The best memory cards for your camera: the best SD, microSD, XQD & CF cards in 2019
Memory Card come in varying foemats, capacities and speeds. So which is the best match for your camera ?
SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I
The best all-round SD memory card for your camera you can buy right now – whether you need to crunch through Raw files or 4K video
Card type: SDXC | Capacity: Up to 512GB | Read Speed: Up to 90MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 95MB/s | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty | Suitable for: Both photography and video (including 4K)
If you classify yourself as a photo enthusiast who’s serious about your hobby, then the Extreme PRO SDXC card from industry stalwart SanDisk is one of the best SD memory cards you can choose. Despite being just the size of your thumb, it runs from a capacity of 32GB up to a whopping 512GB, and sports a UHS Speed Class 3 rating. The real practical advantages here are its write speeds – which reach up to an impressive 90MB/s – meaning it’s able to deal with rapid-fire sequential shooting in both JPEG and Raw, while its extremely fast transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s will speed up the workflows of both enthusiasts and pros. Aside from capturing Raw photographs, the data crunching on offer with this memory card also makes it suitable for 4K video capture. In short, this is a great, reliable all-rounder – and its price makes it hard to beat.
Lexar Professional Class 10 UHS-II 2000X
Designed for rapid-fire use, this is a great memory card for professionals demanding reliability and consistency
Card type: SDHC and/or SDXC | Capacity: Up to 128GB | Read Speed: Up to 300MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 260MB/s | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty | Suitable for: Both photography and video (including 4K)
Lexar always was the go-to card for photo enthusiasts and pros, but it has arguably had its crown taken since it decided to concentrate on more profitable areas of its business than memory cards. That said, there are plenty of Lexar options still available, with this pro card being top of the tree for us, deploying UHS-II tech to enable transfer speeds up to 300MB/s and 260MB/s write speeds. So whether you’re shooting Full HD, 4K video, or high-resolution Raw files, this card is eminently suitable, even if maximum capacity is 128GB, rather than the 512GB offered by some rivals. A close match for SanDisk’s Extreme PRO SD UHS-II (also featured here), in terms of performance and spec, we similarly can’t really go wrong with this one.
SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-II
A blisteringly fast SD card, and even faster than the UHS-I ‘Pro’ version above
Card type: SDXC | Capacity: Up to 128GB | Read Speed: Up to 300MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 260MB/s | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty | Suitable for: Pros shooting rapid fire high res stills and video
If you’re a professional photographer, missing the crucial shot can be costly indeed. Negate the possibility of that ever happening by investing in this ultra speedy, albeit pricier, example from the ever reliable SanDisk. Offering read speeds of up to 300MB/s and write speeds of an equally impressive 260MB/s, is very much top dog among media cards. This kind of spec makes it a must-have option for sports, wildlife and news photographers, shooting bursts of rapid fire stills, or videographers recording the moment in eye-poppingly clear 4K resolution.
Transcend SDXC UHS-II U3
Arguably the best-value card for shooting Raw files and videos, if you need to do both
Card type: SDXC | Capacity: Up to 64GB | Read Speed: Up to 285MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 180MB/s | Warranty: Five year limited warranty | Suitable for: Pros shooting rapid fire high res Raw stills and high quality 4K video
If you’re shooting Raw files you want a card that can handle sequential bursts of the highest quality imagery, as well as a capacity that allows for sufficient storage to avoid having to swap the media in use every five minutes. The Transcend SDXC UHS-II U3 is a belter of a Taiwanese card that can deliver, whether you’re shooting Raw files or high resolution video.
Lexar Professional 633x SDHC / SDXC UHS-I
One of the best SD cards for shooting Full HD and 4K video on offer
Card type: SDHC and/or SDXC | Capacity: Up to 512GB | Read Speed: Up to 95MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 45MB/s | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty | Suitable for: Both photography and video (including 4K) at pro level.
