The DJI Air 2s drone is packed with a ton of features and some really competitive video recording specs such as 5.4k 150Mbps H.265 recording with various Log options.
To take advantage of the best video specs and features this drone has to offer, you will need to choose the right memory card. This means a minimum of a UHS-I with a U3 rating, but also a card no larger than 256GB which is the maximum capacity for the Air 2s.
If you need help choosing, this guide will cover some of the features and the best memory card options.
DJI Air 2S – Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto
Best Memory Cards DJI Air 2s
DJI has given us some recommendations for memory cards that work best for the DJI Air 2s. I also tested various micro SD memory cards in various DJI devices to see which cards can potentially cause issues and which cards work the best. I have published that chart further down in the article.
Here is the list of my favorites from the DJI recommendation list.
DJI Air 2S Recommended Memory Cards
The DJI Air 2s requires memory cards with a minimum U3 rating. Do not order cards with the U1 rating if you plan on recording video. For stills and photography, U1 rated cards can work if that is all that is available to you.
These are the cards officially recommended by DJI.
Sandisk Extreme Pro U3 64GB
The Sandisk Extreme Pro is the best micro SD memory card for the Air 2S Drone. It performed the best and is the fastest. Sandisk now makes this card with the A2 rating. The A2 rating is mostly irrelevant for video recording, but if you ever need a card for a tablet or smartphone, the A2 rating is what you want.
Sandisk High Endurance 64GB U3
The Sandisk has some high endurance memory cards, meaning they have higher operational life before the flash begins to degrade. The High Endurance cards are rated at 5000 hours of record time.
These are not bad if you’re doing constant recording, or plan on keeping the card for a very long time. In a drone with short flight times, these might not be necessary. These are more for dashcams and security cams. However, they sell at a nice price and the performance will be good enough for the Air 2s.
Sandisk Extreme U3 64GB, 128GB or 256GB
The Sandisk Extreme is the most popular microSD card and has the best compatibility with any card we’ve tested. These cards work great in all DJI devices and in the various models of GoPro Action Cams.
Lexar 1066xx 64GB V30 A2
Lexar is back on the scene. After this brand switched owners there were some quality control issues I was concerned about, so I stopped recommending their cards for a while. Today most of the problems have been addressed and the latest Lexar cards have been performing very well.
Samsung EVO Plus 128GB, or 256GB
Samsung still makes some of the best microSD cards. They are very popular with smartphones and tablets, and they are back making regular SD cards now too. Their microSD cards are still some of the best-performing and most reliable memory cards out there.
The 64GB variant is only U1 so start with 128GB. You need U3 cards for video in the Air 2s, so if you want this card you won’t be able to safely use a 64GB version, or you shouldn’t anyway.
DJI Air 2S Pro Memory Card Speed Chart
I tested each card in the Mavic 2 Pro by shooting a series of burst photos to see which cleared the buffer the fastest. This is a list of how each card generally performed with the Mavic 2. I know the Air 2S is a little different but generally, a lot of the DNA of the different drones is likely similar and will likely show the same characteristics with certain types of flash.
|Micro SD Memory Card||Read Speeds||Write Speeds||Quality|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB U3||99.38 MB/s||90.33 MB/s||😀|
|Samsung Pro+ 64GB U3||97.72 MB/s||87.23 MB/s||😀|
|Delkin 64GB U3||98.50 MB/s||88.44 MB/s||😀|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus 64GB U3||99.45 MB/s||89.85 MB/s||😀|
|Samsung Pro Select 64GB U3||97.84 MB/s||86.80 MB/s||😀|
|Transcend Ultimate 633x 64GB U3||96.67 MB/s||79.62 MB/s||🙂|
|Samsung Pro 64GB U3||97.42 MB/s||79.51 MB/s||🙂|
|Samsung Evo Select 64GB U3||98.88 MB/s||70.52 MB/s||🙂|
|PNY Pro Elite 64GB U3||98.44 MB/s||64.43 MB/s||🙂|
|Sandisk Extreme 64GB U3||99.49 MB/s||70.29 MB/s||🙂|
|Samsung Evo 64GB U3||98.85 MB/s||68.23 MB/s||🙂|
|Lexar 1000x 64GB U3 UHS-II||151.7 MB/s||53.18 MB/s||😐|
|Netac Pro 64GB U3||77.70 MB/s||49.70 MB/s||😐|
|PNY Elite U1||96.88 MB/s||41.18 MB/s||🙁|
|Samsung Evo 64GB U1||47.65 MB/s||26.48 MB/s||🙁|
|Samsung Evo+ 64GB U1||96.81 MB/s||28.31 MB/s||🙁|
|Transcend High Endurance C10||22.88 MB/s||21.84 MB/s||🙁|
|Sandisk Ultra C10 – New Version||99.46 MB/s||79.64 MB/s||🙁|
|Sandisk Ultra C10 – Old Version U1||47.69 MB/s||36.23 MB/s||🙁|
|Transcend Premium 400x 64GB U1||96.87 MB/s||32.58 MB/s||🙁|
|Transcend Premium 300x 64GB U1||96.88 MB/s||33.29 MB/s||🙁|
|Lexar 633x 64GB U1||96.89 MB/s||33.29 MB/s||🙁|
|Lexar 300x 64GB U1||47.37 MB/s||31.17 MB/s||🙁|
|Samsung Evo Select 64GB U1||97.65 MB/s||29.52 MB/s||🙁|
|Patriot 64GB U1||82.76 MB/s||14.92 MB/s||🙁|
DJI Air 2s Memory Card Recommendation
DJI recommends using memory cards that are at least U3 rated. In their documentation, they list the Air 2s as taking cards at 256GB.
