Canon EOS R

Shedding some light on CFexpress firmware and camera compatibility

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Yesterday I reported on compatibility issues with the Canon EOS R5 running firmware v1.4.0 and Exascend CFexpress memory cards.

After talking to a few people, I have come to somewhat of a conclusion that there will likely be some bumps along the way when it comes to CFexpress firmware and camera firmware. Exascend is not the first company that has had some compatibility issues with the Canon EOS R5 and CFexpress cards.

I spoke with “Tig” from Camnostic this morning about the issues that have come up with CFexpress and compatibility. Be sure to check that site out for great information on CFexpress cards and more.

What it appears to boil down to is that CFexpress is a relatively new standard, and there are going to be some conflicts with memory card manufacturers’ and camera manufacturers’ interpretation of the standard. I know of issues that have arisen with other manufacturers as well.

Angelbird

Angelbird, a great manufacturer of CFexpress cards had an issue with the EOS R5 a while ago that delayed the camera 4 seconds on startup before the card was initialized. This issue was corrected by a firmware update tool from Angelbird that anyone could download and use. It’s my understanding that Angelbird built in the ability for this type of update in their firmware. Angelbird and Canon also worked together to get the issue corrected as Angelbird released these memory cards prior to the availability of the Canon EOS R5.

Delkin

Delkin had an issue as well, but users had to send their memory cards back to them to get the needed update for compatibility.

Exascend

Now to Exascend and the issue that I reported yesterday, I have been told that Canon and Exascend implemented the CFexpress standard a bit differently when it came to VPG400 causing the issue.

We started investigating reports that Canon’s latest firmware for the EOS R5 may cause issues with our Essential series of CFexpress cards last week. Our engineering team quickly discovered that Canon EOS R5’s 1.4.0 firmware changes the way CFexpress cards are treated by the camera system.

With the latest EOS R5’s 1.4.0 firmware, our Essential CFexpress cards enter a different operating mode than in previous versions of Canon’s firmware. This causes a compatibility issue based on different interpretations of the VPG400 specification and is unrelated to card performance.

To support this new operating mode, a CFexpress card firmware upgrade is required.

As of earlier this week, we have already made the necessary changes to support Canon EOS R5 with firmware version 1.4.0 (and above) in our latest CFexpress firmware, meaning that all our new CFexpress cards are compatible with the new 1.4.0 firmware. However, due to the way that CFexpress card firmware upgrades work, we need to manually update the firmware for Canon EOS R5 users with Exascend Essential CFexpress cards purchased before we started pushing this upgrade to new cards.

How is Exascend fixing this issue for customers?

Product quality and customer satisfaction are the cornerstones of our business. Therefore, we will send brand new replacement CFexpress cards upgraded to the latest firmware to any user with valid proof of purchase. This ensures that our customers can continue using their Canon EOS R5 system with Exascend storage as soon as possible.

We also do not want customers’ original cards to go to waste, so customers can also send their original cards to us for a free firmware upgrade. To clarify, that means that customers who return their original cards to us will soon have an extra Exascend CFexpress card to spare in addition to their new replacement card.

We want to apologize again to all our card users who were impacted by issues with the Canon EOS R5 firmware update, and going forward, we will work more closely with camera vendors to ensure future card compatibility.

You read that right, Exascend will give you two equal cards for your troubles. A new card is shipped out ASAP so you can get back to shooting. You will then send in your incompatible card to Exascend and they will update the firmware on the card and send it back to you.

This level of customer service is great in my opinion.

Now to Canon

I learned about this issue on the Canon Rumors Discord from an EOS R5 user that updated to firmware v.1.4.0 and hit the snag. Thankfully he didn’t have an important shoot to do that day, as this could have cost him more money to get a new card, or he would have had to ride with SD cards, which isn’t ideal in some situations.

Why can’t we roll back firmware one version when these issues come up? Is there a technical reason? Is there a belief that everyone should be running the latest firmware? This honestly wouldn’t be the case, as lots of people will stick with firmware that works for them.

There are always going to be bumps in the road when it comes to new standards and products, companies are racing to meet deadlines and get their products to market. This is just the nature of many technology businesses.

Thanks again to Exascend for clarifying things for me, and I apologize for jumping to an ignorant conclusion.

entoman

wildlife photography
May 8, 2015
1,019
1,187
UK
I use Delkin CFE-B cards in my R5 without any problems, but I'm still on firmware 1.3.1.

I think it's advisable for all R5 users to stay on 1.3.1 until it becomes clear whether other card brands are affected by the latest update.
 
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koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
2,106
2,130
I was not aware that memory cards need firmware to run.
They do, since they are in essence tiny computers nowadays. But what we're talking about here is that the changes Canon made to use the new VG400 standard for CFexpress seems to have bad interactions with Exascend cards.
 
