With the coming of the latest camera’s like the Nikon Z9, Canon R5 and Sony A1 8k RAW video has become a reality. That leaves one big question that needs to be answered for the owners of these cameras.
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What are the best CFexpress cards for 8K Video?
- Angelbird 4TB AV Pro MK2 CF Express: B&H $1799.99
- Angelbird 2TB AV Pro MK2 CF Express: B&H $959.99
- Angelbird 1TB AV Pro MK2 CF Express: B&H $479.99
- Angelbird 660GB AV Pro XT MK2 CF Express: B&H $959.99
- Wise 640 CFX-B 640GB CFexpress Type B: B&H $779.99
- Delkin Black 512GB CFexpress Type B: B&H $699.00
- Angelbird 330GB AV Pro XT MK2 CFexpress 2.0 Type B: B&H $479.99
- ProGrade Digital 325GB CFexpress 2.0 Type B Cobalt B&H $429.99.
- Delkin Black 256GB CFexpress Type B: B&H $379.00
Pricing above is in USD.
What About Speed?
What minimum sustained write speed do you need for 8k video?
The answer is 235 MB/s for 4K 120 and 325 MB/s for 8K 30 RAW.
There is more to this question than meets the eye. You might think you should simply choose the fastest memory card listed above. You could do that but in reality, any one of the cards mentioned above can easily handle the 8k transfer speed, but do you need that speed?
And perhaps more importantly, are they large enough to handle the time you’ll be recording? For me, this is one of those good is good enough scenarios. Fast cards come at a price, they are way more expensive per GB and for my video work I value storage over speed provided the card has enough transfer speed not to cause issues.
Example: The Prograde Cobalt 325GB CF Express card sells for $429.99 ($1.32 p/GB) and has a minimum sustained write speed of 1400 MB/s vs the Angelbird 1TB MK2 CF Express at $479.99 ($.48 p/GB) with a minimum sustained write speed of 1300 MB/s . That’s approximately 3X the cost per GB compared to the Angelbird 1TB MK2 card. I see no reason to pony up the big bucks for additional speed that is not necessary for 8k video when you can get 3X the capacity for an additional $50.
What About Size?
Given you can only get 51 minutes of 8K RAW video or 70 minutes of 4K 120 video onto a 1TB card I went for the Angelbird 2TB MK2 card. I do not want to have to be continuously monitoring card usage while I am recording.
However as you’ll see from the table below, those speeds are not required for video. So just how fast a card do you require for 8k video? The answer is 235 MB/s for 4K 120 and 325 MB/s for 8K 30 Raw.
The Angelbird 1TB, 2TB, 4TB MK2 CFexpress cards have a minimum sustained write speed of 1300 MB/s. That’s more than enough speed to keep up with the 8K 30 or 8K 60 video that we will be shooting with the Nikon Z9.
As with all things chip based, manufacturers are having difficult sourcing materials and meeting production demands.
If you want a card that is backordered I suggest you hit the “REQUEST STOCK ALERT” button on the B&H website for that product so you are notified when they are in stock. And when you get that email act quickly as the incoming stock moves out quickly.
My Pick For 8K Video CFexpress Cards
With Angelbird coming out with their new MK2 high capacity CFexpress cards in February 2022 the game changed. They priced these cards so aggressively that there really is no better choice if cost per GB is the deciding factor.
Angelbird 4TB AV Pro MK2 CF Express: B&H $1799.99 (Cost Per GB $.45 USD)
Angelbird 2TB AV Pro MK2 CF Express: B&H $959.99 (Cost Per GB $.48 USD)
Angelbird 1TB AV Pro MK2 CF Express: B&H $479.99 (Cost Per GB $.48 USD)
Every other manufacturers cards are 3X plus the cost with the Prograde Cobalt 650MB/s being the next closest at $1.12 per GB.
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