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The Best SD Cards for Video Recording (2024)

This is a complete list of SD memory cards I use and trust for recording video in mirrorless cameras, cinema cameras, camcorders, studio recorders, recording monitors, and more.

Angelbird AV PRO MK2

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The best overall SD card for most users.

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Angelbird has built a strong reputation for quality professional media storage, including cards and drives designed specifically for use with ARRI, RED, and Blackmagic Design cameras. Because of that, they are one of my first stops for video and audio recording media.

The AV PRO MK2 SD memory cards come in both V60 and V90 speed classes, covering a vast majority of needs and situations.

Highlights include...

  • Sustained write speeds of 260 MB/s (V90) and 140 MB/s (V60)
  • Shock, moisture, X-ray, and magnetic protection
  • Operating temperatures of -25° C to 85° C (-13° F to 185° F)
  • Sticker-free label = nothing to peel off and stick in slots

Angelbird also publishes and usually meets sustained read and write speeds for their cards. This is something very few brands can claim.

All in all, it's really hard to go wrong here unless you need extreme write speed or durability.


Angelbird AV PRO MK2 SDXC Specifications
Bus Speed UHS-II
Maximum Read Speed 280 MB/s (V60)
300 MB/s (V90)
Maximum Write Speed 160 MB/s (V60)
280 MB/s (V90)
Sustained Read Speed 260 MB/s (V60)
280 MB/s (V90)
Sustained Write Speed 140 MB/s (V60)
260 MB/s (V90)
V60 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
V90 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

ProGrade Digital

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A great value SD card with impressive performance.

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No fancy features or slick marketing. Just a solid convergence of performance and price.

This card is highly rated on Amazon (86% of 5,000+ reviewers give them five stars), and the V90 version is one of only four SD cards approved for 12K recording in the Blackmagic URSA Mini 12K.


ProGrade Digital SDXC Specifications
Bus Speed UHS-II
Maximum Read Speed 250 MB/s (V60)
300 MB/s (V90)
Maximum Write Speed 130 MB/s (V60)
250 MB/s (V90)
Sustained Read Speed N/A
Sustained Write Speed N/A
V60 Capacities 128GB, 256GB
V90 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

SanDisk Extreme PRO

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A budget SD card with consistency and reliability.

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Don't let the budget tag fool you. These cards punch well above their weight class!

They are one of the highest rated SD cards on Amazon, Adorama, and B&H with nearly 30,000 five star reviews.

I've used more of these specific cards over the years than any other, and they have always performed reliably and consistently.

The users have spoken! These are an excellent bang for the buck.

PRO TIP: The V30 and V60 cards with capacities of 256GB or higher have 50% faster write speeds than their siblings with capacities under 256GB.


SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC Specifications
Bus Speed UHS-I (V30)
UHS-II (V60 & V90)
Maximum Read Speed 200 MB/s (V30)
280 MB/s (V60)
300 MB/s (V90)
Maximum Write Speed 90 MB/s (V30 - 128GB or less)
140 MB/s (V30 - 256GB or more)
100 MB/s (V60 - 128GB or less)
150 MB/s (V60 - 256GB or more)
260 MB/s (V90)
Sustained Read Speed N/A
Sustained Write Speed N/A
V30 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
V60 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
V90 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Sony TOUGH

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The most durable SD card money can buy.

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Need ultimate durability and speed? Look no further!

With top-tier read/write speeds, a one-piece moulded case, ribless design, and no moving parts, this is the most robust high-performance card money can buy.

Highlights include...

  • No write-protect switch = no moving parts
  • No connector ribs
  • Shock-resistant up to 16 feet / 5 meters
  • IP68 rating (full immersion in 16 feet / 5 meters of water for up to 72 hours)

IMPORTANT: The previous generation of this card was recalled in 2020 for unreliable write speeds and was subsequently dropped from my list. However, Sony fixed the problem and this new version is a major improvement. The new version will have a small star printed on the back of the card near the bottom left corner.


Sony TOUGH SDXC Specifications
Bus Speed UHS-II
Maximum Read Speed 277 MB/s (V60)
300 MB/s (V90)
Maximum Write Speed 150 MB/s (V60)
299 MB/s (V90)
Sustained Read Speed N/A
Sustained Write Speed N/A
V60 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
V90 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Sabrent Rocket

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Another great value SD card worth mentioning.

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Sabrent may be the newer kid in town, but their excellent SSDs have already been making waves for a few years.

And with impressive specs at a reasonable price point, these are often a steal of a deal!


