Lexar delivers an XQD reader as CompactFlash disappears

Memory card formats don’t tend to change often, but when they do, there’s usually a good reason. Unfortunately for the old CF cards, it might be time to move on.

If you have an old camera laying around that uses the older “CompactFlash” card format, it might be time to consider something new.

That’s not just because newer cameras are out there boasting better sensors, more connectivity options, and smaller form-factors, but also because the memory is changing significantly.

You only have to look at upcoming cameras to see that CompactFlash is disappearing, and once the format relied on by professional and semi-professional cameras is now heading to the waste pile.

Its replacement is already out, though, but requires a new type of card slot.

The dual XQD (top) and SD (bottom) card slot of the Nikon D500.
The dual XQD (top) and SD (bottom) card slot of the Nikon D500.

Called “XQD”, it’s essentially an evolution of the CompactFlash format used in older cameras to work with a newer type of interface which in turn results in faster speeds, boasting data transfer rates of 1 to 4Gbps, essentially maxing out at around 500MB per second.

That’s better than CF’s 150MB per second write speed, and that’s for high-end cards, telling you that this is a format made for big cameras and bigger quantities of data.

When you think about modern camera sensors and modern video capture formats, you can see why this sort of thing matters, which is why Lexar is getting in there, announcing that it will have a fast memory card reader for XQD on the way, handy for the few XQD cards Lexar already makes.


Right now, there aren’t many companies making XQD cards, but with more cameras expected on the way supporting the technology — two from Nikon shortly in the D500 and D5, for instance — a high-speed card reader is super important.

Lexar’s XQD reader isn’t a big device, though, measuring barely bigger than the USB port needed to plug it into, and relies on USB 3.0 technology to transfer data from XQD cards at high-speeds.

It’s standard USB 3.0, by the way, so if you’re planning to plug this into a computer a USB Type C port, you’ll need a converter.

“Given the rapid growth and widespread appeal of 4K video, we realised it was essential to create a reader for XQD 2.0 cards that provided professionals with a way to transfer great video and photo content without the wait time,” said Mathew Luu, Marketing Manager for Micron Consumer Products Group Marketing in Australia.

“The Lexar Professional XQD 2.0 USB 3.0 Reader supercharges post-production content transfer, no matter what you’re shooting.”


Pricing for the Lexar XQD card reader comes in at $49.95, less than the cost of an XQD card, which starts at $104.95 for a 1400x speed offering as much as 210MB per second read and 80MB per second write, while the faster 2900x option with twice the speed (440MB/s read, 390MB/s write) chimes in from $124.95 for 32GB.