CompactFlash Association announced XQD – a new memory card standard

The CompactFlash Association announced a new memory card standard called XQD. The new memory cards will be slightly bigger than standard SD cards and provide write speed of 125MB/sec and higher:

CompactFlash Association Announces the Recently Adopted XQD(TM) Specification as a New Memory Card Format

Cupertino, California – Dec. 7th, 2011 – The CompactFlash Association (CFA) is pleased to announce the release of the XQD specification as a new high performance memory card. This XQD specification is based on the PCI Express® specification, which provides a solid base for future performance scaling.

The CFA has adopted a new card specification with exciting performance and storage capabilities.

The key features of the XQD format include:

Optimized form-factor

  • Dimensions : 38.5 x 29.8 x 3.8mm
  • Durable & Robust

Scalable High Performance Interface

  • PCI Express: 2.5Gbps today and 5Gbps Future

Actual Write Speeds

  • Target 125MB/sec and Higher

To distinguish the new memory card format, an XQD compatibility mark has been created as shown below.


“The XQD format will enable further evolution of hardware and imaging applications, and widen the memory card options available to CompactFlash users such as professional photographers,” said Mr. Shigeto Kanda of Canon, chairman of the board, CFA.

XQD cards will be shown at the CompactFlash Association booth at CP+ 2012, February 9-12 in Yokohama, Japan.

Licensing for CFA members will start in early 2012. Please contact the CompactFlash office for more information.

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  • Lars Frederiksen

    Hey, I’m all for a new standard that’s better suited for the future. I just hope that camera manufacturers will embrace the new standard and forget CF and SD, or just adopt ONE of the three across all pricepoints. Oh, that and also embrace the DNG format, so that it’s at least possible to select that on all cameras. Imagine that. One card format for all your stills and video cameras and one output file format for all stills. One can dream.

    • outkasted

      Dream on…Total integration and compatibility will never happen. It creates jobs and wealth. Sure a standard can be set (it always has) however you will always someone that can make it better and give you an alternative. Its called Innovation. 🙂

  • Sarge

    Too little and too late for consumer cameras. Only really useful for high-end DSLRs with high pixel-counts and video. SDXC is ubiquitous and SD slots are in many computers now… not CF.

  • J-Man

    I want USB3 or Thunderbolt, a newer codec to replace jpg that can handle HDR, and a screaming fast card, then I’ll be happy.

    • Darklight

      I want tethered shooting with my Sony’s….

  • Stepper

    Why can’t we all just adopt the Sony Memory Stick and be done with it – LOL!… JUst kidding.

    • Mike

      Or Olympus’ XD card. Because, you know, Olympus is going places. ;-). Seriously though, is this the beginning of the end for CF card standard? I suspect we’ll this in Canon video camera’s first.

  • kaze kaze


    I’ve got a better idea, reintroduced the MD (mini disk by sony for those whom were too young to have heard about it), why not, given floppy (3 1/2 inch disk) was the storage-device-of-choice in the early digital camera era… oh wait… sh&^, I think I’ve just exposed my age by remembering those good old days…

    • Mike

      No, while you’re at, let’s re-introduce the 5 1/4″ floppy, floppy disk. In ’87 I was in grade 7. Think I paid $11 for one. 🙂

      • kaze kaze


        problem with 5 1/4 is that it exceed any compact DSLR body, unless on external drive…?
        lol… 11 bucks in grade 7, I remembered now, you must be the kid who stole my lunch money T_T

  • 103david

    Oh, great, yet another media type with no discernable actual new benefit. Just when the world was figuring out the fundamental error of closed-box propriety thinking (hello Sony and Olympus) someone has the bright idea to reinvent the (almost as good as what we already have) wheel.
    As to my favorite Ex-formats, well, let’s face it, it’s tough to beat the Smart Media card:
    Delicate, slow,delicate, hideously vulnerable external contacts, delicate, prone to being snapped in half, delicate, truly teeny capacity, delicate, unexpandable capacity…(did I mention they were also kind of delicate?)
    But then, we could all wax profound on other past winning formats: There was disc film from our (too big to fail) friends at Kodak, and then there was…
    love, David

    • fred

      PCI-based CF has reached its transfer rate limit, so PCIe-based XQD comes along. Are you protesting against PCIe also?

  • Craig

    Back on topic…….if the new format will actually write at the reported 125MB/sec that would be fantastic!

    • They say it could go even higher.

  • JLK

    XQD? “Let’s throw some cool sounding letters together and call it a day.” Going for a triple word score? What is up with that?

    • Cass Roads

      Apparently new photography product names need to pass an international regulatory board to determine if they have enough “X”. Sony NEX, Samsung NX, Fuji X100 and X10, Olympus XZ-1, Canon 1DX, Panasonic GX-1, and now XQD cards. At least it’s not yet as bad as the overused “D” for digital. Heard of someone who was recommended a 40D and came home with a D40.

    • Biziclop

      They chose XQD because all other Three Letter Acronyms were already taken.

  • mark

    Name is not complicated enough.

  • Vince

    If someone (admin?) could please elaborate on this statement…

    ““The XQD format will enable further evolution of hardware and imaging applications, and widen the memory card options available to CompactFlash users such as professional photographers,” said Mr. Shigeto Kanda of Canon, chairman of the board, CFA.”

    That reads as though the new standard will be backward compatible with the existing standard, yet it appears to be a different size. Any idea how to clarify that?

    • Stu McConaghy

      Don’t try to read sense into marketing speak. You’ll get a tummy ache.

    • 103David

      How ’bout we simplify the XQD shortspeak to the appropriate BS name?

    • No, I think they are just saying that the next generation of cameras will have slots for XQD memory cards (Nikon D4 for example).

      • broxibear

        “XQD cards will be shown at the CompactFlash Association booth at CP+ 2012, February 9-12 in Yokohama, Japan.”
        That means this is where you’ll see the D4 for the first time, they aren’t going to announce a card with no camera to show you how fast it is ?

  • Stepper

    I have a super idea. They should make a camera s with USB 3.0 thumbdrives.
    As long as they are as slim and compact as possible I think it would be neat!

  • Discontinued

    SD (plus the new XQD) will stay a while. CF will be first to vanish.

  • Camaman

    Man if cameras came with 16 or 32gb versions, sales of removable media and these stupid standards would drop 90%
    That would be the day…

  • Hmp

    The first media was a vhs in 75 wasnt it?

  • So if I read this right these new cards won’t fit into the SD card slot most laptops seem to have nowadays?

    Not very helpful for a speedy adoption I should think…

  • sam

    why not a 500 go hard drive in the cam. No more cards.

    • sdfasdf

      Yeah, I don’t get it… is it difficult to crame an ssd inside a dslr?!?! and put a thunderbolt or usb3 connection?!?

  • Hope this is the real deal for those who need a faster and larger capacity card, but like others have said, why?

    I think the time has come for camera manufacturers to have a “normal” internal memory. A 200gb or so would be fine for just about any gig or for a few gigs.


  • Bart

    Too bad it’s only XQD…adding a Z to the name would have made it eXQuiZiD. 😛

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