Top Memory Cards for Photo and Video Recording

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It’s safe to say that in today’s predominantly digital world, memory cards have overtaken film as the primary recording media for consumer and professional photo and video use. Just as analog cameras were designed to work with a specific film format, such as 35mm or 120 roll film, or large-format sheet film, digital cameras are likewise built to work with one or two specific memory card formats. However, once you’ve established which memory card format is compatible with your camera, such as CompactFlash (CF), Secure Digital (SD), XQD, or CFast, how does one go about choosing from the available models that each card format offers?

While the purpose of this article is to discuss suitable memory cards for photo and video use, there are a few technical details that need to be cleared up first. First, there is a difference between bits and bytes. 8 bits equals 1 byte, and consequently, 8 megabits, or 8 Mb equals 1 megabyte, or 1MB. This is an important detail to realize, because people will often see that their camera records video at 100 megabits per second (Mb/s) and think “Oh, I need a card that records at 100 megabytes per second (MB/s)” when 100 Mb/s converts to 12.5 MB/s.

Second, it’s important to be familiar with read speeds versus write speeds. Manufacturers don’t always advertise their write speeds, so unless a card’s write speed is explicitly stated, any speed written on the front of a card, such as a CF or SD card, is the maximum achievable read speed, but not the sustained read speed. Much in the way a CPU has a base clock speed and an over-clocked speed, sustained and maximum read and write speeds function in a similar fashion. While a memory card may be able to achieve a read speed of 160 MB/s, or a write speed of 90 MB/s, it will rarely be able to sustain those speeds for long periods of time. This is not to say that sustained read/write speeds can’t reach high values. They can, but they won’t be able to sustain their maximum advertised speeds consistently.

Along the lines of speed ratings, it’s also important to be able to convert card speeds with an “x,” such as 1066x, into MB/s. This is accomplished by multiplying 1066 by 150 and then dividing by 1,000. Thus, a card with a speed rating of 1066x has a maximum read speed of 160 MB/s.

Lexar 256GB Professional 1066x CompactFlash Memory Card
Lexar 256GB Professional 1066x CompactFlash Memory Card

When working with SD cards, it’s not uncommon to see things such as the number 4, 6, or 10 enclosed within the letter C, or perhaps a roman numeral I or II, and even a 1 or 3 within the letter U. A 4, 6, or 10 refers to the “Class” of a card, or its minimum-rated sustained write speed. A Class 10 card is rated to never write slower than 10 MB/s, and the number 1 or 3 within the letter U refers to the U1 or U3 speed class rating. U1 is identical to Class 10 and means that a card is certified to write at a minimum of 10 MB/s, while U3 cards have been certified to never write slower than 30 MB/s, with the difference being that “U” cards are designed for SD cards that employ the UHS-I or UHS-II bus.

Lexar 64GB Professional 1000x UHS-II SDXC Memory Card

It’s also important to note that not all U3 cards have the same minimum write speed. A card could be rated U3 and write at 60 MB/s. Along these lines, the SD Association created the Video Speed Class rating, designed to identify cards capable of 8K, 4K, 3D, HFR, HDR, and 360° video. This speed class is just another way of verifying the minimum sustained write speeds of cards, but it goes higher than both Standard Class ratings and UHS Speed Class ratings. It is made up of V6 (6 MB/s), V10 (10 MB/s), V30 (30 MB/s), V60 (60 MB/s), and V90 (90 MB/s).

SanDisk 32GB Extreme UHS-I SDHC Memory Card
SanDisk 32GB Extreme UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

All in all, what does this discussion about card speeds mean? Essentially, if your card is rated to handle faster bitrates, it will be able to record more advanced types of media. Uncompressed, 14-bit raw files from the Nikon D850 can reach around 92MB, while the D5 delivers raw files around 45MB, and you’d better believe that the upcoming Sony Alpha a7R IV is going to produce some raw files of gargantuan volume. The D5 is also able to shoot with a burst mode of 12 frames per second, and while DSLR cameras have an internal buffer to store photos as they’re being taken, the buffer can only hold so much. If a memory card has a faster write speed, a camera’s buffer will be cleared more quickly, allowing new photos to be taken. The same stands true for video—cards with faster write speeds will be able to record video that requires higher bitrates, such as 3D and 4K.

