A memory card speed comparison between all the most popular CF and SD cards taken in the Canon 5DS R.
This guide will help you to configure a dual memory card setup to gain maximum performance out of your Canon 5DS R.
RAW Shots taken to fill buffer: 13-14
Size of RAW files: 52.6 MB
Size of JPEG files: 9 MB
Est. Size of buffer: 512MB
Canon 5DS – Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto
Canon 5DS R – Amazon / Adorama / BHphoto
Best Memory Card For The Canon 5DS R
I recorded a series of images on continuous burst Hi and the time it took to write to the card. Each card was tested several times in camera and the average was taken.
|Compact Flash CF Card||Read MB/s||Write MB/s||Canon 5DS R Speeds||Order|
|KomputerBay 32GB 1066x UDMA 7||153.34 MB/s||135.90 MB/s||78.21 MB/s||Amazon|
|Lexar 32GB 1066x UDMA 7||155.50 MB/s||138.40 MB/s||77.51 MB/s||Amazon|
|KomputerBay 32GB 1000x UDMA 7||147.80 MB/s||134.90 MB/s||76.98 MB/s||Amazon|
|Toshiba 32GB 1066X UDMA 7||158.00 MB/s||134.30 MB/s||76.89 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk 32GB Extreme Pro UDMA 7||154.90 MB/s||135.20 MB/s||76.53 MB/s||Amazon|
|Transcend 32GB 1000x UDMA 7||155.30 MB/s||132.80 MB/s||76.40 MB/s||Amazon|
|Kingston 32GB 600x UDMA 6||114.90 MB/s||101.70 MB/s||73.82 MB/s||Amazon|
|PixelFlash 32GB 1106x UDMA 7||154.34 MB/s||90.71 MB/s||69.28 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk 32GB Extreme UDMA 7||118.10 MB/s||68.43 MB/s||53.78 MB/s||Amazon|
|Lexar 32GB 800x UDMA 7||152.70 MB/s||44.72 MB/s||38.35 MB/s||Amazon|
|Transcend 32GB 800x UDMA 7||152.30 MB/s||40.25 MB/s||34.77 MB/s||Amazon|
|Transcend 32GB 400x UDMA 7||152.50 MB/s||39.55 MB/s||34.24 MB/s||Amazon|
|KomputerBay 32GB 600x UDMA 7||85.77 MB/s||51.16 MB/s||27.36 MB/s||Amazon|
|KomputerBay 32GB 800x UDMA 7||86.42 MB/s||50.83 MB/s||27.29 MB/s||Amazon|
|UHS-II SD CARDS|
|Lexar 32GB 2000x UHS-II||280.9 MB/s||181.4 MB/s||64.63 MB/s||Amazon|
|Delkin 32GB UHS-II||245.1 MB/s||164.6 MB/s||62.59 MB/s||Amazon|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB UHS-II||257.3 MB/s||109.9 MB/s||37.04 MB/s||Amazon|
|Lexar 32GB 1000x UHS-II||145.0 MB/s||60.7 MB/s||53.14 MB/s||Amazon|
|UHS-I SD CARDS|
|Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB SDXC U3||89.0 MB/s||84.7 MB/s||67.23 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Kingston 64GB SDXC U3||88.1 MB/s||74.3 MB/s||66.32 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Samsung Pro 64GB SDXC U1||86.8 MB/s||77.2 MB/s||60.29 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Sony 64GB SDXC U3||87.2 MB/s||71.9 MB/s||59.47 MB/s||Amazon|
|PNY 64GB SDXC U3||87.9 MB/s||61.6 MB/s||51.34 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|PNY 64GB SDXC U1||86.1 MB/s||54.5 MB/s||51.22 MB/s||Amazon|
|Transcend 64GB SDXC U3||87.7 MB/s||64.1 MB/s||51.13 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Lexar 600x 64GB SDXC U1||85.6 MB/s||60.1 MB/s||50.83 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Sandisk Extreme Plus 64GB SDXC U3||88.9 MB/s||62.0 MB/s||50.81 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Sandisk Extreme 64GB SDXC U3||71.3 MB/s||52.1 MB/s||44.28 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
|Samsung 64GB U1 EVO||43.9 MB/s||22.7 MB/s||22.71 MB/s||Amazon / Adorama|
CF cards are the fastest in camera with the best card being the Komputerbay 1066x. UHS-II cards perform the quickest with USB 3.0 read and write speeds and the UHS-I cards seem to be the best value while also maintaining great speeds.
