Finding the right memory card for your GoPro Hero5 or Session is a very complicated task. You can’t just go out and buy any memory card and expect it to work. There are a lot of compatibility issues, that can cause lockups, corrupted files, battery drains, or even connection issues with the Karma gimbal. I’ve put together this list of all the best memory cards for the GoPro Hero 5.
So what SD cards do the GoPro Hero5 use? Turns out, most of them, but not all of them.
This guide will go over what you need to know about the kind of SD card to use with your GoPro including what memory card the GoPro session uses.
Best Memory Cards GoPro Hero 5 & Session
GoPro Hero 5 / Camera and Memory Card Specs
Memory Card Requirements: Micro SD / Class 10 or better / SDHC or SDXC
Recommended Sizes: GoPro recommends 32GB-64GB cards, although bigger cards do work now.
Maximum Internal Write Speeds: 12MB/s est.
Check out the GoPro Ultimate Guide to Accessories
GoPro Recommended Cards
Here is the confirmed list of what SD cards the GoPro Hero 5 can use as well as the Session.
GoPro has recommended a few cards that have been known to work well with their cameras.
I’ve posted the cards in various sizes below.
If you’re wondering if your GoPro can use 128 GB, then yes. The Hero 4, Session, and newer cameras support up to 128GB cards.
|Sandisk Extreme Plus||Amazon|
|Lexar 1000x UHS-II||Amazon|
Do you have to only use the GoPro recommended cards?
Although GoPro officially recommended these cards, turns out, most cards work.
But there is more to the story so you need to exercise some caution.
You’ll also hear people talking about fast cards and slow cards, while this makes a difference with some cameras or file transfer speeds, The GoPro Hero5 isn’t limited by the speed of the cards like you would think. The reason is, GoPro’s bandwidth is not that fast.
Why can’t we just use any memory card?
If you own the GoPro Hero5, the hardware for whatever reason simply does not like some memory cards like the Sandisk Extreme Pro.
But there are other reasons to avoid some memory cards. One is; some lower-tier brands just don’t match the quality control of the top-tier brands like Sandisk, Lexar, and Samsung. There are also counterfeit memory cards floating around eBay and even Amazon you need to be careful of. Some older cards also seem to get really hot, like an old Sandisk Ultra I was testing.
Some cards also seem to produce more corrupt files. Perhaps the flash memory isn’t as stable.
The GoPro Hero 5 Max Transfer Speeds
The reason you don’t need the fastest memory card for the GoPro Hero 5, is the camera is limited to shooting a 60Mbit/s data rate, this is 7.5MB/s. USB transfer speeds from the GoPro seem to also bottleneck at around 7-12MB/s.
The GoPro Hero6 on the other hand has a data rate of around 66Mbit/s and I’m seeing USB-C transfer speeds up to 60MB/s. Keep in my the difference between Mbit/s (megabits) and MB/s (Megabytes).
See more about micro sd memory card in the GoPro Hero6.
GoPro Hero 5 SD Memory Card Speed Comparison
The following chart compares the speed of all the most popular Micro SD memory cards. I also tested each card in the GoPro Hero 5 for a limited time to see if they would record 4k at a data rate of 60mb/s.
If you’re wondering what memory card the GoPro Session uses, this Hero 5 and session will share the same compatibility. So any card that works for Hero 5 will also work for the Session.
Memory card read/write speeds are 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||Hero6 Only|
|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||No|
|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||Yes|
|Lexar 300x 64GB U1||47.37 MB/s||31.17 MB/s||Yes|
|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||No|
|Netac Pro 64GB U3||77.70 MB/s||49.70 MB/s||Yes|
It seems firmware 1.55 fixed some issues with some of these cards. For example, the PNY Pro Elite 64GB U3 memory card works now. It didn’t work with the previous firmware.
Memory Cards & Brands To Consider Avoiding
The only card that continues to cause problems is the PNY Pro 64GB U3. I’m sure if I bought this card again it would work, these things just happen, especially with brands like PNY. They actually caused a lot of problems for Sony shooters back when I use to recommend them in Sony cameras. So I no longer recommend PNY.