Hoodman HCFAST STEEL 128GB Memory Card
Hoodman HCFAST STEEL 128GB Memory Card

Stepping back briefly to burst speeds versus sustained speeds, burst speeds are more important for photography, while sustained speeds are more important for video. The D5’s buffer can hold up to 20 seconds’ worth of raw files at 12 fps, for a maximum of 240 photos. In this case, a card’s burst speed, which cannot be sustained for long periods, would be beneficial in quickly clearing out the camera’s buffer over a short period. However, video cameras cannot have the card’s speed drop below the video codec’s bitrate, otherwise there will be dropped frames—hence, the reason video relies on sustained write speeds.

Moving on to cards that are suitable for actual use, the first are CompactFlash (CF) cards. Available in capacities up to 512GB, CF cards are interesting because while they are still widely used in DSLRs, they are based on the now defunct PATA standard. The current CF standard, UDMA 7, allows for read speeds of up to 167 MB/s, which is fast enough for most photo and video uses. SanDisk offers its Extreme Pro, and Extreme series, while Lexar offers a 1066x version. Also notable is Delkin Devices’ 256GB Cinema Memory Card, as well as its Select and Prime series. To browse B&H’s full lineup of CompactFlash cards, click here.

Delkin Devices 128GB CF 1050X UDMA 7 Cinema Memory Card
Delkin Devices 128GB CF 1050X UDMA 7 Cinema Memory Card

Much more common than CF cards are Secure Digital (SD) cards. Able to support capacities up to 2TB, although the largest cards on the market are 1TB, non-UHS SD media read speeds max out at 25 MB/s, while UHS-I cards max out at 104 MB/s and UHS-II cards max out at 312 MB/s. UHS-II media has a second row of pins, allowing it to achieve this extra speed, but if your device does not have this second row of pins, the card will default to UHS-I speeds. The same standards hold true for microSD cards. SanDisk offers its Extreme PRO UHS-II cards in both SD and microSD formats. Sony makes solid UHS-II SD cards with the SF-G and SF-M series, plus a good selection of UHS-I SD and microSD media, and Lexar makes 633x and 667x UHS-I cards.

SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro UHS-II microSDXC Memory Card
SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro UHS-II microSDXC Memory Card

If you’re interested in SD cards that have been labeled with the Video Speed Class rating, SanDisk makes V30-rated Extreme PRO and Extreme UHS-I SD media, plus Extreme, Extreme PLUS, and High Endurance UHS-I microSD media. Delkin Devices produces the Advantage SD lineup, and Kingston lets users choose between Canvas Go! and Canvas React SD media. If minimum write speeds of 30 MB/s aren’t sufficient for your needs, consider V60 UHS-II SD media. Lexar makes 1000x, 1667x, and 2000x cards, and there are additional offerings from Sony, ProGrade Digital and Angelbird. For those working with cameras and codecs that have intensive bandwidth requirements, Sony, ProGrade Digital, Angelbird, and Delkin Devices deliver with V90 SDXC UHS-II media.

SanDisk 512GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card
SanDisk 512GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card

Are you concerned that microSD cards aren’t receiving any of the Video Speed Class love? Well, don’t be, since Delkin Devices has this handled. Its Select and Advantage cards are UHS-I and V30 rated, Prime media receives a boost to UHS-II and V60, and the Power series is rated UHS-II and V90.

Delkin Devices 512GB Select UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card
Delkin Devices 512GB Select UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card

While less common and only supported in a handful of devices, such as the Nikon D5, D850, D500, and Sony FS7, XQD cards are the official replacement for CF cards, although these two formats are not interchangeable. XQD cards are based on the PCIe standard (with an 8 Gb/s bus speed), feature read speeds up to 440 MB/s, write speeds up to 400 MB/s, and are currently available in sizes up to 240GB. Sony produces G Series XQD media and Delkin Devices makes Premium XQD cards.

Sony 128GB XQD G Series Memory Card
Sony 128GB XQD G Series Memory Card

CFast cards are based on the SATA standard most commonly found on computer drives, though CFast card slots are used in cameras such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 4.6K, URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2, and URSA Mini 4K. CFast 1.0 uses the SATA I (1.5 Gb/s) standard, while CFast 2.0 uses the SATA III (6 Gb/s) standard. This isn’t to be confused with CFast Type I and Type-II, which refers to the thickness of the physical media, with Type II cards being slightly thicker (5mm) than Type I (3.3mm). While Type II cards cannot be used in Type I slots, Type I cards can be used in Type II slots. CFast cards are currently available in capacities up to 512GB and feature read speeds up to 560 MB/s and write speeds up to 495 MB/s. They are manufactured by SanDisk, Delkin, Transcend, ProGrade Digital, and Hoodman, while Lexar makes a 3500x version.