Best CF Memory Cards For The Canon 5DS R
The Fastest CF cards are the Komputerbay, Lexar, Toshiba, Sandisk and Transcend. The 1 MB/s difference they make won’t really matter in real world shooting and there will be a slight variance between every card. Buy the brand you trust the most, for me it’s Lexar and Sandisk.
- Komputerbay 1066x – 32GB Amazon / 64GB Amazon / 128GB Amazon
- Lexar 1066x – 32GB Amazon / 64GB Amazon / 128GB Amazon
- Toshiba 1066x – 32GB Amazon / 64GB Amazon
- Sandisk Extreme Pro – 32GB Amazon / 64GB Amazon / 128GB Amazon
- Transcend 1000x – 32GB Amazon / 64GB Amazon
Best SD Memory Cards For The Canon 5DS R
I’m really glad Canon finally upgraded the SD memory card slot in the new 5D. The previous Canon 5DmkIII didn’t support UHS-I bus speeds and that slot was really only good for JPEG backups.
The new 5DS SD card write speeds are very fast, destroying the Sony A7rII at write speeds that cap out at 32MB/s.
Should You Buy A UHS-II Card?
Does the Canon 5DS support USH-II memory cards? Short answer, no!
The Canon 5DS R doesn’t take advantage of in camera UHS-II speeds and you would only be buying them for the USB 3.0 transfer speeds, which isn’t a bad idea especially if you’re filling these cards up a lot.
Since my Sandisk card seems to be very slow in non UHS-II camera bodies, I would stick with the Lexar 2000x card. It’s always been my fastest UHS-II card when tested and it’s the best one right now. There is also a Toshiba on the market that’s also really good.
See the UHS-II Memory Card Reader Speed Test to see which is the fastest.
Should You Buy A UHS-I Card?
The Canon 5DS does now supports UHS-I and there are so many great deals. If you’re thinking of running a single card configuration and want to save money, you might as well go with SD cards. The quality is fine, I’ve used them on my Sony A7r and Fujifilm cameras for years without ever having a problem.
If you’re running two cards, then you will need an SD memory card. There are also less expensive options that are still great.
From what I understand, if you’re shooting with two cards one as backup, the slowest card will cap the speed at which the buffer is cleared. This means you should buy the fastest SD card if you’re running a dual card setup.
- Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC U3 64GB – Amazon
- Kingston SDXC U3 64GB – Amazon
- Samsung SDXC U1 64GB – Amazon
- Sony SDXC U3 64GB – Amazon
Canon 5DSR Memory Card Configurations
There is no best configuration for the Canon 5DS R but I’ll go over a few scenarios.
RAW To Slot 1, JPEG to Slot 2
This is handy for client shoots where you want the client to just walk with some JPEG on the SD card to review, while you keep the RAW on the CF card.
RAW Slot 1, Backup to Slot 2
For everyone else, this is the ideal setup. You might not think you need this, but it’s there so you might as well use it. Just have everything backup to an SD card just incase anything ever happened to your CF card. Which will . . . someday.
If you want, just get a 128GB SD backup card and forget about it for a few weeks. When you know everything is safe and secure, wipe the backup card.
Overflow, Slot 1, then Slot 2
If you have to use this then you’re asking for trouble. I would just make sure you have a big enough CF card to never have this happen.
Are CF Cards Better Than SD Cards?
This camera seems to bottleneck at around 78MB/s, so when it comes to speed, the CF cards aren’t dramatically faster than SD cards.
SD cards are still less expensive, smaller and a lot lighter. I personally prefer them.
Best Memory Cards For The Canon 5DS Conclusions
You now have a choice between UHS-I, UHS-II or CF cards. Whatever you choose, you should be fine. UHS-I speeds are fantastic, but with CF cards, you have the option to have an SD backup, which is super important for some people.
