The Ultimate Guide To Memory Cards

Best Memory Cards

A comparison and speed tests between all the most popular memory cards and how they perform in various cameras and computers.

 


Best Memory Cards By Camera


A list of memory card speed tests in each camera. Over the last several years I’ve been testing the most popular memory cards in each camera to find which memory cards work the best in each camera. Use this guide to find the best memory cards for your camera.

 

I’ve broken the list down between camera brands.

 

Canon Memory Card Tests

Canon cameras in general have always had the best memory card performance. Their processors and bus speeds seem to be superior to a lot of the competition with the way memory cards work and how consistent they are between all their cameras.

Most memory cards work for Canon but they do not official support Sony memory cards.

Full FrameAPS-CMirrorlessCompact
Canon 1Dx IICanon 7D IICanon M6Canon G7X II
Canon 5D IVCanon 80DCanon M5Canon G1X III
Canon 6D IICanon SL2  
Canon 6DS RCanon 77D  
 Canon T7i  
 Canon T6i  
 Canon T6s  
 Canon T6  

 

Sony Memory Card Tests

Sony cameras until recently have been plagued by a bus speed bottleneck. Most of their cameras are only capable of write to memory cards at a speed of about 30MB/s. New cameras like the Sony A9 and the A7rIII finally have improved memory card performance.

When shooting video in Sony cameras you will not be able to use Samsung memory cards, they are not compatible.

Full FrameAPS-CFixed Lens
Sony A9Sony A6500Sony RX1R II
Sony A7rIIISony A6300Sony RX100 V
Sony A7rIISony A6000Sony RX10 III
Sony A7sII Sony RX10 IV
Sony A7II Sony RX100 IV
Sony A7r, A7s, A7  Sony RX100 III

 

Fujifilm Memory Card Tests

Second to Canon Fujifilm has always has incredible memory card performance between all their cameras.

APS-CAPS-CCompact
Fujifilm X-T2Fujifilm X-E3Fujifilm X100F
Fujifilm X-Pro 2Fujifilm X-T20Fujifilm X100T
Fujifilm X-T1Fujifilm X-T10Fujifilm X70
 Fujifilm X-E2s 
 Fujifilm X-E2 

 

Nikon Memory Card Tests

Nikon is somewhere between Canon and Fujifilm. Some of their cameras have the 30MB/s bottleneck some don’t. 

Full Frame – FXAPS-C – DX
Nikon D850Nikon D500
Nikon D7500Nikon D7200
Nikon D810Nikon D5600
 Nikon D5500

 

Panasonic Memory Card Tests

Like Sony cameras Panasonic typically has poor memory card performance. They have the a similar 35MB/s bottleneck bus speed as Sony. The GH5 gets around this by using UHS-II memory cards which have dual lanes, so you get around 36Mb/s + 36Mb/s with a combined speed of around 70MB/s. Many Fujifilm, Canon and Nikon cameras get these same speeds with only UHS-I cards. 

M43Fixed Lens
Panasonic GH5Panasonic FZ2500
Panasonic GX85Panasonic LX100

 

 

Olympus Memory Card Tests

Some of Olympus’s older cameras have bus speed bottlenecks which restricted memory card write speeds. The new Pen-F however is much quicker. I still have a few more Olympus cameras to test out.

M42 Cameras
Olympus E-M5 II
Olympus Pen-F

 

Pentax Memory Card Tests

I haven’t tested to many Pentax cameras but the Pentax K-1 performs very similar to the Sony A7r. It has a bus speed bottleneck so memory card write speeds are limited to about 30MB/s. 

Full Frame
Pentax K-1

 

GoPro Memory Card Tests

The GoPro Hero 5 was notorious for having issues with memory cards. A lot of great memory cards like the Sandisk Extreme Pro just wouldn’t work properly. However, the Hero 6 uses all new hardware and most of the memory card issues seen in older cameras have disappeared. 

Action Cams
GoPro Hero 6
GoPro Hero 5 & Session

 

Drones Memory Card Tests

Every memory card I’ve tested in the DJI spark worked great. The camera on the Spark doesn’t really have great performance and it doesn’t require very fast memory card write speeds.

DJI Drones
DJI Spark

 

SmartPhones Memory Card Tests

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ is one of the few popular smart phones to allow memory cards. I’ve tested most of the Micro SD memory cards in this smart phone to see which perform the best. The results are very surprising as performance between cards varies wildly.

Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+

 

 


Memory Card Types And Performance


 

SD Memory Card USB 3.0 Speed Chart

SD memory cards are the most popular type of memory card.

This list contains both UHS-II and UHS-I memory cards. To obtain the read and write speeds I use the Lexar SR2 in Windows 10 via USB 3.0.

