The GoPro Hero 6 with its new image processor has been given a huge boost to memory card read and write speeds and even a new H265 video codec for high frame rate shooting.
To make things simple, I’ve put together this nice guide to help you find the best micro sd memory card for your GoPro Hero 6.
Best Memory Cards GoPro Hero 6
Since the GoPro Hero6 has a very different image processor than the Hero 5, it would seem that it also handles memory cards very differently as well and there are a few important details to know.
The Hero 6 image processor and bus speeds are blazing fast compared to the old Hero 5 and Session, so it seems to be a lot friendlier to different brands of memory cards.
Memory cards like the Sandisk Extreme Pro actually work with the Hero 6, not only do they work, but they are very fast.
I own just about every micro SD memory card available, or at least that is relevant, and have been continuously putting them through different tests in my Hero 6 to find which micro sd cards are the best for the Hero 6, as well as which memory cards I recommend.
Top 5 Best Micro SD Cards GoPro Hero 6 | Recommended Cards
Since the GoPro has a slightly higher bitrate than the Hero 5 with its MP4 AVC and new H265 codec in 4k 60, I recommend U3 micro sd memory cards to make sure those write speeds never slow down below the requires specifications.
U3 cards will always allow for a minimum write speed of 30MB/s. With the Hero 6 recording at a high bit rate H265 codec running at 85Mbit/s (from my tests with VLC), you’ll see it peak write speeds just above 10MB/s which could potentially cause problems on slower cards.
So although you can use Class 10 or U1 micro sd cards just fine, you could potentially run into corrupted files and broken clips, so I won’t recommend buying any card under a U3.
Here are my recommended cards. I’ve been testing these and they have been working well. GoPro also keeps track of what cards are working well for their cameras and you can see the GoPro memory card considerations here. All cards in my list are not reported as having issues on GoPros site except stay away from the Samsung Pro+ 128GB card. I’ve linked to the 64GB card.
Sandisk Extreme Pro
I’ve thoroughly tested the Sandisk Extreme Pro Micro SD card and have had no issues. This card troubled previous models of the GoPro but the new Hero6 image processor handles it just fine. This card is also fast and you’ll notice the fastest speeds when transferring files from your GoPro to your computer via USB-C with this card. Available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB – Amazon
Sandisk Extreme Plus
The Sandisk Extreme Pro has always been a great card in every GoPro camera. You’ll get very similar transfer speeds as you do with the Sandisk Extreme Pro and it’s been a very reliable and dependable card. It’s an all around great choice for GoPro shooters since it will also work great in older models. Available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB – Amazon
The Sandisk Extreme card is slightly slower than the Plus and Pro cards. You may notice a little bit more of a delay after shooting burst photos, but ultimately this card will perform very well and is a great card for any GoPro device. It’s also the card GoPro bundles with their camera when ordering from their website. Available in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB – Amazon
Samsung Pro Plus U3
Samsung Pro Micro SD Cards have always worked well with previous models of GoPro cameras and they also work great with the Hero6. I’ve tested this card thoroughly and it performs very well. Available in 32GB and 64GB – Amazon
Samsung Pro Select U3
This card works well even when recording in the HEVC high frame rates. It has slightly slower speeds when transferring from the GoPro to the computer but it works well nonetheless and is a great option for the GoPro Hero 6. Available in 32GB and 64GB and 128GB – Amazon
If you need larger cards, the Samsung EVO, EVO+ and EVO Selects come in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB sizes. The 256GB memory cards have been reported to work for the Hero cameras but are not officially recommended by GoPro.
GoPro Micro SD Memory Speed Chart
Since I haven’t figure out a perfect way of getting in-camera write speeds, I’ve tested all the cards with Windows 10 to give you a general performance list between brands and models. This of course isn’t entirely accurate because different camera processors handle the different types of flash memory differently.
I’ve marked a lot of cards ‘Maybe’ in this chart just to be on the safe side since the high frame rate H265 recording of the GoPro Hero 6 will peg the limitations of the U1 and class 10 memory card speeds. So you could run into some issues with some cards even though they do work fine for me when I am testing. This is of course assuming VLC is giving me the correct bitrate readings.
Memory card read / write speeds were determined using Crystal Disk on Windows 10.
