The general design of the memory card hasn’t changed all that much over the years. Secure Digital cards, much more commonly known as SD cards, have been around for more than two decades, and these have spawned the microSD version that’s found in smartphones and tablets. The big advances in the technology have all been internal, with newer cards being able to process more and more data at much faster speeds. This is a necessary step while cameras continue to get faster and more high-quality. The card needs to be able to keep up with the data the camera is producing.
This means that if you’ve invested in one of the best cameras, you’ll most likely need a latest-generation media card that’s able to keep up with the highest demands of its photo- and video-shooting capabilities. This is even the case with entry-level cameras these days, so no matter whether you’re shooting on a beginner’s mirrorless camera or a pro-spec DSLR, you will likely have the same question with regards to the best memory cards.
And, obviously, you want to make sure you find a microSD card that has plenty of extra capacity for your devices, so you’re not always running out of space for your files.
These days, there are so many devices that use these little memory cards, from phones and cameras, to laptops and even the Nintendo Switch – so our list of the best SD cards money can buy can help make sure you’re getting the most out of all of your tech.
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How to choose the best memory card
Of course you will have a budget in mind and will also want to go for the highest capacity card with the quickest read and write speeds you can afford. The advice here used to be to opt for several cards rather than one giant capacity option, in case the latter became corrupted in some way and images lost. But, in truth, such occurrences are rare, especially these days. If you do go for a one-size-fits all high capacity card, you’ll obviously being paying more money for more memory, but it may be worth it in the long run, as you won’t have to worry about swapping cards and re-formatting to take more pictures when you run out of space.
Aside from the most common SD and microSD cards, there still exists the older but at one time just as popular CompactFlash (CF) card, along with its successor in the newer XQD format, used by some of the most celebrated current mirrorless cameras, such as the Nikon Z6 and Z7.
Unsurprisingly the XQD card has been specifically developed to cope with the increased demands of such high resolution cameras for more data storage and lightning fast read and write times – particularly important when shooting high quality RAW files and/or 4K video, as any photographer will know.
Another recent development is toughened memory cards for power users. Examples include the aptly named Sony Tough, an SDXC format card that’s dust-proof, waterproof, can resist pressures up to 16kg – as well as being super-fast.
Your own particular needs may be very different though, so we’ve chosen a variety of memory cards to suit differing requirements – and budgets! Read on to find the best camera memory card for you…
In short, each buyer looking for a memory card may differ in needs hence in specs as well.
The best microSD cards of 2019
Alright, so from here, we shall discuss those memory cards which we see exceptional to use in year 2019. These cards are top notch, affordable and will definitely meet the needs of all devices currently being used in year 2019.
1. Samsung Evo Plus microSD card
The best SD card you can buy is technically a microSD card, albeit one that can be used full-size when married to the proper hardware. Despite not being the most resilient SD card on the market, the Samsung Evo Plus’ 100 megabyte per second (MB/s) read and 90MB/s write speeds are impressive nonetheless. Not only that, but there is a wide variety of sizes to choose from too, so whether you need 32GB of storage or 128GB, rest assured you’re in good hands.
2. Samsung Pro+ microSD card
If you do a lot of filming, especially in 4K, then you’re going to want a reliable microSD card that can write large amounts of data fast, which is exactly what the Samsung Pro+ can do. It features a U3 rating and read/write speeds of 95MB/sec and 90MB/sec. The kind of speeds the Samsung Pro+ microSD card can handle will be largely wasted for day-to-day tasks, such as being installed in a smartphone, but for 4K video, this is a fantastic buy.
3. SanDisk Ultra Class 10 SDHC
If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper and don’t mind the slower write speeds (maybe you’re not a super fast photographer), then you’re perfectly safe going with a budget SD card. The SanDisk Ultra is that card. It’s available in 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB, and offers a tepid write of about 10 MB per second, meaning it could struggle to keep up with burst shooting in RAW format. Read/transfer speeds are significantly faster at 80 MB/s. This is faster than SanDisk’s previous Ultra SD, which offered read speeds of 40 MB/s. Either way, this is a solid option for casual photographers who do not anticipate firing off 10 wide format shots a second. It’s waterproof, heatproof, freezeproof, X-ray proof, magnetproof and shockproof, and it’s got a 10-year warranty. Most people will walk away happy.
4. Polaroid 64GB
This plug-and-shoot high performance SD card is perfect for photographers of all levels, balancing speed with value and versatility for a solid all-around memory solution. It has class 10 and UHS-1/U3 compatibility, meaning it can handle 4k photos and videos, as well as all other traditional file types. It hits 95Mb/s read speed and 90MB/s write speed, letting you transfer large files at quick speeds. It also supports burst mode for continuous shooting, and is shockproof and waterproof to survive adventurous outings.
5. SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-I
Power users are advised to check out the Extreme PRO SDXC card from long standing card manufacturer SanDisk. Available in capacities from 32GB up to an impressive 512GB, this option offers a speed class 3 rating. The real practical advantage here is not only write speeds up to an impressive 90MB/s – which means that it is able to deal with rapid fire sequential shooting and in both JPEG and Raw – but also has a extremely fast transfer speed of up to 95MB/s, which will speed up the workflow of enthusiasts and pros. Aside from making it easier to capture a sequence of Raw photographs, the data crunching on offer here also makes it suitable for 4K video shooting. To sum up, this is one capable contender.
6. SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-II
Missing that essential shot if you’re working as a pro photographer can be an expensive mistake, and is especially irritating if it’s because your card can’t keep up. Try and avoid the latter ever happening by investing in this ultra speedy, inevitably costlier, example from industry stalwart SanDisk – the SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-II. In offering read speeds of up to 300 MB/s and write speeds of an equally impressive 260 MB/s, it’s a class leader among memory cards.