Memory CardsUSB 3.0 ReadUSB 3.0 Write
UHS-II  
Sony G269.3 MB/s234.5 MB/s
Toshiba Exceria Pro258.8 MB/s226.5 MB/s
Lexar 2000x272.7 MB/s244.5 MB/s
Delkin 250271.4 MB/s231.3 MB/s
Adata V90256.5 MB/s231.7 MB/s
Transcend290.2 MB/s182.1 MB/s
Hoodman Steel 2000x268.7 MB/s183.9 MB/s
Fujifilm Elite II294.0 MB/s181.6 MB/s
Sony M253.2 MB/s91.62 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme Pro 300273.9 MB/s238.9 MB/s
Delkin 1900X273.3 MB/s97.3 MB/s
Lexar 1000x153.4 MB/s84.30 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme Pro 280260.5 MB/s214.8 MB/s
UHS-I  
Sandisk Extreme Pro U398.6 MB/s90.8 MB/s
Kingston U398.1 MB/s90.4 MB/s
Delkin 633x U398.3 MB/s88.7 MB/s
Samsung Pro+ U397.5 MB/s87.3 MB/s
Sony U3 – Old Model96.5 MB/s84.5 MB/s
Transcend U396.7 MB/s84.9 MB/s
Samsung Pro U397.7 MB/s78.6 MB/s
Samsung Pro U196.3 MB/s82.2 MB/s
PNY Elite Performance U196.5 MB/s66.5 MB/s
Lexar 633x U393.3 MB/s67.3 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme Plus U399.0 MB/s64.4 MB/s
PNY Elite Performance U396.5 MB/s66.1 MB/s
Sony U3 – New Model96.7 MB/s56.2 MB/s
Lexar 600x U195.4 MB/s64.8 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme U372.43 MB/s54.1 MB/s
Samsung U1 EVO47.7 MB/s27.3 MB/s
Sandisk Ultra U199.3 MB/s36.1 MB/s

 

Micro SD Memory Card Speed Charts

Micro SD memory cards are now extremely popular in smaller electronic devices, drones and action cameras. They usually match the performance of the larger SD memory cards, but are much smaller. I don’t recommend using micro SD memory cards in cameras that require regular SD cards because you have to adapt the card and sometimes various adapters can cause connection issues between the card and camera.

Micro SD Memory CardRead SpeedsWrite Speeds
Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB U399.38 MB/s90.33 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme Plus 64GB U399.45 MB/s89.85 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme 64GB U399.49 MB/s70.29 MB/s
Sandisk Ultra C10 – Old Version U147.69 MB/s36.23 MB/s
Sandisk Ultra C10 – New Version99.46 MB/s79.64 MB/s
Lexar 1000x 64GB U3 UHS-II151.7 MB/s53.18 MB/s
Lexar 633x 64GB U196.89 MB/s33.29 MB/s
Lexar 300x 64GB U147.37 MB/s31.17 MB/s
Transcend Ultimate 633x 64GB U396.67 MB/s79.62 MB/s
Transcend Premium 400x 64GB U196.87 MB/s32.58 MB/s
Transcend Premium 300x 64GB U196.88 MB/s33.29 MB/s
Transcend High Endurance22.88 MB/s21.84 MB/s
PNY Pro Elite 64GB U398.44 MB/s64.43 MB/s
PNY Elite U196.88 MB/s41.18 MB/s
Samsung Pro+ 64GB U397.72 MB/s87.23 MB/s
Samsung Pro 64GB U397.42 MB/s79.51 MB/s
Samsung Pro Select 64GB U397.84 MB/s86.80 MB/s
Samsung Evo+ 64GB U196.81 MB/s28.31 MB/s
Samsung Evo Select 64GB U197.65 MB/s29.52 MB/s
Samsung Evo 64GB U147.65 MB/s26.48 MB/s
Patriot 64GB U182.76 MB/s14.92 MB/s
Netac Pro 64GB U377.70 MB/s49.70 MB/s

 

 

XQD Memory Card Speed Charts

Currently Sony the only company manufacturing XQD memory cards. Lexar was but they’ve since have been discontinued.

I want to retest some of these cards in a new computer using Windows 10 as I don’t get great performance on a Mac or on my older MacPro 2009 with bootcamp.

These tests here were done with my old MacPro 2009 in bootcamp using Crystal Disk. On my Macbook Pro (Mid 2014) using AJA System Test, the cards run slightly slower. Although I think the the slower speeds is because I’m testing via USB XQD memory card readers rather than Thunderbolt.

Memory CardsUSB 3.0 ReadUSB 3.0 Write
XQD  
Lexar 2933x344 MB/s202 MB/s
Sony G 400MB/s330 MB/s188 MB/s
Sony M 150MB/s347 MB/s111 MB/s
Sony M 80MB/s276 MB/s30 MB/s

 

CFast Memory Cards

CFast Memory cards seem to be a lot faster then XQD memory cards. Albeit, XQD memory cards are rated with some great specs, I just don’t see that in the real world compared to CFast memory cards. It also could be that I was using a Thunderbolt memory card reader when testing CFast. I haven’t been able to find any Thunderbolt reader for XQD.

