The Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II have the ability to take both CFexpress / XQD and UHS-I or UHS-II memory cards.
There are a lot of different speed classes and ways to configure your camera to run with these UHS-II cards with CFexpress cards, use this guide to help you get started on what you need for how you shoot so that you don’t buy more than you need.
Table Of Contents
Also, see the 5 Must-Have Accessories for the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II.
And I keep an updated list of all the Nikon Z Lenses.
Best Memory Cards Nikon Z6 II / Z7 II
The Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II can take two memory cards for redundancy.
Slot 1 supports CFexpress or XQD memory cards while slot 2 can take UHS-II or UHS-I memory cards. How fast of a card you need for slot 2 depends on how you are going to use it as it will bottleneck your performance when writing RAW files to both cards. If you just write RAW to the CFexpress cards, and JPG to the UHS-II slot, then slower cards won’t have as much of an impact on performance.
You cannot write video to both cards at the same time, but any UHS-I card that is U3 rated can handle the 4k 150Mbps bitrate that these cameras output.
Recommended Memory Cards – What’s Working Well Right Now
I ran all the different memory cards through a benchmark using the Nikon Z6 II and got some very interesting results with performance scores all over the place, part of this is the CFexpress technology has gone through an evolution these last few years, and it’s going to be important that you try to get one of the newer generations of cards.
If you are buying new cards today, there were some top performers there are working well in Nikon cameras. Angel Bird XT or SX, Lexar Professional and Diamond, Prograde Cobalt, Wise Pro, Delkin Black or Prime, and the Nikon 660GB.
With a lot of these cards, also pay attention to the size since often specs change with different sizes.
|CFexpress||In-Camera||USB Write||USB Read||Check Price|
|Fastest CFx B Cards|
|Lexar Diamond||332.36 MB/s||983 MB/s||1000 MB/s||B&H|
|Delkin Black 150||300.82 MB/s||974 MB/s||998 MB/s||B&H|
|Nikon 660GB||—||961 MB/s||998 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|ProGrade Cobalt||232.82 MB/s||973 MB/s||998 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Angel Bird XT||—||970 MB/s||996 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Angel Bird SX||334.01 MB/s||946 MB/s||997 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Angel Bird AV Pro MKII||—||889 MB/s||701 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Angel Bird SE||285.11 MB/s||794 MB/s||710 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Kodak Ultra Pro V90||203.04 MB/s||260 MB/s||272 MB/s||Amazon|
|Kingston Canvas React V90||200.90 MB/s||256 MB/s||274 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Delkin Black v90||199.93 MB/s||253 MB/s||278 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro||182.55 MB/s||252 MB/s||279 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Lexar 1800x||148.15 MB/s||176 MB/s||242 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Sony M v60||122.78 MB/s||155 MB/s||268 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
|Sony E v60||114.81 MB/s||142 MB/s||252 MB/s||Amazon / B&H|
The cards not tested here I did test in the Nikon Z9 which runs CFexpress cards significantly faster than the Z7 II or Z6 II.
As a caution, some of the Angelbird cards are a little bit of a tight fit in the Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras.
Best CFexpress Reader
I’ve been benchmarking these cards with the ProGrade CFexpress + UHS-II reader since that’s what I think most people will use with a camera like this. However, the Lexar reader is slightly faster if you just need a reader for CFexpress cards.
If you buy an Angelbird card, buy an Angelbird reader so you can upgrade any firmware of the cards.
Memory Card Benchmarks
To benchmark each memory card in the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II, a series of continuous burst images were taken until the buffer was filled, then the time it took to clear the buffer was calculated against how much data was written. This gave me a rough speed of how each card is performing in-camera. I ran several series with each card to rule out issues with thermal throttling or other hiccups that sometimes occur with freshly formatted cards.
There was a lot of wild variation in the Nikon Z6 II. It seems like a lot of V90 UHS-II cards were not engaging that second set of pins and were running at UHS-I speeds. This could be a problem with the camera body I had at the time and further testing in the future with a different body will be required to see why cards like the Sony G or Prograde V90 did not engage with UHS-II performance. It could also be some sort of firmware bug as CFexpress cards also had very unstable performance across brands of cards that shared similar specs.
I stopped testing XQD since they are not something you would want to buy new with this camera since the format is pretty much extinct. However, I did test one Nikon XQD to get a general idea of what XQD cards would do in this camera and it ran at 228.55MB/s. Slightly better than a UHS-II card but not as good as a new CFexpress card. If you have a bunch of XQD cards that are fairly modern, you should be pretty happy with the results.