The above specification makes it a must-have option for reportage, sports and wildlife photographers, shooting bursts of rapid fire stills, or videographers wanting the clarity of 4K resolution video, with the inevitable data hungriness that comes with it. As this is an SDXC (‘Extended Capacity’) card too, storage is impressive. Available card offerings are from 32GB up to 128GB, but truly the accent is on speed here.
7. Samsung Evo Select 64GB SD Card
The Evo series from Samsung offers an amazing value for the price because they’ve optimized these SD cards for massive UHD video files while also keeping the 64GB price below $20 — no small feat when you look at how well this card operates. That 64GB capacity offers read speeds up to 100 mb/s, with write speeds capping at 60 mb/s. Those speeds factor out to accommodate a 3GB video transfer in as little as 38 seconds (under specific conditions). That’s certainly a far cry from the days of floppy disks. The full capacity can accommodate up to 8 hours and 30 minutes of full HD video, 14,000 photos or 5,500 songs.
The card has been tested with dozens of different devices from tablets to cameras to phones and more, and it can accommodate 4K videos, too. Samsung’s four-point protection claims 72 hours in seawater, extreme temperatures, airport X-ray machines, as well as magnetic fields equivalent to an MRI scanner, so the card will go basically anywhere you need it to go without issue. It offers grade 3 and class 10 distinctions, meaning it’s about as pro as it gets, and it comes with a full-sized SD card adapter.
8. Kingston microSD Action Camera
If you’re looking for a microSD card to put inside an action camera, like the Go Pro, then you want something that can record data quickly, while also being able to withstand drops, shocks and splashes. This is where the Kingston microSD Action Camera comes in – it’s designed especially for action cameras. This means it has an incredibly robust design, as well as good read and write speeds. It’s a bit overkill if you’re just going to use it in a smartphone, so one of the other microSD cards in this list could be better suited to your needs.
9. Sony SF-G Tough SDXC
The bigger the card’s data capacity, the higher the potential worry of losing hundreds, possibly thousands of precious image files should anything untoward happen. Purporting to eliminate some of that stress is the Sony Tough range, supplied in common-use SD format. While arguably no card can claim to be 100% destruction–proof, there come with the boast of being dustproof and waterproof, while possessing ‘bend proof’ strength into the bargain – namely being able to withstand 18KG of exerted pressure (that’s18x greater than standard SD).
If you need more convincing still, Sony’s Tough has also been tested against drops from 5 meters in height, while the card can simply be washed clean of any grime that gets on it. Speed wise, a further bonus is the card’s ability to cope with the sequential capture of 241-compressed Raw or 362 JPEGs in 20fps burst shooting mode on the Sony A9. If you’re a pro shooter and have the budget, you’ll definitely want to check these out.
10. Sony XQD G Series Memory Card
The XQD format is not used in every camera, but has been adopted by Nikon for some of its DSLRs and recent Z-series full-frame mirrorless cameras (as well as Sony’s high-end video camcorders). If you’re a Nikon user in the market for an XQD card, we reckon that the Sony Professional XQD G Series 64GB is your best bet. Its amazingly fast read and write speeds of more than 400MB/s each mean that it will more than keep up even with full-frame RAW burst shooting and 4K video, and the process of exporting your creations from camera to PC will whizz by like a dream.
The card is built tough too, with a durable outer shell designed to be robust and dust-resistant, so if you’re the type to take your camera into harsh conditions, you can be sure that the card will be able to cope. This is really the crux of the Sony XQD card – it’s able to handle whatever you and your camera throw at it, whether that’s the speed of your shoot or the conditions you find yourself in. High-end Nikon cameras deserve the best in terms of cards – make sure you give it to them.
With different needs, each buyer will want different kind of memory card. Some will demand more storage space and some will ask for more speed than storage itself. Some will only focus on balance between the both. These cards are those memory cards which we see fit to use in year 2019. We are not saying that these are the best memory cards out there, but these are the memory cards we see fit to use for all your needs in devices this year. At the end, it all comes to the personal preferences and demands and each person will have different needs for a memory card. So pick the one, which suits your needs the best.
Here are some tips on how to select a memory card, which will help you make your decision;
How to choose your microSD memory card
- t’s not worth looking for memory cards with capacities smaller than 4GB simply because the price premium you pay for twice or four times the storage is tiny.
- Make sure you include the delivery price when doing the numbers as quite often you end up paying more for the postage than the drive itself, particularly for low-cost models.
- If you plan to opt for large capacity cards (32GB or more), make sure that your device is SDXC compatible.
- If you plan to move files to and from portable devices (tablets or smartphones), consider a microUSB card reader such as the Leef Access.
- Avoid buying your memory cards from vendors with few feedbacks on auction websites as these drives might turn out to be fake. All the vendors listed below are tried and trusted ones.
- For 128GB and above, SD cards are generally cheaper as users usually settle for 64GB as this matches the maximum supported capacity of most portable devices. In general, microSD cards with an adaptor cost less than the equivalent SD card.
- Note that all the capacities are likely to be much less than stated when they are formatted.
- SD cards are usually divided into classes which gives a rough idea of the minimum performance to be expected. A Class 4 card is guaranteed to deliver at least 4MBps while a Class 10 should surpass 10MBps.
- Similarly, many vendors report their speeds in terms of “x” rating which is a multiple of 150KBps (the read speed of a standard CDROM drive). A 100x card can be expected to deliver more than 14MBps.
- If you plan to buy microSD cards simply to store data, don’t. Memory sticks, being cheaper and more robust, are a better choice.
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