CFast Memory Card  (Source:
CFast memory cards to have data throughput of 375MB/sec

Photographers are always looking for more speed when it comes to digital cameras. They want all the speed they can get in the form of more speed in shooting burst images and faster viewing of images on the cameras LCD.

To facilitate faster speeds for burst shooting and the display of saved images on the camera will require a new storage format. Many current DSLR cameras use CompactFlash memory to store photos. CompactFlash uses interfaces that currently top out at 45MB/sec or "300x."

new memory card format on the horizon called CFast will use the newer, much faster serial ATA interface allowing it to hit a maximum speed of 375MB/sec. This faster data throughput will make for increased performance in burst shooting modes and faster read times when you put the CFast card into a card reader to transfer to the computer.

The problem for users of existing DSLR cameras is that the CFast cards use a completely different buses, meaning there is no upgrade path to the faster CFast cards for current cameras using CompactFlash cards. The cards will use different shape connectors to prevent the accidental mixing of the formats.

The time frame for the new format to reach market is not clear. CNET quotes John Santoro, senior product marketing manager for Lexar as saying, “It's my feeling the camera companies already have this on their road maps and want to start working on prototype samples as soon as the specification is finalized." Santoro says he expects the format to hit the market in 18 to 24 months.

Chuck Westfall, technical adviser for Canon USA’s professional products marketing division told, “It remains to be seen [if CFast catches on]. What drives the market is cost and performance issues and availability."

The new CFast memory format could see uses outside of digital cameras as well. CNET reports that current CompactFlash cards are used in all sorts of devices from Apache attack helicopters to Vegas slot machines.

DailyTech first reported on CFast format in July of 2007.

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