Best Compact Flash Cards (10 Picks for 2017)

Sandisk Extreme pro compactflash card

Top 10 CF Cards

A Compact Flash card is traditionally considered to be faster than SD cards; a reason why they are used in most pro bodies. But unfortunately some years ago the Compact Flash Association announced that they will put in no further research into this project. A decision that ultimately resulted in the CF cards losing out to the faster XQD and the CF2.0 cards.

However, the CF cards continue to generate interest. Especially because many of the older pro models are still in use and they use CF cards.

Today, we are looking to find the 10 best compact flash cards that money can buy.

But we need to understand a few aspects about them first.

Storage

Compact Flash cards come in various storage sizes. Starting from 32 GB going all the way to 256 GB. If you use a camera that consistently churns out high-resolution RAW image files or 4K videos, you will need the beefiest Compact Flash card you can find.

Price

Price will depend on storage, build quality, transfer speed and a few other aspects. This is not in your control and honestly, the price should not affect your decision. I have seen far too many photographers losing their day worth of work because the card dies on them. It is like buying the best off-road vehicle and then buying a set of stock tires. If you need the best camera and lens insist on the best Compact Flash card that you can afford.

Speed

CF cards are labelled with speeds like 1066x, or 800x and so on. Along with them, there is another speed rating mentioned on them 120MB/s, 50MB/s, etc. The first speed label dates back to their inception.  They belong to a time when compact discs were state of the art and then everything faster that came about used the CD speed as a reference. So, 50x basically means 50 times the read speed of 150KB/s (the read speed of a CD).

Another thing to note is that there are two speeds mentioned on CF cards. One is the read speed, the other is the write speed – both are equally important.

Write and Read Speeds

Write speeds affect the buffer speed of your camera. The slower the write speed, the faster the camera will run out of memory when shooting. When shooting fast action or continuous sports, you don’t want to fall into this situation.

The read speed is also important because it allows the data on your card to be dumped onto your laptop. Slower the speed, longer the time it will take. This can become an issue if people are waiting for the images, but usually not a big-time issue.

Reliability

Reliability is a combination of factors. It depends on the capability of the compact flash card and it's performance abilities. The card should, ideally, be able to perform in bad weather, as well as take in a bit of abuse when being transported inside a bag. Some cards come with a silicone coating. Others come with an operating temperature range. All these are important considerations when choosing the right Compact Flash card. Also, look for native data retrieval solutions which will come in handy when shooting.

Warranty

Look for warranty information. Some Compact Flash cards are warranted for life. Others for a few years only. Extended warranty does not ensure data security. But it does ensure that your cards will be supported for an extended period of time.

The Top 10 Choices:

# 1 – SanDisk 32 GB Extreme Pro Compact Flash card

Sandisk 32 GB compact flash

Sandisk 32 GB compact flash

The SanDisk Extreme Pro Compact Flash card has a read speed of 160 MB/s. The write speed is up to 150 MB/s. The card is compliant to shoot both full HD and 4K videos with equal ease.

The  It is certified to be VPG-65 compliant which suggests that the card is capable of writing at a consistent speed of 65MB/s.  The actual write speed, will also depend on the camera / operating system being used. So on a Canon 5D Mark IV the SanDisk 32 GB performs admirably at 108.9 MB/s. Whereas, on a Nikon D800 the write speed drops down to 70.5 MB/s.

The total storage capacity of the Compact Flash card is 32 GB. SanDisk marks this CF card to be compliant with the UDMA7 standard which is the highest standard as per the CompactFlash Association.

However, as the CF Association no longer updates this, this is irrelevant. You can shoot both RAW and JPEG images with this card. Comes with RTV Silicone coating. This coating prevents the card from getting affected by shock and vibration when being transported in a bag.

The card is made in China. But it is still reliable. The operating temperature of the card is -13 ˚ to 185 ˚ F. It comes with a lifetime warranty and also top rating among all purchases of the card.

Sale
SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-032G-X46
697 Reviews
SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-032G-X46
  • You can be confident in the good quality, performance and reliability of every SanDisk Product
  • Unique, sleek design for the modern home
  • With these speeds you can be sure that every transfer or save will end faster than ever before
Related Post: How to Backup Your Images in Lightroom

# 2 – Lexar 32 GB Professional 1066x CompactFlash memory card

Lexar 32 GB CF Card - one of the best Compact Flash Cards

Lexar 32 GB Compact Flash Card

The Lexar 32 GB Professional 1066x Compact Flash card comes with two internal ratings. The first one is the traditional rating that is based on the read / write speed of compact discs.

