A comparison between all the best XQD and SD (UHS-II) memory cards for the Nikon D850.
I will compare all the cards in camera to find the best performing cards, but right now I’m still waiting on the camera. In the meantime I’ll post a summary on the experience I have with memory cards and which cards will work best in the D850.
Best Memory Cards For The Nikon D850
Best XQD Cards For The Nikon D850
There aren’t many options for XQD cards, just Sony and Lexar.
Although XQD cards are rated faster than UHS-II SD Memory cards, UHS-II cards are still very fast and if you only want to use one card, you could get away with a UHS-II card.
Recently, XQD cards have come down significantly in price, so they are now a pretty good buy.
Sony XQD G Series Memory Card
This is Sony’s best XQD Memory Card. This is not to be confused with the older model that just says G 400. Get this card instead. Available in four sizes. 32GB / 64GB / 128GB / 256GB – Amazon / BHphoto
Lexar 2933x XQD 2.0 Memory Card
This is Lexar’s best and only XQD Memory Card. Lexar is doing away with their memory card business, so grab these while they are still available. However, I’m not sure what happens to warranty when these Lexar is discontinued. When testing the cameras with USB 3.0 readers, The Lexar performed slightly faster.
Best SD UHS-II Memory Cards
If you’re shooting with an XQD card in your primary slot, but use an SD card for backup, it’s still important to have fast SD memory cards. This is where UHS-II memory cards come in.
If you’re shooting backup to the SD slot, or using a UHS-II memory card as your primary card, it’s important to get the fastest card possible in order not to slow down performance since the D850 will bottleneck it’s memory card write speed to the slowest memory card.
If you’re shooting RAW+JPEG and the JPEG shots are going to slot 2 then performance won’t matter as much, however, shooting RAW+JPEG usually slows the write speeds slightly anyway.
Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-II
Sandisk makes one of the best all around and most compatible Memory Cards. The Extreme Pro 300MB/s is the one of the best SD memory card for your Nikon D850. Available in four sizes. 32GB / 64GB / 128GB / 256GB – Amazon / BHPhoto
Sony G Series UHS-II
Early in 2017 Sony released a very fast UHS-II memory card with the same specs as the Lexar 2000x, and the Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-II. These have been performing very well in tests. Available in three sizes, 32GB/ 64GB / 128GB – Amazon / BHphoto
Lexar 2000x UHS-II
Memory Card Speed Tests | Nikon D850
As I do with every camera, I’ll be testing all the memory cards in the Nikon D850 to find out which memory cards are the fastest and which perform the best. This also allows me find and report and strange characteristics some memory cards have, since some cameras don’t like some memory cards.
Here is the list of all cards I’ll be testing, but I’ve also included their USB 3.0 Read and Write speeds.
|Memory Cards||USB 3.0 Read||USB 3.0 Write||Nikon D850|
|Lexar 2933x||344 MB/s||202 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sony G 400MB/s||330 MB/s||188 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sony M 150MB/s||347 MB/s||111 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sony M 80MB/s||276 MB/s||30 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sony G||269.3 MB/s||234.5 MB/s||coming soon|
|Lexar 2000x||272.7 MB/s||244.5 MB/s||coming soon|
|Delkin 250||271.4 MB/s||231.3 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 300||273.9 MB/s||238.9 MB/s||coming soon|
|Toshiba Exceria Pro||258.8 MB/s||226.5 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 280||260.5 MB/s||214.8 MB/s||coming soon|
|Transcend||290.2 MB/s||182.1 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sony M||253.2 MB/s||91.62 MB/s||coming soon|
|Delkin 1900X||273.3 MB/s||97.3 MB/s||coming soon|
|Lexar 1000x||153.4 MB/s||84.30 MB/s||coming soon|
|Fujifilm Elite II||294.0 MB/s||181.6 MB/s||coming soon|
|Adata V90||256.5 MB/s||231.7 MB/s||coming soon|
|Hoodman Steel 2000x||268.7 MB/s||183.9 MB/s||coming soon|
|Kingston U3||98.1 MB/s||90.4 MB/s||coming soon|
|Delkin 633x U3||98.3 MB/s||88.7 MB/s||coming soon|
|Samsung Pro+ U3||97.5 MB/s||87.3 MB/s||coming soon|
|Samsung Pro U1||96.3 MB/s||82.2 MB/s||coming soon|
|Samsung Pro U3||97.7 MB/s||78.6 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sony U3 – Old Model||96.5 MB/s||84.5 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro U3||98.6 MB/s||90.8 MB/s||coming soon|
|Transcend U3||96.7 MB/s||84.9 MB/s||coming soon|
|PNY U1||96.5 MB/s||66.5 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus U3||99.0 MB/s||64.4 MB/s||coming soon|
|PNY U3||96.5 MB/s||66.1 MB/s||coming soon|
|Lexar 633x U3||93.3 MB/s||67.3 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sony U3 – New Model||96.7 MB/s||56.2 MB/s||coming soon|
|Lexar 600x U1||95.4 MB/s||64.8 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sandisk Extreme U3||72.43 MB/s||54.1 MB/s||coming soon|
|Sandisk Ultra U1||99.3 MB/s||36.1 MB/s||coming soon|
|Samsung U1 EVO||47.7 MB/s||27.3 MB/s||coming soon|
Not All XQD Memory Cards Are Equal
XQD memory cards have been around for a while and there are a few things to know.
