CFexpress Type A cards get a new capacity king, but is it large enough?

Exascend Essential CFexpress Type A card
(Image credit: Exascend)

Mmmm, CFexpress Type A. The answer to all our memory card prayers, or a potentially short-lived format destined to join the likes of xD, SmartMedia and Memory Stick? Whatever the future holds, Exascend is at least injecting some extra versatility into the niche format with the launch of the highest capacity Type-A card yet: the 240GB Exascend Essential CFexpress Type A card.

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(Image credit: Exascend)
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Until now, Type A capacities have topped out at 160GB, with lower-cost 80GB variants being the only other capacity on offer. Strangely, the other two capacity sizes in the new Exascend range do not fit into this 80GB multiple, and are instead 120GB and 180GB versions, indicating Exascend is likely using 60GB NAND flash modules rather than 40GB modules potentially used in rival cards. Assuming these larger-capacity modules are available to other card manufacturers, this may soon herald a new wave of higher capacity Type A cards. And about time too. Considering SD and even tiny microSD cards have been available in 1TB flavors for several years now, even this new 240GB CFexpress Type A offering is hard to get that excited about.

The current speed king: Lexar's GOLD Series CFexpress Type A card (Image credit: Lexar)
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But while Exascend may currently hold Type A capacity bragging rights, the new cards' 800MB/s read and 700MB/s write rates only equal the specs of the very first Sony TOUGH series of Type A cards. Since then, both Lexar and Delkin Devices have extracted extra performance out of the format, proving speeds up to 900MB/s are possible. The Exascend cards are rated for a sustained 550MB/s write speed though - that's quick enough to facilitate 8K video recording at up to 60fps.

The Sony a7S III - one of only a handful of cameras to support CFexpress Type A (Image credit: Sony)
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So if you're rocking a Sony a1, a7 IV, a7S III, FX3 or FX6, the 120GB, 180GB and 240GB will cost you $190, $300 and $400, respectively. That's good value, given that a Sony 160GB Type A card currently costs around $360. Every Exascend Essential CFexpress Type A card is backed by a five-year warranty, with availability scheduled for August.

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Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.