Is This CFexpress Type A Card a Fraud?

This story starts about a month ago when I discovered a CFexpress card on Amazon from a brand I had never heard of. The Airusan 256GB CFexpress Type A card carried a remarkably cheap $189.99 price tag, as well as the VPG400 logo that suggests it had been certified by the Compact Flash Association and qualified to deliver a minimum sustained write speed of 400MB/s.

The strange thing was that VPG400-certified Type A cards are rare, and I had never even heard of Airusan. A big red siren was going off in my head. Could someone have just slapped the VPG400 logo on a card without getting permission and passing the necessary tests from the CFA?

CFexpress Type A cards have been in the news in the past six months after PetaPixel uncovered a scheme that some card manufacturers used to spoof Sony cameras requiring VPG verification to enable specific recording options. One interesting thing I discovered from this previous exposé was that the Compact Flash Association maintains a list of cards certified to its VPG200 and VPG400 standards. The list is readily available on its website. This Airusan CFexpress Card was not on that list!

After making this discovery, I immediately contacted Amazon a few weeks ago to express my concern. I don’t have any personal contacts at Amazon, so I was limited to using the standard customer support chat on the Amazon website. I supplied them with the information that a VPG400 certification is issued by the Compact Flash Association, and I pointed out to them that the Airusan card was not on the list of certified cards. I suggested they check up on this to ensure their customers were not being influenced by incorrect specifications. The support agent thanked me for raising the concern and promised that the issue would be looked into.

Fast-forward a few weeks, and I suddenly see a new post on the Sony Alpha Rumors website telling its readers about this CFexpress card. Alarmingly, they were not warning their readers about a potential issue but offering a link to buy this new “cheapest” CFexpress Type A card. Unfortunately, the same red siren was not going off in the head of SAR’s publisher.

Honestly, I had put the card in the back of my mind. I hoped Amazon would take a closer look at my concerns, but it now seems likely they did not. Or, if they did, they determined no action was necessary. With it now being actively promoted to a vast audience of Sony shooters, I knew I had to investigate further. I emailed the Compact Flash Association, asking whether they knew about this card. In a response from Compact Flash Association President Hiro Ino, I was told, “According to our records, they are not a CFA member, which automatically means that they are certainly not VPG400 certified”.

In short, I would not recommend buying this CFexpress Type A card. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. The Compact Flash Association says you need to be a member to get your cards VPG certified, and Airusan is not a CFA member. If you need a memory card certified to VPG200 or VPG400 standards, make sure you buy from reputable card manufacturers such as ProGrade Digital or OWC or cross-reference the model with those on the Compact Flash Association’s list of approved cards.

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Professional photographer based in Yukon, Canada, and founder of Shutter Muse. His editorial work has been featured in publications all over the world, and his commercial clients include brands such as Nike, Apple, Adobe and Red Bull.

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1 thought on “Is This CFexpress Type A Card a Fraud?”

  1. Thanks for posting this! I ordered 2 of these cards from Amazon based on the post from Sony Alpha Rumors. I just cancelled the order rather than take a chance and support a dishonest company.

    Reply

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