Delkin Devices 256GB Cinema CFast 2.0 Memory Card
Delkin Devices 256GB Cinema CFast 2.0 Memory Card

Moving further up, SxS cards are a flash memory standard designed to interface with ExpressCard slots usually found in laptops. SxS cards use a PCIe interface and are the standard storage medium for Sony’s XDCAM EX line of professional video cameras. SxS PRO+ cards, which are offered in the E Series, are designed for 4K video, offer read speeds of up to 437.5 MB/s and write speeds of up to 350 MB/s. When used in 4K workflows, the write speed drops to 162.5 MB/s. SxS cards are used in Sony’s CineAlta cameras and SxS PRO+ feature improved read and write durability.

Sony 64GB SxS-1 (G1C) Memory Card
Sony 64GB SxS-1 (G1C) Memory Card

For those shooting with Sony’s F65, don’t forget about the SRMemory Card platform. Available in capacities up to 1TB and with read/write speeds up to 687.5 MB/s via its PCIe bus, these cards are able to handle demanding 3D, HFR, and 4K media from the F65’s 20.4-megapixel CMOS sensor.

Sony 1TB S55 Series SRMemory Card
Sony 1TB S55 Series SRMemory Card

So, what kind of card will you need? That’s dependent on which camera you have and what you intend to use it for. But if it’s performance you’re after, fear not, because this article provides many worthy options. What are your thoughts? Please share them in the Comments section, below.

91 Comments

Hi Folks. I am new to B&H, I will be upgrading my Nikon D7200 soon, but for the moment I am trying to fix one issue at a time on this camera. I shoot videos for a band that plays here locally, what is the best SD card (read & speed to use (I am not 4k with this camera)? I am having very grainy focus when transferred from camera to computer.

If you're looking to use a faster SD card with your current Nikon D7200, the SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card, BH # SAEPSD64GBG would be suitable. In terms of the very grainy focus you're experiencing, that may be an issue with your ISO settings and/or not using a lens with a wide aperture. We invite you to contact us via Live Chat today until 8pm ET so we can go over your options with you in greater detail. https://bhpho.to/38SsW8e

 

Hi! I have Panasonic PAN-HCX2000 and this is my first camcorder it's not same DSLR What memory card would you recommend and how much capacity should to be ?

The SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card is a great option for that camcorder, BH #SAEPSD128GB.

https://bhpho.to/3cM2ZHt

Hi! I have a D750, I shoot a lot in burst mode when I do bird/wildlife photography. I don't shoot video yet, but I'm exploring the possibility of capturing some 4K using the equipment I have. What memory card would you recommend? 

The SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-II SDXC Memory Card, B&H # SAEPSDU64GBR is going to be a suitable memory card for shooting 4K video on cameras that are UHS-II compliant. 

https://bhpho.to/2DobaMT

Many thanks, Kirk, you guys rock!

How big of a cfast card do I need if I'm only doing photos with my 1dx Mark II?  Clearly they are expensive, can I get by with just the 64gb or do I really need the 128?

The size card you need would depend on how many images you wish to capture on a single memory card.  As indicated under the "Notes" section on page 158 of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II DSLR Camera's instruction manual, the "Possible Shots" column is based on Canon's testing standards and an 8 GB memory card.  As indicated in the chart, you may capture approximately 1,160 JPEG Large images, 300 RAW images, or 230 RAW + JPEG Large images when using an 8 GB memory card and depending on the image quality setting you choose.  As such, with a 64 GB memory card, you can expect approximately 9,280 JPEG Large images, 2,400 RAW images, or 1,840 RAW + JPEG images, depending on the image quality setting you choose.  The size card (or the number of memory cards) you need would depend on how many images you plan to take at a single event/outing before you have the ability to download and reformat your memory cards for re-use.  

