Memory cards for the D850

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NatureLover

New member
I finally took the plunge and purchased a 2nd hand D850. Looking forward to shooting with it.

1. I need to upgrade the firmware on the body. Can this camera use UHS-I SD cards? It is all I have at the moment.
2. XQD vs CFExpress.... I understand the CFExpress cards are faster than XQD but, using the D850, is there any advantage to using CFExpress over XQD? Is the camera capable of writing faster to the CFExpress card?
3. I shoot RAW and assuming you are using 14-bit, lossless compression.... how many images can be stored on a 64GB card? Aside from greater storage, am I better off with a 128 GB card? Are larger cards more prone to becoming corrupt? What is your experience?
 

ruley74

Well-known member
Re: Q3 - i use a 120gb card in mine, shooting uncompressed and get 1000-1200 shots on the card.
 

dabhand16

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I finally took the plunge and purchased a 2nd hand D850. Looking forward to shooting with it.

1. I need to upgrade the firmware on the body. Can this camera use UHS-I SD cards? It is all I have at the moment.
You can use any SD card in the D850. When I bought mine they gave me a UHS-1 SD card. Just as well they did as the D850 was my first camera that took SD cards!

2. XQD vs CFExpress.... I understand the CFExpress cards are faster than XQD but, using the D850, is there any advantage to using CFExpress over XQD? Is the camera capable of writing faster to the CFExpress card?
CFe cards are cheaper than XQD cards. a Sony 64GB XQD card is 30% dearer than an Integral 128GB CFe in the UK.

3. I shoot RAW and assuming you are using 14-bit, lossless compression.... how many images can be stored on a 64GB card? Aside from greater storage, am I better off with a 128 GB card? Are larger cards more prone to becoming corrupt? What is your experience?
Can't answer this as I never fill any card (or any storage device) to its max capacity and the file sizes are dependent on the subject/detail in the image. I was never going to bother with CFe as I don't need big capacity, but when CFe got cheaper than XQD it was a no-brainer for me.
 

Steve W

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I think Ruley is pretty close with the number of shots. I recall a number of around 740 - 750 with a 64 gb card.
 

FB101

Well-known member
Supporting Member
As others have mentioned GB for GB the CFE cards are usually cheaper than XQD.

The second point is that although the camera does not write faster on a CFE card than on an XQD, with a USB 3 card reader, uploading to your computer will be much faster With the CFE card.
i dont download from the camera directly, I usually take the card out and use a card reader, it’s much faster. I started with XQD cards in my D500 and D850 because that’s all we could use at the time. When Nikon enabled CFE via firmware and seeing that XQD had no future, I moved to CFE because I wanted 500GB cards and those don’t exist in xqd - the biggest gain was in upload speed to the computer - it was cut to less than half.

Finally, keep in mind that xqd is a dead format - I wouldn’t put money in it at this stage.
 

Steve W

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I stuck with the XQD when I got the D850 as I had cards from the D500 and was still picking them up for a good price. That said, CF-E will be the future though as XQD becoming increasingly rare.
 

Abinoone

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I finally took the plunge and purchased a 2nd hand D850. Looking forward to shooting with it.

1. I need to upgrade the firmware on the body. Can this camera use UHS-I SD cards? It is all I have at the moment.
2. XQD vs CFExpress.... I understand the CFExpress cards are faster than XQD but, using the D850, is there any advantage to using CFExpress over XQD? Is the camera capable of writing faster to the CFExpress card?
3. I shoot RAW and assuming you are using 14-bit, lossless compression.... how many images can be stored on a 64GB card? Aside from greater storage, am I better off with a 128 GB card? Are larger cards more prone to becoming corrupt? What is your experience?
Congratulations on your new camera - you're going to love it! I use Sony 120GB XQD cards in my D850s, and have never filled a card, even after a couple of thousand RAW exposures. Contrary to a few comments above, XQD cards generally are less expensive than CFE Type B cards. The write speed of the CFE card is faster than the XQD, but in actual use I can't really detect much difference at normal 7fps shooting mode. If you watch B&H, the cards go on sale from time to time, and I've been able to save $40-50 per card when they do. Timing is perfect - I suspect there will be a sale on them for Black Friday. Good luck!
 