|Micro SD Memory Card||Read Speeds||Write Speeds||Does It Work?|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB U3||99.38 MB/s||90.33 MB/s||Yes|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus 64GB U3||99.45 MB/s||89.85 MB/s||Yes|
|Sandisk Extreme 64GB U3||99.49 MB/s||70.29 MB/s||Yes|
|Sandisk Ultra C10 – Old Version U1||47.69 MB/s||36.23 MB/s||Maybe|
|Sandisk Ultra C10 – New Version||99.46 MB/s||79.64 MB/s||Maybe|
|Lexar 1000x 64GB U3 UHS-II||151.7 MB/s||53.18 MB/s||Yes|
|Lexar 633x 64GB U1||96.89 MB/s||33.29 MB/s||Maybe|
|Lexar 300x 64GB U1||47.37 MB/s||31.17 MB/s||Maybe|
|Transcend Ultimate 633x 64GB U3||96.67 MB/s||79.62 MB/s||Yes|
|Transcend Premium 400x 64GB U1||96.87 MB/s||32.58 MB/s||Maybe|
|Transcend Premium 300x 64GB U1||96.88 MB/s||33.29 MB/s||Maybe|
|Transcend High Endurance||22.88 MB/s||21.84 MB/s||Maybe|
|PNY Pro Elite 64GB U3||98.44 MB/s||64.43 MB/s||Yes|
|PNY Elite U1||96.88 MB/s||41.18 MB/s||Yes|
|Samsung Pro+ 64GB U3||97.72 MB/s||87.23 MB/s||Yes|
|Samsung Pro 64GB U3||97.42 MB/s||79.51 MB/s||Yes|
|Samsung Pro Select 64GB U3||97.84 MB/s||86.80 MB/s||Yes|
|Samsung Evo+ 64GB U1||96.81 MB/s||28.31 MB/s||Maybe|
|Samsung Evo Select 64GB U1||97.65 MB/s||29.52 MB/s||Maybe|
|Samsung Evo 64GB U1||47.65 MB/s||26.48 MB/s||Maybe|
|Patriot 64GB U1||82.76 MB/s||14.92 MB/s||Maybe|
|Netac Pro 64GB U3||77.70 MB/s||49.70 MB/s||Yes|
What’s New With The Hero 6
H265 Codec: 4k 60 – 1080p 240 – 2.7k 120
4k 60: at 85Mbit/s with a H265 Codec
4k AVC Codec: at 66Mbit/s.
The files will be shown as GX—– instead of GH—– (GX010282.mp4 or GH010283.mp4 as an example).
This is also true for shooting 1080p at 240fps and 2.7k 120 fps.
These HEVC Hero 6 files may be showing up as black in your Quik app and you won’t be able to play them. Even with Quicktime you can’t play them. I use an app called VLC and it will allow me to open them but they still struggle to play, at least on my hardware.
Issues playing back Hero 6 H265 HEVC clips
If you’re having issues playing HEVC H265 files, or shooting 4k 60 with your GoPro Hero 6, I recommend just recording 4k 30 for now until we can figure out reliable way to make these files work on Mac or until GoPro adds support with their software.
When you see these black video clips in Quik, this is not due to a corrupted file or an issue with your micro SD card, rather the camera is saving at a different codec that isn’t capable of playing.
I’m actively looking into this and trying to figure out the best way to get these H265 HEVC 4k 60 files to work with the Quik app or at least the GoPro Studio.
Until then, here are my top 5 recommended Micro SD Cards for the GoPro Hero 6!
GoPro Hero 6 Improved Bitrate
The bitrate on the GoPro Hero 6 has been improved. I’m seeing speeds of about 67Mbit/s compared to the 60Mbit/s on the Hero 5 and bitrates at around 85Mbps on high frame rate recordings assuming VLC is correct.
This means the Hero 6 record times will be slightly lower than on the Hero 5.
GoPro Hero 6 Video Record Times For Each Setting
I did some quick and rough calculates based on the bitrates I was seeing coming from the camera with the different record settings.
I also toggled between GoPro color and Flat and the settings seemed to perform the same, unlike previous generations. So it doesn’t seem that ProTune or Superwide makes much of a difference in bitrate like the previous generation cameras.
We’ll have to wait for GoPro to release their official specs on all this to get the real results. So for now, here is a rough calculation of record times in the GoPro Hero 6.
|4k||30 / 24||67 Mbps||31.50||63.68||127.36|
|2.7k||30 / 24||45 Mbps||47.40||94.81||189.62|
|1080||60 / 30 / 24||45 Mbps||47.40||94.81||189.62|
Working with GoPro Hero 6 H265 HEVC Video Codec
H265 is supported by OSX Sierra however Quicktime still isn’t able to handle it. Even VLC struggles with it because HEVC requires hardware decoding and any software decoding like VLC will choke. VLC will allow you to open the file but you’ll need a CPU at least Intel Skylake or newer to hardware decode HEVC. Various graphics cards have the hardware capabilities to decode H265 as well, as long as you have the correct drivers. This means if you’re struggling to play H265 in VLC, try upgrading your drivers on your graphics card. Personally my computers struggle no matter what I do.
Right now the best way to edit HEVC footage from the GoPro Hero 6 is to edit with Proxies in Premiere. Upon importing HEVC into Premiere, it will prompt you to install a codec. While playback will be a nightmare on old computers, you can create proxies that streamlines the process. Check out that guide in the link.
I really hope GoPro provides a solution for this with this Quick app asap! They could easily do this by building some sort of proxy solution for Quik, so normal folk can edit 4k 30 and 24 footage without the choppy playback.
Best Memory Card GoPro Hero 6 | Conclusions
I’ll continue testing and reporting what I’ve found. I’ve had a few instances of corrupted files on a few cards where I was getting this strange vertical split then the files became corrupted. But then after formatting the card I no longer got any issues, so possibly the card wasn’t seated correctly.
As I find new techniques for dealing with H265 footage on Mac I’ll update this article and continue to keep an eye out for anything official for GoPro.
What’s really cool is the new Hero 6 has a ton of new improvements with some great features including compatibility with just about any micro sd memory card. The only problem right now is getting those HEVC files to play.