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As of 2020, there are quite a lot of standards, specifications and form factors for external memory flash cards, and the differences between them are significant. The specifics of the operation of modern digital cameras also put forward their own additional requirements. Expertology Edition offers you your own simple solution to the problem of choice. Our experts have selected ten models of memory cards that can be considered the best today and the most suitable for cameras.

How to choose a memory card for the camera

Modern memory cards are usually classified according to the most common features: type, capacity, read / write speed. Types can also be divided into subtypes, include certain standards, etc. We will briefly look at the main points that you should focus on when choosing a card for your camera.

Memory type

Most often, while differing in type, flash memory also differs in form factor. In this sense, you need to focus primarily on the camera’s instruction manual, which indicates the supported type of memory, and, by the way, it may not be the only one.

  1. The vast majority of modern digital cameras work with SD (Secure Digital) memory cards. These are memory cards well known to almost everyone, slots for which are also available in almost any laptop, media players, and set-top boxes.
  2. SD cards are further divided into their own subtypes. So, the microSD subtype differs from ordinary SD only in size, but otherwise – speed, capacity, principle of operation – does not differ in anything. Another subtype is a conditional capacity class, distinguishing between high-capacity SDHC memory (up to 64 GB) and extra-large memory – SDXC (up to 512 GB). The slowest memory is practically no longer in use and has not been produced for a long time. Things are not perfect with backwards compatibility – for the most part, ultra-fast SDXC memory will not be read on older cameras. As for the very old models released before 2006, SDHC is no longer readable on them.
  3. Another parameter by which SD memory is divided into subtypes is the UHS standard, which implies the potential for read and write speeds. UHS-II memory is already actively replacing the first generation due to two critical factors – high speed and backward compatibility. So, the write speed in the UHS-II standard can reach 250 MB / s, and the read speed can be slightly higher. This is today a very impressive value, allowing you to fully realize the potential of any gadget.
  4. Compared to SD, CF (Compact Flash) memory is much less common. Its market share is small, but it is found in professional cameras, as well as in old cameras. Previously, CF memory was significantly ahead of other types in key characteristics. Now its superiority in terms of maximum volume and speed is not so dramatic, but still there. In any case, if your camera needs just such a memory, pay attention to the speed requirements – it may not make sense to buy the super-fast and most expensive memory due to the limitations of the device itself.
  5. Another type of flash memory used in cameras is CFast 2.0. This is a relatively new format that has not yet spread, but has serious prospects for the future. First of all, thanks to record speeds – up to 440 MB / s write and up to 515 MB / s read. Currently, CFast 2.0 supports a very small number of professional cameras, but in the near future, due to ultra-high speeds, the popularity of the format may increase dramatically.

Capacity

It would seem that the most obvious parameter, and the option “the more the better” should be considered. However, the cost of flash memory cards for the most part is in direct proportion to the capacity, and increases almost exactly as a multiple of the increase in volume. Therefore, it would be wiser to choose the volume from considerations of necessary and sufficient.

Today, both full-fledged cameras and miniature cameras in smartphones are equipped with matrices with a resolution of tens of megapixels. The capacity requirements of a memory card directly depend on the resolution of the matrix, the nature of the operation of the device (photography, video shooting), the set quality, bitrate, etc.

For example, high-end cameras can record video at an exorbitant bitrate of 800 Mbps (the same Mark II from Canon), which means that a one-minute video will “weigh” at least 7-8 GB, depending on the resolution. Shooting in high quality and in the combined RAW + JPEG bitmap format can also require memory up to 100 MB per image.

Given the above, we can say that for more or less comfortable shooting in a quality comparable to modern standards, you will need a memory card of at least 32 GB. You can limit yourself to 16 GB, but perhaps as a spare in an emergency. Once again, these are the minimum values, less than which you can not even consider if we want the space on the map to be enough for more than half an hour of shooting.

It is easy to calculate the volume of a flash card you need personally. To do this, it is enough to determine how many gigabytes you will need for one shooting day. You can focus on the battery parameters – the manufacturer most often indicates how many shots or how many minutes of video and in what quality a full battery charge is enough. And the developers themselves mainly lay this volume out of the average calculations for one shooting day.

Speed

According to this parameter, two criteria are divided – write speed and read speed. Almost always, the read speed will be higher than the write speed, often significantly and even at times. Rarely, these speeds can be approximately equal.