EricBowles

Well-known member
I finally took the plunge and purchased a 2nd hand D850. Looking forward to shooting with it.

1. I need to upgrade the firmware on the body. Can this camera use UHS-I SD cards? It is all I have at the moment.
2. XQD vs CFExpress.... I understand the CFExpress cards are faster than XQD but, using the D850, is there any advantage to using CFExpress over XQD? Is the camera capable of writing faster to the CFExpress card?
3. I shoot RAW and assuming you are using 14-bit, lossless compression.... how many images can be stored on a 64GB card? Aside from greater storage, am I better off with a 128 GB card? Are larger cards more prone to becoming corrupt? What is your experience?
For the purpose of a firmware update, a UHS-I SD card is fine. But I'd encourage you to get a UHS-II SD card for the second slot. UHS-II cards are twice the speed in the camera as UHS-I cards. The write speed for a top UHS-I card is around 71 MB/s - about 1.2 frames per second. A UHS-II card is double that speed. If you intend to use the card for RAW files with any kind of wildlife or action, you'll want a fast card.

On a cost per GB basis, CFExpress is generally cheaper than XQD and there is a lot more competition. There are more than a dozen suppliers of CFExpress cards vs. just two for XQD. CFExpress provides a bit of future proofing. Keep in mind there are lots of variations of CFExpress cards. The slower cards are about the same as UHS-II SD cards at 140 MB/s or slower, while the fast cards are around 240 MB/s. The Delkin Power is one of the most economical faster cards (Hunt's Photo had a 128 GB card with a free CFExpress reader for $169 - and the reader had a value of $59). Stay away from the ProGrade Gold as it's quite slow at under 140 MB/s.

CFEXpress future proofs you a bit as you will not have any future camera that gets best performance with an XQD card. CFExpress is the standard going forward. Generally you will want a CFExpress card reader rather than a more expensive combination CFExpress and XQD reader. You cannot use an XQD reader for CFExpress cards or vice versa.

A 64 GB memory card will hold about 1000 14 bit lossless compressed images from a D850. It may be a little less depending on your scene and ISO level. For bird photography that's probably not enough. You'll also find that 64 GB CF Express cards are slow cards that are hard to find, so they are relatively expensive. If you increase the card size to 128 GB you'll find lots of choices.

Matt Granger has a good YouTube Video testing about 10 CFExpress cards in the Z9. While it won't be the same speed in your D850, it will identify the slower cards to avoid.
 

Charles Loy

Well-known member
Supporting Member
CFe is my suggestion. Any SD will be useable, even a micro in an SD adapter
 
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NorthernFocus

Well-known member
Supporting Member
What do you shoot/how will you use the camera. If you shoot single frames then card speed is pretty much irrelevant in regards to having any effect on field work. If you shoot action and primarily use "burst mode" then the fastest write speed possible increases "buffer" capacity. If buffering is not an issue then no point spending a lot on high end cards. Unless you lack the patience to wait for downloads to the computer. But even then it may be a better strategy to use less expensive cards and spend the savings on your favorite beverage to sip during that interminable download process.
 

NatureLover

New member
Thread starter
For the purpose of a firmware update, a UHS-I SD card is fine. But I'd encourage you to get a UHS-II SD card for the second slot. UHS-II cards are twice the speed in the camera as UHS-I cards. The write speed for a top UHS-I card is around 71 MB/s - about 1.2 frames per second. A UHS-II card is double that speed. If you intend to use the card for RAW files with any kind of wildlife or action, you'll want a fast card.

On a cost per GB basis, CFExpress is generally cheaper than XQD and there is a lot more competition. There are more than a dozen suppliers of CFExpress cards vs. just two for XQD. CFExpress provides a bit of future proofing. Keep in mind there are lots of variations of CFExpress cards. The slower cards are about the same as UHS-II SD cards at 140 MB/s or slower, while the fast cards are around 240 MB/s. The Delkin Power is one of the most economical faster cards (Hunt's Photo had a 128 GB card with a free CFExpress reader for $169 - and the reader had a value of $59). Stay away from the ProGrade Gold as it's quite slow at under 140 MB/s.

