Picture this, you are shooting an important family event and all of a sudden your memory card throws an error at the back of your LCD.
It makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars on camera gear and cheap out on a memory card.
You should look for reliability, speed, as well as storage space when choosing one. But there is an endless number of models to choose from in the market.
- So which memory card is the best?
- How much speed do I need?
- How much storage will I need?
Those are all valid questions. We hope to answer your questions in this post. We’ve researched more than 40 memory cards and narrowed them down to the 10 best memory cards for cameras.
The Best Memory Cards For Cameras
Here is a summary of our findings. Scroll down to read the reviews. We also answer your memory card related questions at the very end. So you can make an informed decision.
Sony Tough 64GB SF-G SDXC UHS-II Class 10 U3
If you need really fast read and write speeds, plus 18 times the toughness of standard SD cards, look no further. The toughness rating means it will withstand 180 Newtons of force, compared to the average 10N.
Each card uses a one-piece molded construction with no ribs and no write protection switch; which safeguards weak points that cause normal cards to shatter.
Sony’s Tough Series cards can be dropped up to 5 meters and even immersed in 5 meters of water for up to 72 hours. In addition, they’re bend, dust, x-ray, magnet, and static-proof. They’re also resistant to UV light and temperature extremes from -10 to 85 C.
These cards are the best choice for 4K video recording thanks to reading and write speeds of 300 MB/s. Furthermore, it supports the V90 video speed class with a guaranteed minimum of 90 MB/s.
If you shoot in the outdoor elements or need a high level of performance, this is the best memory card for your camera. Sony also includes SD card monitoring software which notifies you when the flash memory begins to degrade; so you can purchase a replacement before it affects your workflow.
- Ribless, so no write protection switch to break
- Thickness can mean it’s a tight fit into the SD slot
- High performance can be limited depending on your camera
Sony SF-G64/T1 High Performance 64GB SDXC UHS-II Class 10 U3
While not as indestructible as the Tough series of Sony cards, this high-performance card is still fast and hard-wearing (with read and write speeds of 300 MB/s, it’s as fast as the Sony Tough cards)
It operates within a temperature range of 25-85 degrees Celsius. It’s also IPX7 waterproof certified, meaning it will resist immersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
It is dust-resistant and drop-tested from up to 1.5 meters of height. It also includes SD card monitoring software. The main drawback, however, is that it’s a discontinued model. Fortunately, you can still find them online.
So if you’re looking for speed and durability at a slightly cheaper price the SF-G64, is a fantastic memory card for any camera.
- As fast as Sony Tough series
- Very resilient
- Includes SD card monitoring software
- Almost as expensive as the Sony Tough series
- Doesn’t support the V90 video class
Lexar Professional 1667x 64GB SDXC UHS-II/U3
The Lexar Professional 1667x 64GB SDXC UHS-II/U3 card is one of the most affordable brand UHS-II cards on the market.
At 250 MB/s read speed, it’s competitive, though not a match for the 300 MB/s cards. Also, the write speed is noticeably slower at 90 MB/s.
It’s worth noting that speed ratings are ‘optimistic’. Many users report max speeds of around 150-160 MB/s and write speeds of 60-90 MB/s. Lexar’s own specs rate the card’s write speed at ’80 Mb/s Burst, 60 MB/s minimum’.
So your speed will vary, however, as a V60 card, it’s guaranteed not to drop below 60 MB/s. But if you aren’t continuously recording 4K and don’t mind waiting for your buffer to clear, this is a great memory card from a reputable brand.
- Speeds suitable for most photography
- Not suitable for high-speed applications
- Basic build quality
- The warranty is average
Kingston Canvas Select 64GB SDHC Class 10 SD UHS-I 80MB/s R Flash
The Kingston Canvas Select 64GB SDHC Class 10 SD UHS-I 80MB/s R Flash memory card has loads to offer the budget shooter in need of UHS-I capability.
Its minimum writing speed of 10 MB/s makes it suitable for HD and Full HD video recording. It’s also suitable for regular JPEG shooting and burst, or RAW burst if you don’t mind waiting for the buffer to clear.
Kingston claims it’s ‘built and tested to withstand harsh environments’ without specifying what sort of environments and what testing was involved.
It can supposedly withstand ‘water, shock, vibration, x-rays, and temperature extremes’. However, given the lower price point, I recommend keeping these cards out of the elements and away from the floor.
- Fast enough for medium resolution work
- Lifetime warranty
- Too slow for high-resolution work
- Manufacturers are vague about the max write speed
- Unspecified ‘protective measures’
SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I
SanDisk’s Extreme Pro is a memory card designed for reliability, speed, and peak V30 performance. It has a maximum read speed of 170 MB/s, a write speed of 90 MB/s burst and a V30 minimum sustained speed.
