An efficient, easy-to-use SD card with professional-level features.
Just a couple of years ago, my main camera was the Canon 5D Mark IV. The following camera was the Canon EOS R1 and now, I have the Canon EOS R5. As I maneuvered through the different models, I also had to change up the media I was using to capture. As I moved from the R1 to the R5 I had to ensure that the SD Card I chose was going to accommodate RAW files as well as 8K video. Fortunately, PNY has an amazing SD card that is designed to capture burst mode HD photography and 8K Ultra HD videography – the PNY X-Pro 90 Class 10 SD Flash Memory Card.
The PNY X-Pro 90 is designed specifically to work with 8K (at 7680 x 4320) and 4K video as well as RAW and sequential burst photos. There are three capacities available – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB – for DSLR, mirrorless, and advanced video camera systems. The card takes advantage of the UHS-II bus to deliver read speeds up to 300 MB/s and write speeds up to 280 MB/s (as long as it’s used in devices that support UHS-II). Because the card has a V90 speed class rating, data transfer speeds are guaranteed not to drop below 90 MB/s.
According to B&H Photo, the PNY X-Pro 90 is “designed for dramatically accelerated workflows” thanks to its UHS-II functionality. This explanation of the feature set describes how UHS-II can be that much faster and efficient than UHS-I.
“UHS-II provides bus speeds of up to double those of UHS-I by employing two rows of pins for data transfers. When operating in Half Duplex mode, the UHS-II bus employs both rows to transfer data in the same direction, allowing the card to achieve sequential transfers with read speeds of up to 300 MB/s and write speeds of up to 280 MB/s. This means that the user can shoot video at incredibly fast speeds. Alternatively, the UHS-II bus can also operate in Full Duplex mode (at half the speed of Half Duplex mode) whereby each row transfers data in the opposite direction at the same time, allowing for the movement of content from the host to the card and vice versa, simultaneously. This allows the user to execute two tasks at once, dramatically accelerating the speed at which they can execute post-production editing activities, translating into incredibly efficient workflows.”
The card is backward compatible with UHS-I devices at UHS-I speeds. The card is also very durable – magnet proof, shockproof, temperature proof, and waterproof. As the name would suggest, this particular model of SD card is designed for professional use and is considered top-of-the-line.
|Card Type: SDXC|
|Storage Capacity: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB|
|Bus Type: UHS-II|
|Speed Class: 10|
|UHS Speed Class: U3|
|Video Speed Class: V90|
|Read Speed: Maximum – 300 MB/s, Minimum – 90 MB/s|
|Write Speed: Maximum – 280 MB/s, Minimum – 90 MB/s|
|Built-in Write-Protect Switch: Yes|
|Wireless Capability: None|
The PNY X-Pro 90 comes in a standard SD card retail package. Even though it’s pretty minimal, I do wish that SD cards could be packaged some other way. These pneumatic packages are so hard to work with on the fly. That said, the front of the package shows the card off nicely. You can clearly see which capacity the card is as well as all the monikers that describe the features. I like that the main uses of the card are demonstrated by images (8K, camera burst mode, video camera) on the bottom corner of the package. That makes it very easy for a consumer to find the specific card they need based on use. The back of the package has a lot of fine print on it. I believe a lot of it describes the features and specs in a couple of different languages, but because the print is so small, it’s harder to read. One thing I did notice was that Photo Recovery is included with this card. There is a logo on the bottom of the card that indicates this.
Once you get the card out of the package, it’s pretty much a plug-n-play functionality. You insert it into your camera and start shooting. There is no need for formatting or an extensive setup. I recently used this card when shooting a wedding. While I didn’t have a specific need to shoot video, I was shooting RAW photos in burst mode at times and the card did a great job of keeping up with my performance demands. I never had any card errors or faults while shooting. It seemed to download quickly to my computer when I dumped the photos for editing into Lightroom. Because it’s a standard SD card size, it was able to slide easily into my card case without any issues. In real-world practice, I give the PNY X-Pro 90 an A rating.
In addition to my real-world testing, I also performed some diagnostic tests for review-sake. When I am reviewing hard drives or cards, I always run them through Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and AJA System Test Lite. The Blackmagic test actually shows how well the media will handle different types of video files and the AJA test allows the user to set certain parameters for the media. I had it set for 4096×3112 4K Full, Test file size: 16GB, Codec: ProRes (HQ). I’ve found these utilities to be very helpful in assessing how fast a disk or card reads/writes and if it holds up to its published specs. In order to connect the SD card to my computer, I used the SD card reader on my Kensington SD5600T Thunderbolt Dock. The card reader is rated for UHS-II speeds so it should be a fairly fair test of the card’s abilities. One other test I do is a drag/drop speed test. I grab a file or folder that is a substantial size (usually over 1 GB) and I time how long it takes to transfer the files. Then, I calculate what the data transfer rate is.
For the drag/drop test, I transferred a folder that was 2.83 GB in size from my MacBook Pro to the X-Pro 90. The folder had photo and video files in it (approximately 1877 items). Transferring to the card took approximately 2 minutes and 34 seconds or 154 seconds. This resulted in a data transfer rate of 18.4 seconds. After completing that step of the test, I transferred the same folder back to the laptop and it took approximately 27 seconds to complete its journey. This equaled a transfer rate of 104.8 MB/s. These tests show a slightly lower data transfer speed than is specked out, but it is in line with competitors’ SD cards that have the same pro-level specs. The table below illustrates all the test results.
|Test Name||Read Speed||Write Speed||Data Transfer Rate|
|Blackmagic Disk Speed Test||238.7 MB/s||191.4 MB/s||n/a|
|AJA System Test Lite||269.0 MB/s||211.0 MB/s||n/a|
|Transfer to SD Card||n/a||n/a||18.4 MB/s|
|Trasnfer from SD Card||n/a||n/a||104.8 MB/s|
The PNY X-Pro 90 is a great card for professional-level use. It’s easy to work with and seems to be very efficient in real-world uses. Even though the transfer times were slightly lower than expected, there are several factors that could have affected that so I don’t fault the media for that. I’ve used PNY media in the past and found them to be very reliable.