CFEXpress future proofs you a bit as you will not have any future camera that gets best performance with an XQD card. CFExpress is the standard going forward. Generally you will want a CFExpress card reader rather than a more expensive combination CFExpress and XQD reader. You cannot use an XQD reader for CFExpress cards or vice versa.

A 64 GB memory card will hold about 1000 14 bit lossless compressed images from a D850. It may be a little less depending on your scene and ISO level. For bird photography that's probably not enough. You'll also find that 64 GB CF Express cards are slow cards that are hard to find, so they are relatively expensive. If you increase the card size to 128 GB you'll find lots of choices.

Matt Granger has a good YouTube Video testing about 10 CFExpress cards in the Z9. While it won't be the same speed in your D850, it will identify the slower cards to avoid.
Thank you
 

NatureLover

New member
Thread starter
What do you shoot/how will you use the camera. If you shoot single frames then card speed is pretty much irrelevant in regards to having any effect on field work. If you shoot action and primarily use "burst mode" then the fastest write speed possible increases "buffer" capacity. If buffering is not an issue then no point spending a lot on high end cards. Unless you lack the patience to wait for downloads to the computer. But even then it may be a better strategy to use less expensive cards and spend the savings on your favorite beverage to sip during that interminable download process.
I like your reference to the beverage, lol. I shoot BIF a well as static subjects so yes, I'll need a faster write speed... that said I'm not one to lay on the shutter for more than 3s...
 
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NatureLover

New member
Thread starter
CFe is my suggestion. Any SD will be useable, even a micro in an SD adapter
If this link works, read all about the D850 while you wait for it to arrive > file:///C:/Users/PC/Desktop/PDF/D850.pdf
I'm assuming this file is the D850 user manual? Unfortunately it links to your computer drive. Thank you nonetheless.
 

NorthernFocus

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I like your reference to the beverage, lol. I shoot BIF a well as static subjects so yes, I'll need a faster write speed... that said I'm not one to lay on the shutter for 3s...
I use the Sony XQD G version cards with an advertised write speed of 400MB/s. As just explained in another thread, shooting 9fps in full frame mode, uncompressed RAW, overflow, buffer capacity is about 30 frames. Shooting in 1.2x crop mode buffer is essentially bottomless.
 

Charles Loy

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I'm assuming this file is the D850 user manual? Unfortunately it links to your computer drive. Thank you nonetheless.
Sorry about that, still meander to Nikon site and read the manual. It has a few tips in it that will interest and prepare you.
 

John Navitsky

Well-known member
random thoughts. 1) xqd is basically dead, so you're going to have more cfe-b options and this will get more pronounced over time. 2) you aren't going to get any in-body benefits of cfe-b over xqd with the d500, d850, d5, etc. in fact, cfe-b might be a smidge slower, although not to a level it matters. 3) most readers can't do _both_ cfe-b and xqd (the sony MRWG1/T1 is an exception), so it can be good to stick to one (or buy the sony). 4) cfe-b is faster than xqd so transfer to your computer will likely be faster, potentially MUCH faster. 5) most run of the mill cfe-b cards will be at least as fast as xqd over all. 6) some cfe-b cards run hot, so it can be good to pick one that does not (ie, Delkin), 7) while the d850 won't take advantage of the speed of cfe-b, your next camera might. 8) beware the speed ratings for cards are typically MAXimum speed, not sustained or minimum speed. you really want to use the MINimum/sustained write speed when evaluating cards.
 