If you’re shooting high-resolution video, you’re always going to need as much storage space for digital data as you can get your hands on. The Lexar Professional 633x SDHC/SDXC UHS-I is the cream of the SD memory card crop when it comes to capacity, and, unsurprisingly, is designed for DSLR owners.
This budget SDHC card is high capacity and impressively speedy for what it costs
Card type: SDHC | Capacity: Up to 256GB | Read Speed: Up to 90MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 40MB/s | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty | Suitable for: Both photography and video (including 4K)
Media card manufacturer SanDisk is long and well established when it comes to removable media solutions for digital cameras. Its Extreme range of cards offers both standard and Pro versions; naturally, the ‘Pro’ versions are slightly more expensive, but not by much. Even the standard Extreme cards feature UHS Speed Class 3 compatibility to be able to cope with both Full HD and 4K recording capability.
SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash
Old school perhaps, but a great option if your camera sports a CF slot
Card type: CompactFlash | Capacity: Up to 256GB | Read Speed: Up to 160MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 150MB/s | Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty | Suitable for: Both photography and video.
The media may be old school, but there’s nothing nostalgic about the SanDisk Extreme PRO CompactFlash’s 160MB/s read speed. Sure, it’s the size of an After Eight mint, and like those 1980s dinner-party favourites, CompactFlash cards may be long in the tooth compared to more recent SD alternatives, but that doesn’t mean they can’t pack enough capacity and speed to satisfy today’s DSLR users.
Transcend CompactFlash 800
Our pick of the best budget CompactFlash card might not be the snazziest looking, but it gives plenty of data storage for your dollar
Card type: CompactFlash | Capacity: Up to 256GB | Read Speed: Up to 120MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 60MB/s | Warranty: Five year limited warranty | Suitable for: Both photography and video.
Taiwanese company Transcend is another long-term player in the memory card market – and still makes many low-capacity cards, meaning they’re accessible to those on a tight budget .
Samsung PRO Endurance
The best microSD card for your camera that you can buy right now
Card type: microSD (With SD adapter) | Capacity: Up to 128GB | Read Speed: Up to 100MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 30MB/s | Warranty: Up to 5 years | Suitable for: Action cameras, dashcams, security cameras
Indeed, an industry-best of 43,800 hours of continuous video recording is promised by the highest capacity card. Warranties on the cards vary between two years for the lower capacity cards, to five years for maximum capacity. Nice.
Samsung EVO Plus
The best budget microSD memory card on the market
Card type: microSD (With SD adapter) | Capacity: Up to 256GB | Read Speed: Up to 100MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 30MB/s | Warranty: 10 years | Suitable for: Day to day photography
Samsung’s general use offering won’t readily get lost, despite just being the size of a fingernail. Complete with a 10-year limited warranty for peace of mind, the cards are also waterproof, temperature proof, X-ray proof and magnetic proof. Again, it’s a case of ‘can’t go wrong’ with this choice.
Sony Professional XQD G Series
The top choice for Nikon’s flagship full-frame cameras
Card type: XQD Version 2 | Capacity: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB | Read Speed: Up to 440MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 400MB/s | Warranty: 10 years | Suitable for: 4K video and high-speed action
XQD is one of a number of new-generation memory card formats – promising faster recording speeds. Check the small print when shopping for these cards – lots of older and slower versions are around. The latest G-series cards offer a blistering write speed of 400Mb per second, and an equally impressive read rate of 440Mb/s.
SanDisk Extreme PRO CFast 2.0
Card type: CFast | Capacity: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB | Read Speed: Up to 525MB/s | Write Speed: Up to 430MB/s | Warranty: – | Suitable for: 4K video and high-speed action
CFast is a high-speed memory card that looks very similar to CompactFlash. In terms of stills cameras, this type of card is currently only used in the Canon EOS 1-D X Mark II and Hasselblad H6D-100C. But the format is more widely adopted in professional cinema video cameras from Canon, Arri and BlackMagic. Lightning fast transfer speeds make CFast perfectly suited to 4K video shooting
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