ProGrade Versus Sony CFexpress Kind A Playing cards: Is There a Distinction?

ProGrade Digital simply launched the primary CFexpress Type A cards that aren’t made by Sony and whereas they aren’t “low cost” by any stretch of the creativeness, they’re more affordable than Sony’s offering. However does that low cost come at a efficiency value?

On the time of publication, CFexpress Kind-A reminiscence playing cards had been solely utilized by Sony in a couple of 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 will also 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 obligation. For photographers, which means that Sony may assist sooner learn and write speeds to get essentially the most out of its new cameras whereas additionally not forcing photographers to select up all-new media.

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

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

Whereas the format isn’t widespread but, ProGrade Digital believes it should turn out to be extra in style sooner or later and as such has determined to affix the get together and simply launched its version of the media.

What’s the Distinction?

Efficiency-wise, each Sony and ProGrade promise the identical learn and write speeds and bodily each gadgets look virtually an identical — in reality, each playing cards be aware the nation of origin as the identical as nicely: Taiwan. The one actual variations between them seem like minor design selections on the again of the playing cards and a $70 value 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 by means of pace checks. Theoretically, I may hearth a burst of photographs on digicam with every card and time how lengthy it takes to clear the buffer, however there isn’t any motive to consider that the pace checks right here would supply a distinct consequence particularly since — as I’ll clarify beneath — I used two totally different card readers. Moreover, this methodology 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 firms: the Sony MRW-G2 and the ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type A and SD Reader. I ran each playing cards by means of each of the readers to be able 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, but it surely’s safer to make certain.

I ran pace checks utilizing the BlackMagic Pace Check utility on an Apple MacBook Professional a number of occasions. Each card readers had 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 by means of and efficiency will differ barely relying on particular person playing cards and over time, however the screenshots beneath are good total averages of what you may anticipate from the playing cards.

Sony Versus ProGrade through ProGrade Card Reader

First I need to present the outcomes from operating each playing cards by means of the ProGrade Digital mixture CFexpress Kind A and SD card reader:

ProGrade Digital CFexpress Kind A Card
Sony CFexpress Kind A Card

As you may 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 by means of 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 by means of 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 by means of the Sony reader. The Sony card averaged round 651 MB/s write speeds and 731 MB/s learn speeds by means of the Sony reader. The outcomes listed here are a lot nearer than when the playing cards had been in contrast by means of the ProGrade card reader and are completely inside 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 by means of Sony’s reader than by means of ProGrade’s reader by an element of almost 20 MB/s in each learn and write, which is greater than I really feel comfy attributing to only a margin of error. I’m not conversant in the internal 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 Finest Value, Not the Model

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

One factor value 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 Type A reader. Sony’s reader can also be $120, whereas ProGrade’s is $80. So whereas I can comfortably suggest you should purchase both the Sony or ProGrade card (whichever is on sale) and get the identical efficiency, it seems the ProGrade card reader offers you higher efficiency, albeit just a bit.

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

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