Buyers Guides |Best CFexpress cards in 2022

The Buyers guide to...Best CFexpress cards in 2022

Delkin Devices Black CFexpress Type B review
Buyers Guide

The best CFexpress cards give photographers and videographers more flexibility in their work by providing faster memory in a durable compact form. CFexpress cards evolved from XQD memory, with which the Type B cards share the same body design. In fact, most camera manufacturers have released firmware updates for their cameras that use XQD cards to support the use of CFexpress memory as well.

In essence, CFexpress cards are the evolution of the XQD and CompactFlast (CF) memory card formats. They are designed to write and read content at ultra-fast speeds, whether you’re shooting stills or video. The best CFexpress cards can achieve data transfer speeds of up to 2,000MB/s, meaning you can transfer data-rich content such as 14-bit uncompressed raw files or 8K video. This is based on Type B cards, which are the most widely used.

What are Type A, B and C CFexpress cards?

There are three ‘types’ of CFexpress cards you can buy. Type A cards are a little smaller than an SD card, but thicker. Type B is the most widely supported and is the same shape and size as XQD cards. Type C is the newest development in CFexpress memory and isn’t currently supported in any consumer products as of the time of writing. Below is a breakdown of the three types of CFexpress cards and their size and data capabilities:

  • CFexpress Type A – up to 1GB/s, 20mm x 28mm x 2.8mm
  • CFexpress Type B – up to 2GB/s, 38.5mm x 29.8mm x 3.8mm
  • CFexpress Type C – up to 4GB/s, 54mm x 74mm x 4.8mm

For more information on the different types of CFexpress cards, see our guide to Which cameras use CFexpress cards.

Is CFexpress better than SD?

Yes, CFexpress cards are considered to be superior to SD memory cards. CFexpress cards are much faster when reading and writing data. They are also more rugged and durable. SD cards can break when dropped or stepped on, or if exposed to water. CFexpress cards are hardier.

The CFexpress Type B memory format employs the same PCI express Gen3 interface and NVMe 1.3 tech that you find in the ultra-fast SSDs on the market. So you’re effectively getting the power and speed of the best portable SSDs inside your camera.

On the other hand, the best CFexpress cards are not cheap. Certainly, look to spend at least £100 / $100 for the smallest capacity cards. CFexpress is a premium memory card format, aimed at professionals and content creators.

The best CFexpress cards you can buy today

All of our recommendations for the best CFexpress cards below are based on our tests using these cards. We tested each card’s read and write speeds using Blackmagic Design’s Disk Speed Test, and then their in-camera performance by putting them through their paces to test continuous shooting rate and burst depth.

Delkin Devices Power CFexpress Type B

Delkin Devices Power CFexpress Type B review

Specification

  • Product type: Memory card
  • Available capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
  • Write Speed: 1540MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1730MB/s
  • XQD Compatibility: Backwards compatible with XQD cameras

Promising write speeds of 1540MB/s and read speeds of 1730MB/s, the Delkin Devices Power CFexpress Type B is a great choice of CFexpress card if your camera uses the more common Type B format and you’re interested in shooting stills or 4K or 6K video.

The Delkin Devices Power CFexpress Type B is available in capacities of 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB with the read and write speeds being the same for each capacity.

Like other CFexpress Type B cards, the Delkin Devices Power CFexpress Type B are backwards-compatible with cameras that use XQD cards, provided those cameras are updated with new firmware. Nikon, for instance, updated its Z6 and Z7 cameras to support the CFexpress card format.

As well asa lifetime warranty, the card comes with Delkin Devices’ 48-hour replacement guarantee, giving peace of mind that the company will replace the card within 48 hours (apart from at weekends) if it stops working.

Price when reviewed
£199
$157
Check current price

For

  • Great for shooting 4K video
  • Excellent guarantee
  • Good range of capacities

Against

  • As usual, the measured transfer rates don't match those claimed
  • CFexpress format not as common as SD

SanDisk Extreme Pro CFexpress Card Type B

SanDisk Extreme Pro CFexpress cards listed on Amazon

Specification

  • Write Speed: 1400MB/s
  • Read Speed: 1700MB/s
  • XQD Compatibility: Backwards compatible with XQD cameras

Promising write speeds of 1400MB/s and prices starting from £165, the SanDisk Extreme Pro CFexpress Card Type B is one of the best CFexpress cards you can get if your camera uses the more ubiquitous Type B option.

The SanDisk Extreme Pro CFexpress Card Type B is now available in capacities of 64GB (price: £175), 128GB (price £294), 256GB (price £494) and 512GB (£692).

Designed for recording 4K video, the new SanDisk Extreme Pro CFExpress cards promise write speeds of up to 1400MB/s and read speeds of 1700MB/s.

SanDisk’s CFexpress cards are also backwards-compatible with cameras that use XQD cards, provided those cameras are updated with new firmware. Nikon, for instance, updated its Z6 and Z7 cameras to support the CFexpress card format.

Price when reviewed
£165
$99
Check current price

For

  • Great for shooting 4K video
  • Rugged, durable design
  • Backwards compatible with XQD cameras

Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B Gold Series

Lexar 128GB CFExpress review

Specification

  • Capacity: 64GB – 512GB
  • Form factor: CFexpress Type B
  • Interface: PCIe Gen3x2
  • Transfer speeds: 64GB — 512GB Up to 1750MB/s read, up to 1000MB/s write
  • Operating temperature: -10° C to 70° C (14°F to 158°F)
  • Storage temperature: -40° C to 85° C (-40°F to 185°F)
  • Dimensions: 29.60 x 38.50 x 3.80 mm / 1.16” x 1.51” x 0.14”
  • Weight: 7.65 g / 0.016 lbs

It may be due to CFExpress being a relatively new format, trying to impress, but it does seem that the build quality of these next-generation memory cards seems to be excellent across the board. Herewith the Lexar 128GB CFExpress that quality is instantly apparent with the metal casing and solid build.

The robustness of design probably has something to do with the need to keep things cool, but still, after using SD for so long, these things just feel solid.

Build quality is good, but it’s those speeds that make this 128GB CFExpress card a must-have for the latest generation of cameras.

Price when reviewed
£224
$199
Check current price

For

  • Fast read/write times
  • Future proof technology

Against

  • Expensive
  • Limited camera compatibility

Manfrotto Professional 128GB CFexpress Type B

Manfrotto Professional 128GB CFexpress Type B

Specification

  • Capacity: 128GB, 256GB
  • Read Speed: 1730MB/s
  • Write Speed: 1540MB/s
  • Operating temperature: -20° to 70° C
  • Weight: 5g

It’s nice to see Manfrotto expand into the memory sector, as it gives photographers and videographers a little more choice for reliable storage and from a trusted brand in the industry.

Through our tests of this CFexpress card, the Manfrotto’s build quality and design was very solid. Its performance both in and out of the camera met all of the company’s claims.

We achieved read speeds of 925MB/s and write speeds of 890MB/s.

At present, CFExpress is still incredibly expensive compared with SD and older CF cards. Still, the speed potential and durability make this a good future proof solution if supported by your camera.

Price when reviewed
£189
$199
Check current price

For

  • High Capacity
  • Ultra-fast Speed
  • Well made

Against

  • Very Expensive
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