Tested: Lexar XQD cards in the PXW-FS7 and PMW-F5

XDCAM-sliding-system-v2 Tested: Lexar XQD cards in the PXW-FS7 and PMW-F5
DSC_0160-300x168 Tested: Lexar XQD cards in the PXW-FS7 and PMW-F5
Lexar XQD cards work with Sony cameras.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: There are two different speeds of S series cards. You should only use the faster E stream cards. You can tell which is which by the part number. QDS64E and QDS32E are second generation fast S series. Any other S series is a slower first generation S card and should be treated as H Class cards.

DO NOT USE THE NEWER 2933x CARDS THESE DO NOT WORK WITH THE FS7.

It was brought to my attention at the BVE show last week that Sony XQD cards were in short supply. This is probably due to the run away success of the PXW-FS7. More cameras sold means more media required.

So I decided to test out a Lexar XQD card in my PXW-FS7 and in my PMW-F5 (via a QDA-EX1 SxS to XQD adapter).

The good news is that it appears to work just fine, which shouldn’t really be a surprise as the Lexar cards are bonafide XQD cards. It’s also worth noting at this point that you don’t have to use the latest and greatest, extremely fast “G” series XQD cards from Sony. You can also use the slower H, N and S series cards. Although I personally would stick to just the faster G and S series cards as these can be used for all modes and frame sizes.

G Series – 400MB/S  OK All Frame Rates/Modes.

S Series (QDS64E and QDS32E only) – 180MB/S  OK All Frame Rates/Modes.

N Series – 125MB/S OK for XAVC-L all frame sizes/rate. XAVC-I HD up to 30fps plus 24fps 3840×2160. OK for Mpeg2, No S&Q, No ProRes or DNxHD.

H Series – 125MB/S OK for XAVC-L HD up to 60fps. No XAVC-I, No 4k/UHD, No S&Q. No ProRes/DNxHD

Lexar 1100x -168MB/S – Not tested, but should be OK, as Sony H series, maybe N series.

Lexar 1333x – 200MB/S – Tested all modes and frame rates.

Lexar have two classes of card a slower 1100x – 168MB/s card and a faster 1333x – 200MB/s card. For my tests I chose the faster 1333x card as this wasn’t much more expensive than the slower card and on paper at least matches or betters the Sony S series cards which can be used for all modes and frame rates. The 1100x card should also work just at least as well as an H series card, maybe N series, but I have not tested one and would recommend testing before use.

I tested the card across a large range of frame rates and resolutions going all the way up to UHD 60fps on the FS7 and SStP on the F5 as well as S&Q all the way to 180fps. I had no errors or other major problems. I did notice in the F5 that the it takes a little longer for the red light above the record slot to return to green at the end of a recording. While the slot light is red you cannot start a new recording so you do need to be aware that you may have a momentary delay before you can record the next clip.

I purchased the Lexar 1333x card via Amazon in the UK and it cost me £127 inc VAT for a 64GB card, which is quite a bit cheaper than a Sony G series card (currently around £220 in VAT). So the Lexar cards offer a perfectly good alternative to the Sony cards at a lower cost with only a slight decrease in off-load speed. As well as the PMW-F5/F55 and PXW-FS7 I see no reason why these cards should not also work in the PMW-Z100, FDR-AX1 or via the QDA-EX1 adapter in the PMW-200, PXW-X160, X180 and X200, but I have not tested this.

I can’t comment on long term reliability as I’ve only had the card a couple of days. I see no reason why the Lexar cards should last as long as the Sony cards. Heck looking at a Sony G series card and the Lexar card side by side the materials appear to be identical, it looks to be exactly the same plastic (even the texturing is the same) and the same brushed metal. The Sony card is marked as made in Japan and the Lexar card as a product of Taiwan.

CARD READERS.

The new Sony G series cards have a different interface to the older Sony XQD cards and the Lexar cards. Currently when you buy a G series card it comes with a USB3 card reader. This reader will ONLY read G series XQD cards.

