Are Sony’s Costly New CFE Type A Cards Solid for Serious Shooting?

Sony 640GB CFexpress Type A cards

Sony’s recently-released prosumer FX30 cinema camera is designed to handle its weighty 4K video recordings through either SDXC or CFexpress Type A cards.

Coincidentally (or not), Sony’s own also-unveiled Type A CFexpress editions might just be the perfect option for this kind of recording.

The new cards from Sony are designed to handle truly enormous amounts of storage and data transfer inside their bite-sized structure; their maximum size tops out at a whopping 640GB.

This is the largest consumer-ready capacity of any memory card of this kind on the market so far. Type A cards are generally less common on the market today and their maximum capacities have typically been smaller than those of their more widely used Type B cousins.

Currently other Type A card makers such as Lexar and ProGrade Digital offer little more than 160 or 320GB. With SD cards, capacities of nearly a terabyte are fairly common and with CFexpress Type B cards, many models have surpassed a terabyte.

However, what CFexpress (CFE) in both its Type A and Type B formats offers is unique because of its future potential.

Though both CFE types are still stuck at a maximum of 2000mb/s transfer speeds and their storage technology is only now reaching more significant levels, future possibilities are major.

Current plans include max storage capacities of dozens or even hundreds of terabytes, and 8GB/s transfer speeds are already in the works. All of these are pieces of excellent news for photographers and even more, videographers.

The new CFE Type A cards, which were first spotted by the site Sony Alpha Rumors, will start shipping as of December and promise plenty of high-quality storage for even the most prolific photographer or cinematographer.

Though they’re pricey, the cards also promise lots of quality. Their transfer speeds top out at a very robust 1000mb/s. CFexpress cards can handle up to 2000mb/s, but the Type A variants are much smaller and better designed for compact cameras of all kinds.

This gives them a nice balance between enormous storage (especially now with these releases), high transfer speed and tiny SD-like size.

In fact, in cameras such as Sony’s FX30, the memory slots are dual-purpose and can accommodate either CFE Type A cards or SD cards, giving photographers plenty of choices.

Many cameras from rival brands like Nikon and Canon instead just offer two different slots, one for SD cards or CFE Type A cards, and another larger slot for CFE Type B cards. Sony’s configuration is simply more compact and practical for certain uses.

More importantly, CFE Type A cards are becoming more popular so you can expect interesting new developments in this area of in-camera photo/video storage. Other brands that now make them include the above-mentioned ProGrade Digital and Lexar. Delkin has also gotten into the act.

Sony’s entry is particularly weighty simply because Sony is itself one of the world’s most important manufacturers of consumer and pro photo and video cameras.

If you’re interested in buying one of the new Sony CFexpress Type A 640GB cards of your own, be ready to stretch your budget by more than a bit. They cost $1,249 at their current preorder price.

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