Recommended CFexpress Card For D500?

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Fly Fishing Rick

New member
I'm planning to upgrade to a D500 and I want to get a CFexpress card for it so I was wondering what models y'all use. I found a compatibility sheet on the Nikon website but the some of the information appears to be inaccurate. Right now I'm looking at the SanDisk Extreme Pro since I've used their SDXC cards in my GoPro and other gear for years without issue but I also have a ProGrade Digital card on my list as well.
 

Winston Churchill (Sir)

Well-known member
Supporting Member
May I suggest - if you get a card reader - get one that also reads the CFexpress (Type B) as they also read the XQD memory cards. Might save you when you switch over to the z6, z7 or z9 as card readers aint cheap
 

MartyD

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I am not a fan of SanDisk Pro CFE cards, I had issues with heat in my Z6 and Z6ii. When I contacted SanDisk, which is part of Western Digital, I was not pleased with the support I received. The D500 has a very large buffer so the speed of the card is not really going to be an issue and heat shouldn't be either. I would shop the popular brands and look for good deals. I think the Angelbird 512GB AV Pro SE is a good deal for $179 and I have been please with the support I have received from Angelbird. If you think you are going to upgrade soon to a Z system you might want to consider purchasing a faster card. Look for cards that will publish a minimum sustained write speed.
 

EricBowles

Moderator
Supporting Member
Like Marty, I'm not a fan of the SanDisk CFExpress cards for Nikon cameras. They have not been the fastest cards in Nikon cameras and are a bit expensive. Take a look at the Delkin Power CFExpress cards. They are usually a better price point and perform very near the Delkin Black and ProGrade Cobalt.
 

David S.

New member
The Delkin Black 150GB is an excellent card in the D500. Pretty much any card (except maybe the ProGrade Gold 128) is going to be as fast as the XQD bus can support in CFe, but where the better cards shine is heat management, speed in offloading data, or editing directly from the card.
 

Fly Fishing Rick

New member
Thread starter
What's the minimum storage capacity you would feel comfortable carrying for a day of shooting photos? I'm kind of torn between the 256GB ProGrade Gold card(min write speed 300MB/s) and the 75GB Delkin Black(min write speed of 1240MB/s). I'm not sure if the increase in write speed is worth the sacrifice in storage capacity at the same price if I'm only using them in a D500. I have no intention of switching to a Z model camera any time soon, what would y'all do in my situation that doesn't involve spending more money? lol.
 
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abc123brian

Well-known member
What's the minimum storage capacity you would feel comfortable carrying for a day of shooting photos? I'm kind of torn between the 256GB ProGrade Gold card(min write speed 300MB/s) and the 75GB Delkin Black(min write speed of 1240MB/s). I'm not sure if the increase in write speed is worth the sacrifice in storage capacity at the same price if I'm only using them in a D500. I have no intention of switching to a Z model camera any time soon, what would y'all do in my situation that doesn't involve spending more money? lol.
The ProGrade Gold cards tend to be slow, even slower than XQD cards, so personally I would avoid them. I agree with Eric that the Delkin Power cards are a very good performance for the cost and one of the best values available. You won’t notice the extra performance of a Delkin Black in a D500 but you might notice the lack of performance from a ProGrade Gold. I would not have an issue shooting a 64GB card all day in a D500, but everyone is different when it comes to how much they shoot. I primarily shoot with 128GB - 160GB cards in my Z7ii and Z9 and haven’t gone into overflow to the second card for comparison. I would think 128GB would be large enough for most people.
 

EricBowles

Moderator
Supporting Member
The ProGrade Gold cards tend to be slow, even slower than XQD cards, so personally I would avoid them. I agree with Eric that the Delkin Power cards are a very good performance for the cost and one of the best values available. You won’t notice the extra performance of a Delkin Black in a D500 but you might notice the lack of performance from a ProGrade Gold. I would not have an issue shooting a 64GB card all day in a D500, but everyone is different when it comes to how much they shoot. I primarily shoot with 128GB - 160GB cards in my Z7ii and Z9 and haven’t gone into overflow to the second card for comparison. I would think 128GB would be large enough for most people.
I tested the ProGrade Gold 128 GB CFExpress in my D850 and it was half the speed of the Delkin Power 128 GB card. ProGrade Gold is slower than most alternatives until you buy a 512 GB card or larger.

There is a 64GB Delkin Black card that is fast if you want a smaller card. Most of the 64GB cards are on the slow side and much more expensive per GB.
 