EricBowles

Well-known member
random thoughts. 1) xqd is basically dead, so you're going to have more cfe-b options and this will get more pronounced over time. 2) you aren't going to get any in-body benefits of cfe-b over xqd with the d500, d850, d5, etc. in fact, cfe-b might be a smidge slower, although not to a level it matters. 3) most readers can't do _both_ cfe-b and xqd (the sony MRWG1/T1 is an exception), so it can be good to stick to one (or buy the sony). 4) cfe-b is faster than xqd so transfer to your computer will likely be faster, potentially MUCH faster. 5) most run of the mill cfe-b cards will be at least as fast as xqd over all. 6) some cfe-b cards run hot, so it can be good to pick one that does not (ie, Delkin), 7) while the d850 won't take advantage of the speed of cfe-b, your next camera might. 8) beware the speed ratings for cards are typically MAXimum speed, not sustained or minimum speed. you really want to use the MINimum/sustained write speed when evaluating cards.
I agree with almost everything John said. The one difference is item 5. Run of the mill CFExpress cards are generally going to be slow - and in my testing they were significantly slower than XQD and close to SD cards. The ProGrade Gold is one such card. I don't have data on other cards, but their spec and testing done by Matt Granger for the Z9 showed several cards slower than the ProGrade Gold. I have sold a couple of surplus XQD cards not because they were slower but because I wanted to deal with a single format and just one reader. I also felt I could get something for used XQD cards now but maybe not in another year or two.

It's really hard to find good data on card speed. My test was simple - I shot a 30 second burst and counted the frames for each full second using the camera metadata shown on playback. The initial burst should be at the camera's maximum frame rate until the buffer fills. Normally you'll have a second where the buffer fills and the number of images is less than the maximum. Subsequent full seconds are at the frame rate the camera can write images to the card and free up space. You'll get some variation due to rounding, but a five second sample gives a pretty good average. I found some unexpected variation with some cards that seemed to briefly hang for as much as a full second. One more thing - my test showed you do need to format the card in the camera before testing or speed can be much slower.
 

NatureLover

New member
Thread starter
The Delkin Power is one of the most economical faster cards (Hunt's Photo had a 128 GB card with a free CFExpress reader for $169 - and the reader had a value of $59).
I think I'm leaning towards CFExpress..... Delkin cards are hard to find in Canada. I love the deal at Hunt's Photo but I do not believe they ship north of the 49th parallel.
I am currently looking at two 128 GB cards... SanDisk Extreme Pro ($179 USD) and Lexar Professional ($127.49 USD).

Have to purchase a card reader..... Will any CFExpress card reader do or do you need to be brand specific?
 

John Navitsky

Well-known member
Does _not_ need to be brand specific. The Sony MRWG1/T1 can read both CFE-b and XQD, so that's what I got, but even a cheap one will work. My Lexar card gets hot. Dunno about the Lexar, you might do a search to see if you can find any heat based evals.
 

EricBowles

Well-known member
I think I'm leaning towards CFExpress..... Delkin cards are hard to find in Canada. I love the deal at Hunt's Photo but I do not believe they ship north of the 49th parallel.
I am currently looking at two 128 GB cards... SanDisk Extreme Pro ($179 USD) and Lexar Professional ($127.49 USD).

Have to purchase a card reader..... Will any CFExpress card reader do or do you need to be brand specific?
Sandisk has much better customer service than Lexar. Lexar has been unresponsive in a couple of cases I've seen with card problems. Sandisk is the partner Canon worked with for their cameras - similar to Nikon's arrangement with Sony.

As John mentioned, any current card reader for CFExpress will work. I've used both Delkin and ProGrade readers.
 

Whiskeyman

Well-known member
I think I'm leaning towards CFExpress..... Delkin cards are hard to find in Canada. I love the deal at Hunt's Photo but I do not believe they ship north of the 49th parallel.
I am currently looking at two 128 GB cards... SanDisk Extreme Pro ($179 USD) and Lexar Professional ($127.49 USD).

Have to purchase a card reader..... Will any CFExpress card reader do or do you need to be brand specific?
I've seen Delkin CFE cards advertised on The Camera Store's website, and they're located in BC, I believe.
 

calcal

Carol
Supporting Member
B&H (maybe others) have some very good deals right now (and soon to expire )on memory cards and SSD drives
 
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