Last updated on May 9th, 2021
There are several types of memory cards available in the market today. The wide array of memory cards to choose from makes it confusing to pick which one to purchase. Whether you’re using a mirrorless digital camera or a DSLR, we created this list of the best SD cards for photography to help you out.
Most cameras use an SD card to store the data it captures. The specific SD card a camera can support greatly depends on its make and model, so be sure to check on your camera’s specifications before everything else.
Selecting an SD card to use with your camera might initially be a difficult task to do. Not only are there several options to choose from, but SD cards differ in brand, compatibility, speed, capacity, and price.
Best Overall SD Card for Photography: SanDisk Extreme Pro
Next Best SD Card for Photography: Lexar Professional
Best Inexpensive SD Card for Photography: PNY Elite Performance
Best SD Card for 4K Video: SanDisk Extreme Pro
Best High-Capacity SD Card for Photography: SanDisk 1TB Extreme Pro
Best microSD Card for GoPro and Action Cams: SanDisk Extreme microSDXC
Does SD Card Speed Matter in Cameras?
The short answer to this question is yes, the SD card’s speed does matter.
The speed of an SD card affects two important aspects, which are writing data and reading data. While most people might think the more important aspect is high reading speed, the value that matters more is writing speed. Every photo taken gets written into the SD card. When taking a burst shot, your SD card’s writing speed should be able to keep up with the burst shot so that all images store without delay.
The little number with a circle or U shape around it determines the memory card’s speed class. Every SD card has a label on the front side, which displays the speed class. Different SD card manufacturers use speed classes to classify speed. The speed you need depends on the type of work you do. For example, shooting in HD videos or RAW will need fast memory card speed. In contrast, storing a few documents and some standard definition photos does not need very fast memory card speed.
The available memory card classes are class 2, class 4, class 6, and class 10, with class 2 being the slowest and class 10 is the industry standard.
Aside from these, three Ultra High Speed (UHS) memory card classes are also available in the market. These UHS memory cards support continuous HD video recording, 4K video, and large RAW files. They are commonly in use by high-end cameras.
When shooting in some camera modes, you need a fast SD card to handle the job. For example, the Sony A7S II requires at least a UHS-1 compliant SD card, or UHS-3 card to support shooting 4K video at 24 frames per second.
Faster memory will improve read time and write time. When plugging in a memory card with a high-speed rate, it can transfer files faster than a slower card. Additionally, a fast memory card will likely have less lag time, making it smoother when capturing burst shots.
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What Size SD Card Should You Buy?
The memory capacity, otherwise known as the memory card size, will depend on your needs and the type of work you do. An SD card’s size comes in a wide array of choices, with 2GB being the new lowest and goes as high as 1TB.
To most people, 32GB is the smallest capacity they would consider getting, with 64GB being the better option between the two. It is essential to know that all SD cards with a capacity of 32GB or less are SDHC, while SD cards with a capacity of 64GB or more are SDXC.
Read our guide to understand the difference between SDHC vs SDXC. It also explains UHS and other must-know information about SD card specifications.
If you are the kind of photographer who likes to take several photos of the same subject or shoots RAW a lot, you should aim for a larger capacity SD card. If you shoot less frequently and do not mind shooting in plain JPEG, you will be fine with a smaller capacity SD card.
If you record videos often, especially when shooting in 4K, get at least a 128GB SD card, with 256GB being the more practical choice between them.
The idea of choosing the right storage capacity mainly relies on two factors — budget and use. If you often shoot RAW and have the budget to purchase a 128GB SD card, go for it. However, if budget is a problem, we advise you to get the largest capacity SD card you can afford.
If you also have or intend to purchase an action cam, then a microSD card is an excellent option since you can use it in action cams or digital cameras with an adapter, thus saving you money.
15 Best SD Cards for Photography
1. SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card
The SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card is available in several storage capacities, such as 32GB, 64Gb, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.
It can shoot up to a speed of 90MB/s and can transfer up to a speed of 170MB/s. Perfect for shooting 4K UHD videos and burst shots in photography, the SanDisk Extreme PRO will not let you miss any moment.
The UHS Speed Class 3 allows it to support 4K UHD video with compatible devices. Built for and tested in harsh conditions, this SD card is waterproof, shockproof, x-ray-proof, and temperature-proof.