Also, avoid the Sandisk Ultra – Old Version. The card ran very hot and it’s performance when testing was all over the place.
There is also Patriot and Netac Pro. I don’t know much about these brands so I wouldn’t trust them either.
If there is a great sale, you can always buy them to see if they work. Just make sure to test them out before going on your great adventure.
Memory Cards & Brands You Can Trust
The only brands that have never given me problems in my years of doing memory card speed tests are, Sandisk, Lexar, Kingston, and Samsung. Transcend cards have given me some problems in Sony cameras but usually, they are also very good and they make some really nice cards.
I have a 16GB Kingston card that I’ve tested and worked fine, but I didn’t have time to order a 64GB card before leaving town for a month. I’ll update when I get back.
Cards Giving People Trouble
So far in the Hero5, the Sandisk Extreme Pro card gave me corrupt RAW photos once, but it works fine in the Hero6.
I’m still testing more memory cards in the Hero6, but so far it looks like the new image processor is doing them a lot of favors.
Share your experience in the comments and I’ll post it here.
Will The GoPro Hero 5 Support 128GB Cards?
The GoPro Hero 4, the Session, and newer, all support cards up to 128GB.
GoPro Hero 5 Record Times
*GoPro Hero6 Record Times will be slightly different because the Hero6 has a higher bitrate. I’ll update as soon as I can calculate them out.
GoPro Hero 5 Record time will vary on the format you’re shooting along with the frame rate since it all affects the bit rate.
Time is listed in minutes. ‘–‘ means the same as above.
|4K||30 / 25 / 24||60 Mbps||35.56||71.11||142.22||284.44||568.89|
|4k Superview||24||60 Mbps||—||—||—||—||—|
|2.7k||60 / 50 / 48||60 Mbps||—||—||—||—||—|
|2.7k Superview Protune||30 / 25||60 Mbps||—||—||—||—||—|
|2.7k||30 / 25 / 24||45 Mbps||47.41||94.81||189.63||379.26||758.52|
|2.7k Superview||30||45 Mbps||—||—||—||—||—|
|2.7k 4:3 Protune||30 / 25||60 Mbps||35.56||71.11||142.22||284.44||568.89|
|2.7k 4:3||30 / 25||45 Mbps||47.41||94.81||189.63||379.26||758.52|
|1440 Protune||60 / 50||60 Mbps||—||—||—||—||—|
|1440||60 / 50||60 Mbps||—||—||—||—||—|
|1440 Protune||48 / 30||45 Mbps||47.41||94.81||189.63||379.26||758.52|
|1440||48 / 30||30 Mbps||71.11||142.22||284.44||568.89||1,137.78|
|1080||120 / 90||60 Mbps||35.56||71.11||142.22||284.44||568.89|
|1080 Protune||24-60||45 Mbps||47.41||94.81||189.63||379.26||758.52|
|1080 Superview||80||60 Mbps||35.56||71.11||142.22||284.44||568.89|
|1080 Superview Protune||24-60||45 Mbps||47.41||94.81||189.63||379.26||758.52|
|1080 Superview||24-60||30 Mbps||71.11||142.22||284.44||568.89||1,137.78|
|960 Protune||50 / 60 / 120||45 Mbps||47.41||94.81||189.63||379.26||758.52|
|960||50 / 60 / 120||30 Mbps||71.11||142.22||284.44||568.89||1,137.78|
|720 Protune||50 / 60 / 120||45 Mbps||47.41||94.81||189.63||379.26||758.52|
|720||50 / 60 / 120||30 Mbps||71.11||142.22||284.44||568.89||1,137.78|
|720 Protune||30 / 25||45 Mbps||47.41||94.81||189.63||379.26||758.52|
|720||30 / 25||20 Mbps||86.67||213.33||426.67||853.33||1,706.67|
I’ve been shooting quite a bit with my GoPro Hero 5 and although I bring two 64GB cards with me, I’ve yet to need both. I only have two batteries and burn through both before I can get through a single 64GB card. So if you need a bigger card you might want to also consider more batteries.