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https://bhpho.to/31wnrry

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What type of CFast card would you recommend for a Black Magic 4k please? I was thinking an Angelbird 512gb 

The Angelbird 512GB is on Blackmagic's approved list for the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.  You could also use the ProGrade Digital which is also on that list.

Angelbird - https://bhpho.to/3gduTw8
ProGrade - https://bhpho.to/3l2VG1M

Hello! What memory card do you suggest for a Sony A7III? 

A suitable memory card for your Sony A7 III is going to be the SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO UHS-II SDXC Memory Card, B&H # SAEPSDU64GBR.

https://bhpho.to/37dPWvs

What SD card would you recommend for the Cannon X?

There are quite a few Canon cameras with an X in their designation. If you could please e-mail us to [email protected] along with more information about your particular camera, we can then make a proper recommendation. Thank you. 

I need a memory card for my new Sony dsc-hx99.  The camera will take 4K video, but I have read that it is important to buy the proper memory card (a microSD card) to get the best video performance. What type of card would you recommend for this camera?

The SanDisk 128GB Extreme UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card with SD Adapter, BH #SAEMSD128A2, will allow you to record 4K with that camera.  It is a great and reliable card as well.

https://bhpho.to/2Ntw6D9

Thanks!

I need a memory card for a Minox DCC 5.1, but can’t find it. Please help. 

The MINOX DCC 5.1 Digital Camera has been discontinued and is no longer available for purchase.  However, the camera has both built-in memory and uses SDHC memory cards up to 16GB in size maximum.  I would recommend the SanDisk 16GB Extreme UHS-I SDHC Memory Card, B&H # SAESD16GBC, for use with the MINOX DCC 5.1 Digital Camera.  For more information, you can see the following link by either clicking directly on it or by copying and pasting the link into your internet browser's address bar:

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https://bhpho.to/2bSfwMj

I'm sorry, it's Delkin brand

I'm so sorry to keep replying, but I am wondering if 64GB is going to be to low of storage for 4K drone footage??  Perhaps I should exchange for the 128GB as I have not opened the package 

Hi R M., it really depends on a) how much you'll be shooting and b) how often you'll be able to download your card. If you're going to be off the grid for a few days, then a larger card would certainly be more beneficial, but if you're going to be able to download often, then a smaller card is fine. In general, 64GB is a lot of storage, but it also depends on the quality of video that you're going to capture. Higher settings need more card space. I hope this helps and feel free to ask any further questions that you'd like!

Hello.  I just received your 64GB micro sd V60 (Kingston) for my new Mavic 2 Pro Drone. Is that sufficient, or overkill?   Thank you very much !

What is the warranty for this? Mine broke at the end while I'm taking out of the slot. Seems to be very brittle, have not use yet.

Hi Camilo, I'm happy to help. Which card are you inquiring about? 

I have a 7D Mark II. I shout mostly HS sports on the continuous mode, which card do you recommend?

Hi Julie,

The Canon 7D Mark II uses the UHS-I bus. SanDisk will soon be releasing updated versions of some of their UHS-I SD cards, so try something from the forthcoming Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC lineup. It hasn’t been released yet, but I’d say it’s worth the wait, since its max read speeds of 170 MB/s are faster than any of the other UHS-I SD cards mentioned in this article. It’s not as fast as UHS-II media, but since your camera doesn’t support UHS-II, it’s not an issue. If you need something right away, there are plenty of other great UHS-I SD cards mentioned in this article. Please let me know if you’d like some other recommendations.

John-Paul

Thank You.

Julie, the 7D Mark II also has a CompactFlash slot, so check out SanDisk's Extreme Pro CompactFlash lineup, with maximum read speeds of 160 MB/s, maximum write speeds of 150 MB/s, and minimum write speeds of 65 MB/s. SanDisk's Extreme CompactFlash series is also good, with maximum read speeds of 120 MB/s, maximum write speeds of 85 MB/s, and minimum write speeds of 20 MB/s. If you prefer SD cards, but don't want to go with the Extreme PRO card I suggested above, try the latest release of SanDisk's Extreme UHS-I SDXC cards, with maximum read speeds of 150 MB/s, maximum write speeds of 70 MB/s, and minimum write speeds of 30 MB/s.

Can the 7D Mark II actually write so fast?

