The Sony A7 III, like the A9 and A7r III, has some very impressive new internal hardware that allows for faster memory card performance, a larger buffer, as well as UHS-II memory cards compatibility.
We finally have the full test for the A7 III up and the memory cards speeds are very similar to the Sony A7rIII and the Sony A9, slightly faster actually, although the Sony A7 III does have a much smaller buffer.
Sony A7 III Specs
Sensor: 24MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
Processor: BIONZ X Image Processor & Front-End LSI
Buffer: 1.5GB estimated
Memory Card Compatibility: UHS-I / UHS-II
Time To Clear Buffer: 9:36
Shots To Fill Buffer Uncompressed: 46
Sony A7 III | The Speed Test
Like the Sony A7r III and the Sony A9, the Sony A7 III features a new and improved buffer that delivers very competitive memory card write speeds when using UHS-II memory cards. Keep in mind that only Slot 1 (the bottom slot) can take advantage of UHS-II memory cards.
For the tests, we use uncompressed RAW at ISO 100 with a shutter speed of 1/100.
We also test each card to check for 4k recording compatibility. Sony cameras don’t like some cards. For example many Samsung cards even though they are U3 and SDXC, get rejected by the camera with a error that they are not U3 cards.
|SD Memory Cards||USB 3.0 Read||USB 3.0 Write||4k||Sony A7 III||Order|
|Lexar 2000x||272.7 MB/s||244.5 MB/s||Y||147.75 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sony G||259.2 MB/s||234.5 MB/s||Y||141.73 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 300||263.2 MB/s||233.4 MB/s||Y||141.39 MB/s||Amazon|
|Delkin V90||245.1 MB/s||164.6 MB/s||Y||141.09 MB/s||Amazon|
|Toshiba Exceria Pro||258.8 MB/s||226.5 MB/s||Y||139.89 MB/s||Amazon|
|Fujifilm Elite II||294.0 MB/s||181.6 MB/s||Y||136.21 MB/s||Amazon|
|Hoodman Steel 2000x||268.7 MB/s||183.9 MB/s||Y||133.81 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 280||260.5 MB/s||214.8 MB/s||Y||133.27 MB/s||Amazon|
|Transcend||290.2 MB/s||182.1 MB/s||Y||133.12 MB/s||Amazon|
|Adata V90||256.5 MB/s||231.7 MB/s||Y||109.76 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sony M||253.2 MB/s||91.62 MB/s||Y||87.66 MB/s||Amazon|
|Delkin 1900X v60||273.3 MB/s||97.3 MB/s||Y||86.31 MB/s||Amazon|
|Lexar 1000x||147.4 MB/s||78.4 MB/s||Y||72.37 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro U3||98.6 MB/s||90.8 MB/s||Y||75.58 MB/s||Amazon|
|Kingston U3||98.1 MB/s||90.4 MB/s||Y||74.34 MB/s||Amazon|
|Delkin 633x U3||98.3 MB/s||88.7 MB/s||Y||73.76 MB/s||Amazon|
|Samsung Pro+ U3||97.5 MB/s||87.3 MB/s||N||72.03 MB/s||Amazon|
|Samsung Pro U1||96.3 MB/s||82.2 MB/s||N||70.22 MB/s||Amazon|
|Samsung Pro U3||97.7 MB/s||78.6 MB/s||Y||67.86 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sony U3 – Old Model||96.5 MB/s||84.5 MB/s||Y||67.14 MB/s||Amazon|
|Transcend U3||96.7 MB/s||84.9 MB/s||Y||65.24 MB/s||Amazon|
|PNY Elite Performance U1||96.5 MB/s||66.5 MB/s||Y||57.69 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus U3||99.0 MB/s||64.4 MB/s||Y||57.57 MB/s||Amazon|
|Lexar 633x U3||93.3 MB/s||67.3 MB/s||Y||56.20 MB/s||Amazon|
|Lexar 600x U1||95.4 MB/s||64.8 MB/s||Y||55.31 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sony U3 – New Model||96.7 MB/s||56.2 MB/s||Y||54.59 MB/s||Amazon|
|PNY Elite Performance U3||96.5 MB/s||66.1 MB/s||Y||54.39 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme U3||72.43 MB/s||54.1 MB/s||Y||47.64 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Ultra U1||99.3 MB/s||36.1 MB/s||N||27.25 MB/s||Amazon|
|Samsung U1 EVO||47.7 MB/s||21.96 MB/s||N||21.49 MB/s||Amazon|
Sony A7 III Best Memory Cards
We’ve been testing memory cards in Sony cameras since the launch of the Sony A6000. Over the years we’ve seen hundreds of emails and comments from users with reports of compatibility issues with various cards. We’ve taken account the reliability of different brands of memory cards over the years as well as the speed results and have come up with a great list of recommended memory cards for the Sony A7III.
Sony A7 III Top 5 Memory Cards
The Sony A7 III has two memory card slots and can use both UHS-II and UHS-I in either slot, however, only slot one (the bottom slot) will take advantage of the extra pins on the UHS-II cards. So to get the best performance out of your camera, you will need a UHS-II card.
For UHS-II memory cards also consider the Delkin and Toshiba cards.
Note: Right now there is a bug where the A7III is not working correctly with Sandisk UHS-II 128GB cards in slot one. Sony is working on this with firmware. If you need a 128GB card it might be best to avoid Sandisk for now.