What’s the fastest micro SD memory card for the GoPro Hero 5?
In the Hero5, Memory card speed doesn’t really matter since the camera cannot read or write data faster than about 12MB/s anyway. Unless you’re using the Hero6 which transfers at a max speed of about 60MB/s to a computer.
But in terms of in-camera performance, even the slowest cards on my list can perform well enough to do everything the camera needs. What seems to be more important right now is if the GoPro likes certain cards or not. All we can really do is report cards that don’t work and continue to update so we can keep a nice list of the best cards to buy.
In the GoPro Hero 6, I’m seeing improved speeds when transferring from the camera to the computer via USB-C. Those popular Samsung EVO cards really aren’t that fast, and you’ll notice it when you compare them to something like a Sandisk Extreme Pro. However, You still don’t need very fast cards in terms of in-camera performance. The camera only needs about 8MB/s to write video and shoot photos.
Are more expensive micro SD memory cards better than cheap ones?
With read and write speeds the expensive memory cards are usually better, however, the GoPro doesn’t need fast memory cards and it’s not necessary to buy the most expensive cards, unless you want to gain a few seconds/minutes when transferring to your computer.
Should I buy one big card or several smaller cards?
This is a really popular question and there is a correct answer – sort of. The philosophy is that it’s better to buy a few smaller cards than one big card.
That is of course if the smaller card is going to meet your needs. The idea behind this is that if you have your media from a shoot spanned across several cards and one of those cards starts going bad or having issues, it will only corrupt the data contained to that one card. It will also be easier and cheaper to replace it later.
Now from my experience using the GoPro Hero 5, it’s a little more difficult to change out the cards compared to the other cameras since the bottom door is a little difficult to open and usually your camera will be inside some sort of holder. So if you use your camera a lot, you’ll likely fill a 32GB card and have to interrupt a shoot to swap it. In this case, I would recommend a 64GB card which should get you through the day. Check out the GoPro Hero 5 recording times above to also help better answer this question.
My card is not working, what do I do?
If your card gives you any problems at all, don’t hesitate to contact the store you bought it from and try to exchange it. If you do an exchange, try a different card instead of the exact same card. For example, my Sandisk Extreme Pro gives me problems with corrupted files every so often, so instead, I now use the Sandisk Plus and it works fine.
Is a SanDisk Ultra good for a GoPro?
Yes, the SanDisk Ultra memory cards do work well for the GoPro Hero 5. But make sure you buy the new models. They’re easy to find on Amazon by their good reviews. The old models were prone to a lot of issues like inconsistent read and write speeds and mine got very hot.
What memory card does the GoPro session use?
The GoPro Session and the Hero 5 share the same compatibility of memory cards. The GoPro Hero 6 however has an all-new image processor and will have different requirements completely because of the new H265 codec.
My GoPro Is Not Connecting To My Karma or Karma Grip
I recently had this issue and it only happens to me after using a 128GB card. It works fine when the memory card if freshly formatted but then quits working when the card starts getting media on it.
If your GoPro is not connected to your Karma Grip or your Karma, meaning the gimbal is not seeing or controlling the camera. Try changing out your memory card to a 32GB or 64GB card and see if that helps. Make sure you format your card in the camera.
Best Memory Cards GoPro Hero 5 & Session | Bottom Line
It seems the technology in the GoPro Hero5 cameras is unstable. Maybe it’s just the firmware, maybe it needs to be that way to keep it small, but it would be nice to see them improve on this and give the camera a higher data rate throughput. 12MB/s USB transfer speeds is pretty slow and the buffer when taking photos is pretty bad.
Because of this lower data rate of video in all of the GoPro cameras, most memory modern cards are fast enough to work. Some cards might have a better chance of causing corrupt files and I’ll continue to post my findings on this, or you can check the comments where some people are reporting problems with some cards.