Sabrent Rocket SDXC Specifications
Bus Speed UHS-II
Maximum Read Speed 270 MB/s (V60)
280 MB/s (V90)
Maximum Write Speed 170 MB/s (V60)
250 MB/s (V90)
Sustained Read Speed N/A
Sustained Write Speed N/A
V60 Capacities 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
V90 Capacities 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Why You Can Trust Me

I started my career over 24 years ago as a freelance ENG camera operator for major U.S. television networks including ABC, FOX Sports, and Speed Channel. I've also shot with hundreds of cameras throughout 25 different countries as a filmmaker and director of photography. I've recorded to all kinds of digital storage, including countless SD cards. Additionally, I have spent the last decade running this website and consulting with organizations to help them find the right gear and maximize their results. Learn more about Joel


SD Card Buyer's Guide

Choosing the right SD cards for recording video can be daunting and confusing.

But, it doesn't have to be.

The following information will give you the knowledge and confidence needed to choose the best SD card.

Terms to Know

Data Rate

The amount of data that moves from one place to another in a given time.

Throughput

The amount of data that moves through a component or system in a given time.

Bit

The smallest unit of data that computers and devices use, consisting of either a 0 or 1.

Short for "binary digit".

Represented by a lowercase "b" in abbreviations.

Byte

The minimum unit of data historically used to represent a single character of text, consisting of eight bits.

Represented by an uppercase "B" in abbreviations.

Standard

A document published by an authority that defines criteria necessary for effective interchange/interconnection within a system.

Sustained

To maintain continuously.

Sequential

To perform or use in sequence.

Bus

The physical infrastructure used to pass data from one device to another.

Short for "omnibus".

Data Rates

In this specific situation, data rates are the amount of video data transferred per second from a camera or recording device to the memory card.

Because video recording is done continuously and in real time, the memory card must be able to write and store data fast enough to prevent data loss from occurring. And the higher the data rate, the faster the write speed required for the card to reliably write the files.

Cameras and recording devices should always specify the data rates required to write every format, resolution, and quality. This way we know how fast the memory card needs to be in order to work efficiently and reliably.

You can find data rates expressed in either bits or bytes depending on the context. The two units can be used to explain data rates in the same way, just in two different sizes.

The formulas to convert between the two are simple:

  • Bytes = bits * 8
  • bits = Bytes / 8

Prefixes refer to how many thousands of units are represented:

  • kilo = 1,000 (lowercase "k")
  • Mega = 1,0002 or 1,000,000 (uppercase "M")
  • Giga = 1,0003 or 1,000,000,000 (uppercase "G")
  • Tera = 1,0004 or 1,000,000,000,000 (uppercase "T")
  • Peta = 1,0005 or 1,000,000,000,000,000 (uppercase "P")

Therefore, data rates are usually expressed in these formats:

  • kbps - kilobits per second
  • kB/s - kilobytes per second
  • Mbps - Megabits per second
  • MB/s - Megabytes per second
  • Gbps - Gigabits per second
  • GB/s - Gigabytes per second
  • Tbps - Terabits per second
  • TB/s - Terabytes per second
  • Pbps - Petabits per second
  • PB/s - Petabytes per second

IMPORTANT: Pay close attention to prefixes and uppercase/lowercase letters because you will sometimes see them written differently or incorrectly.

Once you put it all together, a data rate of 80 Mbps = 10 MB/s and vice versa, a data rate of 4,000 kbps = 4 Mbps and vice versa, a data rate of 250 MB/s = 2 Gbps and vice versa, and so on.

SD Card Standards

Standards for SD cards and the supporting technology are controlled by the SDA.

The specifications and ratings discussed below are also defined by SD standards.

Every card in this guide is also fully compliant with SD standards.

Read & Write Speeds

This part can be confusing.

Nearly all memory card manufacturers will claim a maximum read and write speed.

However, not all of them will be able to maintain those speeds all the time. Just like an automobile, the maximum speed on the speedometer does not mean the automobile will always travel that speed or can even reach that speed in all situations.

The problem with only knowing maximum speed is that it is unclear where the more stable and consistent speeds may be. Like I mentioned earlier, recording video is a continuous and real time process that requires consistent write speeds.

This is where speed class certifications become important, specifically the UHS ("U") and video ("V") classes. SD memory cards compliant with these speed classes must meet or exceed the minimum sustained sequential write speed for that class.

The UHS speed class is represented by the letter U with either a number 1 or 3 inside. UHS describes the bus type used for transfers, and the numbers stand for minimum sustained write speeds in tens of megabytes per second (10 * MB/s).