CFexpress Memory Cards
|Card Name||USB Write||USB Read||Nikon Z6II||Nikon Z7II||Check Price|
|Sandisk Extreme 128GB||489 MB/s||989 MB/s||239.55||237.38|
|Sony Tough 128GB||965 MB/s||997 MB/s||241.03||291.71|
|Lexar 128 Pro Diamond||983 MB/s||1000 MB/s||--||332.36|
|Lexar 512GB||908 MB/s||994 MB/s||--||--|
|Lexar 128GB||923 MB/s||995 MB/s||289.88||285.89|
|Prograde 128GB||679 MB/s||685 MB/s||112.42||178.94|
|Prograde Cobalt 325GB||973 MB/s||998 MB/s||227.68||232.82|
|Delkin Black 150GB||974 MB/s||998 MB/s||--||300.82|
|Delkin Black 128GB||973 MB/s||997 MB/s||102.72||213.54|
|Delkin Black 75GB||951 MB/s||998 MB/s||--||293.88|
|Delkin Power 128GB||977 MB/s||997 MB/s||208.48||214.69|
|Delkin Prime 64GB||948 MB/s||998 MB/s||209.64||213.41||discon.|
|Nikon 660GB||961 MB/s||998 MB/s||--||--|
|Hoodman Steel 128GB||558 MB/s||991 MB/s||179.59||187.53|
|Wise Pro 160GB||941 MB/s||999 MB/s||268.18||270.3|
|Wise 128GB||577 MB/s||997 MB/s||152.04||210.73|
|Angelbird AV Pro MkII 1TB||889 MB/s||701 MB/s||--||--|
|Angelbird AV Pro XT MK2 330GB||970 MB/s||996 MB/s||--||--|
|Angelbird AV Pro 256GB MK1||948 MB/s||981 MB/s||332.1||340.68|
|Angelbird AV Pro SE 512GB||794 MB/s||710 MB/s||--||285.11|
|Angelbird AV Pro SX 160GB||946 MB/s||997 MB/s||325.37||334.01|
|RitzGear 128GB||251 MB/s||991 MB/s||142.43||139.69|
|Pergear Lite 128GB||311 MB/s||950 MB/s||172.96||180.64|
|Silicon Power Cinema EX 256GB||453 MB/s||996 MB/s||--||223.22|
SD Memory Cards
|Memory Cards||Speed Class||USB Write||USB Read||Nikon Z6 II||Nikon Z7 II|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro V90||UHS-II||252||279||182.55||141.1||#REF!|
|Lexar 2000x V90||UHS-II||219||256||179.54||184||#REF!|
|Toshiba Exceria Pro V90||UHS-II||213||244||106.9||107.63||#REF!|
|Sony G Tough v90||UHS-II||239||275||83.18||192.5||#REF!|
|Delkin Black v90||UHS-II||253||278||199.93||198.2||#REF!|
|Delkin Power v90||UHS-II||240||275||185.07||186.91||#REF!|
|Fujifilm Elite II V90||UHS-II||158||277||136.84||135.72||#REF!|
|Hoodman Steel 1500x V60||UHS-II||99||273||86.18||100.99||#REF!|
|Amplim 2000x v60||UHS-II||136||253||110.8||111.46||#REF!|
|Amplim 1900x V60||UHS-II||97||275||85.69||87.16||#REF!|
|Angel Bird V60 II||UHS-II||144||243||117.35||#REF!|
|FreeTail Evoke Pro V60||UHS-II||96||272||85.28||86.7||#REF!|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro U3||UHS-I||144||172||70.62||#REF!|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus U3||UHS-I||61||143||70.48||#REF!|
|Sandisk Extreme U3||UHS-I||51||93||47.87||#REF!|
|Sandisk Ultra U1 Old||UHS-I||27||93||25.35||#REF!|
|Kingston CanvasGo! Plus U3||UHS-I||124||161||76.87||#REF!|
|Lexar 633x U3||UHS-I||35||93||#REF!|
|Sony Professional U3||UHS-I||84||91||#REF!|
|Sony U3 94||UHS-I||60||91||#REF!|
|Sony U3 95||UHS-I||81||90||#REF!|
|PNY Pro Elite U3 256GB||UHS-I||87||93||82.2||#REF!|
|PNY Elite-X U3 128 GB||UHS-I||56||92||55.52||#REF!|
|PNY Elite Performance U3||UHS-I||63||91||58.96||#REF!|
|Delkin Black U3||UHS-I||86||93||77.49||#REF!|
|Delkin Advantage U3||UHS-I||77||93||70.59||#REF!|
|Toshiba Exceria Pro U3||UHS-I||74||91||65.74||#REF!|
|Toshiba Exceria U3||UHS-I||29||91||29.13||#REF!|
|Verbatim Pro+ U3||UHS-I||77||91||68.2||#REF!|
|Verbatim Pro U3||UHS-I||46||90||55.54||#REF!|
|Amplim 667x A1 V30||UHS-I||50||93||46.44||#REF!|
|RitzGear Extreme Performance A1 V30||UHS-I||62||93||56.27||#REF!|
Using XQD Memory Cards In the Nikon Z6 II / Z7 II
You can still use your old XQD memory cards in these new cameras, but they will not run as fast as a good CFexpress card. This isn’t because the new cameras are now fully functional, rather, there are two processors, which means two data lanes.
XQD cards still do function fine and they are slightly faster than UHS-II memory cards. When testing the Nikon XQD memory card it ran at 228.55MB/s. Not as fast as the Angel Bird 256GB card that hit speeds of 332.10 MB/s but faster than the Kodak Ultra Pro v90 which ran at 203.04MB/s
Best Memory Cards For Video
The Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II have a bitrate of about 150Mbps which translates to about 19MB/s. This means any U3 card whether that’s UHS-I or UHS-II will work fine for video.
Since the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II only shoot video to one card slot at a time, it might make sense to buy a larger UHS-I or UHS-II v60 card that’s designated for video, since these cards can be found at a better price than CFexpress cards.
What Size Memory Card Do You Need?
Choosing memory card sizes depends on how much shooting you need or whether you clear of your cards often, or need a card to last you days or weeks.
I’ve moved over to 128GB cards because I like to be able to go a few days before clearing off my cards. Or sometimes I leave shots on my cards even after I’ve copied them to my computer simply for short-term backup while I wait for them to transfer over to my Synology backup server. This also keeps me from using the same part of the flash memory over and over which can wear it out quicker.
Video shooters will likely want to start with 128GB cards.
See the bitrate calculator to get an idea of how big of a card you need for how much time you want to record.
The Nikon Z 6II and Z 7II record a bitrate of about 150Mbps.
Best Memory Cards Nikon Z 6II / Z 7II Bottom Line
For now, Angel Bird seems to be the card of choice. If new firmware rolls out I can do a test, I was also considering testing the Z7 II independent from the Z6 II to see if that makes a difference.
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