Best Sony A6500 Memory Card For 4k Video
The Sony A6500 is the new flagship / big brother to the A6300 with the main difference being IBIS and touch screen. This last year Sony has made some great steps forward with memory card compatibility with their new firmware upgrades. They have expanded 4k compatibility to SDHC memory cards and improved some other reliability issues. However, still not every card will work the way we hoped.
In this guide, I'll be testing all the most popular memory cards with the Sony A6500 to find out which is the best and fastest, I'll also share some tips and advice from the community so you don't end up with a bad card.
Sensor: APS-C 24.2 MP / Processor: Exmor Cmos Sensor
Sensor SD Memory Card Type: UHS-I
Continuous Burst: 11fps
Est. Size of Buffer: Untested
Video: 4k 100M
Best Memory Card For The Sony A6500
I appologize for not testing this camera day one, and it won't be for another week or two before I can test it. However, a lot of people are ordering this camera and I wanted to get this guide up as soon as possible, so I'll share the data from the Sony A6300 for now. My experience with Sony cameras as well as what I've learned from the community is still valuable when ordering memory cards for this camera even though I've yet to test it.
All of Sony's e-mount cameras have an internal memory card speed bottleneck, so when buying cards for this Sony A6500, it's not about the speed, it's about reliability and that's what I will try to focus on.
With the guts of the A6500 being vary similar we're going to likely see the same performance as the A6300. I've posted the speed scores from the A6300 for now.
All USB 3.0 tests done using CyrstalDisk - Windows 10, with the Lexar SR2.
|SD Memory Cards||USB 3.0 Read||USB 3.0 Write||Sony A6300 Write Speeds||See Price|
|Lexar 64GB 2000x UHS-II||272.7 MB/s||244.5 MB/s||33.19 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Toshiba 64GB UHS-II||258.8 MB/s||226.5 MB/s||32.41 MB/s||Amazon|
|Transcend 64GB UHS-II||290.2 MB/s||182.1 MB/s||32.58 MB/s||Amazon|
|Delkin 32GB UHS-II||253.5 MB/s||219.6 MB/s||32.57 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB UHS-II||260.5 MB/s||214.8 MB/s||31.65 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Lexar 64GB 1000x UHS-II||147.4 MB/s||78.4 MB/s||31.85 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB U3||98.6 MB/s||90.8 MB/s||32.87 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Kingston 64GB U3||98.1 MB/s||90.4 MB/s||32.81 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Samsung Pro+ 64GB U3||97.5 MB/s||87.3 MB/s||33.60 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Samsung Pro 64GB U1||96.3 MB/s||82.2 MB/s||32.26 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Samsung Pro 64GB U3||97.7 MB/s||78.6 MB/s||33.12 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Sony 64GB U3||96.5 MB/s||84.5 MB/s||30.96 MB/s||Amazon|
|PNY 64GB U1||96.5 MB/s||66.5 MB/s||32.76 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|PNY 64GB U3||96.5 MB/s||66.1 MB/s||31.91 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus 64GB U3||99.0 MB/s||64.4 MB/s||32.73 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Lexar 600x 64GB U1||95.4 MB/s||64.8 MB/s||31.35 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Lexar 633x 64GB U3||93.3 MB/s||67.3 MB/s||30.35 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Transcend 64GB U3||96.7 MB/s||68.4 MB/s||31.06 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Sandisk Extreme 64GB U3||72.43 MB/s||54.1 MB/s||32.52 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Samsung 64GB U1 EVO||47.7 MB/s||27.3 MB/s||18.88 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
Recommended SD Memory Cards For The Sony A6500
Best UHS-II Memory Cards
The Sony A6500 does not gain any speed benefits from using a UHS-II memory card. However, they do perform the same as USH-I cards in camera. If you're looking for faster transfer speeds from your card to your computer and you also buy a USB 3.0 UHS-II memory card reader then UHS-II memory cards will drastically improve your performance when transferring to your computer. I personally prefer UHS-I cards for my Sony cameras but here are the best performing UHS-II cards.
Toshiba UHS-II 64GB - Amazon
Transcend UHS-II 64GB - Amazon
Best UHS-I Memory Cards
Most cards perform with roughly the same speed in these Sony APS-C cameras, so you won't really see any real world advantage in speed from one brand to another. However, from my experience testing many Sony cameras getting many comments and emails from frusterated users, you should really stick with Sony brand cards, or any of the following to minimize your risk of having a card that doesn't work with your camera.
Sony 64GB SDXC U3 UHS-I - Amazon
Lexar 633x 64GB SDXC U3 UHS-I - Amazon
4k 100M Recording With Sony A6500
A lot of Sony shooters have a lot of trouble getting their memory cards to work properly when trying to shoot with the XAVC S codec with 4k 100M.
I believe this is because Sony cameras will aggressively check each card after it is inserted into the camera to determine if it's U3 capable or not. As I've found, it's often not the cards that are failing, but the cameras interface with the card. One camera will work fine with some of my cards, then another camera won't. This is possibly due to production cycles of the camera and the hardware that goes into them.
4k 100M Requirements
SDHC memory cards as well as SDXC memory cards all now work for 4k video on the Sony A6500 but you will still need U3 memory cards to consistently record 4K 100M video. Although some of my U1 cards still work fine.
Best SD Memory Card Sony A6500 Conclusions
It's a little frusterating that Sony does not upgrade their camera to have faster memory card performances. You can do so much more with faster write speeds as seen with cameras like the Fujifilm X-T2. They brag about how fast this camera can shoot and how good the auto focus is, but then you have to wait an eternity for the buffer to clear compared to the competition.
Albeit, having a much larger buffer helps a lot and this helps eliminate the problems of waiting on a buffer, which I'm really happy about, although it now takes me forever to test these cameras since it takes forever for that huge buffer to clear.
Also, from rumors about new E-mount cameras, it does seem like Sony may be heading towards a complete overhaul to their cameras and moving away from this legacy hardware that still plagues the performance. Hopefully that tech trickles down into their APS-C cameras next year so that our cameras will at least be on par with the competition.
The take away from all this is you don't really need to worry about buying the fastest memory card you can buy. Just buy what's on sale and stick with Sony brand memory cards if you can to minimize your headache. I've yet to hear anyone having issues with Sony cards. That is of course unless Sony upgraded the memory card write speeds. We'll find out soon.