CF Express Cards

If you are one of those photographers that love the sound of a motor drive humming along when shooting, then having the read and write speed to accomodate that is essential. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a type A and type B card. Good question! Let me try to shed some light on this that makes sense because it can be confusing.

What is a CF Card?

CFexpress cards are the latest generation of what was once CompactFlash (CF card). These are high speed memory cards designed to keep up with the demands of the latest cameras in terms of both high-resolution photos and video. CFexpress cards are fast. The maximum theoretical performance of a Type B CFexpress card (the fastest of the three speed classes) is 4,000MB/s; for context, UHS-III SD cards can theoretically manage a little over 600MB/s.

CFExpress Types A and B: What are the differences?

CFexpress Type A cards are the smaller and more compact of the two formats. They resemble the size of traditional SD cards but offer significantly faster speeds. These cards use a USB Type-C interface for connectivity, which is becoming more common in cameras and laptops.

One of the key advantages of CFexpress Type A cards is their size, making them suitable for smaller camera bodies. This format is particularly popular among mirrorless camera users who value portability without sacrificing performance.

On the other hand, CFexpress Type B cards are larger and more robust. They feature a PCIe 3.0 interface, which offers even faster data transfer speeds compared to Type A cards. However, Type B cards are physically larger, resembling the XQD card format that they are intended to replace.

The larger size and PCIe 3.0 interface of CFexpress Type B cards make them suitable for high-end DSLR cameras and professional camcorders, where the physical size of the card is less of a concern compared to the need for maximum performance.

What about write speeds?

One of the primary reasons photographers and videographers opt for CFexpress cards is their exceptional read and write speeds. These cards can handle large files, such as raw video, with ease. However, the performance differs between Type A and Type B cards.

CFexpress Type A cards typically offer read speeds of up to 1000MB/s and write speeds of around 800MB/s. These speeds are still significantly faster than what traditional SD cards can provide. It means smoother workflow, faster data transfer, and quicker access to your photos and videos.

CFexpress Type B cards take the speed game to another level. With read speeds of up to 2000MB/s and write speeds reaching 1700MB/s, they are the go-to choice for professionals working with high-bitrate raw video and high-resolution images. These speeds ensure minimal buffering and reduced waiting times during file transfers.

Applications and consideration for cameras

The choice between CFexpress Type A and Type B largely depends on your camera’s compatibility and your specific photography or videography needs.

If you own a compact mirrorless camera or you prioritize portability and versatility, CFexpress Type A cards are a great choice. These cards are designed for smaller camera bodies and are perfect for on-the-go shooting. They are also compatible with the USB Type-C interface, which is increasingly common in modern camera designs.

Professional photographers and videographers using high-end DSLR cameras or camcorders benefit from CFexpress Type B’s top-tier performance. The PCIe 3.0 interface ensures the fastest possible data transfer rates, which are essential for capturing raw video and handling large image files without interruption.

In summary, CFexpress Type A and Type B offer distinct advantages and are suited to different types of camera systems and shooting needs:

CFexpress Type A:
  • Compact and portable
  • Suitable for mirrorless cameras
  • USB Type-C interface
  • Excellent read and write speeds for most users
  • Ideal for photographers on the go
CFexpress Type B:
  • Larger and robust
  • PCIe 3.0 interface for maximum performance
  • Best for high-end DSLRs and professional camcorders
  • Exceptional read and write speeds for demanding tasks
  • Perfect for raw video and high-resolution photography

Ultimately, the choice between CFexpress Type A and Type B depends on your camera, your shooting style, and your budget. Whichever format you choose, CFexpress cards are a significant step up from traditional SD cards when it comes to speed and performance.

With the ability to handle raw video and high-resolution images with ease, CFexpress is the future of memory cards for professionals. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even faster speeds and greater capacities in the world of memory card formats. So, whether you’re capturing stunning landscapes or shooting cinematic raw video, CFexpress has you covered