What Card Should You Get?

With the Z6 II and Z7 II now out in the wild and lots of new Z's that came as Christmas presents, it's time for some card advice:

  • If you bought a Z6 II or Z7 II, buy CFe (CFexpress) cards. Also buy a CFe card reader. You're basically setting yourself up for the future and ignoring the past. For the second slot, make sure you have fast UHS-II SD cards: the camera is only as fast as the slowest card in the camera, and the SD card will always be the slowest card, so make sure you've got fast ones.
  • If you bought a Z6 or Z7, things are more complicated. If you can find a really good deal on XQD cards, sure, consider them, as they perform best in the camera. Otherwise, just stick with CFe.

While it's nice that XQD transitioned to CFe in a reasonable way and Nikon users benefited from this, the transition isn't without issues. The big one tends to be card readers. There have been three distinct sets of card readers (and a fourth that's rare). Original XQD readers don't support XQD 2.0 cards, XQD 2.0 readers don't support CFe cards, and CFe readers don't typically support XQD cards (though there are some rare exceptions that usually require drivers be installed on your computer). 

Thus, a Z6, Z6 II, Z7, or Z7 II user really should consider standardizing on one form of card (and thus, one card reader). The general advice in the bullets, above, is that the older Z6 and Z7 users should just stick with XQD, the new Z6 II and Z7 II users should start and standardize on CFe. It just makes your life easier. As it is, I've had to retire some XQD cards (1.0) and carry two card readers (XQD 2.0 and CFe) just to manage my current card situation. Not optimal, but bearable. My advice is to avoid the aggravation and standardize, if possible.

See also The Card Situation in the Accessories section

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