The Lexar's rating is 1066x. The contemporary rating is easier to understand. The maximum read speed of this UDMA 7 rated CF card is 160 MB/s and the maximum write speed is 155 MB/s.

The card is compliant with the VPG 65 standard which suggests that the minimum write speed is 65 MB/s. That is what you need for a smoother performance when shooting 4K / full HD videos. This guarantee is however available on some compatible devices only.

The card comes with Lexar's Image rescue Software guarantee. This software is a life saver in situations where your card refuses to give up the images leaving you stranded after a whole day of work. Though this rescue software is not magic, it does not have the ability to recover images in some situations. To its advantage the Lexar is about $15 cheaper than the SanDisk that we read about at the top.

Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB CompactFlash card LCF32GCRBNA10662 - 2 Pack
1132 Reviews
Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB CompactFlash card LCF32GCRBNA10662 - 2 Pack
  • High-speed performance-leverages UDMA 7 technology to deliver a read transfer speed up to 1066x (160MB/s)
  • Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video with a DSLR camera, HD camcorder, or 3D camera
  • Supports the Video Performance Guarantee specification for professional-quality video (VPG-65)
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow
  • Includes downloadable Image Rescue software to recover most photo and select video files
Related Post: DIY Portrait Studio Tips

# 3 – SanDisk 32 GB Extreme Compact Flash memory card

Sandisk 32 GB compact flash card

The SD 32GB Extreme Pro is a comparatively cheaper option when you compare the prices of the above two with this one. Having said that, you only get what you pay for.

The read speed of this Compact Flash card is only 120 MB/s. The write speed is only 85 MB/s. Complies with Video Performance Guarantee benchmark of 20. Meaning you are going to get a steady, minimum writing speed of 20 MB/s. thus, this is not suitable for 4K videos. You could shoot stills (both JPEG and RAW) at a continuous speed, but video performance is not satisfactory.

The card, however, complies with the highest UDMA 7 standard and also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Additionally, the card is shockproof to a limited extent and also comes with the ability to work in extreme temperatures (-25 ˚ to 85 ˚ F). Giving you greater flexibility and the ability to shoot in trying circumstances with some confidence.

Sale
SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-032G-X46
697 Reviews
SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-032G-X46
  • You can be confident in the good quality, performance and reliability of every SanDisk Product
  • Unique, sleek design for the modern home
  • With these speeds you can be sure that every transfer or save will end faster than ever before

# 4 – SanDisk 64 GB Extreme PRO CompactFlash Card

Compact Flash Card

Sandisk 64 GB compact flash card

Let's up the game and get into the higher 64 Gigs segment. This segment too is dominated by familiar names – Lexar and SanDisk. This is the SanDisk 64 GB Extreme PRO Compact Flash card. This is compliant with the UDMA 7 standard.

The Extreme Pro 64 GB too is rated at 160 MB/s by the company, just as the 32 gig card that we just reviewed above. Maximum write speed, however is 150 MB/s.

Compatible with the VPG (Video performance Guarantee) benchmark, the SanDisk 64 GB Extreme PRO is capable of a minimum write speed of 65 MB/s. This is necessary for shooting 4K and full HD videos.

Just like its 32 GB little brother, this card comes with RTV silicone coating that protects it from shake and drop when you transport it. The operating temperature of the card is -13 ˚ to 185 ˚ F. Giving you an extended working temperature leverage.

SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB Compact Flash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-064G-X46 (Label May Change)
696 Reviews
SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB Compact Flash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-064G-X46 (Label May Change)
  • You can be confident in the good quality, performance and reliability of every SanDisk Product
  • Unique, sleek design for the modern home
  • With these speeds you can be sure that every transfer or save will end faster than ever before

# 5 – Lexar 64 GB Professional 1066x Compact Flash memory card

Compact Flash Card Lexar 64GB 1066x a Great CF Card

Lexar 64 GB professional compact flash card

Compliant with the UDMA 7 (highest) standard of the CompactFlash Association the Lexar Professional 1066x comes with a storage capacity of 64 GB.

It has two-speed ratings printed on it. Just as the smaller brother the 32 GB.

