It’s been well over a year since Nikon revealed that the D5, D850, and D500 DSLRs would all be getting CFexpress memory card support “in the future,” but users are still waiting for Nikon to reveal exactly when that future will arrive. Fortunately, it seems that wait is almost over.
The original announcement came way back in February of 2019, and while Nikon still hasn’t broken its silence, Nikon Rumors says that they “can confirm” that the long-awaited firmware update will arrive “before the end of 2020.” In fact, an official update may come as soon as next week, when Nikon is planning to reveal the Z6 II and Z7 II full-frame mirrorless cameras.
Keep in mind that updating your camera’s firmware to take advantage of CFexpress cards probably won’t give you much of a speed boost, if any. While the cards use an identical form-factor, the internals of your camera need to be able to take advantage of the additional PCIe lane offered by CFe cards, and it’s unlikely older cameras like the D5, D850, and D500 were designed with this upgrade in mind.
The main advantage of CFe compatibility will be accessibility and variety, since many more companies now make CFexpress Type B cards and those cards can be found in capacities as high as a whopping 1TB, while the only available XQD cards max out at 240GB and will likely disappear from retail shelves as the industry transitions over to the open format.
Stay tuned for an official update (hopefully) next week.