Hi John,

Just to clarify, the speed I mentioned above was the maximum read speed of SanDisk's latest Extreme PRO card, which is 170 MB/s. That read speed has no bearing on the card's write speed, which maxes out at 90 MB/s and is also guaranteed not to drop below 30 MB/s. So, back to your question... can the 7D Mark II write so fast? Well, it uses the UHS-I bus, and this standard features a theoretical maximum write speed of 104 MB/s. However, since that Extreme PRO card only write at 90 MB/s, it clearly cannot write as fast as the UHS-I standard allows. But can the 7D Mark II write at 90 MB/s? It may be able to do short-term writes at 90 MB/s, but don't forget that maximum write speeds cannot be sustained for long periods of time.

The price on SanDisk's updated Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC and Extreme UHS-I SDXC cards is a great value, so I think it's less about whether the camera can read/write that fast and more about buying a solid piece of gear for a good price. I also feel these cards will hold up well over time, especially since to shoot 4K video, the baseline requirement in many cameras is a UHS-I / U3 card. Now, there are some cameras where a UHS-I / U3 card won't cut it for 4K, but SanDisk's Extreme PRO and Extreme SD and CompactFlash cards will perform well in a wide range of devices for a long time.

It would be incredibly helpful to have a table showing for popular camera models, the fastest cards - beyond which there is no improvement in results.  As I understand it, there is no benefit in exceeding the camera's ability to write to the card(s), so anything faster is a waste of my money.    

Hi Bill, what kind of camera do you have? I'd be happy to suggest something that would be well-suited to your camera's specs.

AM LOOKING TO PURCHASE THE NEW NIKON COOLPIX 1000 AVAILABLE IN SEPT.  WHAT MEMORY CARDS DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR THIS CAMERA?? I PHOTO ACTION TYPE ENVIRONMENTS.  THANKS.

The SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Memory Card B&H # SAEPSD64GV3G would be a fast card you can use for the Nikon P1000.  https://bhpho.to/2i3srPz

 

Kirk R. ...They're selling UHS-II SDXC cards now, but are there cameras that can take advantage of this rating yet? Also, I see UHS I & UHS-II on cards that have a 3 inside of the U. Isn't the U3, the rating that's important to us? 

Joseph, the U3 rating means the card will write data at a minimum of 30 MB/s. There are both UHS-I and UHS-II cards that are rated U3. So yes, U3 is one aspect that is important, but check out the other specs of the card as well.

Hi John,

how are you? I've just acquired a Panasonic Lumix G 80 and I'd like to know which are the recommended SD cards for it, especially thinking of recording videos. (To begin with, I think that 128 GB would be more than enough). Thanks a lot.

Hello John,

A SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO UHS-II SDXC Memory Card B&H # SAEPSDU128GA is a suitable option for use with the Panasonic G80/G85 camera for shooting video or stills. https://bhpho.to/2vKkJvw

 Hi John Paul ,

recently purchased the Nikon 7100. I plan to shoot stills as well as video. Just wanted to get your opinion as to which would be the best ST card to use? Thanks again for a wonderful article

Hi George,

The D7100 captures 24.1 megapixel stills and shoots 1080i video up to 60 fps. It supports the UHS-I bus and not UHS-II. So, you’ll be fine with UHS-I media such as U1 or U3 cards that support minimum write speeds of 10 MB/s and 30 MB/s, respectively. You’ll also be fine with non-UHS media, provided you use Class 10 card, which also support minimum write speeds of 10 MB/s. For Class 10 or U1 cards, try the SanDisk Ultra SD Memory Card or Sony UHS-I SD Memory Card. For U3 cards, try the Sony High Speed UHS-I SDXC U3 Memory Card, SanDisk Extreme UHS-I SD Memory Card, or SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SD Memory Card.

If you’re interested in future-proofing your memory cards with UHS-II media, there are plenty of great options mentioned in this article, but I’d be happy to further assist you.

 Hi John Paul ,

recently purchased the Nikon 7100. I plan to shoot stills as well as video. Just wanted to get your opinion as to which would be the best ST card to use? Thanks again for a wonderful article

I shoot with a Canon, so show canon camera's sometimes please!  

Hi John,

The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is mentioned in this article, but if you have questions about card compatibility for a specific Canon model, feel free to ask and we'll help you out!

HELLO   JOHN~PAUL  PALESCANDOLO,

THANK  YOU  FOR  RXCELLENT  ARTICLE  ON  MEMORY  CARDS !! 

