Understanding VPG ratings: Why they matter

What's the VPG certification? What are VPG400 and VPG200 ratings? In this blog, we delve into what VPG is and its significance to videography.

When it comes to high-definition video capture, every frame counts. Whether you’re shooting a cinematic masterpiece or capturing life’s moments, the last thing you want is lost footage due to dropped frames.

This is why reliable sustained write performance is so crucial to videography. Not only does it ensure uninterrupted video capture, but a high write speed also allows for shooting at some insanely-high frame rates and formats, especially on premium cameras.

But as a customer, how do you know your memory card will hold up when you throw your camera’s highest bitrates at it? Fortunately, the CompactFlash Association has developed a certification system to make videographers’ lives easier. This is where VPG comes in.

In this blog, we delve into what VPG is and its significance to videography.

What is VPG? What does the number in VPG200 or VPG400 mean?

VPG, or Video Performance Guarantee, guarantees a minimum sustained write speed necessary for recording high-quality video without any frame loss. A number is usually given after the VPG certification to indicate the minimum sustained write speed for the card. VPG200, for example, guarantees that the card’s write performance will never drop below 200 MB/s. In the same way, VPG400 will always have a write speed over 400 MB/s.

Can’t I just get a card with 400 MB/s of write speed instead of a VPG400?

In reality, manufacturers often promise much higher minimum write speeds. This is because CFA’s tests are designed in a strict manner to test a card’s reliability with scenarios that are near impossible to come across in real videography.

For instance, Exascend’s VPG400-rated 1TB Essential Pro CFexpress Type A card guarantees 1,650 MB/s of sustained write speed, four times its VPG rating. However, it is worthy to note that if a card hasn’t passed the VPG certification, it’s likely that its write speed will not hold up under extremely demanding shooting conditions.

How VPG affects Sony camera users

While anyone serious about video capture can benefit from a VPG-certified memory card, Sony camera users in particular should choose a certified VPG card to unlock the full potential of their video recording equipment. This is because the VPG specification is required by Sony CFexpress Type A cameras to support certain advanced shooting modes, such as XAVC S-I 4K or XAVC HS 8K.

If a card has not passed VPG certification, even if the advertised write performance is high, a Sony camera can still raise its firmware flag, causing some modes to be disabled.

Thus, a Sony camera user should pay particular attention to the memory card’s markings before purchase.

Exascend: Setting the bar high

Exascend’s Essential Pro CFexpress Type A, Essential Pro CFexpress 4.0 Type B (coming soon) and Nitro CFexpress 2.0 Type B memory cards are VPG400-certified, not only meet, but also exceeding the stringent standards set by the CFA, delivering sustained write speeds up to 1,650 MB/s with the Essential Pro Type A, 1,750 MB/s with the Essential Pro Type B, and 1,700 MB/s with the Nitro Type B. This level of performance is ideal for capturing flawless 8K video at frame rates up to 120fps without dropping frames.

Exascend’s VPG-certified memory card lineup:

VPG200 Essential CFexpress 2.0 Type A memory card

CompactFlash Association has also shared a full list of VPG-certified memory cards on their official website.

The takeaway

When selecting a memory card for your video recording needs, look for the VPG markings. These logos indicate that the card has passed the rigorous VPG certification test by the CompactFlash Association, ensuring compatibility and performance for demanding video recording tasks.

VPG standards are crucial for professionals and videographers working with demanding video formats, enabling them to capture footage reliably without interruptions. Whether you’re shooting 4K footage, high-frame-rate sequences, or cinematic content in 8K, a VPG-certified memory card provides the reliability and performance you need to bring your vision to life.

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