You might be thinking that you need really fast memory cards for 5.4k video, but the speed is limited by the bitrate, and the Air 2s has only a max bitrate of 150Mbps, which translates to 18.75MB/s.
This is why you only need the minimum of a U3 rated card since the U3 rating guarantees a minimum memory card write speed of 30MB/s.
DJI Air 2S Micro SD Card Recommendations
Buy cards that are only:
|UHS-I or greater,
U3 or greater
SDXC – 64GB or larger
Memory Card Max Capacity: 256GB Max Size.
The Air 2s will format and use a 64-bit filesystem. This means the DJI Air will format memory cards to ExFat.
SDXC vs SDHC Memory Cards
SDXC memory cards can support 64bit
SDHC memory cards can only support 32bit.
U3 vs U1
I use my drones mostly for stills where U1 cards will function fine. However, I found from testing DJI devices that U3 memory cards run consistently better than U1 memory cards and I highly recommend U3 memory cards over U1 even if you’re just shooting stills. DJI officially recommends U3 memory cards as well.
U3 sets the minimum record speed to 30MB/s no matter the situation. Even if the card is fragmented or almost full, you’ll always get a minimum write speed of 30MB/s. If your bursting, or shooting HDR, or bracketing, these faster cards do help clear the buffer faster.
U1 has a minimum record speed of 10MB/s. This means you can see a drop in performance in certain situations which could cause recordings to stop.
While the DJI Air 2S only records 150mbps (18.75MB/s), it needs memory card write speeds of at least 18.75MB/s to operate. Having a U3 memory card ensures that your video will never be interrupted by a drop in speed.
What the new stats written on cards means
V30, V60, and V90.
This is the same thing as class 10, U1, and U3.
V30 or U3
V60 has a minimum speed of 60MB/s
V90 has a minimum speed of 90MB/s
UHS-I vs UHS-II | Why You Don’t Need UHS-II
There are a few UHS-II Micro SD Memory cards on the market now, you don’t need them. In fact, the old Lexar 1000x UHS-II memory card didn’t perform as well as standard UHS-I U3 cards.
The Air 2S does not have the hardware to support the extra pins in UHS-II cards so you will not gain any speed benefit although they will work fine.
Different Records Formats | Getting The Best Image Quality
The DJI Air 2S has a few new record formats and they can produce slightly different results.
The DJI Air 2S Specs
Record Modes 5.4k UHD
Video Containers: MOV / MP4
Max Bitrate: 150Mbps or 18/75MB/s
Video Codecs: H.264 / H.265
Still File Size: About 41.1MB
Memory Card Max Capacity: 256GB
LOG Support: 4K Dlog, 4K HLG and 5.4K Dlog, 5.4K HLG
Record times are taken from the Video Record Time Calculator.
150Mbps video will allow you to record for 57 minutes to a 64GB card.
With a flight time of about 30 minutes, you could record the entire flight from two batteries with a 64GB card.
|DJI Air 2S Record Times||64GB||128GB||256GB|
H264 vs H265
With the DJI Air 2S, you have the option to record H.264 or H.265.
Pros: H.265 is a superior recording format and will allow for smaller files and a slightly higher quality of compression.
Cons: Harder on your computer. New M1 Macs and 2021 Intel Processors (Tiger Lake or Alder Lake) will help you here.
Pros: H.264 is a lighter codec, not as efficiently compressed as H.265 but it’s much easier for older computers to handle.
Cons: Not as high quality as H.265.
Common & Uncommon Memory Cards Issues
I’ve encountered a few issues in my Mavic 2 over the years and some of these problems could come up with the Air 2S, so I’ll detail the problems and the solutions.
No Card Error
If your drone isn’t detecting your memory cards, then it’s likely they are formatted to an incompatible filesystem. The solution would be to format them to ExFat, either in OSX, windows, or even a GoPro will do the job. If you format the memory cards to the OSX filesystem, they will not be recognized by the drone.
Trouble Initializing Memory Cards In OSx
I discovered some issues where after using the card in my drone it would not be recognized in Mac OSX.
I’m not sure why this is but the last place my cards were formatted (before being formatted in the drone) was on a Samsung Galaxy S8. This must-have created an ExFat filesystem that was not friendly to OSX but friendly to the DJI drone and when formatting the card in the drone, it did not replace the filesystem.
If you have an issue where your card from the Air 2s is not recognized by OSX, there is a fix.
You can pull your data off of the drone through a USB cable, then format the card in OSX. When formatting your memory card in OSX or Windows, you’ll have to format it to exFAT. On MAC, the option for a Master Boot Record will work fine.
There was one issue where the remote was displaying that the SD Card was full, “SD FULL”. However, recording to the card worked just fine and there were no noticeable issues on actual performance or writing to the cards. This was only seen once in my tests and we have not been able to reproduce it. It’s likely this was some bug with some firmware that has likely been updated since.
If you get this problem, reformat the memory card to ExFat in OSX or Windows, or take the card out of the drone and re-insert it with the drone turned off, then format it again in the drone.
Best SD Memory Cards Air 2S
Since the Air 2S Drone has a very fast buffer and produces massive DNG raw files, buying the fastest UHS-I SD memory cards will make a difference even if you are just shooting stills. However, UHS-II memory cards in the Air 2S do not produce improved results since the Air 2S does not use UHS-II technology
When it comes to picking the best size memory card, 64GB cards will be the best choice for most people, 256GB cards are compatible but will likely be overkill even if you have three batteries from the fly more combo. Record times roughly give you about 10GB of data for 10 minutes of footage. Non-stop recording for two flights would give about 60 minutes of footage, so choose your card size according to your average record sessions.
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