To top it all off, it comes with a lifetime limited manufacturer warranty. In countries where there is no lifetime warranty, this SD card comes with a 30-year warranty.
The SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I works with most DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras. It is essential to know not all devices support SDXC. To verify compatibility, check with your device’s manufacturer for more details.
2. PNY Elite Performance Class 10 U3 SDXC Flash Memory Card
The PNY Elite Performance Class memory card has a read speed of up to 95MB/s. It has a Class 10 and U3 rating, which ensures the delivery of high speed and performance for burst photo mode and 4K UHD videography. It is available in several capacities including 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
With this memory card, you can record, share, and store photos, music, videos, and files. It is compatible with HD-enabled video cameras, DSLR cameras, point-and-shoot cameras, and mirrorless cameras. The SD card itself is durable and reliable, making it shockproof, magnet-proof, waterproof, and temperature-proof.
3. Lexar Professional 1667X SDXC UHS-II/U3
Available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB options, this Lexar Professional SD card offers high-speed performance with UHS-II/U3 technology for a fast read/write transfer speed up to 250MB/s and 120MB/s, respectively. It lets you capture high-quality photos and lengthy, stunning 1080p FHD, 3D, and 4K video with a DSLR camera, 3D camera, or HD camcorder.
25GB, the largest capacity option, lets you enjoy shooting more photos and longer videos without changing the SD card. If you are in a hurry to transfer data from your SD card to your computer, the high-speed file transfer capability allows for quick file transfer. It is backward compatible with UHS-I devices performing at class 10 speeds and comes in a limited lifetime product support warranty.
The Lexar Professional 1667X SD card works well with a variety of devices, such as but not limited to DSLR cameras, HD-enabled video cameras, mirrorless cameras, and point-and-shoot cameras.
4. Kingston microSDXC Canvas Go Plus + Adapter
The Kingston microSDXC Canvas Go Plus is available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Packed with superior speeds, it has a transfer rate of up to 170MB/s, making it perfect for capturing FHD and 4K UHD video.
The U3 UHS speed class and V30 video speed class make it ideal for drones and action cameras. It supports the A2 app performance class, which allows for faster application performance.
On top of all its performance advantages, the Kingston Canvas Go Plus is durable, which guarantees you peace of mind. It is waterproof, vibration-proof, and x-ray-proof.
Aside from action cameras and drones, you can also use this microSD card on mobile phones. Depending on the maximum storage support of your device, you can go as high as 512GB.
It comes with an SD card adapter, which means you can use it with almost any device that takes in an SD card.
5. Gigastone Micro SD Card with Adapter
The Gigastone MicroSD card is available in several storage capacities, ranging from 32GB to 512GB. It has a write speed of up to 95MB/s and a read speed of up to 35MB/s, making it perfect for capturing and displaying UHD video.
This microSD card is compatible with a wide array of devices, such as PCs, smartphones, cameras, laptops, dashcams, drones, and gaming consoles.
You can use it to store your essential files, such as documents, photos, videos, and audio.
The Gigastone MicroSD card is durable as it is waterproof, temperature-proof, x-ray-proof, and shockproof.
For your peace of mind, every microSD card from Gigastone comes with a 5-year warranty. Rated as UHS-I A1 U3 Class 10, you can expect fast speeds and smooth recording.
6. Prograde SD UHS-II Card V90
The Prograde SD UHS-II card packs an incredible write speed of up to 250MB/s and a read speed of up to 300MB/s. It is available in three storage options, which are 64GB, 128GB, and 2586GB.
This SD card is for professional filmmakers, vloggers, photographers, and content curators. The Prograde SD card focuses on curating the finest content from creative minds, providing efficiency and reliability wherever needed.
The Prograde Digital Refresh Pro allows users to refresh and sanitize their SD card to maintain peak performance. This software can also check and monitor the health of the card. Having this ability ensures reliability when you need it the most. Serial numbers are laser-etched to the memory card to ensure authenticity.
The Prograde SD UHS-II has a V90 video speed class, which guarantees zero frame drops even in data-intensive formats, such as 4K, UHD, and high bit-rate MPEG-4. It supports almost all video formats and RAW.
