CFExpress Cards

The Z6, Z6 II, Z7, Z7 II, and Z9 cameras all (can) use CFexpress (CFe) Type B cards. When Nikon first introduced CFe support, very few Type B cards were available. Today, they're readily available and ubiquitous. To the point where it can be confusing. You'll find differences in speed, heat, and whether or not a card can support the Z9's internal 8K raw recording or not. 

Thus I felt it appropriate to somewhere annotate what's available with a few useful notes.

First, about that Z9 8K raw recording: you need a CFe card with a sustained write speed of at least 1300Mbps. That's not necessarily the "write speed" that's printed on the front of the card, so be careful.

Here are the CFe Type B makers and my quick notes about them:

  • Angelbird — a long-time supplier of video storage (RED, Atomos, CFast), they were also one of the first to make CFe Type B cards, too. Current card lines (there was a previous pair that are now superseded) are AV Pro SE (512GB), AV Pro SX (160GB), AV Pro (1TB, 2TB, 4TB), and AV Pro XT (330GB, 660GB, 1320GB). I've had good experiences with their cards. However, note that to access their firmware update capability (unique), you need to have an Angelbird CFe card reader. All but the SE have high sustained write speeds. Heat dissipation is good, though not the very best available.
  • Delkin Devices — a Southern California accessories maker that turned into mostly a storage company, they've been one of the earliest into CFe Type B. They have two lines, Power (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB), and the high sustained write Black (75GB, 150GB, 325GB, 650GB). The Delkin cards tend to run at the lowest temperature of the cards I've used, and have a 48 hour replacement guarantee if you register your card online.
  • Hoodman — another SoCal accessories maker that has a small line of CFe cards. The Steel line comes in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB sizes. 
  • Lexar — While they're still touting the Micron connection, basically all they brought over from Micron were some initial product designs and the name/marketing rights. The company in question is really Longsys, a Chinese maker. They have two lines of cards, Gold (64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB) and the high sustained write capable Diamond (128GB, 256GB). Personally, I've found their cards to run hot, sometimes hot enough to trigger the in-camera warnings and shut the camera down.
  • OWC — A US-based storage manufacturer of all types that has now broadened into CFe cards. The Atlas Pro line (512GB, 1TB, 2TB) and the Atlas Pro Ultra line (320GB, 640GB
  • Pergear — has three basic lines available from Amazon or from their own Web site: Lite (64GB, 128GB), Pro (256GB, 512GB), Ultra (1TB, 2TB). In my experience, the Lite versions are as slow as an XQD card, while the Pro versions seem adequate for still photography. The Ultra versions were just released, so I don't have experience with them. Pergear tends to be the lowest cost source of Type B cards, but in the case of the Lite cards, you get what you pay for.
  • ProGrade — If you're looking for Micron, this is where most of the engineers and sales/marketing team went: they started their own company (still using Micron components for the most part). Like the others, they have two lines of cards, the basic Gold (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB) and high-sustained write Cobalt (165GB, 325GB, 650GB). While originally they tended to be a high price provider, they're now very affordable for their quality. Like Delkin, these cards tend to run at the lowest temperatures in my cameras. 
  • Sandisk — Once a smaller, independent maker of flash-type memory products (including cards), they're now part of the much bigger Western Digital, a large, broad-based storage company that itself is the result of a few acquisitions and mergers. Personally, I felt like the consistency and quality went down somewhere along the line with Sandisk. Where once they were the preferred card brand, these days I'd say not so much. Like some of the other brands, their CFe cards run hot. The Extreme Pro line comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB sizes. Note that Sandisk does not publish sustained write speeds, and instead uses vague marketing term "smooth, RAW 4K video with sustainable performance." That does not include the Z9's 8K raw ;~).
  • Sony — Along with Nikon, the basic progenitor of XQD and CFe, and probably the most experienced card maker as a result. Sony makes a Tough line of cards (which really aren't all that tough) at 128GB, 256GB, 512GB sizes.
  • Wise — A Taiwanese company making a wide range of memory storage products, Wise doesn't break their products down into lines. They currently make 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB cards. The latter three have 400MB/s sustained write performance, which isn't really enough for the Z9's 8K raw video in my experience. 

Other makers exist (Exascend, Nikon, RED, Sabrent, Silicon Power, Transcend, Vaxis) but many tend to be repackaging a product from someone else, and I don't have any real experience with them.

Want my recommendation? Delkin Devices and ProGrade are my favorite cards, have performed exceptionally well for me, and tend to be among the coolest cards (literally) when pushed at their extremes.  

Looking for other photographic information? Check out our other Web sites:
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text and images © 2023 Thom Hogan — All Rights Reserved


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