Is the XQD memory format dead already? (XQD 2.0 specification announced)

Do you know what is missing from all of the leaked and official Photokina announcements so far? XQD memory cards. Not a single new camera with XQD support was announced. Not even the new, top of the line, Sony a99 and RX1 cameras. This is strange, considering that Sony was the first company to support the XQD standard. Currently the Nikon D4 ($5999) is the only camera to support XQD memory cards.

Today the CompactFlash Association announced "the development of the XQD 2.0 specification, sponsored by Sony Corporation":

Cupertino, California – September 15, 2012 – The CompactFlash Association (CFA) is pleased to announce the development of the XQD 2.0 specification, sponsored by Sony Corporation. The XQD 2.0 specification will be developed in the XQD Technical Workgroup and will leverage the XQD 1.0 specification which was released October 2010. Additional participation in this specification development will be welcomed.

XQD 1.0 cards and connectors are already available in the marketplace. XQD 2.0 will leverage the same connector interface as XQD 1.0 interface for higher performance and backward compatibility. Host manufacturers and media manufacturers will be able to leverage the next generation of PCI Express technology to serve the high performance requirements of this market. The new format will have VPG (Video Performance Guarantee) capability with profiles capable of supporting digital intermediate formats such as ProRes, DPX, and DNXhd.

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  • wayne

    dun think its dead yet since 2.0 will have backward compatibility

    • it was DOA, but everybody was saying that nowadays it is fine to put untested lame product to flagship camera. lol

  • malchick743

    XQD architecture does not seem to work well in DSLR form where CF has been heavily relied on. Simply replacing CF with XQD is not a solution at least for now.

    But for pro video XQD integrates very well, esp. since dedicated Express Card adapters are readily available.

    • I believe you are correct. SD/CF cards have a proven track record for still cameras, but video cameras are still hungry for more storage and speed. I suspected XQD ver. 1 did not quite meet the needs of pro camcorders. XQD Ver. 2 is a refinement that resolves that issue. The press statement says:

      “The new format will have VPG (Video Performance Guarantee) capability with profiles capable of supporting digital intermediate formats such as ProRes, DPX, and DNXhd.”

      Once XQD takes off in the camcorder world (Sony most likely), then the others will follow. In layman’s terms, XQD is actually PCI Express with a connector, physical package and protocol. That means there is already lots chips that support XQD needing just a connector. This won’t go away because PCI Express is all around us.

      When a camera designer selects a card interface, he has to weigh the avalability of cards vs. performance considerations. Right now, only Pro bodies seem to benefit from XQD. But video is a different story. The Black Magic Design camera solved this by using PC Solid State Drives as its only recording media. XQD appears to make much more sense, and as the cards become more common, SLRs will head in that direction. It’s simply a matter of time.

  • Musouka

    Perhaps the lack of backward compatibility is causing its slow adoption. Gear that could take SDXC can also take SDHC. When I bought my Panasonic TM900 over a year ago, SDXC was still quite expensive so I chose SDHC. Earlier this year, the prices came down so I got me a 64GB card.

    With XQD, makers are reluctant to use the format since a single slot cannot take both CF and XQD. They might feel the prices are still too high to justify any gains in speed. And what am I supposed to do with the many CF cards I have amassed across the years?

    • +1
      they should have learned that backward compatibility is what drives whole PC and camera industry so fast up.

      • Ellen Schmidtee

        Exactly the point Apple didn’t get when it killed the Apple IIgs in favour of the Mac, making customers move to Wintel platform.

        • spam

          Apple moved from a failrly open system on the Apple II to almost completely closed on Mac, plus expensive and fairly restricted Mac-systems in the beginning. Backward compatibility would have been nice, but wasn’t technically possible at the time and IMO not the reason for customers going to Wintel (btw, Windows wasn’t used at the time – although theroretically launched fairly early).

      • wublili

        Show me a PC that can take ISA or PCI card in it’s PCI-e slot.

        Things change. Deal with it.

    • spam

      Lack of backward compatibility will always slow down adoption of a new standard, but sometimes they have to sacrifice that to move on. I’m not sure if that was necessary in this case though and was surprised that they came out with a new standard. Only time can tell i XQD will survive or not, so far it don’t look good, but it’s only been available for a year or so.

      If manufacurers want it to succeed then we need dual slot cameras with CF+XQD on high end models and SDXC+XQD on mid level cameras.

  • MB

    XQD is not dead yet.
    The problem is that the “old” standard has not been adopted and there is a new one already, obviously 1.0 was not ready for market when released.
    The only people who should care about this are poor Nikon D4 owners that where obviously involuntary beta testers for the new standard and will have hard time finding cards for now obsolete XQD V1.0 only D4.

  • Lexar apparently does not seem to think it is dead. They announced back in mid-July that they were getting into the XQD card game:

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