  • U1 = 10 MB/s = 80 Mbps
  • U3 = 30 MB/s = 240 Mbps
Icons for SD UHS speed classes
Icons for SD UHS speed classes

The video speed class is represented by the letter V followed by a number. The letter V stands for "video" and the numbers stand for minimum sustained write speeds in megabytes per second (MB/s).

  • V6 = 6 MB/s = 48 Mbps
  • V10 = 10 MB/s = 80 Mbps
  • V30 = 30 MB/s = 240 Mbps
  • V60 = 60 MB/s = 480 Mbps
  • V90 = 90 MB/s = 720 Mbps
Icons for SD video speed classes
Icons for SD video speed classes

When recording video I recommend U3 and V30 class SD cards at a minimum. All of the cards in this guide meet that minimum requirement.

Also be aware that these ratings are for properly formatted cards that are un-fragmented. More about that in the formatting section later.

Bus Speeds

If data is cargo, the bus is the trucks that carry the cargo and the highway they drive upon.

A crucial factor in the transfer of data is the maximum throughput the bus supports. SD cards with read and/or write speeds that exceed bus speeds will always be limited by the bus speed.

Specifications for maximum bus speeds include:

  • Default Speed: 12.5 MB/s
  • High Speed: 25 MB/s
  • UHS-I: 50 MB/s (SDR50 and DDR50) or 104 MB/s (SDR104)
  • UHS-II: 156 MB/s (Full Duplex) or 312 MB/s (Half Duplex)
  • UHS-III: 312 MB/s (Full Duplex) or 624 MB/s (Half Duplex)
  • SD Express: 985 MB/s (PCIe Gen.3 × 1 Lane), 1970 MB/s (PCIe Gen.4 × 1 Lane or PCIe Gen.3 × 2 Lane), or 3940 MB/s (PCIe Gen.4 × 2 Lane)

The two most common bus speed classifications to understand right now are UHS-I and UHS-II.

The distinction is important when recording higher data rate video formats where UHS-II speeds are necessary, because a UHS-II rated card will only read and write at UHS-I speeds when connected to a bus that is only rated for UHS-I speeds.

One simple way to tell if a card is capable of UHS-II bus speeds is to look at the contacts on the back of the card. Cards rated for UHS-I or lower will only have one row of contacts, while cards rated for UHS-II or higher will have two rows of contacts.

Physical differences between UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards
Physical differences between UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards

And because bus speed specifications require cards to have backwards compatibility with slower rating classes, it generally never hurts to get a higher rated card than you think you need.

Capacity Classes

SD cards and their host devices (cameras or recorders) are categorized into 4 different classes depending on the card's total capacity:

SD

  • 2GB and less
  • Uses the FAT12 and FAT16 file systems
  • SD memory cards can be used in all current host devices
  • SD host devices can only use SD memory cards

SDHC

  • 2GB to 32GB
  • Uses the FAT32 file system (4GB maximum file size)
  • SDHC memory cards can be used in SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC host devices
  • SDHC host devices can use SD and SDHC memory cards

SDXC

  • 32GB to 2TB
  • Uses the exFAT file system
  • SDXC memory cards can be used in SDXC and SDUC host devices
  • SDXC host devices can use SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards

SDUC

  • 2TB to 128TB
  • Uses the exFAT file system
  • SDUC memory cards must only be used in SDUC host devices
  • SDUC host devices can use all current memory cards

Lower capacity cards like SD and SDHC can only use older, and more limited, file system formats that have file size limitations. This can require host devices like recorders and cameras to limit recording times and/or create multiple files during a single recording.

If your host device has been made in the last decade then it should be SDXC compatible. Therefore, the only cards I recommend now are SDXC.

If your host device is only rated up to SDHC, then the 32GB SDHC capacities of some cards in this list should be compatible.

Be Conservative

As always, just because something is rated for a certain speed does not mean you should always push it to that limit.

Some codecs and manufacturer specifications refer to target data rates and not maximum data rates. Since compression algorithms are not always a constant data rate it is common to see fluctuations around 10%-20% above or below the target data rate.

Therefore, I recommend leaving at least 20% headroom for the rated class speed of any given card.

For example, a memory card with a class rating of V30 should ideally see a maximum write speed of 24 MB/s or 192 Mbps for best results.

This is a situation where leaving headroom never hurts. When recording you want consistency and reliability.

Formatting Your Cards

How and when you format your cards is critical.

If a memory card is not formatted properly or files have been changed in any way while on the card, you can easily end up with corrupted, missing, or incomplete files.

