The Best SD Card for 4K Video

Stop Buying Cheap SD Cards!

Digital cameras, phones, and drones need SD cards, but with so many brands, speeds, and sizes to choose from, it can be overwhelming to select the right one.

After buying multiple SD and micro SD cards, I have come to the conclusion, it is best to purchase SD cards with large capacities and fast write speeds when shooting video, especially 4K.

The reasons for purchasing a faster and larger card include:

  • Longer Record Times

  • Less Money Spent on Multiple Cards

  • High Bitrates for 4K Video

My most recent SD card purchase was the SanDisk 256GB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I, and has worked well with my Canon EOS 5D IV and DJI Osmo Action Camera when shooting 4K video.

 

SanDisk 256GB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card with Adapter

 

 

Blackmagic Design Disk Speed Test revealed a maximum write speed of 79.2 MB/s and 87.7 MB/s read speed for the SanDisk 256GB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I memory card, fast enough for Ultra High-Definition video.

 


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Speed

Write speeds are the most important feature to consider for HD and 4K video recording, since it is crucial to smooth video recordings, “Recording video require a constant minimum write speed to avoid ‘frame drop’ during recording for a smooth playback.”

There are three types of speed indications, and are represented by a symbol with a number to indicate minimum write speeds.

  • Speed Class

  • UHS Speed Class

  • Video Speed Class


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Video Speed Class will eventually replaced current card class labels, ‘Class 10’ and ‘U3.’

Video Speed Class features a range of performance grades primarily defined by the card’s minimum sustained transfer speeds in MB/s (the number after V), including V6, V10, V30, V60 and V90.

Currently, UHS Speed Class U3 and V30-90 can record 4K video.

Capacity

According to SD Association, there are four standards for SD card capacity, as listed below.

  1. SD standard – Up to 2GB SD memory card using FAT 12 and 16 file systems

  2. SDHC standard – over 2GB-32GB SDHC memory card using FAT32 file system

  3. SDXC standard – over 32GB-2TB SDXC memory card using exFAT file system

  4. SDUC standard – over 2TB-128TB SDUC memory card using exFAT file system

For 4K video, I suggest using SDXC or SDUC memory cards, since they have the most amount of storage.

What’s nice about having a large capacity SD card is you can store lots of videos and not have to offload the videos onto your computer right away.

You can save your videos on your SD card almost as an archival method until you format or delete the video – so you always have a copy of your video, even though you should be properly backing up your footage.


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