  • One is in reference to the older compact disc speed which is 1066x.
  • The other one is the standardized 160 MB/s. This is what you should rely on. This is the read speed.

The write speed is 155 MB/s. just like the smaller brother, this one too comes with the backing of Lexar's Image rescue Software. This software comes in handy in the event your card develops problems and you cannot retrieve the images/videos on it. All the cards that we have discussed so far are compliant with the VPG (Video Performance Guarantee) benchmark.

The Lexar 64 GB is no different. It basically gives a steady 65 MB/s shooting speed, which comes in handy when shooting videos in 4K and full HD format.

Sale
Lexar Professional 1066x 64GB VPG-65 CompactFlash card (Up to 160MB/s Read) w/Free Image Rescue 5 Software LCF64GCRBNA1066
1132 Reviews
Lexar Professional 1066x 64GB VPG-65 CompactFlash card (Up to 160MB/s Read) w/Free Image Rescue 5 Software LCF64GCRBNA1066
  • High-speed performance - leverages UDMA 7 technology to deliver a read transfer speed up to 1066x (160MB/s)
  • Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video with a DSLR camera, HD camcorder, or 3D camera
  • Supports the Video Performance Guarantee specification for professional-quality video (VPG-65)
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow. Includes downloadable Image Rescue software to recover most photo and select video files
  • Backed by expert support and limited lifetime warranty
Related Post: Best SD Card for Canon 6D and Nikon D3300

# 6 – Lexar 128GB Professional 1066x Compact Flash Memory Card

Compact Flash Card: 128 GB Lexa Professional

Lexar 128GB compact flash card

The Lexar 128 GB Compact Flash card comes with a speed rating of 1066x. That’s the archival system. However, the actual speed as per the new rating system is 160 MB/s. This maximum read speed is achieved only when you pair this card with a UDMA – 7 enabled card reader. That's more accurate. The write speed is 155 MB/s maximum.

Thanks to its compliance with the VPG benchmark, the Lexar 128 GB promises a minimum write speed of 65 MB/s. Again, that is perfect for shooting full HD and 4K videos.

One reason why we would recommend this card is that it comes backed with Lexar's Image Rescue Software. This software ensures that even in the event that you accidentally erase any data on it, the software could retrieve that data. It also comes in handy when the card becomes corrupted for some reason.

Sale
Lexar Professional 1066x 128GB VPG-65 CompactFlash card (Up to 160MB/s Read) w/Free Image Rescue 5 Software LCF128CRBNA1066
1132 Reviews
Lexar Professional 1066x 128GB VPG-65 CompactFlash card (Up to 160MB/s Read) w/Free Image Rescue 5 Software LCF128CRBNA1066
  • High-speed performance-leverages udma 7 technology to deliver a read transfer speed up to 1066x (160mb/s)
  • Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080p full-hd, 3d, and 4k video with a DSLR camera, HD camcorder, or 3d camera
  • Supports the video performance guarantee specification for professional-quality video (vpg-65)
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow
  • Includes downloadable image rescue software to recover most photo and select video files
Related Post: Tips for Buying Used Photography Gear

#7 – SanDisk 128 GB Extreme Pro Compact Flash Memory Card

The Extreme Pro 128 GB Compact Flash Card

Sandisk Extreme pro compact flash card

This is the 128 GB version of SanDisk's Extreme Pro range of Compact Flash cards. This card is compliant with UDMA 7 standard. The card is ideal for shooting 4K and UHD video. In as much as stills are concerned the card is complaint with both JPEG and RAW images.

The maximum read speed of the card is 160 MB/s and the maximum write speed is 150 MB/s. Having said that, the card is compliant with the VPG – 65 benchmark. That seems to signify that the card promises a minimum steady recording speed of 65 MB/s. This comes in handy when shooting high-quality videos as well as when shooting stills, especially in continuous burst mode.

The card comes with RT silicone coating which gives it some amount of protection against jerks and shakes, especially when being transported inside a bag.

SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-128G-X46
696 Reviews
SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-128G-X46
  • You can be confident in the good quality, performance and reliability of every SanDisk Product
  • Unique, sleek design for the modern home
  • With these speeds you can be sure that every transfer or save will end faster than ever before

# 8 – Lexar 256 GB Professional 1066x Compact Flash Memory Card

Compact Flash Card (Lexar Professional 256GB 1066x 160 MB/s=

Lexar 256 GB compact flash card

This Lexar Professional 1066x is a UDMA 7 standard compliant Compact Flash card and has a storage capacity of 256 GB.