Sony 64GB UHS-II G
This is Sony’s latest UHS-II card and it’s fast. Definitely as good as the Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-II or even the Lexar 2000x. We highly recommend this card for the Sony A7 III. Sony brand cards almost never have compatibility issues with 4k video recording.
Sandisk 64GB UHS-III 300MB/s
Sandisk is the next runner-up. They’ve always made the best cards and you can never go wrong with going Sandisk. The UHS-II Sandisk Extreme Pro is usually the fastest card when tested but the Sony G and the Lexar 2000x are always close, sometimes slightly faster.
Lexar 64GB UHS-II 2000x
Lexar was the original best UHS-II memory card but the company may be going away eventually. Some of their cards have already been discontinued and they’ll likely get more and more difficult to find. So although the 20000x is an amazing card, for future and warranty purposes, we just don’t know what’s going to happen. We list them anyway just because the card reader they come with is nice.
Sandisk Extreme Pro UHS-I U3
For UHS-I cards the Sandisk Extreme Pro has always been amazing and is a very reliable card for Sony cameras. This is actually what I use to use in my Sony A7r and A7rII.
Sony 64GB UHS-I U3
The Sony 64GB U3 memory card definitely isn’t the fastest UHS-I card, but there were a lot of problems with memory cards not being compatible with Sony cameras, especially when shooting video. So this card become one of my top 5 memory cards and is a safe bet.
Other Cards To Consider / Cards To Avoid
There are some new brands out there making UHS-II memory cards. Hoodman Steel, Adata, Fujifilm to name a few. These cards test well and performed great in camera, but it’s still a little too soon to know if they are good for the long haul. We haven’t heard anyone having any good or bad issues with them, so they are ok to buy, but test them thoroughly before any paid gigs.
While PNY cards are cheap, for a few years they had a lot of issues working reliably in Sony cameras, so we recommend avoiding them. Also avoid Samsung cards, Sony cameras often fail to recognize the specs of Samsung cards and they will be rejected as not being U3 cards.
Where To Buy Cards For The Sony A7 III
Buy memory cards from a trusted sourse. BHphoto, Adorama, and Amazon if you can get them from a trusted seller. Don’t buy memory cards off Ebay where they will likely be counterfeit. My links here are all safe.
UHS-II vs. UHS-I Memory Cards In The Sony A7rIII
While the Sony A7 III takes advantage of UHS-II memory cards, speeds will be bottlenecked to the slowest memory card in the camera depending on how you’re using slot one and slot two with the Recording Modes.
Recording Mode Standard | Slot 1 | Auto Switch On
If you’re using Slot 2 as an overflow, then you will get UHS-II memory card speeds in Slot 1 until the card fills up. Then once the camera switches to Slot 2, speeds will slow down to the speed of the card in Slot 2 and that slot will only be able to produce UHS-I speeds.
On my Sony A7r III Auto Switch was turned off by default, so you will need to enable this yourself to gain this benefit.
Record Mode Simult. RAW+RAW
If you’re shooting Slot 1 and Slot 2 as a backup, then memory card write speeds will be throttled to the slowest card. If you shoot like this often, you may not see any benefit to using UHS-II cards.
Record Mode Simult. RAW+JPEG
We no longer test RAW+JPEG, but since JPEG files are smaller, you don’t see the same bottleneck as when you’re backing up with RAW to slot 2.
However, shooting RAW+JPEG does slow down performance of the buffer significantly as it requires more processing as the cards are written to and this task is usually is not multithreaded.
Shooting Uncompressed RAW will make massive files and you will fill your buffer a lot quicker, but they won’t slow down your memory card write speeds.
Best Memory Cards 4k Video Sony A7 III
Shooting 4k video with Sony cameras does require some minimum specs for it to work.
Aside from some cards just not working (like Samsung), you will need a U3 memory card to shoot 4k video with the Sony A7 III.
Best Memory Card 4k Video Sony A7rIII
Sony upgraded their firmware in 2016 so that you can now use SDHC memory cards for 4k video, however you still need to use U3 memory cards. Here is a break down of some memory card stats and what all the numbers mean.
Class 10 / U1 – NO 4k!
Class 10 and U1 are one in the same. It has to do with minimum write speeds a card is capable of. A Class 10 or U1 card should be able to sustain 10MB/s write speeds in any situation, sequential or random.
However, 4k will not work here.
U3 – 4k compatible
U3 is the minimum requirement for 4k video. It has a minimum performance speed of 30MB/s. So under any circumstance it will be able to keep up with the 4k video bitrate demands regardless of whether the card is fragmented or not.
V30 – 4k compatible
V is the newest rating system. It also has to do with minimum write speeds. V30 is the same as U3, 30MB/s. It will also work for 4k video. Typically if a card is V30 it’s also U3 and meets Sony’s requirements.
V60 – 4k compatible
Even faster than V30 is V60. 60MB/s guaranteed minimum write speeds. The thing is with the V60 and V90, although the cards can perform with the guaranteed write speed of 60MB/s it doesn’t mean the camera can. Usually a memory cards performance is limited by the cameras capabilities.
V90 – 4k compatible
Like V60 this means minimum speeds of 90MB/s. You mostly only see this on UHS-II cards.
Best Memory Cards Sony A7 III | Bottom Line
Going with Sandisk or Sony for UHS-II is your safest bet, but other cards have been working well for us, such as Delkin, Transcend and Toshiba.
When using UHS-I cards, just avoid PNY and Samsung and you’ll likely be free of any problems. We personally would stick with Sandisk or Sony unless you have some soft of brand bias or can’t find a good card by them in your area.