7. TEAMGROUP Elite A1 microSDXC
If you are looking for a microSDXC card that offers an extremely wide array of choices, the TEAMGROUP Elite A1 is a great choice. It comes in several sizes and packs. It has available storage capacities in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
Some of these storage capacities come in a two-pack or three-pack option. Each capacity has a color assigned to it, making it easier for users to spot the storage they need.
The TEAMGROUP Elite A1 microSDXC card has a speed class of UHS-I U1. It does not support 4K video, but it does support video recording up to Full HD. The 32GB and 64GB have a read speed of up to 80MB/s and a write speed of up to 15MB/s. The 128GB and 256GB have a read speed of up to 80MB/s and a write speed of up to 20MB/s.
It has an operating temperature between 0℃ and 70℃, making it compatible in several environmental conditions.
8. Ritz Gear Extreme Performance High-Speed UHS-I SDXC
The Ritz Gear Extreme Performance SDXC card offers exceptional performance to both amateurs and professionals. This SD card provides Class 10 SDXC UHS-I ratings, making it high-performance with speeds you can take to the next level.
It lets you store and transfer 1080p Full HD, 3D, and 4K videos, RAW photos, and audio files without fail. Despite these outstanding features, the Ritz Gear Extreme Performance SDXC card only comes in 64GB and 128GB storage options.
To achieve stunning results in recording videos, it packs a V30 video class speed rating, which brings out gorgeous colors, sharp details, and fast data transfer. This SD card has a read speed of up to 95MB/s and a write speed of up to 45MB/s. These SD cards are shockproof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray-proof, which gives you peace of mind when in use.
9. Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card
The Sony TOUGH-G series is an SDXC UHS-II card that comes in 64GB and 128GB storage capacities. It has a read speed of up to 300MB/s and a write speed of up to 299MB/s.
This SD card is the world’s first one-piece molded construction SD card with materials rated as the world’s highest bend strength level. Compared to a non-TOUGH-G series SD card, it is 18 times more durable than the standard one. It has the highest level of waterproofing at IPX8*5 and dust proofing at IP6X*5. If you have an old device and would like to use this SD card, you can do so without any problems.
Most SD cards have a write protection switch. In rare cases, it could fall off and can compromise the data you have on your SD card. The Sony TOUGH-G series does not have this switch to prevent these accidents from happening.
The V90 video speed class allows it to support high-speed shooting and recording of 4K video.
10. Netac Micro SD Card UHS-I 100MB/s
The Netac MicroSDXC card comes in storage capacities of 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. It has a read speed of up to 100MB/s and a write speed of up to 30MB/s, making it compatible with most mobile devices, security cameras, dashboard cameras, Nintendo Switch, and drones. It supports UHS-I U3 and has a rating of class 10.
As an added protection, this memory card is IPX7 waterproof, shockproof, x-ray-proof, and temperature resistance between -25℃ and 85℃. It can withstand a mechanical impact of up to 500G acceleration, making it an excellent choice for users who are always on the go. In case you are not satisfied with this product, Netac offers a 90-day money-back guarantee.
11. Transcend High Speed 10 UHS-3 Flash Memory Card
If you are looking for a UHS-III SD card, the Transcend High Speed 10 Gold SD card is the way to go. It has a read speed of up to 95MB/s and a write speed of up to 60MB/s.
It comes in the most common storage capacities available, which are 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to pick the 64GB variant. If budget is not an issue, then go for the 256GB variant. We think the perfect storage capacity is 128GB. However, this would depend on the user’s case.
With the Transcend High Speed 10 Gold SD card, you can record 1080p, 2160p, and 4K videos smoothly. With an operating temperature between -25°C (-13°F) to 85°C (185°F), you can use it in almost any environment.
It is fully compatible with the SD 4.20 standard and also backward compatible with the SD 3.0 standard. There are times when transfer errors occur. The built-in Error Correcting Code (ECC) detects and corrects transfer errors, which significantly lessens the possibility of data corruption.
You can download the exclusive RecoveRx software for Transcend SD cards for free. This application lets you conduct an in-depth search for traces of deleted files. After tracing, you can recover these deleted files using the RecoveRx software.