I personally would go with a CF card and possibly a larger SD card as backup if I had this camera. Just be sure to test whatever card you get right when you get it. Don’t hesitate to send it back if it’s being weird. I’ve had problems with even the best brands of cards and I get emails from people with problems with cards, so it does happen and it’s not uncommon.
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Alik, thanks for all you do for camera owners with more than one camera/system (I’m in that camp with several Canon, Sony and Fuji cameras hanging around now – some are going away soon). Just a quick tip. On your index of card tests page, the 5DS R is identified as a 6DS R.
Thanks Alec! I use to make a lot more mistakes when I was doing this with a crazy full time job. I still go back to some of those older articles and see that they are a mess. I get fairly dyslexic when I’m under a lot of stress without sleep.
I wonder if we’ll ever see CF or CFast cards in cameras again.
Well my 5DIII isn’t going anywhere (did you take your page down: at one point I was able to get information about the very slow SD slot which made it clear that keeping some fast CF is important). I was happy to learn that the dead (bought that way at a discount) CF slot in my 5DS R is not affecting buffering much, as strangely, I use the 5DS R to shoot a lot of sport. The large RAW files downres with a lot of detail and colour even at ISO 12800. The nasty noise is cleaned up extremely convincingly by DxO PhotoLab’s Prime Noise.
Glad to hear you were able to drop the full time job and just focus on photography.
I didn’t ever test the 5DIII. That came out a few years before I started doing these tests. I think I started in 2013. There are a few other sites that do these memory card tests, but they all started about the same time as me or after. But the 5DIII is very, very slow for SD cards. I remember shooting some videos with it once and we were trying to use SD cards, and they would not work.
I must have seen the test on another site then. The 5D III does not use UDMA7 and is limited to 133x which is just 20 MB/sec. Here’s some more info from the Canon community, covering a few other cameras, some of which don’t have their own page here (mostly pro cameras):
Definitely nice to have fast SD card performance. I really like the value proposition of the Sandisk Extreme Pro 90 MB/sec cards. They are inexpensive, very effective and very reliable. Of course with Sandisk SD cards or Samsung SSD’s, the first task has to be to check their performance with a disk speed utility to make sure they are not cheap counterfeits. I’ve had counterfeits of both come from Amazon.de/Amazon.co.uk. The labels looked okay but in one case capacity was 10x smaller and in another case performance was outrageously slow.
A lot of cameras still get that 35-45MB/s limit they were talking about. I’m not sure what it is that causes that, if it’s a slow processor or a type of slower UDMA7 or something, maybe it runs at a lower frequency. There is so much tech going on behind the scenes and it’s tough to find good information on it.
I found some information about XQD vs CFExpress. Basically CFExpress uses the NvME protocol over PCI-E 3.0 instead of just PCI-E 2.0. This essentially doubles the throughput, but I guess CFExpress is a lot more power hungry which has made that tech not ideal for cameras.
What else can happen with those counterfeit cards is you can get Sandisk flash with a Sandisk micro controller, but the controller has been hacked, or replaced to tell you the card is a 128GB card and they throw on a 128GB label, even though it is a 64GB card. So everything is running as normal for weeks, or even months, until one day you start filling data past 64GB, then suddenly your card completely dies. This is probably why you often see some people say, “My card was working fine for a few weeks then suddenly it died.” And this has created the new dual memory card slot obsession. But if you were use dual scam cards in a dual card setup, they both would still fail.
Thanks for the tip on checking capacity as well, Alik. Wherever there are humans, it seems, there is deceit, fraud and war. I’ll probably stick to the SanDisk Extreme Pro 90 MB cards I have now as they are affordable, perform pretty well and I have lots of them. It does mean a slower clearing buffer on my A7 III when shooting soccer but now that I’ve found your tips about shooting just RAW (slow processing for jpegs) on the A7 III, it’s enough.
The UHS-II build with its second row is a whole bunch more issues to go wrong and compatibility with readers. I’ll pass on it as long as possible. Dipped my already suspicious toes into the UHS-II waters and found the water cold…