Fly Fishing Rick

New member
Thread starter
Thanks! I've seen the Delkin Power cards mentioned several times now and they do seem to be a favorite, maybe I should give one a shot. I can get a 128gb Delkin Power for around the same price point as the other 2 cards. I was just avoiding any cards that didn't disclose the minimum sustained write speed, I figured if they don't want you to know then it's probably not great lol.
 

EricBowles

Moderator
Supporting Member
Thanks! I've seen the Delkin Power cards mentioned several times now and they do seem to be a favorite, maybe I should give one a shot. I can get a 128gb Delkin Power for around the same price point as the other 2 cards. I was just avoiding any cards that didn't disclose the minimum sustained write speed, I figured if they don't want you to know then it's probably not great lol.
I think in practice there are only a small number of companies that disclose minimum write speed. To their credit, ProGrade makes a full disclosure. Even then, the speed in the camera is different (slower - depending on the bus and processor in the camera - a Z9 or D5 is faster than a D850 or Z7). My testing was pretty simple - I made a single long burst to fill the buffer, and then counted the frames the camera could shoot in each full second. You can either graph that information or multiply by the average file size to calculate actual write speed. With the D500 you should be able to shoot almost indefinitely because the files are only 20Gb for RAW and it has a fast write speed (the d500 shoots a 200 frame lossless compressed burst), but if you wanted to fill the buffer, you could use Uncompressed RAW.
 

Fly Fishing Rick

New member
Thread starter
I think in practice there are only a small number of companies that disclose minimum write speed. To their credit, ProGrade makes a full disclosure. Even then, the speed in the camera is different (slower - depending on the bus and processor in the camera - a Z9 or D5 is faster than a D850 or Z7). My testing was pretty simple - I made a single long burst to fill the buffer, and then counted the frames the camera could shoot in each full second. You can either graph that information or multiply by the average file size to calculate actual write speed. With the D500 you should be able to shoot almost indefinitely because the files are only 20Gb for RAW and it has a fast write speed (the d500 shoots a 200 frame lossless compressed burst), but if you wanted to fill the buffer, you could use Uncompressed RAW.
Thanks for the information and I've noticed the same thing about the speed disclosures for the different companies as well. I doubt I'll ever need take 200 shots in a single burst but I'd like to know I could if I wanted to so that's my goal in buying a CFE card.
 

abc123brian

Well-known member
Thanks for the information and I've noticed the same thing about the speed disclosures for the different companies as well. I doubt I'll ever need take 200 shots in a single burst but I'd like to know I could if I wanted to so that's my goal in buying a CFE card.
You may have seen the test results performed by Alik Griffin, linked below. It is talking about memory card speeds for the Z9, but has a breakdown of read/write speeds in card readers too. While you won’t be able to take full advantage of the speed in the D500, the information is still useful in determining overall card performance and performance/cost ratio. The list of all tested cards are below the recommended cards section.

 

Fly Fishing Rick

New member
Thread starter
You may have seen the test results performed by Alik Griffin, linked below. It is talking about memory card speeds for the Z9, but has a breakdown of read/write speeds in card readers too. While you won’t be able to take full advantage of the speed in the D500, the information is still useful in determining overall card performance and performance/cost ratio. The list of all tested cards are below the recommended cards section.

Thanks for this, looks like the 128GB Delkin Power performed great for the price although I do wish he had tested the 256GB ProGrade card since it's min write speed is more than 2x the 128GB card at 300MB/s as opposed to 140 for the 128GB.
 

EricBowles

Moderator
Supporting Member
Thanks for this, looks like the 128GB Delkin Power performed great for the price although I do wish he had tested the 256GB ProGrade card since it's min write speed is more than 2x the 128GB card at 300MB/s as opposed to 140 for the 128GB.
If you have a challenge with availability, you could probably live with the 256GB ProGrade Gold or larger - just not the 128GB card. A number of manufacturers have different components in the smaller cards to help keep cost down, but it does impact performance. I have tested the Delkin Power card and it consistently shows up as being a good value.

Keep in mind that the speed you get in the D500 will be even slower than the measured speed in the Z9. A Delkin Black 128 GB card in your D500 will have a write speed around 280 MB/s while a ProGrade Gold 128 GB card will be closer to 100 MB/s - slower than a good UHS-II SD card.
 