The 170 MB/s read speed also helps your workflow, as images take less time to transfer to your computer. It is a great memory card for high-resolution photography and video, all for a reasonable price.
This card is shockproof, X-ray-proof, waterproof, and can withstand temperatures from -13 to 185°F which makes it a fast and reliable SD card for cameras.
- Great price to speed ratio
- Available up to 512GB
- Not suitable for fast high-resolution work
- Won’t last in the toughest conditions
- 30 MB/s max sustained write speeds
ProGrade Digital SDXC UHS-II 64GB
ProGrade pulls out all the stops with their blisteringly fast Digital SDXC UHS-II 64GB card–the best option for 4K video and burst photography shooters.
Price-wise, the write speeds are exactly what you’d expect out of a V60 card; twice as fast, and twice the price of V30 cards. If your camera’s card slot is UHS-II compatible, you can expect sustained write speeds of 60 MB/s. The burst rate is a respectable 80 MB/s.
Whether this works for your photography, depends on the file size you use and the number of files being transferred. If you shoot action photography, you might be better off with a faster writing speed, as you might want to shoot in a burst mood without hitting the card buffer.
ProGrade also offers a V90 card with 250 MB/s reads and up to 200 MB/s bursts write speeds. But at more than twice the price of the V60, it’s questionable as to how good value it is.
- Faster than V30, but cheaper than V90
- Suitable for most high-resolution work
- Mid-range price bracket
- Not great for high-resolution work
- Not durable
- More inexpensive options are available
Transcend 64GB SDXC/SDHC 700S UHS-II
Do you need V60 UHS-II speeds? The Transcend 64GB SDXC/SDHC 700S UHS-II memory card has your high-speed photography needs covered. Although pricier than the budget memory cards, Transcend makes a great high-speed card that’s also affordable at these speeds.
Read speeds clock in at 285 MB/s and write speeds at 180 MB/s bursts (V90). The great speeds make it suitable for high burst, high rate video cameras like the X-T3.
You lose out on the bulletproof nature of Sony’s higher-end cards, but these are probably the best option if you want quick, quality cards.
The Prograde 64GB is another V60 card with 250 MB/s and a slightly lower price. So why pay slightly more for comparable sustained speeds and equal capacity? Because Transcend can clear RAW buffer twice as fast as the Prograde 64GB V60. Perfect if you are into action or wildlife photography.
- Better burst than slightly cheaper Prograde cards
- Suitable for high-resolution work
- Mid-range price bracket
- The V90 is better
- Maxes out at 64GB
- More inexpensive options are available
Samsung Pro Endurance 64GB Micro SDXC
With a read speed of 100 MB/s and a write speed of 30 MB/s, Samsung Pro Endurance Micro SD cards bring reliability and constant peak performance to the table.
These cards are meant for continuous use and, as the name suggests, they’re built for endurance. Pro Endurance cards are capable of running up to 25x longer than typical cards— up to 43,800 hours or 5 years!
This longevity makes them your best option for composite photography, dashcams, GoPros, security cameras, videography, and other write-intensive projects.
Samsung also tests each card intensively. They guarantee resistance to magnets (up to 15k gauss, equal to MRI machines), x-rays (up to 50 Roentgen, equal to airport X-ray machines), water (up to 72 hours in seawater, IEC 60529 & IPX7), and operating temperatures ranging from -25 to 85C.
It’s worth noting that the warranty varies depending on the capacity of the card; the 128GB has a 5-year limited warranty, the 64GB is a 3-year limited warranty, and the 32GB is just a 1-year limited warranty.
- Inexpensive yet durable
- One of the best options for sustained shooting
- Fast enough for many high-resolution projects
- Write speed may slow down workflow
- Variable warranty
- Not the fastest write speeds
SanDisk Extreme Plus UHS-I 64GB Micro SDXC
Do you need fast speeds on a micro SD card? Look no further than the Extreme Plus SanDisk card. Its read speeds of 170 MB/s, burst-write speeds of 90 MB/s, and a V30 rating place this card solidly in UHS-I territory.
This is one of the best memory cards for cameras of 4K shooters and high-resolution photographers. As a micro SD card, it’s the best choice for GoPro and dedicated smartphone shooters.
Although expensive, this card is built to support the Application Performance Class 2 (A2) specifications. This means it has improved performance on Android devices, including faster app performance, graphics displays, audio, and faster input-output access per second (IOPS) operations.
