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Sony introduced smaller CFexpress Type A memory cards with the launch of the A7S III mirrorless camera, offering a high speed (700MB/s read/800MB/s write) option for recording bursts or 4K/8K video. Unfortunately, Sony itself is the only manufacturer using that slot and actually selling memory cards, so it’s charging through the nose. Luckily, ProGrade has just released its own model, the CFexpress Type A Cobalt, with the 160GB card running $330 — $70 less than Sony’s 160GB card.
As a reminder, CFexpress Type A uses the same high-speed CFexpress technology as the type B cards, so the Cobalt card can deliver burst read/write speeds of 800MB/s/700MB/s and sustained write speeds of 400MB/s. That’s considerably faster than what SD UHS II can do (burst read/write speeds up to 300MB/s), though slower than CFexpress Type B (1,750MB/s read and 1,000MB/s write). Still, it’s easily fast enough to capture high-speed photo bursts without any stuttering, along with 8K or 4K 120p video.
Only two cameras actually use the slot, Sony’s A7S III and A1, and both have dual slots that can accept either SD UHS II or CFexpress Type A cards. If you own either of those cameras, though, you know that CFexpress Type A is much preferred as it supports all of those cameras’ video formats and works better for high-speed bursts. The latter is key, as the A1 can shoot 50-megapixel RAW photos at up to 30 fps.
With few camera models supporting CFexpress Type A, other third-party card manufacturers had yet to jump on board until now, though Delkin also announced cards that are coming soon. Sony charges $200 for the 80GB card a whopping $400 for the 160GB version, but you can now pre-order the ProGrade 160GB version for a more reasonable $330.