The Best CFexpress Memory Cards in 2022

CFexpress has finally taken off and several companies are now producing a wide variety of capacities at varying price points. But with so many choices, which one should you buy?

CFexpress Type B is, at present, the most common “next generation” memory card format and has almost totally won over the SD Association’s faulty SD Express format despite its great promise. While CFexpress Type A also comes into its own, only Sony uses the format in its mirrorless cameras and at the time of publication only three companies produce this card format.

When more become available, this guide will also include CFexpress Type A, but for now both options from ProGrade Digital and Sony work identically. PetaPixel did not receive Delkin’s option to test.

All of the other camera companies besides Sony that have updated to the newest and most capable memory card format use Type B, and as such there are many more options on the market. .

But all that performance comes at a literal cost: CFexpress Type B cards can get quite expensive. To save you from making the wrong decision, we’ve created a rigorous multi-stage test to put CFexpress cards through their paces and help you make the best buying decisions.

Below is a list of all CFexpress Type B cards included in our tests:

PetaPixel will update these results periodically as we get more cards, so be sure to bookmark this story and come back when you’re ready to make a purchase.

The tests

To assess the best performing cards, we put each one through a series of tests. In case a card manufacturer also provides a card reader, we have used these paired products. If a company has not provided PetaPixel with one reader, testing was performed on the ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B and SD UHS-II Dual Card Reader.

First, we tested the cards with Blackmagic Speed ​​Test to get numbers on the average maximum read and write speeds you can expect when loading and unloading data on a computer. We then filled the cards to more than three quarters of each capacity and retested the speed to ensure that adding data to the cards did not affect performance. These tests provide us with a baseline level of performance to expect.

The second test goes beyond peak speeds and looks at sustained speeds, which are much more difficult for memory card manufacturers to achieve consistently high numbers. These tests are performed with HD Tune, one of the few industry-standard benchmark tests for measuring memory performance, and are presented as an average of read and write speed performance, called transfer speed.

In the third test, we put all the cards in a Canon EOS R5 and told it to record in 8K RAW for as long as possible. The R5 will overheat after about 20 minutes of recording at this resolution, so if the card is able to continuously record this data for that long without dropping any viewable frames, we recorded it as a “PASS”. Basically, if the card is able to record as long as the camera is able to send data to it, a photographer or videographer is unlikely to have a problem with the cards in the field.

The final test is most relevant for photographers. We tested how many seconds we could fire a Canon R5 at maximum frame rate and resolution before hitting buffer limits. We asked the camera to record both RAW and the highest quality JPEGs to load it with as much data as possible. This test was performed three times and the results were averaged.

The results

Disk speed tests

CFexpress Type B Maximum read and write speeds

In this test, the higher the better. The top performers here go to Delkin and AngelBird based on peak read and write performance, although several cards performed very well. Acer’s Gold-series and Prograde cards gave the worst performance here, but with speeds that are by no means “bad”.

Sustained disk speed tests

CFexpress Type B Supported Transfer Speeds

In this test, higher is better and three brands stood out: SanDisk Extreme Pro, ProGrade Digital Cobalt and Delkin Black Series. Delkin, in particular, rated the highest sustained transfer speed of all the cards we tested. Acer scored the worst here because the gap between its best and worst transfer speeds during the benchmark was very wide.

EOS R5 8K RAW Video Recording Test Results:

  • SanDisk Extreme Pro

    PASS

  • ProGrade Digital Gold

    PASS

  • ProGrade Digital Cobalt

    PASS

  • Acer

    PASS

  • Angelbird AV PRO

    PASS

  • Delkin Black Series Appliances

    PASS

We have yet to test a CFexpress Type B card that is unable to meet the Canon R5’s 8K RAW recording requirements. Either way, the R5 overheated before a memory card failed.