When choosing, only the recording speed is of fundamental importance, since it will determine the actual speed of continuous shooting, affect the likelihood of missing or catching a rare frame, and how much battery power will be spent not on shooting directly, but on recording material. In addition, it will be physically impossible to record video in high resolution even FullHD on a slow card, not to mention 4K and 360 ° format, since the video sequence will be recorded in jerks. There are even cases of camera freezes when recording to slow memory.

Reading speed is less important, since reading no longer implies urgency, “seizing the moment” and other requirements. However, in some cases this may be important, for example, for reporter work, when lightning-fast processing of the footage is necessary.

In attempts to come to a single standard for memory cards in terms of speed, several different classifications arose. Previously, cards were divided into speed classes 2, 4, 6 and 10, which corresponded to the same speed values ​​in megabytes per second (2 and more MB / s, respectively). Class 10 is “open” here, that is, it implies a speed of 10 MB / s or more, and this “more” can already be multiple.

The general recommendations of Expertology specialists for choosing a flash card for speed are as follows.

  1. For reliable recording of video with a resolution of FullHD and higher, you will need at least class 6 memory or its equivalent. Still, it is better not less than grade 10, given the constantly growing volumes of primary material. For everyday photo and video shooting, this speed will also be enough.
  2. If a significant proportion of continuous shooting is expected, a faster memory is recommended – from 40 MB / s. For fast-moving objects, the requirements for recording speed increase even more in order to ensure the passport shooting speed of the camera – here it is desirable to solder at 80 MB / s. Higher values ​​​​from 90 MB / s may be needed in narrower professional areas of photo and video shooting – sports competitions of world importance, etc.

Protection against external influences

A moment that many choose to ignore, and often in vain. By itself, flash memory of any type is very reliable, and information can be stored for many years and decades. But only if there is no influence of external influences – mechanical damage, extreme temperatures, interaction with water, chemically aggressive environment, various types of electromagnetic radiation.

It is highly desirable that the memory card be provided with protection from external factors, since the likelihood of falling under such influence is very high, especially when traveling. As a rule, all degrees of protection are directly marked on the body of the card with special symbols.

Rating of the best memory cards for cameras

Nomination place Name of product price

The best SD-type memory cards

one

Transcend TS16GSDHC10

640 ₽

2

SanDisk Ultra SDXC Class 10 UHS-I 80MB/s 64GB

1 150 ₽

3

Transcend TS64GSDXC10U1

2 390 ₽

four

Samsung MB-MC64GA

1 099 ₽

5

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II

8 490 ₽

The best memory cards of other types

one

SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash 160MB/s 64GB

7 470 ₽

2

Sony QDG64E

9 690 ₽

3

SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0

67 290 ₽

The best SD-type memory cards

Now let’s go directly to the review of examples of successful memory cards selected by Expertology specialists, and we will devote a separate collection to the most common type – SD (Secure Digital) cards.

Transcend TS16GSDHC10

Rating: 4.9

Transcend TS16GSDHC10

First, let’s consider the most modest option in all respects, but also the cheapest of those that are suitable for a modern digital camera with not too demanding operating conditions. Hereinafter, the specified capacity will be conditional, not recommended, since most often the memory is produced in whole series, where the same model is presented in different capacity options and, accordingly, cost.

The Transcend TS16GSDHC10 memory specification is mostly already in the name. This memory type is SDHC speed class 10, that is, “from 10 MB / s and above). The minimum volume in the series is 16 GB, and this is the cheapest option. Factory formatting is FAT32.

The actual recording speed of this card, especially with a large amount of 32 or 64 GB, even allows you to record video in FullHD resolution without jerking. True, this will not be possible on any equipment. Numerous tests show the speed is indeed at least 16 MB / s, and more often more, but not too much. In cases where the speed is lower than the nominal declared speed, as a rule, it is not the card that is to blame, but the limitations of the card reader, system load and other third-party factors.

In terms of the form factor, this memory card is full-size, that is, not micro, which means that it will not work to rearrange it from a camera to a smartphone – only to a device with a compatible (large) card reader. Overall, this is a good option for everyday shooting, even with forgiving FHD-quality video recording capabilities in certain conditions.

Advantages

  • high speed for this class;

  • reliability;

  • guaranteed readability on compatible devices;

  • affordable price;

  • 5 years manufacturing warranty.