Just like all the other Lexar cards that we have reviewed here, this one too comes with 2-speed labels.

  • The first one is the 1066x, which is a reference to the old compact disc standard.
  • The second one is more realistic which is 160 MB/s. This is the maximum read speed though.

The maximum write speed of the card is only 155 MB/s. The Compact Flash card is compliant with the VPG – 65 benchmark. This guarantees a minimum write speed of 65 MB/s at all times. This ensures a much smoother performance compared to the other makes and models including,

Transcend's 256 GB 800x which only supports a maximum write speed of 60 MB/s and a guaranteed write speed of 20 MB/s.

Finally, just like all the other Lexar cards that we have discussed here, with this card too you get the support of Lexar's Image Rescue software. This software gives you an additional support just in case your card dies on you or you accidentally delete the image/video files on it.

Sale
Lexar Professional 1066x 256GB VPG-65 CompactFlash card (Up to 160MB/s Read) w/Free Image Rescue 5 Software LCF256CRBNA1066
1132 Reviews
Lexar Professional 1066x 256GB VPG-65 CompactFlash card (Up to 160MB/s Read) w/Free Image Rescue 5 Software LCF256CRBNA1066
  • High-speed performance-leverages UDMA 7 technology to deliver a read transfer speed up to 1066x (160MB/s)
  • Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video with a DSLR camera, HD camcorder, or 3D camera
  • Supports the Video Performance Guarantee specification for professional-quality video (VPG-65)
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow
  • Includes downloadable Image Rescue software to recover most photo and select video files

# 9 – SanDisk 256 GB Extreme Pro Compact Flash memory card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB (a Great Compact Flash Card)

SanDisk extreme pro compact flash card

With 256 GB storage capacity, this is the largest Compact Flash card made by SanDisk that is compliant with the UDMA 7 standard.

The SanDisk Extreme Pro 256 GB Compact Flash card is designed for shooting 4K / UHD videos and for continuous still shooting in both RAW and JPEG modes.

The maximum read speed of the card is 160 MB/s. The maximum write speed of the card is 150 MB/s. Compliant with the VPG – 65 benchmark, the card is capable of shooting at a minimum write speed of 65 MB/s. This comes in handy when shooting 4K / UHD videos.

Additionally, the card comes coated with RTV silicone coating. That can easily absorb some amount of abuse. Comes in handy, when it is transported in a bag.

SanDisk Extreme PRO 256GB CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-256G-X46
696 Reviews
SanDisk Extreme PRO 256GB CompactFlash Memory Card UDMA 7 Speed Up To 160MB/s- SDCFXPS-256G-X46
  • You can be confident in the good quality, performance and reliability of every SanDisk Product
  • Unique, sleek design for the modern home
  • With these speeds you can be sure that every transfer or save will end faster than ever before

# 10 – Delkin Devices 256 GB CF 1050x UDMA 7 Cinema Memory Card

Delkin 256GB Compact Flash Card (Amazing CF Card)

Delkin 256GB compact flash card

The Delkin's 256 GB Compact Flash card is a shade slower than the top 8 Compact Flash cards that we have reviewed here. It is compatible with the UDMA 7 standard.

This card complies with the 4K UHD video requirements. Maximum read speed of the CF card is 160 MB/s whereas the write speed of the card is 120 MB/s.

The Delkin complies with the VPG – 20 benchmark. Which means you could expect a minimum continuous shooting speed of 20 MB/s. This is not the smoothest you could get for shooting 4K.

Though you would get better results shooting full HD videos. The card design is good. It sis capable of withstanding some amount of abuse.

Delkin DDCF1050256G 256GB Cinema 1050X UDMA 7 CompactFlash Memory Card
  • 4K Ultra Approved
  • Sustains High Frame Rates
  • Excels in Digital Backs
  • Read/Write Speeds: 160/120 MB/s
  • Video Performance Guarantee-20 (VPG-20)

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Rajib

Rajib

Rajib's love for the road is second only to his love for photography.
Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 7 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.
Rajib

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Rajib

Rajib's love for the road is second only to his love for photography.
Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 7 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.

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