Transcend, a major manufacturer of flash memory cards, has begun selling models built with the new CFast interface designed to succeed the CompactFlash format.
CompactFlash is still widely used in high-end SLR cameras but is increasingly threatened by the more mainstream SD format, notably the new high-capacity SDXC variety. But CompactFlash allies are working to modernize the technology.
CompactFlash uses the same data transfer technology as hard drives--specifically, the older IDE interface and more recently, the slightly less old UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) variety. While computer hard drives long ago moved to the faster SATA (Serial ATA) version, the CompactFlash format is only making the jump now with a new version called CFast.
CFast offers significantly higher data-transfer speeds--about 375MB/sec compared with 90MB/sec for high-end CompactFlash cards today. Faster data transfer on a camera means the memory buffer can clear out faster when shooting bursts of photos, something that's handy, for example, with sports photographers trying to take multiple sequences.
Transcend's CFast cards, though, aren't for the consumer market. Instead, they're for industrial applications, such as inside train engines or slot machines. And CFast uses a different physical connection, which means the cards aren't compatible with today's CompactFlash. … Read more