Flaws

  • low upper volume limit, like all SDHC.

SanDisk Ultra SDXC Class 10 UHS-I 80MB/s 64GB

Rating: 4.8

SanDisk Ultra SDXC Class 10 UHS-I 80MB/s 64GB

Next, consider a more expensive and more advanced version of SanDisk’s SD-type flash memory. This brand confidently competes with Transcend and other market leaders, periodically surpassing competitors in important technical characteristics.

So, here we are already dealing with memory of a higher capacity class – SDXC, and speed. In terms of speed, there are two classifications at once – Class 10 and UHS-I. The manufacturer, as always, emphasizes the maximum read speed, as it looks more impressive than the write speed. Manufacturers prefer to modestly keep silent about the latter, the only exceptions are those models where they managed to achieve really outstanding results.

In fact, for this series, and in precisely this version of a 64 GB capacity, the read speed will reach the indicated 80 MB / s, and often exceed this barrier, depending on the mode (large or small files, sequential or random write, etc.). d.). The write speed is on average two times lower – about 40-odd MB per second. This is quite enough for quite fast shooting of photos in HDR + mode and video shooting in FullHD.

In this model, protection from external influences is already beginning to please. So, here we see reliable protection against moisture ingress, but this is now difficult to surprise, since there is nothing difficult in making a deaf case. A more difficult task is to provide protection from x-rays so that the memory is not damaged when passing through airport control, and the developers coped with this. At the same time, basic protection against magnetic and electromagnetic fields is also implemented, but it’s still not worth specifically testing the card for stability.

Advantages

  • write speed – from 40 MB / s;

  • reading speed – from 80 MB / s;

  • reliability and reliability;

  • basic hull protection;

  • X-ray protection;

  • protection against magnetic fields.

Flaws

  • noticeable heating (typical for almost all high-speed memory cards).

Also Read: 6 Best Instant Cameras

Transcend TS64GSDXC10U1

Rating: 4.7

Transcend TS64GSDXC10U1

Now let’s present to you a good version of flash memory with increased performance (maximum capacity and speed) and the same increased protection against failures and data loss.

This is a high capacity card corresponding to the SDXC subtype. This particular option under consideration is 64 GB, but there are modifications of a larger capacity in the series. The form factor is full size.

The factory formatting of this series is in the exFAT file system. Its main advantage is the recording of large files, more than 4 GB, which the FAT32 system cannot afford. Also, exFAT does a better job of preventing errors and failures, other things being equal, it can provide a higher data transfer rate.

The nominal declared read speed is about 90 MB / s, it may vary depending on the features of the device and system load. Write speed – from 50 MB / s, more or less guaranteed – from 40 MB / s.

Complete with the card or through the official website, the manufacturer provides special software with the RecoveRx program. The application will help you recover accidentally deleted files. To protect data, support for ECC technology is provided – low-level error correction by analogy with ECC computer RAM.

All these advantages of this series of Transcend memory cards become even more “embossed” against the background of a very affordable price when compared with similar models from competing companies.

Advantages

  • write speed – from 50 MB / s;

  • reading speed – from 90 MB / s;

  • ECC error correction technology;

  • effective proprietary software for data recovery;

  • increased reliability and reliability in general;

  • the price is noticeably lower than the nearest competitors with comparable characteristics.

Flaws

  • There is no normal plastic case included.

Samsung MB-MC64GA

Rating: 4.7

Samsung MB-MC64GA

Now let’s pay attention to actually the most common form factor of flash memory cards – microSDXC. The SDHC type limited in maximum volume in the compact micro version is also widespread, but we will still consider SDXC, which is more acceptable for active shooting. The same model/series can be found on trading floors under the general name Samsung Evo Plus.

Recall that such a miniature size does not have any objective disadvantages compared to full-size cards, and the issue of compatibility of card readers is easily solved with the help of an adapter. The adapter itself exactly repeats the shape and dimensions of a regular full-size SD memory card.

For this model, the manufacturer emphasizes its speed classification in several standards at once. So, the card corresponds to Class 10 according to the old classification and UHS-I Speed ​​Class 1 according to the new one. In practice, independent tests show a write speed of about 60 MB / s and a read of about 90 MB / s, which is quite good. Higher modifications with a memory capacity of up to 256 MB / s can show much more impressive results, having support for the U3 standard on board.

