More than a year after it announced them, Nikon has officially launched its XQD memory cards in the United States. This is unfortunate timing for Nikon, which must compete with the new wave of CFexpress cards being released by a number of major competitors, including SanDisk and ProGrade.
Nikon offers a number of camera models that support XQD cards, which are physically smaller than CF with ample storage space, rapid speeds and a high level of durability. Here to challenge them is the CFexpress successor, which has largely eclipsed XQD due to its faster speeds.
A number of CFexpress memory cards are already available to preorder and, in the case of SanDisk, to purchase. That hasn’t stopped Nikon from bringing its branded XQD cards to the U.S. through B&H Photo, however, where they’re now available to preorder in 64GB capacity at $129.95 each.
Given the availability of similarly-priced CFEXpress media, this release casts doubt on whether we’ll see a promised firmware update for CFE support to Nikon’s XQD-compatible models in the near-term future.
CFexpress Type B cards feature the same form factor as XQD cards, meaning they physically fit in cameras made for XQD. However, in order to actually use CFE cards in these XQD cameras, manufacturers must release firmware updates that add support for the newer cards. Nikon promised that CFExpress compatibility would be added to key models in an announcement earlier this year, but the update has yet to become available.