Lexar media announced yesterday that it has begun shipping the first 128GB SD-format memory card. Originally introduced at CES 2011, the Lexar Professional 133x SDXC memory card is the largest-capacity SD-format memory card currently on the market and though pricing was originally announced at a whopping $699.99 back in January (or $399.99 for a 64GB version), Lexar has come to its senses and put it on the market for a more realistic $329.99 ($199.99 for the 64GB card).
The new cards are labeled “professional” for a reason: With a Class 10 speed rating guaranteed for a minimum of 20MB/second (133x), the capacity and speed are overkill for the average snapshooter, but as higher-end cameras get smaller, serious photographers are looking to migrate from the larger CompactFlash memory format that currently maxes out at 128GB of capacity (but are capable of much faster transfer speeds). Add ubiquitous HD video recording capabilities to the mix and higher transfer speeds and capacity become even more attractive.
Both CompactFlash supporters and SD format proponents continue to ratchet up speeds and capacities, of course. In November of last year, SanDisk, Nikon, and Sony proposed a new set of specifications to the CompactFlash Association that would bring speeds up to 500MB/second and capacity to 6TB, while the SD Association announced the new UHS-II specification in January, which brings SD card speeds up to 312MB/sec.