The entire Evo Plus series has been designed with action cameras and other devices that support extreme conditions and shooting modes in mind. On the technical side, here we see the same V-NAND memory with 48 layers, which Samsung considered the standard for its products. And there are quite objective reasons for this, since this type of memory is not only productive, but also characterized by increased reliability. For example, it is V-NAND of this type that underlies many solid-state SSDs.

Another notable feature of this memory is a record wide operating temperature range. So, according to the company’s official data, the card can operate at temperatures from -25 to +85 degrees.

It is worth noting the good protection of the cards of this series from external influences. In addition to the “normal” X-ray protection, there is also a powerful protection against contact with water. At the same time, we are talking about long-term immersion – Evo Plus cards can withstand up to 72 hours without problems even in salty sea water. This is in line with IPX7 certification.

Advantages

  • compact universal micro format;

  • sufficiently high write and read speeds;

  • protection against x-rays and magnetic fields;

  • withstands up to 72 hours of complete immersion in water, even salty;

  • large operating temperature range;

  • fair price.

Flaws

  • no pronounced cons were observed.

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II

Rating: 4.6

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II

The first part of the review will be completed by SanDisk’s Extreme PRO series of memory cards. The prefix PRO here quite rightly hints at the direction of the series – mainly for professional cameras and camcorders.

All cards are made in a miniature microSD form factor. The series includes models of both common standards – SDHC and SDXC. The latter, we recall, have a much higher potential for maximum capacity and backward compatibility with readers that support SDHC.

The name of the series emphasizes the speed class – UHS-II. The parameter implies maximum values ​​up to 260 MB/s write and up to 300 MB/s read. In practice, more often than not, only the read speed corresponds to the declared one, while the recording will most often not be as lightning fast as the manufacturer claims. It can approach the maximum speed only under ideal conditions – full compatibility with the device, its overall high performance, and work with large files.

As in neighboring series, the SanDisk Extreme PRO has quite effective protection against external influences. These cards are shockproof, waterproof, protected from X-rays and most other types of electromagnetic radiation that can be encountered in normal shooting conditions. The operating temperature range also allows you to use the card in the cold and in direct sunlight without any obvious performance loss.

Buyers of the card have access to proprietary RescuePRO Deluxe software for effective recovery of deleted data. The app installer can be downloaded from the official website.

Advantages

  • record write and read speeds (with maximum compatibility and optimal conditions);

  • 4K video recording without delay;

  • reliability and reliability;

  • miniature form factor;

  • useful software for data recovery;

  • impact resistance and water resistance;

  • ideal for professional cameras.

Flaws

  • no noticeable flaws were found.

The best memory cards of other types

In the second and final part of the review of the best memory cards for cameras according to Expertology magazine, we will look at instances that use other technologies and are in no way compatible with the SD format described above. The share of memory of such types is insignificant, but some have not yet gone completely, while others have every chance to develop and become widespread.

SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash 160MB/s 64GB

Rating: 4.9

SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash 160MB/s 64GB

First, let’s consider a memory card for cameras of the hopelessly outdated CompactFlash format. This is, in fact, the last external memory format that has survived to this day, when the era of miniaturization was just beginning.

As is already clear, such memory also has the form of a faceless plastic card, but only larger than SD. Dimensions here are not of fundamental importance due to the extremely narrow specialization – only such memory is suitable for certain cameras, and the owner of the camera is ready for this. The body of the card is covered with a layer of silicone to minimize vibration effects.

Despite the venerable age of the technology itself, its feature has always been a high data transfer rate. The CompactFlash has always easily outperformed the SD format in this regard, but due to the dramatic price difference in favor of SD, the latter eventually won the market race. Yes, the price of CompactFlash is one of the main drawbacks.

So, about the speed. Firstly, it must be at least 65 MB / s here, since this model officially complies with the VPG-65 standard, which just implies just such a minimum threshold. Further, the write speed can reach up to 150 MB / s, depending on the characteristics of the device. Reading speed – up to 160 MB / s.

Support for the UDMA7 standard allows this type of memory in this design to carefully control the integrity of transmitted data packets without losing speed.

Like some of the models described above, this memory card can operate in extreme temperature conditions – from minus 25 degrees to plus 85. Buyers are provided with the proprietary RescuePRO software package, with which you can recover deleted files. Subscription, however, is free only for one year.

