What is an SD card and which SD cards to buy


If you have a digital camera, be it a compact, mirrorless, or DSLR camera, you need to pair it with an SD card to save your photos and videos. Most digital cameras do not come with an SD card, so it is up to you, the photographer, to purchase one that matches your digital camera and your shooting needs.

When looking for an SD card for your digital camera, there are many different options and it can get complicated quickly. Here are the basics you need to know.

What is an SD card?

An SD (Secure Digital) card is a small, removable memory card that can be inserted into a number of consumer electronics devices, including digital cameras, printers, laptops, smartphones, and video game consoles ( like Nintendo Switch) to record, store and transfer data. Many smartphones have switched to using Micro SD cards, which are a smaller version (in size and capacity) of an SD card.

Cards: SD, SDHC or SDCX?

There are different types of SD cards – SD, SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity), and SDXC (Secure Digital Xtra Capacity) – but they all effectively do the same job: adding storage to your digital camera. SD cards are older and generally have lower capacities and slower transfer speeds. SDHC and SDXC cards are newer (and better) types of SD cards that have higher storage capacities and faster transfer speeds. And yes, they are more expensive.

It is important to verify the type of memory card compatible with your digital camera before purchasing one. Most new digital cameras should support three types of SD cards. If the digital camera is over 10 years old, chances are it won’t support SDHC and SDXC cards because they weren’t there, but this is an issue that should be quite rare. .

Why is speed important?

SD card speed refers to two different speeds: there is the “write speed” and the “read speed”. Write speed is the speed at which the SD card is able to record all information while you take photos or videos with your camera, while read speed is the speed at which you can transfer data. data out of the SD card. Write speed and read speed are generally the same on most SD cards.

The speed of an SD card is important as a quality of life feature, but it is crucial for people who use high-end digital cameras. High resolution photos and videos require an SD card to be fast so that it can save all the data as quickly as possible. Most high capacity SD cards usually tend to have high speeds as well, so you don’t have to worry as much about a high capacity card with low speed.

If you don’t see the advertised SD card speed, the other thing you want to watch out for is its class. The SD Association (the governing body of SD cards) created a class system to help standardize SD card speed ratings, and each SD card is assigned a class rating. The higher the class, the faster the write speeds of the SD card

Here are the different classes and their minimum write speeds: Class 2 (2MB / s), Class 4 (4MB / s), Class 6 (6MB / s) or Class 10 (up to 10MB / s) .

    Why is capacity important?

    SD card capacities are usually measured in gigabytes (GB) and range from a few gigabytes to 512 GB. When deciding on the capacity of your SD card, you need to know the size of the photos or videos you take.

    If you have a fairly modern mirrorless or DSLR camera, uncompressed RAW photos will take up around 7 megabytes (MB) each. With this knowledge, you can put around 325 photos on an SD card with a capacity of 16 GB, or 650 photos on a 32 GB card.

    Videos take up more space than photos and complicate things in one more direction; In addition to resolution and bit rate, you should also consider things like video length and aspect ratio. If you’re shooting 4K video at 60 fps (which is pretty standard these days for action cameras, compact shooters, and even smartphones), a 16 GB card can store around ten 4K videos at 60 fps.

    The high-speed performance of Lexar Professional Class SDXC will dramatically speed up the workflow from start to finish.


    Some buying advice

    • If you can, buy the most advanced card your camera can accept.

    • Buy from a well-known SD card manufacturer, such as SanDisk or Lexar.

    • Before purchasing an SD card, check if there are any higher capacity models available – you may be able to get a better deal on one.

    That said, here are some good choices.

    Lexar Professional Class SDXC (64 GB)


    Lexar Professional Class SDXC (64 GB)

    Best all-rounder

    The Lexar Professional line of SDXC cards is one of the best you can buy. It offers Class 10 speeds and relatively high capacity, and it is quite capable of processing 4K photos and videos from your camera. And it’s still really affordable. This range has capacities ranging from 32 GB to 1 TB.

    SanDisk Extreme SD (16 GB)


    SanDisk Extreme SD (16 GB)

    Best budget

    The SanDisk Extreme SD line is a great affordable option. Despite its price, it still offers relatively Class 10 speeds (up to 90MB / s) which is only a slight drop from the Lexar Professional SDXC line (above). It is available in a range of capacities, from 16 GB to 256 GB.

    SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-II (64 GB)


    SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-II (64 GB)

    $ 190.38

    $ 107.25 (44% off)

    Better upgrade

    The SanDisk Extreme Pro is an SDXC card beast. Its blazingly fast read and write speeds (Class 10) have made it a must-have choice for professional photographers and videographers who shoot photos in the highest resolution. It is available in capacities up to 128 GB.

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