XQD Report

I’m getting lots of questions about XQD. Be patient grasshoppers, by the end of the week I should have everything I need to do a full set of testing across all the available cards.

But some quick answers:

  • What card comes with the D5? I received a Sony 32GB G series with reader (QD-G32A is the part number). 
  • Does it make a difference which XQD card I use? I’ll have the full answer to that soon, but the fast speed and large buffer on the D5 means that most people aren’t going to be hitting the difference between a 200MB/s max write card and a 350MB/s max write card. 
  • How do I carry XQD cards? I’ve been using existing card carrying cases, such as the ThinkTank ones. But the B&H D500 wish list [advertiser link] I put together has a very nice carrying case made specifically for XQD.
  • Does it make a difference which XQD reader I use? Maybe. These cards can be wicked fast (400MB/s read). But if you’re running them with readers via USB 2.0 you can certainly lose some of that speed. The reader provided with the D5 is USB 3.0, and you should use USB 3.0 if you can. Beyond that, you’ll have to wait until I have more readers to test.
  • Does XQD have a write protect tab? No.

Curiously, the early responses from both users and dealers I’ve gotten show that quite a few of you opted for CompactFlash. Indeed, probably more than Nikon had initially planned for, though as far as I know there are no shortages of CF D5s yet.

Personally, I think CompactFlash is the wrong answer for a true D5 shooter. You want to minimize the card read/write cycle as much as possible as a pro. That applies at all levels: filling the buffer while shooting, chimping in the camera, downloading to your computer for post processing, and so on. My experience with XQD began with the D4 and now continues, and I just have to say that XQD makes me wait less than CompactFlash. Considerably less.

Nikon can make your D5 into an XQD camera if you bought the CompactFlash version and vice versa. When I originally heard that I thought to myself “oh, someone at Nikon finally got my message about modularity.” Modularity would have been the perfect way to approach this aspect of the camera (along with networking, both wired and wireless). 

Alas, it’s internal modularity. If a Nikon repair shop takes you camera apart, the card mechanism is indeed a module they can swap in and out. But in terms of functional user modularity, nope, still missing.

Again, towards the end of the week I should have some preliminary test data on a range of XQD cards. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a CompactFlash D5 at the moment, so testing of that will have to wait, unless one of you readers can help me with that.

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