- One of the fastest micro SD cards available
- Reasonably priced for speed
- A2 spec
- Not as fast as UHS-II cards
- Not as tough as SanDisk Pro Endurance
- Limited to 128GB capacity
SanDisk Extreme 64GB Micro SDXC UHS-I
SanDisk Extreme Micro SD cards have the high-volume shooter covered.
SanDisk Extreme 64GB Micro SDXC UHS-I truly shines by providing immense amounts of storage. If capacity matters over speed, this is one of the few micro SD cards offering up to 1TB of storage.
These cards have a guaranteed minimum V30 rating, or 30 MB/s sustained recording. This means they’re not particularly fast, but not slow, either. They can be used for anything, including 4K video recording and continuous burst photography. Read speeds are an acceptable 160 MB/s.
Like all micro SD cards, it includes an SD adapter for transferring data from a smart device to your camera/computer.
It also provides A2 spec IOPS performance, improving the Android user’s overall experience.
- Large storage capacity
- 10-year limited warranty
- A2 spec IOPS
- Slow read speed may affect workflow
- Slower write speed than others
- The highest capacity cards are expensive
How to Choose the Best Memory Card for Cameras?
Choosing an SD or a Micro SD card can be perplexing, given all the acronyms, speed classes, and other bits of assorted jargon.
Never fear, we’re here to talk you through it. Join us as we navigate you through the confusion.
SD vs Micro SD Cards
This is fairly simple to understand. It depends on what you shoot images with as to whether you’ll be using an SD or Micro SD card.
SD cards are used by devices such as digital cameras and computers.
Micro SD cards are used by smartphones and other devices with a micro SD card slot. Note that micro SD cards also come with an SD adapter, so you can transfer data between devices that use an SD card slot.
There is no speed or quality difference between the two types of cards.
What Are UHS Memory Cards?
UHS (Ultra High Speed) describes the card’s maximum speed, or how fast the SD is capable of transferring data.
Note that this maximum does not necessarily describe how fast the card actually is.
For example, while the Lexar Professional 1667x 64GB is a UHS-II card, it still maxes out at 90 MB/s. The Sony Tough, on the other hand, reads at 300 MB/s and writes at 299 MB/s. UHS-II’s theoretical maximum burst speed is 312 MB/s, meaning these cards are as fast as UHS-II cards can get.
You also need to know how fast a card your camera’s card slot can work with. If your camera has a UHS-I card slot you can use a UHS-II card, but you won’t get UHS-II speeds out of it.
Pay Attention to Card’s Write Speed
Card manufacturers advertise the card’s read speed in big bold letters, which can be confusing.
If you’re not informed, you might not realize that read speeds only affect how fast data that’s already there is accessed. What’s more important for photographers is how fast data is written to the card.
Shoot a few RAW or JPEG shots, whichever you prefer, and have a look at the file sizes. RAW images will produce much larger files.
More megapixels means more data to write to your card. As a result, you’ll need faster write speeds and more storage space, especially if you shoot in RAW.
Consider the Burst Rate of Your Camera
If you shoot any high burst imagery, such as sports photography or wildlife photography, you’ll want a card with at least 60 MB/s write speed.
While you can use a card with a slower write speed, the camera buffer will not only fill that much faster, but it will also take that much longer to clear.
If your raw images are 30MB each, then a 90 MB/s card can clear 3 images per second. Assuming your camera has a UHS-II slot, of course.
Some cameras max out at UHS-I and older cameras may not have one at all. The next revolution with camera memory cards appears to be XQD cards, but SD still has a lot of time left.
Choosing a Memory Card for Video
Video shooters need to be especially careful. Look over your camera’s manual to find the average bitrate your video records at. This will be described in Mbps (megabits per second).
Note that megabits use a lowercase b in the abbreviation (Mb) and the more familiar megabytes use an uppercase B (MB): there are 8 Mb in each MB.
For example, the Canon EOS R, shoots 4K video up to 29.97 frames per second. If you use the IPB video compression, your video will have a bitrate of approximately 120 Mbps, which is about 15MB/s. Therefore, you only need a write speed of 15 MB/s. This is easily achievable with a UHS-I card.
On the other hand, if you use the ALL-I video compression format, your bitrate jumps to 480 Mbps. This means you would need 480 Mbps/8 = 60 MB/s to write speed. In this case, using a UHS-II card would serve you better.
The bewildering array of SD and micro SD can make it hard to choose which is the best memory card for cameras.
Fortunately, price is a great indicator of quality and performance: you get what you pay for. Cheaper memory cards tend to have the lowest speeds, while more expensive cards are usually faster and more rugged.