You can buy USB3 card readers for the other XQD cards for around £25.00. These readers will normally work with any XQD card, including the G series. But when you use a G series card in the non G series readers you get a reduced read speed of up to 168MB/s, which is fast, but not as fast as the dedicated G Series reader.

35 thoughts on “Tested: Lexar XQD cards in the PXW-FS7 and PMW-F5”

  1. Hello Alister, thank you for this article, I also gambled and bought two 64GB 1333x Lexar cards when I got my FS7 and my experience was the same, no dropped frames or problems in 1080p at 180 fps, and UHD at 60 fps. It is a significant savings comparing to the Sony G series which are very difficult to find in stock right now. Only wish they offered a 128GB card.

  2. I’ve had success with the lexar 1333x in my FS7, with one caveat. For some reason I’ll get the “read only media” error after recording a few clips. Sometimes it happens after 2 or 3 clips and other times it will allow me to record 5 or 6. So far there is no rhyme or reason to this error, but the card is definitely not full. I have one Sony XQD that I use also and it doesn’t throw this error. Also, I reformat, in the FS7 menu, each card and each time I re-insert after offload. Maybe it’s a user error that I haven’t figured out yet, but I’m not changing anything in camera (resolution, frame rate, etc) before this happens. This can be quite frustrating because each time I have to run back to the laptop, offload the 2-6 shots, reformat, and go get set again. Otherwise these lexar cards are a good value in my opinion. That’s my experience!

    1. Interesting. I tested again today with many, many clips on my Lexar cards in multiple formats, lengths and modes and I have not seen any read only errors. So far and with quite a few hours on the Lexar cards I have not had any errors of any description. I don’t do anything different with my Lexar cards compared to the XQD cards. I’ve also met a few other people using Lexar cards and nobody has mentioned any issues.

      If anyone else sees any issues please do let everyone know.

  3. There are two generations of S cards. Older 168MB/s and newer 180MB/s. Only later is officially supported and this is the S card they refer on their charts. So unless you personally tested older gen S I wouldn’t recommend to use it. Even if it worked for you it may not work on all situations and on all manufactured units of these cards as the number doesn’t indicate constant speed value. If older S is not approved by Sony then it is safe to assume the slower Lexar will also be too slow, if not always, at least momentarily which could lead to problems.

    1. Yes this has been brought to my attention. The E stream cards are the faster cards, so QDS64E and QDS32E are the fast cards. The older non E stream S series cards are still approved by Sony, just only for the same codecs and frame rates as an H series card.

  4. TH, I read the specs on the Lexar 1333x XQD cards as rated for up to 200MB/s so they are technically faster than the S cards. I also updated my camera to firmware version 2.0 and I can record 4K at 60fps with no problems.

  5. Hello, Alister, I just bought the Lexar 133x 64GB cards, and immediately popped them into my new FS7 running version 2.0. Camera is set for NTSC. I formatted the cards and then recorded a 10-sec clip at 4096×2160 at 23.98P, using the XAVC-I codec. It seemed to work. Then when I pressed Thumbnail I got a dark screen with no clips — and none of the buttons appeared to work. After turning off and on, tried another clip at 3840×2160, and same result, and switching to the other slot gave the same result. Did Sony disable something in version 2?

    (In case this is relevant, I’m using the Commlite adapter and an older Canon 100-400mm lens, L glass.)

    Thanks for your help!

  6. Hi, I am wondering about XAVC-I on the lexmark, you mentioned you had an error but you were able to fix it.

    Has everything been fine shooting XAVC-I with the Lexmark Cards?

    Thanks

  7. I have also had the ‘read only media’ error today on a shoot with a 64gb Lexar card. I had just formatted and recorded a very small number of clips. Luckly I had a 33gb Lexar card so swapping to this solved the immediate problem of needed media. This is a bit worrying though… What is ‘reset all’ can anyone else confirm this fixes the issue?

