ProGrade Digital: A New Memory Card Brand by Ex-Lexar Execs

Say hello to ProGrade Digital, a new brand of pro-grade memory cards and card readers for photographers. The company was founded by former Lexar executives who are aiming to offer the highest quality memory cards on the market.

Micron shocked the photo world in June 2017 when it unexpectedly announced the end of Lexar-brand memory cards. A few months later, Lexar as given a new shot at life when the brand was acquired by the Chinese flash storage company Longsys.

A group of former Lexar executives has now banded together to compete against the likes of SanDisk and Lexar in the camera storage space. The founding leadership team all held managerial or technical leadership positions at Lexar and have over 60 years of combined experience in the memory card niche.

“Leveraging its experience and industry relationships, the team will focus exclusively on developing and marketing memory cards, card readers and software optimized for use within professional cinema and photography markets,” ProGrade Digital says.

“Our goal is to be the professional’s source for top performing, professional grade memory cards and workflow solutions,” says founder and CEO Wes Brewer. “We will be committed to focusing our efforts on the digital imaging pro who is meticulous about his equipment and workflow-delivering the best service, plus best product quality and reliability.”

Memory Cards

The company will start out with lines of CFast 2.0 (550MB/sec) and SDXC UHS-II (200MB/sec) cards at pro-level capacities. The controllers in the cards are optimized for pro-grade cameras, and each card will undergo rigorous full-card testing (component-level down to individual memory chips) for “the highest quality control.”

Each card will also ship with a 3-year warranty when they hit store shelves later this month through the company website, B&H, and Amazon.

The CFast 2.0 cards will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities for $230, $350, and $700, respectively.

The SDXC UHS-II cards will be available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities for $55, $95, and $190, respectively.

Memory Card Reader

The ProGrade Digital memory card reader features dual slots for both CFast and SDXC, and it uses USB 3.0 Gen 2 for transfer speeds of up to 10Gb/second. You’ll be able to multi-task thanks to the fact that the reader supports full-speed data flow concurrently from cards in each slot.

Each reader comes with two 18-inch-long cables (a Type A to Type C cable and a Type C to Type C cable) and a 2-year warranty.

You’ll be able to purchase the ProGrade Digital card reader later this month for $80.

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NY Times Photographer: Trump Gives More Access Than Obama

A New York Times photographer who has vocally protested White House Press Pool blackouts is now saying that photographers get more access to Trump than they did to Obama.

Photojournalist Doug Mills made headlines back in November 2017 by Tweeting a black “photo” to protest the lack of access provided to the White House Travel Pool while President Trump was attending the APEC Summit in Vietnam.

However, Mills had much more positive things to say in a new interview that just aired yesterday on C-SPAN. Having covered both the Trump and Obama administrators, Mills stated that photographers are actually getting “a lot more” access to the current administration.

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“The White House is quite an exciting place to work right now,” Mills says. “We’re getting a lot more, I mean from a photographer’s standpoint, we get a lot more access to the president. I see him more on a daily basis than we did with Barack Obama.”

Mills also says that while Obama was one of the most photogenic presidents, Trump is an iconic one – photograph him from any angle and you’ll immediately know who you’re looking at.

You can watch a four-minute portion of the interview here:

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“It’s challenging but it’s fun,” Mills says about being a photojournalist with access to the Trump White House.

(via CSPAN via Washington Examiner)

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Yongnuo 14mm f/2.8: An Ultra-Wide-Angle Autofocus Lens

There will soon be a new option for people looking for an affordable ultra-wide-angle lens. Yongnuo is reportedly set to launch a 14mm f/2.8 lens with autofocus capabilities.

Nikon Rumors reports that the lens is coming “soon” and that pricing and availability are not yet known. It’ll likely be available for Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

Yongnuo is the China-based camera equipment manufacturer that made camera accessories before becoming known for making cheap clones of Canon and Nikon lenses.

Here’s the design of the upcoming 14mm lens and its MTF chart:

The Sigma 14mm f/1.8, Rokinon 14mm f/2.4, and Rokinon f/2.8 lenses are three options that are currently popular among landscape and astrophotographers looking for third-party options. The Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 costs $259 but is manual focus only.

Here are some more photos of the Yongnuo YN 14mm f/2.8:

Yongnuo often quietly lists new lenses and products on eBay, Amazon, and B&H without much fanfare, so keep your eye on those sites if you’d like to pick up this lens.