Older XQD memory cards or XQD 1.0 cards are much slower at read and write speeds. The newest and fastest XQD type cards or XQD 2.0.
Sony also designates their fast cards as G cards and their slower cards as M card. M cards are slightly slower at write speeds but are a less expensive alternative for 4k videographers who don’t need the high write speeds of the G cards, which are suited more for burst photography.
Lexar does what they always do by listing a speed rating. In this case it’s 2933x. That is the fastest Lexar XQD card right now.
If you’re looking to get the best performance out of your Nikon D850, then you’ll want to get these new Sony G cards or the 2933x.
XQD vs UHS-II Memory Cards In The Nikon D850
I’m a little behind on my tests here because I was in Alaska for the three weeks when the camera came out, but if you want to compare XQD cards to UHS-II cards there are a few things to talk about.
First, XQD cards are faster, by about 100MB/s based on the rated speed. I’ll know soon if you actually get that in camera, you likely won’t.
XQD cards are also bigger but not by a lot. They also feel more rugged, almost like mini CF cards. They don’t have pins on the back rather they function more like an old Nintendo cartridge.
Best XQD Memory Card Readers
If your new to XQD memory cards then you’ll need to get a good reader. There are a few I’ll list here including the readers that come with cards like with the Lexar card.
I haven’t seen Sony bundle any XQD card readers yet, but they do offer a few types, one that reads M type, G type as well as UHS-II cards. They also have a reader that just reads XQD cards.
All the XQD readers I’ve tested so far can take both M and G class cards and perform about the same.
Lexar Professional XQD Reader USB 3.0
Lexar Professional Workflow XR2 XQD 2.0 USB 3.0 Reader
The Lexar Professional Workflow XR2 works with their larger HR1 unit, but also can work with USB 3.0. – Amazon
Sony MRWE90/BC1 XQD USB 3.0 Reader
This is the Sony XQD and UHS-II memory card reader. It works with all types of XQD cards and is usb 3.1 compatible.
Sony QDA-SB1 XQD USB Adapter
How I Perform The Tests
Testing UHS-II Cards
I test the USB 3.0 read and write speeds of the UHS-II and UHS-I SD cards using sequential tests with Crystal Disk in Windows 10.
With Crystal disk you have many options, I use two of these options, either Seq Q32T1, or Seq.
With UHS-II cards, some cards perform better with Seq, like ADATA, Fujifilm, Delkin, Transcend, other cards perform better with Q32T1. I take which ever is faster and listed that in my data.
To test UHS-II Cards, I used the Lexar SR2 UHS-II memory card reader. It’s the fastest based on my UHS-II memory card reader comparisons.
Testing XQD Memory Cards
Windows 10 and Crystal disk would not give me good results when testing XQD cards (even with the latest drivers), so I switched to OSX and the AJA System Test, which is vastly superior to the BlackMagic test.
To test the XQD cards I use the Sony XQD USB Adapter.
Best Memory Cards Nikon D850 | Bottom Line
There really aren’t a lot of options for XQD memory cards and the choice is fairly straight forward. Sony or Lexar.
Since Micron announced it was going to terminate Lexar some time ago, it may be better to just stick with Sony for now so that you don’t run into any warranty issues with Lexar in the future. Who knows, maybe Micron will sell of Lexar and it will stay a productive company.
In term of SD cards, you still need to buy the best and fastest card possible. The fastest sd cards (uhs-II) are almost always the Sandisk Extreme Pro or Lexar 2000x. I recommend you use UHS-II cards or XQD cards in the Nikon D850 to get the best performance out of your camera.