I  HAVE  NEW  CANON  EOS  5DS R  DSLR   .  IT  USES   TWO  TYPES  MEMORY  CARDS , IN  TWO  SEPARATE  MEMORY  CARD  RECEPTACLES ,,,, CF  CARD   AND   SD  CARD . 

MY  QUESTION  :

1).  WHAT  TYPE  OF  EACH  ( CF  CARD  AND  SD  CARD )  DOES  CANON  WANT  USED   AND  HOW HIGH  CAN  THE  STORAGE  CAPACITY  BE ?

2).  WHAT  ARE  THE  BEST  &  FASTEST  CARDS  ( CF  &  SD  )  THAT  CAN  BE  USED  (  YES  TO  "FUTURE  PROOFING"  CARDS ) .AND  HOW  HIGH  CAN  THE  STORAGE  CAPACITY  BE  FOR  THIS  DSLR ??? 

3).  WHAT  ARE  OTHER  OPTIONS  ON  CF  AND  SD  CARDS   ,,, ALSO  DOES  CAPACITY  MATTER  ( AS  I  WOULD  PREFER  HIGHER  CAPACITY  CARDS )   FOR  CANON  EOS  5DS R   DSLR   ???

SPECIFIC  ANSWERS  WILL  BE  GREATLY  APPRECIATED   AND  HELPFUL  !!  ALSO ,  I  MUST  BUY  SOME  CF  AND  SD  CARDS  FOR  MY  CANON  EOS  5DS R  DSLR    AND   WITH  YOUR  VAST  KNOWLEDGE  AND   HELP   I  WILL  ORDER  FROM  B&H  ,,,,,, AND  MORE  ITEMS  THAT  I  MUST  HAVE  SUCH  AS  LENS , FILTERS  , TRIPODS  ETC  TO  GO  WITH  MY  NEW  DSLR !!

THANK  YOU

JERRY D

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for your response. I've used the 5DS R before and as far as I know, there are no capacity limits or brand requirements for the individual CF and SD cards. You can use virtually any CF or SD card from any manufacturer, although I will make suggestions below.

As I stated in my article, CF cards are interesting because they are based on the now defunct PATA standard. A few years ago, the CompactFlash Association announced there would be no more updates to the format, leaving card performance with a glass ceiling. Today, CompactFlash cards have hit their performance ceiling, and are slower than the fastest SD cards, though they are still quite fast. So, when it comes to CompactFlash cards, there is no future-proofing.

When selecting a CompactFlash card, definitely buy a UDMA 7 card, as the interface has a maximum possible transfer speed of 167 MB/s, which is fast enough for most photo and video uses. CompactFlash cards explicitly state their maximum read speed on the front of the card, either or MB/s, an “x” value, such as 1066x, or both. In the chance that a number like 1066x is used, it can be converted to MB/s by multiplying it by 150 and dividing the result by 1,000. So, a CF cards with its maximum read speed listed as 1066x converts to 160 MB/s.

CF cards often also list their minimum write speed on the front of the card, although this number isn’t anything that’s standardized within the CompactFlash Association. If a CF cards has a number on the front within a movie slate, such as 65, that’s it’s minimum write speed (65 MB/s).

Anyways, for CF cards, look no further than SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash Memory Card. It's available in capacities of 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB and its rated UDMA 7 with maximum read speeds of 160 MB/s, maximum write speeds of 150 MB/s, and minimum write speeds of 65 MB/s. Just to give you some variety, the Lexar Professional 1066x CompactFlash Memory Card features the same capacities, maximum read speed, and minumum write speed as the SanDisk Extreme Pro, yet offers a maximum write speed of 155 MB/s. Delkin Devices also makes the CF 1050X UDMA 7 Cinema Memory Card in capacities of 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. These cards offer a maximum read speed of 160 MB/s, and maximum write speed of 120 MB/s, and a minimum write speed of 20 MB/s.

Moving on to SD cards, since you said you want to future-proof, I’ll only discuss UHS-II media. However, bear in mind that since the 5DS R doesn’t support UHS-II, it won’t benefit from any of the improved read or write speeds that UHS-II offers. However, if you have a card reader that supports UHS-II, such as the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader, you may see some performance benefits when transferring media to your computer. This card reader also supports UDMA 7 and would be a good fit for you needs with the 5DS R.

