We've been eagerly awaiting some of that next-gen XQD memory since it was announced right around a month ago, and now that we have something worthy to pop it in, we're doubly buzzed. Sony's the first to step forward, kicking off with QDH16 ($129) and QDH32 ($229) cards where the number represents the capacity. When the specs first came out of the darkroom there was talk of 5Gb/s write speeds; these might not be quite that rapid, but at 1Gb/s (125 MB/s), we're still not complaining. Sony thinks the cards will be good for up to 100 frames in RAW format in continuous shooting mode, based on its tests. There'll also be a card reader and adapter for easy portability, both setting you back a further $45 when the whole lot hits the shelves in February. Click the PR after the jump for more info.
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1Gbps for faster write speed and superb reliability create new possibilities for advanced shooters

SONY ELECTRONICS XQD Sony's new XQD(TM) memory card for high-speed, high-performance digital image capture. (PRNewsFoto/Sony Electronics) PARK RIDGE, NJ UNITED STATES

PARK RIDGE, N.J., Jan 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Giving photo enthusiasts and professional photographers a new level of speed and performance, the new Sony XQD™ memory cards support the recently adopted XQD specification for high-speed, high-performance digital image capture.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120105/LA31007)

Using the XQD memory cards, XQD compatible high-end DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera users can capture up to approximately 100 frames in RAW format in continuous shooting mode. In addition to outstanding high-speed data transfer capability, the new cards are highly reliable to protect users' data and images.

"Advanced shooters want to capture the moment in the highest quality possible, and that often means dealing with massive files like RAW images," said Viviano Cantu, Director of Consumer Media for Sony Electronics. "Memory card technology has done a great job of keeping pace, but these new cards give an entirely new meaning to speed and performance."

The new Sony cards are based on the XQD memory card specification, which the CompactFlash Association recently approved and licensed as an open format. With its ultra high write-speed performance, and when using Nikon's new DSLR "D4," the XQD memory card can record up to approximately 100 frames in RAW format in continuous shooting mode*.

The Sony XQD memory card achieves stable continuous shooting of RAW images and blazing fast data transfer rates of up to 1Gbps/125MB/s write and read (based on Sony tests and dependent on host hardware) through the PCIe interface, a computer expansion card standard for serial interfaces.

A unique controller and optimized flash memory enables high-speed data processing, resulting in faster write speed and performance that can't be achieved by conventional compact flash cards.

Sony is also introducing a USB 2.0/3.0 compatible XQD card reader (model MRW-E80) so users can quickly and easily transfer large quantities of very high capacity data to their PC. Also, an XQD ExpressCard Adapter (QDA-EX1) will be available for use with computers with an ExpressCard™ 34 card slot.

"As users' needs continue to evolve," Cantu added, "Sony will also continue to enhance the XQD memory card line-up to meet the future requirements of the high-end digital imaging market."

The new Sony products are planned to be available in February and are estimated to sell at the following retail prices:

QD-H16 card, 16 GB, $129.99
QD-H32 card, 32 GB, $229.99
Card Reader, MRW-E80, $44.99
ExpressCard Adapter, QDA-EX1, $44.99

For information, visit www.sony.net/Products/memorycard/en_us/xqd/index.html.

* When used with Nikon "D4," with capture of compressed 12-bit NEF (RAW) images; based on Nikon research.

SOURCE Sony Electronics