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Doug7131

EOS 7D
Jul 21, 2019
45
162
I was not aware that memory cards need firmware to run.
NAND flash on its own is a really awkward and finicky thing to use. It takes a pretty intelligent storage controller with a lot of software tricks to turn NAND it something actually usable by a computer.
 
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frjmacias

EOS R5 and EOS M50
May 14, 2020
63
61
30
Monterey, California
I use Delkin CFE-B cards in my R5 without any problems, but I'm still on firmware 1.3.1.

I think it's advisable for all R5 users to stay on 1.3.1 until it becomes clear whether other card brands are affected by the latest update.
I have that card and I have the new firmware installed. I have had no problems with it, but that is for the 128GB version. Not sure if any other storage sizes make a difference.
 

vladk

EOS M6 Mark II
Mar 10, 2021
62
79
Angelbird FW updates are easily done on your home PC. Strange why Exascend does not offer the same.
 
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entoman

wildlife photography
May 8, 2015
1,019
1,187
UK
I have that card and I have the new firmware installed. I have had no problems with it, but that is for the 128GB version. Not sure if any other storage sizes make a difference.
My Delkins are 128GB too. No problems so far.
 
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Ramage

EOS R5
CR Pro
Aug 27, 2019
598
1,252
For those holding off on upgrading to 1.4.0 on the R5. I can confirm no issues with Sony Tough 128GB CFe and ProGrade Gold 128GB CFe cards after multiple formats in camera.

This is likely a knock on bug from - "Adds support for the VPG 400 (Video Performance Guarantee Profile), a standard based on the CFexpress 2.0 specification." in 1.4.0.

I would not be surprised if Exascend missed something in the CFexpress 2.0 protocol that was not an issue until VPG 400 was enabled on the R5. I see this all the time with the Onvif protocol and manufacturers cutting corners.
 
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definedphotography

EOS M6 Mark II
Mar 13, 2020
66
69
Angelbird FW updates are easily done on your home PC. Strange why Exascend does not offer the same.
Last I checked you needed the Angelbird card reader as well to perform a firmware update, so not that easy if you have another card reader.
 
Last edited:
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Ian K

EOS 90D
Jul 20, 2016
102
69
I've upgraded and not had a problem with the ProGrade Cobalt 325GB cards.
 
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miketcool

EOS 90D
Jun 29, 2017
190
383
This happened with my 256gb Transcend card after a previous update. Did a warranty swap on it. This is why I carry cards from different brands as backup.
 

VegasCameraGuy

EOS R5
CR Pro
Jul 9, 2020
226
199
Las Vegas, NV
www.flickr.com
The only problem I've had with the 1.4.0 firmware update is that it turns off eye detection on the R5. I didn't expect the update to turn off eye detection and it took me a minute to figure out what was going on. Eye detection seemed to partially work but after going through the menu, I realized that the update turned it off. I shot almost 1,000 shots last weekend with 1.4.0 and no problems that I can see. Once you get eye detection turned on, it seems to work better than the previous versions. This is just an antidotal opinion and not based on any actual tests.
 
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Ramage

EOS R5
CR Pro
Aug 27, 2019
598
1,252
The only problem I've had with the 1.4.0 firmware update is that it turns off eye detection on the R5. I didn't expect the update to turn off eye detection and it took me a minute to figure out what was going on. Eye detection seemed to partially work but after going through the menu, I realized that the update turned it off. I shot almost 1,000 shots last weekend with 1.4.0 and no problems that I can see. Once you get eye detection turned on, it seems to work better than the previous versions. This is just an antidotal opinion and not based on any actual tests.
To be fare eye detection being disabled has only been reported by @VegasCameraGuy at this point so this may not occur for most users.

From the 1.4.0 thread
Firmware 1.4.0 Problems. The update turns off Eye Detection and turns on touch display to take a picture. Go into AF and set the AF Method to Eye (1st selection) then Enable Eye Detection which the update turns off.

I had no issues when I updated and I loathe touch to activate shutter!!!!! So I would have noticed that PDQ:D

Not for me though. I updated yesterday and both are still set to my last settings.

No changes in the configuration for me, also. Both are still set to my last settings.

@VegasCameraGuy not doubting your personal findings just that you may have a customization\setting that at least 3 others (myself included) do not have that resulted in some strange things on your Camera and not ours.

Cheers
 
Feb 15, 2020
551
390
So far one person on DP review is getting some camera freezes with the new firmware he wasn’t getting before.

Does anyone have experience with Sandisk 512Gb CF express and this new firmware?
 

ekh00

I'm New Here
CR Pro
Oct 28, 2016
11
7
I have Prograde Cobalt 325 and Gold 256. No issues with both cards. Tried continuing recording on either card and they both work as advertised so far.
 
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tron

EOS-1D X Mark III
CR Pro
Nov 8, 2011
5,125
1,503
No issues with 1.4.0 and Prograde Cobalt 650GB. I am a stills only shooter.
 
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