The Transcend Gold SD card is compatible with several devices, including but not limited to DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras, camcorders, and digital cameras.
12. Amplim UHS-II SDXC – High-Performance 300MB/S
The Amplin UHS-II SD card is an ultra-high performance SD card for all UHS-II cameras, including but not limited to Canon EOS R, Canon EOS C500, Fujifilm GFX 50S, Fujifilm X-Pro2, Fujifilm X-T1, X-T2, X-T3, X-H1, Leica SL, Nikon D500, D850, Olympus OM-D E-M1 II, Olympus OM-D E-M10 II, OM-D E-M10 III, Panasonic Lumix DC-G85, Lumix DC-G90, Lumix DC-G95, Lumix DC-G9, Lumix DC-GH5, Lumix DC-GH5S, Lumix DC-S1H, Sigma fp Mirrorless Digital Camera, Sony Alpha A7R III/IV, A9, SAMSUNG NX1, BLACKMAGIC URSA Pocket Cinema Camera, Design Video Assist 4K, and Hasselblad X1D II 50C, 907X.
It has a blazing fast read speed of up to 300MB/s and a write speed of up to 90MB/s. It is fully compatible with the SD 5.0 standard. It is also backward compatible with older standards, such as the SD 4.0. The V60 video speed class rating allows it to record 4K video without any lags or buffers.
The Amplin SD card works with most card readers, including built-in laptop readers and external card readers. It comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage capacities. If you are not satisfied with the product’s quality, Amplin provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. All their SD cards come with a warranty in case it breaks.
13. SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card with Adapter
The SanDisk Extreme microSDXC card has a read speed of up to 160MB/s. It saves you time when transferring heavy files, such as high-resolution images, RAW images, and 4K videos. On the other hand, it has a write speed of up to 60MB/s, which allows for fast shooting and recording.
This microSD card is 4K UHD and FHD ready, with its UHS speed class 3 and video speed class V30 rating.
For added protection, this microSD card can withstand almost any condition. It is x-ray-proof, waterproof, shockproof, and temperature-proof.
To quickly transfer data from the memory card to your computer, you can use an SD card adapter or the SanDisk MobileMate USD 3.0 microSD Reader.
14. PNY Elite-X Class 10 MicroSDXC Flash Memory Card
If you are looking for a Class 10 U3 V30 speed class microSD card, the PNY Elite-X microSDXC card is an excellent choice. It has a read speed of up to 100MB/s for smooth and fast burst shots and 4K UHD.
The A1 application performance enables apps to run straight from the microSD card without sacrificing performance. It is available in several storage capacities, such as 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.
You can use this memory card in almost all devices that support microSD cards, including but not limited to mobile phones, drones, security cameras, Nintendo Switch, and tablets. An SD card adapter comes in the set, which you can use to plug this microSD card with devices that support SD cards.
The PNY Elite-X Class 10 microSDXC card is magnet-proof, shockproof, temperature-proof, and waterproof, making it durable and reliable, especially in times you need it the most.
15. Lexar High-Performance 633x MicroSDXC UHS-I Card with SD Adapter
The Lexar High-Performance microSDXC card comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options. It is the premium memory solution for tablets, action cameras, smartphones, and gaming consoles. It lets you quickly capture, play, and transfer media files, such as 1080p video, 4K video, RAW photos, and high-resolution photos. The UHS-I rating allows for a transfer speed of up to 95MB/s.
You can use this microSD card in several operating temperatures ranging between 0°C to 70°C. It comes with a limited lifetime product support and one-year limited support for the adapter.
There are several SD and microSD cards available in the market. Each brand has something unique to offer, making it more difficult for consumers to pick which one to purchase.
When purchasing a memory card, ask yourself what features you need. Most memory cards in the market offer a level of protection against water, dust, and radiation.
The speed class of the memory card also matters. In most cases, it is best to go for a class 10 memory card as it works with almost anything.
Another important factor worth considering is storage capacity. In today’s time, the least that you should go for is 64GB. If you have enough money to get the bigger ones, such as the 256GB and 512GB, then go for it. Memory cards will last you for years to come, so it is better to future-proof.
Lastly, look into the aftersales support and warranty of the memory card. Some manufacturers do not offer a warranty at all, while others offer a few years of warranty.