As for UHS-II cards that I’d recommend, the SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II SD Memory Card is available in capacities on 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. It features a minimum write speed of 30 MB/s, a maximum write speed of 260 MB/s, and a maximum read speed of 300 MB/s. The Lexar 64GB Professional 2000x UHS-II SD Memory Card offers the same capacities and performance specs, and includes a UHS-II SD card reader. However, as Micron recently announce they were discontinuing Lexar media, including the CF cards mentioned above, I’d contact them to see how this affects the lifetime warranty.

If you like Sony, the offer their SF-G Series UHS-II SD Memory Card in capacities of 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB, with a minimum write speed of 30 MB/s, a maximum write speed of 299 MB/s, and a maximum read speed of 300 MB/s. If you need something more durable, check out the Hoodman Steel 2000x SDXC UHS-II Memory Card. Built using steel construction and available in capacities of 64GB and 128GB, it has a minimum write speed of 30 MB/s, a maximum write speed of 260 MB/s, and a maximum read speed of 300 MB/s.

If you need cards that deliver minimum write speeds that are faster than 30 MB/s, check out media with the Video Speed Class rating. The Delkin Devices UHS-II SDXC Memory Card is available in capacities of 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, plus its V60 class rating guarantees a minimum write speed of 60 MB/s. It also delivers a maximum write speed of 100 MB/s and a maximum read speed of 285 MB/s. Moving up to the V90 speed class rating, which guarantees minimum write speed of 90 MB/s, Delkin Devices offers their Cinema SDXC UHS-II Memory Card in capacities of 64GB and 128GB. Each card also has a maximum write speed of 250 MB/s and a maximum read speed of 280 MB/s. Angelbird also offers V90 media in capacities of 64GB and 128GB. Both cards deliver minimum write speeds of 90 MB/s, maximum write speeds of 260 MB/s, and maximum read speeds of 300 MB/s.

Those are the absolute fastest SD cards that B&H sells. There are others, and while they aren't as fast, they will be cheaper. If you want larger capacity cards, there are some 512GB SD cards available, but they don't support UHS-II, only UHS-I. Again, please remember that since the 5DS R doesn't support UHS-II, you won't see these speeds.

Hope this helps and please let me know if you have more questions!

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Hi, i need a little advice, you have a good sale on the lexer professional 633x and woild like to purchase a few. Since Micron has discontinued production off all Lexar memory cards i'm affraid of how will their lifetime warrenty be honored?

Hi Kim,

As per Micron's site, "The company will continue to provide support to existing customers through this transition period. Customers should contact their Lexar sales representative to discuss specific requirements."

As per Micron's announcement, I would contact them directly to find out how Lexar cards will be supported moving forward. If you're looking for SD media cards whose parent company isn't discontinuing memory cards and thus putting the warranty in question, here are some suggestions. For U1 media with minimum write speeds of 10 MB/s, look at the SanDisk Ultra UHS-I SD Memory Card and the Sony UHS-I SD Memory Card. For U3 or V30 media with minimum write speeds of 30 MB/s, check out the Sony 64GB High Speed UHS-I SD Memory CardSanDisk Extreme UHS-I SD Memory Card, and the SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SD Memory Card.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any further questions. 

still confusing with so much data, I think what I need to learn is what speed my camera, Nikon D5300, can handle. (I take photos, no videos) then to get the card that matches it's capacity, correct?

Hi Barb,

The Nikon D5300 has a 24.2 megapixel sensor, a max burst rate of 5 fps, and can shoot Full HD video at 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60 fps. Since you don't shoot video and its SD card slot only supports UHS-I and not UHS-II, you'd be fine using a Class 10 / U1 card, such as the SanDisk Ultra SD Memory CardSony UHS-I SD Memory CardLexar Platinum UHS-I SD Memory Card, or the Lexar Professional UHS-I SD Memory Card (only the 16, 32, 64, and 128GB cards are U1).

However, if you may be shooting using the 5 fps burst mode or just want faster card speeds, there's nothing wrong with equipping your D5300 with any of the U3 cards mentioned in this article, such as the Sony High Speed UHS-I SDXC U3 Memory CardSanDisk Extreme UHS-I SD Memory CardSanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SD Memory Card, or the Lexar Professional UHS-I SD Memory Card (only the 256 and 512GB varieties are U3).

Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions!

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