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 dimension lets them share a card slot that may 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 might assist sooner learn and write speeds to get probably 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 is going to turn into extra common sooner or later and as such has determined to affix the social gathering 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 actual fact, each playing cards be aware the nation of origin as the identical as properly: Taiwan. The one actual variations between them look like minor design selections on the again of the playing cards and a $70 value margin.

The one actual option to repeatedly check and decide if there’s a distinction between these two playing cards is to run them every by way of pace checks. Theoretically, I might hearth a burst of photographs on digicam with every card and time how lengthy it takes to clear the buffer, however there isn’t a purpose to consider that the pace checks right here would supply a special outcome particularly since — as I’ll clarify beneath — I used two completely different card readers. Moreover, this methodology is rather more repeatable and managed.

For this check, 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 Type A and SD Reader. I ran each playing cards by way of each of the readers with a view to each see if there was any profit to utilizing a card reader and card from the identical producer, but in addition to guarantee that there was no unfair benefit that would seem by utilizing 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 Check software on an Apple MacBook Professional a number of instances. Each card readers had been related by way of 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 way of and efficiency will range barely relying on particular person playing cards and over time, however the screenshots beneath are good total averages of what you may count on from the playing cards.

Sony Versus ProGrade by way of ProGrade Card Reader

First I need to present the outcomes from working each playing cards by way 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 way 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 implies that there’s successfully no distinction in efficiency between these playing cards with the ProGrade reader.

Sony Versus ProGrade by way of Sony Card Reader

Subsequent, I ran each playing cards by way 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 way of the Sony reader. The Sony card averaged round 651 MB/s write speeds and 731 MB/s learn speeds by way of the Sony reader. The outcomes listed here are a lot nearer than when the playing cards had been in contrast by way 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 way of Sony’s reader than by way of ProGrade’s reader by an element of practically 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 aware of the internal workings of card readers and what would possibly 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 Worth, 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 advocate you should purchase both the Sony or ProGrade card (whichever is on sale) and get the identical efficiency, it seems the ProGrade card reader provides you with higher efficiency, albeit just a bit.

That stated, ProGrade’s reader is made from principally 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 vital to you, Sony is probably going the higher selection even when it’s only a hair slower.

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