Advantages

  • housing with silicone coating;

  • high guaranteed write and read speed (VPG-65 standard);

  • reliability and reliability;

  • durability;

  • wide operating temperature range;

  • support for direct memory access UDMA7;

  • useful proprietary software.

Flaws

  • hopelessly outdated format, which will soon completely leave the market;

  • the high price, in terms of the price of a megabyte, is completely unjustified.

Sony QDG64E

Rating: 4.8

Sony QDG64E

Now we suggest paying attention to the memory card of another rather rare XQD format. Sony equips some types of electronics of its own production with such memory, where truly record-breaking write and read speeds are needed.

Let’s start with the main one. This is exactly the case when the manufacturer does not hesitate to clearly indicate the write speed directly on the card case, and is not limited to only indicating the read speed. No wonder, because there is something to be proud of – the write speed reaches an incredible 400 MB / s, and the read speed even here is slightly higher – up to 440 MB / s. Agree, even this “slightly” looks impressive for many models of “mainstream” SD memory.

These speeds make it possible to record videos in ultra-high definition 4K with a large margin of performance, without worrying about lags and choppy streaming at all. Data transfer is also carried out as quickly as possible, this is helped by the implemented support for EB Streaming technology – reliable and high-quality two-way communication without performance loss.

Memory of this format cannot be recommended as a universal solution, since it is supported by a very small segment of photographic equipment, and the owner of a camera with such an interface simply has no other choice. However, if suddenly the device supports two types of memory at once, then you can already decide.

This and similar memory cards are optimal for professional DSLRs with a very serious workload that involves frequent recording and rewriting of large amounts of photo and video materials.

Another thing worth noting is that although this memory is expensive and not so common, due to the fact that it is based on the PCI Express interface, this format has great prospects in terms of development. The PCI Express interface itself is one of the most successful in the industry, it is not going to go anywhere and will only be improved, and, accordingly, XQD memory will develop along with it.

Advantages

  • record speeds of writing and reading;

  • anti-corrosion coating of terminals;

  • protection from external influences;

  • reliability and durability;

  • guaranteed video recording in 4K resolution without jerking;

  • saving hundreds of photos in RAW format in one session;

  • great potential for development.

Flaws

  • exorbitant cost.

Also Read: 5 Best Lenses for Product Photography

SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0

Rating: 4.7

SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0

And the review of the best memory cards for cameras according to Expertology magazine will be completed by a memory card built on the basis of technology very similar to CompactFlash, but with fundamental improvements. These improvements make CFast 2.0 memory incompatible with CompactFlash, while opening up new possibilities for it.

First, briefly about the features of this type and format, and what can be expected from it in the near future. The CFast format is based on the SATA interface with characteristic two groups of contacts – 7 for data and 17 for power. Like the XQD format, CFast was created in part as an alternative to CompactFlash, which had nowhere to go. The interface basis in his case at least guarantees that the format will evolve as long as SATA improves. Finally, an improved version of this type of memory came out – CFast 2.0, and it became clear that it definitely has a future. But for now, it’s still too niche a product, limited almost exclusively to Canon cameras.

The 128 GB modification in the line of Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 memory cards is average in capacity. As for the speeds, the values ​​indicated by the manufacturer are even more impressive than those of the model described above. For a 512 GB card, this will be: up to 525 MB / s read speed; up to 450 MB/s write speed; the minimum write speed is 130 MB/s (compliance with the VPG-130 standard).

Independent tests show that the speed characteristics indicated by the manufacturer are generally true, although they can vary significantly depending on the size of the copied files, the data exchange mode and other factors. In any case, you can confidently record a video stream in “honest” 4K resolution (4096 x 2160) on this card, and there will still be a significant performance margin.

Like many other models of memory cards of this class, SanDisk Extreme Pro CFast 2.0 has effective protection against external mechanical influences, chemically aggressive environments, water ingress, contact oxidation, X-rays, and various other types of EM radiation. Also, the card is able to work at negative temperatures and extremely high, within reason.

Advantages

  • record maximum write and read speeds;

  • a promising format in terms of development and dissemination;

  • ability to work at extreme temperatures;

  • protection against all common types of external influences that may pose a threat to data integrity (EM fields, X-rays, water, chemically aggressive environments, etc.).

Flaws

  • so far, an extremely narrow specialization – only Canon cameras.