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Camera leaders and SanDisk propose Flash format for RAW video

SanDisk, Sony and Nikon have got together to push a new flash memory specification to the CompactFlash Association (CFA), which will allow video and o

By PETER WHITE

Published: 2 December, 2010

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SanDisk, Sony and Nikon have got together to push a new flash memory specification to the CompactFlash Association (CFA), which will allow video and other large files to get on and off flash memory about three times faster than current standards.

The new spec may meet rivals on the way to standardization, but if not this will become the new way of handling professional photography and HD on memory cards.

The proposed specifications achieve data transfer rates of up to 500 Mbytes per second and incorporate the PCI Express interface. PCI Express is a high-speed replacement of the older parallel PCI/PCI-X bus, which uses serial data streams. Most buses start out serial, then move to parallel to get better performance, but then as speeds get higher find difficulty synchronizing bytes across a parallel interface, so designs tend to shift back to serial technologies.

The increased speeds will enable imaging and video applications which the group say could not be carried out using existing CompactFlash Parallel ATA interface which in its latest version reached 167Mbytes per second.

The whole idea is that the new set up can deal with continuous burst shots of RAW images, which is the minimally processed data format produced by a digital camera, image scanner or motion picture film scanner. The proposed specifications have the potential to extend theoretical maximum capacities beyond 2 terabytes and will be similar in size to a CompactFlash cards.

Why do we at Faultline always take an interest in flash memory? Because there are three ways of sending digital video – you can broadcast it, narrowcast it or carry in in storage. And they constant revalue each other’s economics.

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