Following this simple workflow exactly will give you the best chances of success when recording:

  1. Ensure every file on the card you want to keep is saved and backed up elsewhere. I recommend using the 3-2-1 backup strategy.
  2. Format the card before every recording session in the camera or recording device in which the card will be used.
  3. If your camera or recording device does not have formatting capability, consult its manual to ensure you format your card correctly using a computer before recording.
  4. When recording is complete, immediately transfer all files from the card directly to another form of storage.
  5. Never edit, move, or delete files directly on the card. This includes deleting files using the camera or recorder. File allocation tables can become corrupted or fragmented, causing data loss and/or slower write speeds.

Diversify

Spreading out your recorded files among multiple memory cards is safer than recording everything to the same card.

If you don't need continuous recording for multiple hours, I recommend purchasing a few smaller cards instead of one larger card.

In general, try to get memory cards that will hold about 1 hour of footage at the data rate needed. That ensures you keep a healthy habit of switching out cards to make sure risk is minimized.

And remember...

One is none and two is one.

Always get two or more cards so you have at least one backup.

Use Proper Form Factors

Lastly, when recording or writing files be sure to always use the matching form factor card for the card slot(s) available.

For example, microSD cards should only be used to record in devices that have microSD card slots.

Avoid using adapter cards to record or write to smaller form factor memory cards in larger card slots. They add many more potential points of failure in the connection between the host device and memory card.

Store Them Properly

Always keep cards in a proper storage case when not in a device.

Look for storage solutions that keep the cards isolated and protected from dust and water.

What Speed Do I Need?

So now that we understand all of this, how do we apply it?

Here are some general guidelines to give you an idea of what category of card should be used for certain situations and recording formats:

V30 Cards

  • Maximum data rate of 192 Mbps recommended
  • H.264/H.265/MPEG-4 formats up to 4096 x 2160 at 30 fps in 8-bit
  • ProRes 422 Proxy up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps
  • ProRes 422 LT up to 1920 x 1080 at 50 fps
  • ProRes 422 up to 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 12:1 up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 30 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 8:1 up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 5:1 up to 1920 x 1080 at 50 fps

V60 Cards

  • Maximum data rate of 384 Mbps recommended
  • H.264/H.265/MPEG-4 formats up to 4096 x 2160 at 60 fps in 8-bit and 4:2:0 10-bit
  • ProRes 422 Proxy up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps
  • ProRes 422 LT up to 3840 x 2160 at 25 fps
  • ProRes 422 up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps
  • ProRes 422 HQ up to 1920 x 1080 at 50 fps or up to 1280 x 720 at 60 fps
  • ProRes 4444 up to 1280 x 720 at 60 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 12:1 up to 4096 x 2160 at 30 fps or up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 60 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 8:1 up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 60 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 5:1 up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 30 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW Q5 up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 30 fps

V90 Cards

  • Maximum data rate of 576 Mbps recommended
  • H.264/H.265/MPEG-4 formats up to 4096 x 2160 at 60 fps 4:2:2 10-bit
  • ProRes 422 Proxy up to 5120 x 2700 (5K) at 50 fps
  • ProRes 422 LT up to 3840 x 2160 at 30 fps
  • ProRes 422 up to 3840 x 2160 at 25 fps
  • ProRes 422 HQ up to 2048 x 1556 at 50 fps
  • ProRes 4444 (no alpha) up to 1920 x 1080 at 50 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 18:1 up to 8192 x 4320 at 60 fps or up to 4096 x 2160 at 240 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 12:1 up to 12,288 x 6480 at 24 fps, up to 4096 x 2160 at 60 fps, or up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 120 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 8:1 up to 4096 x 2160 at 30 fps or up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 90 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW 5:1 up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 50 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW Q5 up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 60 fps
  • Blackmagic RAW Q3 up to 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) at 30 fps

Be sure to check the actual data rate your specific camera or recording device uses, especially for H.264/H.265/MPEG-4 formats. Once you get up into higher qualities like 10-bit the data rates can vary drastically.

Avoid Counterfeit Cards

Unfortunately, there is a rather prevalent counterfeit memory card market.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow when purchasing cards:

  • Buy from resellers with solid and long-standing reputations
  • When shopping on Amazon, purchase products shipped and sold by Amazon directly, from third-party resellers like Adorama, Focus Camera, or 6ave, or directly from the manufacturer's Amazon store
  • Be sure to purchase products with a good return policy in case you discover the card(s) you receive are counterfeit
  • Immediately after purchase, do some speed tests using Blackmagic RAW Speed Test or CrystalDiskMark to make sure the card(s) meet or exceed the rated speeds
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