About XQD Cards
Primarily developed for professional-grade photography and videography, XQD cards were first unveiled by Nikon, SanDisk and Sony in late 2010. Following this announcement, the format was immediately picked up for development by the CompactFlash Association.
With sky-high read/write speeds and maximum storage capabilities of 2TB and above, XQD cards are targeted at high-definition camcorders and high-resolution digital photo cameras.
What are the advantages of XQD cards?
XQD memory cards offer three significant benefits when it comes to capturing high-quality digital video or still imagery:
Read and write speeds
The upper read and write speed of XQD cards is significantly higher than CF or SanDisk cards. That means you won't find yourself waiting around for the camera buffer (the memory that holds data until it can be written to the memory card) to empty before capturing more footage. This allows for images to be produced rapidly in the camera's highest resolution.
Reliable corruption protection
The risk of an XQD card failing is much lower than with other memory cards. Claimed to be resistant to shock, magnets, breakage and static, they are able to function at full capacity in extreme temperatures and brush off exposure to airport X-rays. The outer shell is harder than earlier cards, which helps to prevent flexing or bending during transport, and the contact pins are recessed to protect against dust and electrostatic shock damage. These are some of the most common causes of memory card corruption.
We're not saying that an XQD card will never go wrong, but they're designed to endure prolonged heavy usage without breaking down or losing performance.
An obvious but important factor, XQD memory cards offer huge storage capacity. You'll need all of that space given the capabilities of the latest digital cameras and camcorders. If you're shooting in uncompressed 14-bit, get used to having single image files of up to 100MB in size. Memory cards with smaller storage capacities simply wouldn't be able to cope.
Are XQD cards backward-compatible?
XQD cards were designed to replace the existing CompactFlash standard, which was 16 years old at the time the cards were announced. As such, they are not backward-compatible with either CompactFlash or CFast cards.