BillW

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I used Lexar and Sony XQD cards in my D500 before I sold it last year. They worked well, but I would generally prefer to buy CF cards now, to enable better future use, unless perhaps an XQD card was on sale for a low price.

I have used Sandisk Exreme CF cards in my Z7II (128 gb) and Z6II (64 gb). They are fast enough to not create any issues with those cameras. The one thing that I do not like about the Sandisk cards is that they can get pretty warm in camera and even warmer in my Sony CF/XQD card reader. I used Sandisk Extreme SD cards in the past and liked them. But having used Delkin Black and ProGrade Cobalt cards, I doubt I will buy any more Sandisk Extreme CF cards unless, perhaps, they are redesigned.

I have been using Delkin Black cards (128 gb cards and now a 325 gb card) and a Pro Grade Cobalt card (325 gb) in my Z9. I like the fact that they do not get nearly as warm in use, whether in camera or in a card reader, as the Sandisk cards. They are also fast enough to get excellent performance from the Z9. The D500 would generally not be able to take advantage of the faster in-camera speed (it was designed for XQD speeds, even though firmware updates now allow it to use CF Type B cards). The extra speed might help In uploads to a computer or in future cameras.
 

Tom Reynolds

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I used 64gb and 128gb Sandisk extreme pro in my D-500's. The 128gb allowed continuous 10 f/s shooting. The 64gb did not. They did get quite warm in the card reader.
 

Fly Fishing Rick

New member
Thread starter
If you have a challenge with availability, you could probably live with the 256GB ProGrade Gold or larger - just not the 128GB card. A number of manufacturers have different components in the smaller cards to help keep cost down, but it does impact performance. I have tested the Delkin Power card and it consistently shows up as being a good value.

Keep in mind that the speed you get in the D500 will be even slower than the measured speed in the Z9. A Delkin Black 128 GB card in your D500 will have a write speed around 280 MB/s while a ProGrade Gold 128 GB card will be closer to 100 MB/s - slower than a good UHS-II SD card.
You're saying I'd get less than half the tested speed than in the Z9? Is that because the D500 is incapable of taking advantage of one of the two data channels in the CFE cards effectively making it about half as fast as advertised? I knew I'd never see the same speeds as the Z9 is capable of but I didn't really think that it would get lowered by half or more either.
 

EricBowles

Moderator
Supporting Member
You're saying I'd get less than half the tested speed than in the Z9? Is that because the D500 is incapable of taking advantage of one of the two data channels in the CFE cards effectively making it about half as fast as advertised? I knew I'd never see the same speeds as the Z9 is capable of but I didn't really think that it would get lowered by half or more either.
Yes - the D500 was released in very early 2016 - and designed in 2015. XQD was brand new - and had just been upgraded to XQD 2.0. The EXPEED processor was much slower than the Z9 EXPEED 7 processor, the bus used by the card to communicate with the camera is a much slower bus and has just one row of contacts rather than two on the Z9. CFExpress cards are next generation cards - and in the D500 you are using them in compatibility mode with everything else designed for a generation earlier. The D500 speed will be less than half the speed of a CFExpress card in the Z9.
 

Fly Fishing Rick

New member
Thread starter
Yes - the D500 was released in very early 2016 - and designed in 2015. XQD was brand new - and had just been upgraded to XQD 2.0. The EXPEED processor was much slower than the Z9 EXPEED 7 processor, the bus used by the card to communicate with the camera is a much slower bus and has just one row of contacts rather than two on the Z9. CFExpress cards are next generation cards - and in the D500 you are using them in compatibility mode with everything else designed for a generation earlier. The D500 speed will be less than half the speed of a CFExpress card in the Z9.
Ok thanks for the clarification, at least the information in the chart above gives a good baseline for for the different cards performance in general.
 

Roy

Well-known member
I'm planning to upgrade to a D500 and I want to get a CFexpress card for it so I was wondering what models y'all use. I found a compatibility sheet on the Nikon website but the some of the information appears to be inaccurate. Right now I'm looking at the SanDisk Extreme Pro since I've used their SDXC cards in my GoPro and other gear for years without issue but I also have a ProGrade Digital card on my list as well.
I do like Delfkin and Prograds CFe cards.
I've had less luck than you with sandisk SD cards and half my jar of failed SD cards are Sandisk.
Anglebird may have some compatabilty problems.
But generally XQD and CFexpress are easily the most reliable cards i've ever used and that goes back to smartmedia cards...🦘
 
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