possible in future iterations of CF Express.
More details, including the release date of the new firmware update will be shared at a later date.