When looking at in-camera comparisons, for example Sony A9 to the Canon 1DX II, the CFast memory cards are about 110MB/s faster.

Very few still cameras actually use CFast memory cards today and they are mostly seen in video cameras.

CFast 1.0 / 2.0 CardsThunderbolt – ReadThunderbolt – Write
Lexar 64GB 3500x475.4 MB/s364.7 MB/s
Lexar 128GB 3600x478.9 MB/s364.6 MB/s
Transcend 128GB534.7 MB/s395.3 MB/s
Delkin 128GB CFast 1.0447.9 MB/s196.8 MB/s
Sandisk Pro 64GB513.6 MB/s180.1 MB/s
Atomos 64GB CFast 1.0239.5 MB/s91.4 MB/s
Super Talent 64GB CFast 1.0463.9 MB/s83.5 MB/s

 

CF Memory Cards

CF memory cards are starting to show their age. Canon still uses them in some of their full frame cameras but I imagine they’ll be completely gone with the next generation of cameras and replaced by either CFast or XQD.

CF ( Compact Flash )USB 3.0 Read SpeedUSB 3.0 Write Speed
Lexar 1066x 32GB155.50 MB/s138.40 MB/s
KomputerBay 1066x 32GB153.34 MB/s135.90 MB/s
Transcend 1000x 32GB155.30 MB/s132.80 MB/s
KomputerBay 1000x 32GB147.80 MB/s134.90 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB154.90 MB/s135.20 MB/s
Toshiba 1066x 32GB158.00 MB/s134.30 MB/s
PixelFlash 1106x 32GB154.34 MB/s90.71 MB/s
Kingston 600x 32GB114.90 MB/s101.70 MB/s
Sandisk Extreme 32GB118.10 MB/s68.43 MB/s
Lexar 800x 32GB152.70 MB/s44.72 MB/s
Transcend 800x 32GB152.30 MB/s40.25 MB/s
Transcend 400x 32GB152.50 MB/s39.55 MB/s
KomputerBay 600x 32GB85.77 MB/s51.16 MB/s
KomputerBay 800x 32GB86.42 MB/s50.83 MB/s

 

 


Memory Card FAQ


 

What Do All The Numbers And Letters On Memory Cards Mean?

SDHC – SDHC indicates that a card is going to use the 32-bit Fat32 file structure. This can have some performance limitations on cards. Some of the new Speed Classes like V30, V60 aren’t available on these fat32 cards. Also, you’ll see a file size limit of around 4GB. 

 

SDXC – SDXC indicates that the card is going to be 64-bit using the exFat file structure. This means you get all the of what technology memory cards have to offer. The V30, v60 speed classes and larger file sizes.

 

Class 10 – This is an older designation that they still put on memory cards. There use to be other classes written on memory cards, typically it would be a number inside a circle. Now every card is pretty much Class 10 and new Speed Classes have come around like U1 / U3 and V30 / V60 etc. So it’s all getting a little cluttered. Class 10 will give you a minimum guaranteed write speed of 10MB/s.

 

U1 / U3 – These are speed classes like Class 10 that indicate the minimum write speed a card is capable of. U1 is 10MB/s and U3 is 30MB/s. Typically if you’re shooting high bitrate video, you’ll want the U3 cards. Some cameras like Sony’s won’t even let you use their advanced video codecs without a U3 memory card.

 

V30 / V60 / V90 – This is the latest speed class. Just like Class 10 and U1 / U3, this speed class has to do with guaranteed minimum write speeds. V30 = 30MB/s, V60 = 60MB/s and so forth.

 

UHS-I / UHS-II – UHS-I and UHS-II memory cards are built completely different. UHS-II memory cards have a second set of pins that basically give the memory cards dual lanes to read and write data to and from. This makes these memory cards potentially twice as fasted when used in UHS-II devices.

 

 


Memory Card Trouble Shooting


 

Memory Card Not Working

There are several reasons a memory card may not work and I’ll list a few that I’ve seen or have personally dealt with.

1. Bad Memory Card – Every so often you can get a bad memory card, either they are DOA or they are just defective and die after a short time. Most memory card brands offer a 10-year to lifetime warranty. Sony cards usually only offer a 1-year warranty. So you can always send your card back and try a new one. 

 

2. Brand Incompatibility – Some camera brands don’t like some memory cards. For example Sony cards do not like Samsung memory cards and they will not work for video. Canon says their cameras don’t like Sony cards, although I’ve yet to have problems with Sony cards in Canon cameras, but those are a few example. If you’re having issues with a certain card in a camera, try a different brand. Sandisk cards work perfect in most cameras.

 

3. Memory Card Is Slow – Again you could have a defective memory card, or, you could have a counterfeit memory card. If you bought your memory card off of Ebay and you didn’t buy it from the manufacturer or trusted camera store, chances are, you could have a counterfeit memory card. Always make sure you buy your memory cards from a trusted source. BHphoto, Amazon, Adorama etc.