If you have any good or bad experiences with cards for your GoPro Hero5, Hero6, Hero Fusion, or Session, let me know and I’ll continue to update this post.
Check out the Best GoPro Hero5 Accessories.
Also, I’ve written my general impressions about the improvements between Hero 5 and Hero 6, so check that out if you want to see how different Hero 6 is.
Sandisk Extreme Pro 16GB here on a Hero5 Session. Constant corrupt files, cant get past 3min of video before error. Tried with 1080 and 4K as well as FAT and exFAT. Seems you’ve had issues too so I’ll try a Plus.
So I have just bought a hero 5 and luckily enough already have 2 Lexar 300x 32GB cards. I know space being 32gb is something I will have to manage with but am I ultimately needing to pay attention to the fact that the write speed is ok / similar to the 600x or is it risky with a card lol Ken what I have still.
I’m going to and island this weekend and don’t want to risk having 2 cards which are going to play up.
Those 300x should still work, but you should test them a lot before going on your trip. Shoot some photo sequences and shoot a bunch of video and make sure there are no corruptions happening.
Thanks Alik for your speedy response!!! Unfortunately I haven’t given myself much time to even learn how to use the GoPro let alone running a heaps of test shots (typical last minute purchase!!). I’ve found a SAMSUNG PRO 64GB U3 for £40 which looks like a pretty good price so I think it’s best not to take the chance with the other cards as I’m on a remote island scuba diving. I’ll take the other cards with me as a back up though and test them out while snorkelling…. buying a GoPro for the first time has ended up costing a lot more than just the unit price!!! 🙂
can any one explain why ill go for a motorcycle ride and record about 22 minutes and when I check the card at home ill have 2 video files one will be 14 minutes another with 8 min???…..gopro hero 5 SAMSUNG evo plus 128gb I almost pulled the trigger and got a card with a better write speed but according to the article thats not the case OH ONE MORE ? wth is with the vertical flip and horizontal flip on some of my clips?! why does it do that?
The camera might be only recording clips in 4 GB chunks. So the clips get broken up until they hit a 4GB file size. Also the vertical and horizontal flip is something the camera does automatically if the camera is held upside down or vertical. It does this sometimes when you’re holding the camera almost upside down when turning it on. You can flip it back to normal in the quick app.
thank you….so it won’t record larger then 4gb?
Is it possible for you to reference how you discovered the GoPro’s max write speed?
I wasn’t able to figure this out to an exact number, but I was shooting a series of JPEGs and tried to calculate how long it took. It gave me a rough idea of how fast it was writing.
But the read speeds and write speeds above in the chart were done in Windows 10.
So this isn’t related to video recording?
Nope. Every card listed here is fast enough to handle the GoPro bitrate even at 4k. The problem is, sometimes GoPro cameras just hate some cards and that’s the thing to be careful of.
I just put up the windows 10 speed chart so readers could get an idea of general card performance.
I see you have some data for 256 gb cards. Can you recommend a card of that size for the Hero5 Black? How many 256gb cards did you test?
I didn’t test any 256GB cards. I would stick with the brands GoPro recommends though. Sandisk Extreme or Extreme Plus.
I’m confused. If you didn’t test any 256GB cards, then where did the GoPro Hero5 Memory Card Video Record Times data originate from? Specifically the 256GB column?
That comes from GoPro. They released information late last year on record times by bitrates. And I just calculated them out and organized them to the different sizes of cards.
I have a Go Pro Hero 5 black…i purchased a couple of 256 gb PNY Pro Elite micro sdxc card’s that write up to 90 mbs & read up to 95 mbs – they work fine for recording up to 4k video’s. Never had any error messages.
thanks for the helpful article! I’m wondering what is wrong, because it takes my GoPro 5 Hero about 2-3 seconds to save a RAW photo. Is that normal? Its a Samsung PRO card, and a Sandisk Ultra. Thanks
Yes, that’s normal. The GoPro kind of sucks at shooting RAW. Its a bit of a disappointment since you can’t really burst or shoot HDR with it very well. I think that’s one area they will work on in future cameras.