  8. I got this exact problem after a firmware update. Solution: delete the firmware installation file from the SD card. Apparently, when switching to Thumnail view, the FS7 scans the SD card before the XQD cards, sees the firmware update file and freezes with black screen. Deleting the FW file fixed this problem.

      1. Hello alister. i just purchased the fs7 and reading that the lexar cards worked I bought one of the faster 2933 400mb/s cards. the fs7 doesnt recognise it though – sometimes it tries to format it then says it can’t recognise the media. have you tried these cards? thanks, Steve

  9. I just tried the 1333 64gig 200mbs Lexar card on my F7. It recorded fine and plays back in camera but the 3 Sony readers I have would not recognize the Lexar. Contacted Lexar and they no longer make a reader nor could I find anyone who had one still in stock.

    Do I have a bad card or does everyone else have a different ( non-Sony) reader?

    1. The Sony G Series card readers only work with G Series cards. and older Sony reader should read the Lexar cards.

  10. I just purchased a pair of Lexar 128GB XQD cards 2933x rated 440 MB/s (read). FS7 will NOT format them. In case there were hidden files included that Sony didn’t like, I re-formatted the cards on Mac Pro using ExFat with Master Boot Partition. Still S.O.L.
    In both cases (raw & reformatted) FS7 wrote two directories, Store V1 and Store V2. In the latter were a couple of dozen small reference files. Puzzling that it got that far without finishing the job. Hate to toss a pair of brand new cards – especially if you are having good luck. Am I an ignoramus?

    1. I have the same ones, 1400x, but I am experiencing issues with playback of the thumbnails in camera; it stops playback and says “playback halted”…
      You are not having this problem?

  11. Interestingly, the Sony XQD G Series readers that come with the XQD cards WILL read the Lexar 2933X cards. I had ordered the Lexar cards for my FS7 before I realized it wouldn’t read them, so I ended up keeping them to use in my Nikon D4 bodies instead. Since I have an abundance of the Sony G Series readers, I keep two of them in my camera bag to use on photo assignments, because they are indeed very fast!

  12. For all interested, I just updated to 3.1, and a quick test revealed that the Lexar 128GB 2933X works without any issue!
    Looks like whatever Sony did to add XQD-M compatibility, also quietly added Lexar cards… Great, as they are the fastest available – that I know of.

    1. I have just updated to 3.1 and the camera doesn’t recognise the 128Gb 2933x – what could I have done wrong?

  13. NOTE – Sony 128Gb G Series XQD Cards V2 (QD-G128E) are not compatible with the Sony F5. (in conjunction with the Express card adapter of course). This is what B&H said after I purchased one and inquired about it’s compatibility.

    Hello Richard, my name is Manzell L:
    Thank you for contacting the Sales Department at B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio.
    Unfortunately, no, the Sony 128GB XQD G Series Memory Card is not compatible for use with the Sony PMW-F5 CineAlta Digital Cinema Camera. The Sony PMW-F5 CineAlta Digital Cinema Camera uses SxS cards or SD memory cards, and is not compatible for use with the XQD card you list above.

    Manzell L
    B&H Photo Video and Pro Audio
    The Professional’s Source.

    1. Not sure I fully trust B&H’s advice as they state only SxS can be used when we know for certain that 64GB XQD can be used and my understanding is if your firmware is up to date you should also be able to use 128GB.

  14. I also purchased a Sony 128Gb G Series XQD Cards V2 for my F5. The camera reads the card, formats its file structure to it, the sxs reader works fine to connect to my computer, but the camera will only read “Media Full” so it won’t let me actually record anything to the card. If anyone has found a work around, please share!

      1. Just been digging around and it appears there are a lot of people using 128GB G Series XQD cards in F5’s and F55’s without any issues, so don’t know what’s going on here.

        All the information I have says they will work.

  15. I wonder if it is specific to the new V2 (400mb write) cards that just came out this month. Seems the previous G series cards did work.

    1. V2 or Gen 2 normally refers to second generation of XQD which all G series cards are. V2 came out in 2014. But yes it may be an issue with the new very slightly faster cards.

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