Photo burst test

CFexpress photo burst time

In this test, the higher the better. ProGrade Digital Cobalt, Angelbird AV PRO and Delkin Black were all within the margin of error, although Delkin took the overall victory with an average of 19.43 seconds of continuous shooting before filling the buffer. ProGrade was hot on its heels with 19.4 seconds.

Insights, takeaways and recommendations

Now might be a good time to mention why the speeds we saw in testing are a far cry from the speeds the companies put on the box. Almost all CFexpress cards promise read speeds of 1700MB/s or better, but the best we’ve seen didn’t even reach peak speeds of 900MB/s or exceed 400MB/s in speed. sustained.

Indeed, these top speeds were most likely achieved in lab environments with the SSD bus plugged directly into a host PC. Although this gives the absolute maximum performance that silicon is capable of producing, it is also not close to a real situation. Our tests aim to give you a better idea of ​​what to really expect.

Prograde digital memory card and reader

Video performance

On to the good news: every card we tested performed to our satisfaction when it came to recording high-resolution video data. Every card, regardless of speeds promised, was able to ingest 8K RAW video footage until the camera overheated, meaning it’s highly unlikely anyone would experience any issues with the cards while streaming. field shooting — the camera will fail before the map does.

Even if a card doesn’t even come close to the promised maximum read or write speeds listed on the side of the box (which none of them did, by the way), it didn’t matter. not important. For video, Acer, which promised the least in terms of read and write speed, achieved the same performance as Angelbird, which promised the most.

It should be noted that some of these brands promise high sustained write speeds, but none of them seem to qualify for the Compact Flash Association’s VPG400 certification which requires sustained speeds of 400MB/s – which probably explains why none of them have this certification unlike the last card. from Exascend or Lexar, which we have not tested because they are not yet available. So, while AngelBird promises very high and sustained speeds on its website and in its marketing materials, we were unable to replicate these using off-the-shelf software.

Angelbird memory card and reader

That said, there might be a reason for it. Angelbird is extremely picky about cards designed for cameras, which could mean that it has some sort of special setting to work better with cameras than computer software. It sounds like a stretch, but we have no way of telling.

For the most part, these cards were all fairly consistent in performance during our benchmarking, with the exception of Acer, which was much more frantic in that it goes from high to low speeds and gives us pause in recommending it for video workflows.

Photographic performance

However, some brands have separated themselves from the pack in the photography section, and there are clearly winners and losers when it comes to long periods of burst photo performance.

Almost every card we tested would be able to handle what we consider “normal” burst shooting. It’s very rare for a photographer to need to shoot continuously for 20 seconds and more likely to shoot in bursts of five to seven seconds with a few seconds of inactivity in between. As such, the only card we’d recommend buyers steer clear of is ProGrade’s Gold Series, which won’t be able to meet what we consider to be realistic photo burst requirements.

The best options

All of this means that of the cards we’ve tested, we recommend using a href=”https://www.adorama.com/idssdcfe512g.html?kbid=67085″ rel=”norewrite sponsored”>Extreme Pro from SanDisk, AV PRO from Angelbird, the Cobalt series from ProGrade Digital or the Black series from Delkin. These cards showed excellent performance in video and photo tests as well as in our desktop benchmarking. You’ll be sure to pick up one of these, so buy what’s on sale.

Of these, if capacity is your biggest concern, Angelbird is probably the best bet as it’s currently the only brand to offer a whopping 4TB on a single card. But if you force our hand and have us declare an overall winner…

The best CFexpress Type B card in 2022

If you are looking to buy the best card with the most reliable performance, we recommend Delkin Devices Black Series. In all tests, Delkin scored the most performance wins in our computing benchmarks as well as real-world use cases.

Delkin Devices CFexpress card in reader

It’s also the most recent CFexpress card to be announced, giving us hope that upcoming cards from competitors will continue to raise the performance bar. Its only downside is the capacity where Delkin offers a maximum of 650 GB.

PetaPixel’s choice: Delkin Devices Black Series CFexpress Type B Memory Card

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