I have a SanDisk Ultra Plus 32GB. It’s really random. It will card read error after about 3 minutes or so of filming. I can try formatting it several times. It works ok for a bit then goes back to the errors. I lost a lot of good video yesterday because of it. Plan on taking your advice on a better card. I run 1080 at 60fps.
That’s the same problem I get with my Sandisk Extreme Pros. I lost so much great stuff when I was in Tokyo because of it.
I’ll have to order one of those Ultra Plus cards to test out. Didn’t realize Sandisk made those in micro.
Video footage from my Gopro onto my Apacer class 10 card is unusable. The card is older though. Now trying a new ADATA card.
I just got an ADATA UHS-II card for other camera tests. It performs pretty good. I’m also finding that the Hero6 is a lot friendlier to memory cards.
It uses smaller files. So it should be more friendly. But I’m having a horrible time. Tried 3 different Class 10 cards. None have worked so far. I even returned the GoPro as faulty and got another one…..same problems.
Which three cards are you using?
ADATA UHS-1 Class 10, An older Transcend (class 10), and now I’m using the SanDisk Extreme Pro.
The Extreme Pro isn’t friendly to the Hero5, mine is working fine on the Hero6 however. The Hero6 is a totally new system though. It could be doing something like Sony cameras do where it just rejects older cards.
Hey Mor, So I’m working on all my tests for the GoPro Hero 6 and have figured out that when you’re shooting at 4k 60, the camera is recording with an H265 codec, instead of H264 at 4k 30 or any other resolution. You’ll notice the files start with GX instead of GH. These record at a very high bit rate of around 85Mbit/s instead of 66Mbit/s. This means you need a card that can sustain a minimum write speed of a little more than 10MB/s so you’ll most likely need a U3 card to get reliable results. I’m actually working on a whole new page just for the Hero 6 since it’s so much different than the Hero 5. I’m actually struggling to get these H265 files working on my computer (Mac). I can open them in VLC but not quicktime, and they struggle to play and I can’t even play them in the GoPro quik app. This could be what’s going on with your setup and why you’re experiencing some problems.
you mentioned the 300x! I have a 64GB 300x Lexar! I tested it on (Speed out) tool and it happened to be reading 18.9 MB/s and writing 14.4 MB/s. I have the Automatic settings for lighting on Gopro Hero 5 Black. and one strange thing! when I start by clicking the SHUTTER button in an extreamly dark room it freezes! again if I only start using the MODE button, then voice command or click sgutter for recording! it works fine! and it also works fine in a regular light presence in the aea. Is it the 300x? or damaged cam? or the automatic light settings?
Update your firmware first, it fixed so many crash issues like that for me. But this could be the card. Sometimes when the camera hates some cards for whatever reason it will cause weird crashes, but usually for me it would give me corrupted shots. See if you can get your hands on a different card to test out otherwise it could be a faulty camera. Also try a different battery. The Fujifilm X-T2 had some issues like that from using 3rd party batteries. Also, where did you get your card? That sounds slow for that card, it could be a counterfeit.
You mentioned that the SANDISK EXTREME PRO 64GB U3 will only work in the Hero 6. I was actually looking into this card for my Hero 5 Black becuase it was mentioned on many different websited and it seems to be cheaper then the SANDISK EXTREME PLUS 64GB U3. Can you please confirm that with the updated firmware that the SANDISK EXTREME PRO 64GB U3 will work on the Hero 5 Black.
All the cards started working better with last years firmware, including the Sandisk Extreme Pro in my quick tests. But I haven’t put it through rigorous testing, and won’t be able to for another month since I’m out of the country right now. Have you looked at the Sandisk Extremes? Samsung cards are nice also and usually priced well.
Does the GoPro Session 5 accept
SanDisk Extreme MicroSD 256GB Memory Card or
Samsung EVO Plus 512GB MicroSD Card SDXC U3?