ProGrade Versus Sony CFexpress Type A Cards: Is There a Difference?

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ProGrade Digital simply launched the primary CFexpress Kind A playing cards that aren’t made by Sony and whereas they aren’t “low-cost” by any stretch of the creativeness, they’re extra inexpensive than Sony’s providing. However does that low cost come at a efficiency price?

On the time of publication, CFexpress Kind-A reminiscence playing cards have been solely utilized by Sony in just a few of its newer cameras just like the Alpha 1. The format is far smaller than a CFexpress Kind B card and whereas Kind A playing cards won’t ever be as quick, Sony selected them for its line of cameras as a result of they’ve a secondary profit: the small measurement lets them share a card slot that can be used with legacy SD playing cards.

SD playing cards are literally larger than CFexpress playing cards, which let Sony construct a slot in each its cameras and its CFexpress card reader that lets the one slot pull double responsibility. For photographers, which means that Sony might assist sooner learn and write speeds to get probably the most out of its new cameras whereas additionally not forcing photographers to choose up all-new media.

That selection is nice as a result of Sony’s CFexpress Kind A playing cards are — on the time of publication — $400 for 160GB of capability, a substantial funding.

As you possibly can see above, ProGrade elected to maintain its two reminiscence card reader slots separate.

Whereas the format isn’t widespread but, ProGrade Digital believes it is going to turn into extra well-liked sooner or later and as such has determined to hitch the get together and simply launched its model of the media.

What’s the Distinction?

Efficiency-wise, each Sony and ProGrade promise the identical learn and write speeds and bodily each units look nearly equivalent — the truth is, each playing cards observe the nation of origin as the identical as effectively: Taiwan. The one actual variations between them seem like minor design decisions on the again of the playing cards and a $70 worth margin.

The one actual method to repeatedly take a look at and decide if there’s a distinction between these two playing cards is to run them every via pace checks. Theoretically, I might hearth a burst of images on digicam with every card and time how lengthy it takes to clear the buffer, however there is no such thing as a motive to consider that the pace checks right here would offer a special consequence particularly since — as I’ll clarify under — I used two totally different card readers. Moreover, this technique is way more repeatable and managed.

For this take a look at, I’ve each the Sony and ProGrade CFexpress playing cards in addition to the official card readers from each corporations: the Sony MRW-G2 and the ProGrade Digital CFexpress Kind A and SD Reader. I ran each playing cards via each of the readers with the intention to each see if there was any profit to utilizing a card reader and card from the identical producer, but additionally to guarantee that there was no unfair benefit that would seem through the use of a Sony card on a Sony reader, for instance. I didn’t suppose one would exist, however it’s safer to make sure.

I ran pace checks utilizing the BlackMagic Velocity Take a look at utility on an Apple MacBook Professional a number of occasions. Each card readers have been linked through USB-C cables into the reader and into the laptop computer — I didn’t use the cable that converts the USB-C design to USB-A. Testing speeds on playing cards varies with every run that the cardboard goes via and efficiency will range barely relying on particular person playing cards and over time, however the screenshots under are good total averages of what you possibly can anticipate from the playing cards.

Sony Versus ProGrade through ProGrade Card Reader

First I need to present the outcomes from working each playing cards via the ProGrade Digital mixture CFexpress Kind A and SD card reader:

ProGrade Digital CFexpress Kind A Card
Sony CFexpress Kind A Card

As you possibly can see, each playing cards fell wanting the promised “as much as” 800 MB/s learn spends and 700 MB/s write speeds. The ProGrade Digital card averaged round 679 MB/s write speeds and round 785 MB/s learn speeds with the ProGrade reader. The Sony card carried out fairly equally, averaging round 683 MB/s write speeds and round 780 MB/s learn speeds via the ProGrade reader.

Whereas it seems the ProGrade Digital card learn information a bit sooner than the Sony and the Sony wrote information a bit sooner than the ProGrade, the distinction right here is inside a tolerable margin of error of round 5 MB/s, which suggests that there’s successfully no distinction in efficiency between these playing cards with the ProGrade reader.

Sony Versus ProGrade through Sony Card Reader

Subsequent, I ran each playing cards via the Sony mixture CFexpress and SD card reader:

ProGrade CFexpress Kind A Card
Sony CFexpress Kind A Card

The Prograde CFexpress card averaged round 654 MB/s write speeds and 730 MB/s learn speeds when examined via the Sony reader. The Sony card averaged round 651 MB/s write speeds and 731 MB/s learn speeds via the Sony reader. The outcomes listed below are a lot nearer than when the playing cards have been in contrast via the ProGrade card reader and are completely throughout the anticipated margin of error.

So far as I’m involved, this confirms that the playing cards ought to successfully carry out identically throughout mediums and cameras.

Curiously, each the ProGrade card and the Sony card carried out worse via Sony’s reader than via ProGrade’s reader by an element of practically 20 MB/s in each learn and write, which is greater than I really feel snug attributing to only a margin of error. I’m not conversant in the inside workings of card readers and what may make one carry out higher than the opposite, however in my testing, ProGrade does take the win right here so far as media readers.

Hunt the Greatest Value, Not the Model

In the event you have been afraid that the $70 low cost in worth between the Sony and the ProGrade playing cards would end in worse efficiency for ProGrade, I’ve excellent news: each playing cards ought to carry out just about precisely the identical.

One factor price noting although is that so far as card readers go, ProGrade Digital’s CFexpress Kind A and SD card combo reader seems to be a bit higher than the Sony MRW-G2 Cfexpress Kind A reader. Sony’s reader can be $120, whereas ProGrade’s is $80. So whereas I can comfortably suggest you should buy both the Sony or ProGrade card (whichever is on sale) and get the identical efficiency, it seems the ProGrade card reader gives you higher efficiency, albeit just a bit.

That mentioned, ProGrade’s reader is made from principally plastic whereas Sony’s is an all-metal housing. I haven’t ever encountered a state of affairs the place I wanted my card reader to be powerful as nails, but when that’s vital to you, Sony is probably going the higher selection even when it’s only a hair slower.

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