BEST SD CARDS For Filmmakers?

BEST SD CARDS For Filmmakers?

Buying a memory card these days can be pretty challenging. There is a ton of brands and types of cards you can buy. Memory cards differ in speed, capacity, brand, compatibility and price tag as well.

The SD memory card format might be the most widely used, but there are newer formats that are starting to shine. Many of the latest cameras are beginning to lean more heavily on CFexpress and XQD card technology. However, Compact Flash, microSD and CFast cards are also used in a variety of different cameras as well.

HOW TO CHOOSE A MEMORY CARD?

To get the best memory card, first of all you need to decide the capacity and speed that you need, and then check the latest prices.

Not only do the best memory cards need to offer large capacities for storing countless photo and video files, they also need to be able to transfer data quickly and effectively.

The new generation premium cameras are providing fast burst-shooting speeds, but an impressively quick burst mode is useless if your memory card isn’t up to the challenge. That’s why read and write speeds are so important when selecting a memory card.

If all of the acronyms are scrambling your brain, don’t worry – we’ve including a handy jargon explainer at the bottom of this post to help you decipher exactly what memory card you need.

One last thing; the best memory cards deserve a fast card reader to max out image and video transfer speed to your computer – here’s our round-up of the best card readers you can buy.

Best Memory Cards

The postage stamp-sized SD card is the format used by most digital cameras. SD has largely succeeded CompactFlash, although the latter is still popular in some older pro DSLRs.

Most card manufacturers offer ranges that give you a choice of SDHC and SDXC, which both broadly do the same thing, just at slightly differing speeds and capacities.

The best memory card for your needs will depend largely on how you want to balance capacity, speed and cost.

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I

The best all-round SD card right now, either for Raw files or 4K video

Card type: SDXC
Capacity: 32, 64, 128, 256 & 512GB
Read Speed: Up to 90MB/s
Write Speed: Up to 170MB/s
Suitable for: Photography and video (including 4K)

The most impressive aspect of the Extreme PRO SDXC card is its write speeds of up to 90MB/s, which allows your camera to handle rapid-fire sequential shooting in both JPEG and RAW with ease.

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 633x SDHC / SDXC UHS-I

One of the best SD cards for shooting Full HD video

Card type: SDHC and/or SDXC
Capacity: Up to 1TB
Read Speed: Up to 95MB/s
Write Speed: Up to 45MB/s
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. The Lexar Professional 633x SDHC/SDXC UHS-I boasts a huge 1TB capacity option, although read and write rates are a little more modest these days.

This means you have to decide which is more important to you: having the space to store many hours of video, or having the fastest possible transfer speeds between devices.

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128 GB size

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64 GB size

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32 GB size

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SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-II

A blisteringly fast SD card, even faster than the UHS-I ‘Pro’ version above

Card type: SDXC
Capacity: 32GB, 64GB and 128GB
Read Speed: Up to 300MB/s
Write Speed: Up to 260MB/s
Suitable for: Pros shooting rapid fire high res stills and video

Offering read speeds of up to 300MB/s and write speeds of an equally impressive 260MB/s, this SanDisk UHS-II SD card is very much top dog among memory cards.

This kind of spec makes it the best memory card for sports, wildlife and news photographers, shooting bursts of rapid fire stills, or videographers recording the moment in eye-poppingly clear 4K resolution.

As this is an SDXC (Extended Capacity) card too, available storage is impressive, ranging from 32GB up to 128GB, but really it’s all about speed here – and reliability with it – in preference to anything else.

128 GB size

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64 GB size

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32 GB size

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Transcend SDHC UHS-II U3

Arguably the best-value card for shooting Raw files and videos.

Card type: SDHC
Capacity: 32GB & 64GB
Read Speed: Up to 285MB/s
Write Speed: Up to 180MB/s
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 cards every five minutes. The Transcend SDHC UHS-II U3 is a belter that delivers whether you’re shooting raw files or high resolution video.

While the 64GB maximum capacity (the alternative being 32GB) may appear a little modest at first compared with other options here, the performance is anything but, with blisteringly swift read and write times of 285MB/s and 180 MB/s respectively.


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