The best micro SD cards for photography, gopro and 4k action cams

best micro SD

Intro: the best micro sd card

In this article we are trying to figure out what is the best micro SD card, the fastest and most reliable memory card. If you just bought a Gopro 10 black, Yi 4k plus or other 4k action cams, or 360 action cams, a 4K mirrorless camera, DJI drones or other devices that need a micro sd card, you are probably seeking for a micro sd that can shoot [email protected] at a good price. We’ll try to compare and evaluate the performance of micro SD cards considering the price and your needs. (updated: June 2022)

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When buying a micro SD card, the most important feature to care about, in addition to the price, is the write speed, as we want the card to be fast in writing data, photos or videos we’re recording. But also the read speed is important, we don’t want to spend a whole morning waiting for the pictures to transfer from the card to our computer. The values in the graph are in MB/s, 150MB/s corresponds to the specific 1000x, 90MB/s to 600x, 45MB/s to 300X, 30MB/s to 200x. Also remember that these are the values in sequential read and write, so the maximum that the card can achieve.

The memory cards are among the essential accessories for photography and video shooting. Having a fast and reliable micro sd memory card, is essential to avoid losses of the captured frames, and to record reliably every shot (think about the continuous shooting in RAW that allows you to take up to 8-9 shots per second with very large files up to 50-100MB each, or about cams that records [email protected] videos: both cards must be very fast). Choosing a good memory card is crucial.

micro-sd-classes

We’ll explain briefly the meaning of Speed Class and UHS-I class:

  • Class 10 indicates that the card provides write speed of at least 10MB/s.
  • UHS-I U1 means that the card is fast enough for Full HD video recording at 1080p (i.e. > 10MB/s constant writing).
  • UHS-I U3 means that the card is fast enough to shoot videos in 4K Ultra HD (i.e. > 30MB/s constant writing) with devices that support the UHS-I standard.

Features of the best micro SD cards

The factors to take into account when choosing the best SD card are essentially 3:

  1. the size of the card:
    depending on the intended use it is necessary to have more or less storage space:
    – photograph: a 32GB card may be sufficient but I always suggest at least 64GB
    – video requires at least 64GB for FullHD video and 128GB for 4K
    – archiving: if you need to archive documents, songs, music, it is better to have at least 64GB available
  2. the minimum guaranteed writing speed: usually on SD cards various abbreviations are printed that indicate this value. In the table below we indicate what the symbols correspond to and which card may be suitable depending on the use
  3. the maximum achievable write speed: the faster the SD card, the more you can use it for operations that require high speeds, such as recording videos in 4K or a burst of photos in RAW format.

1. Size of the SD card in GB

Depending on the use to be made of the card, it is necessary to purchase more or less capacious micro SD cards. Obviously, the larger this value, the more space we will have available to record videos and photos or store data. The size of the card is expressed in GB or GigaByte (1 billion Byte), or TB (= 1024GB) and is indicated on the card itself. Cards range from 16GB to 2TB, but above 128GB are often not compatible with many devices, so make sure your device supports them before buying cards that are too large.

In the video field, a 32GB card may be sufficient to record in FullHD, while in 4K it is better to have 64GB in order not to run out of space in less than an hour. Better to avoid 8 or 16GB cards, if not for use in photography or to expand the memory of not exactly new phones. For recent phones it is good to take at least 32GB, although the most purchased size by users is 64GB.

Depending on the size, the cards take on a different nomenclature:

  • SD: up to 2GB
  • SDHC: 4 to 32GB
  • SDXC: 64GB to 2TB

2.1 What are the classes C and the abbreviations UHS, U1 and U3

  • Class 10 – or C10 – indicates that the card guarantees a write speed of at least 10MB / s.
  • U1 indicates that the card is fast enough to record Full HD video at 1080p (> 10MB / s constant writing) with devices that support the UHS-I standard.
  • The U3 speed class indicates that the card is fast enough for shooting 4K Ultra HD video (> 30MB / s constant writing) with devices that support the UHS-I standard.
  • The UHS-I cards have bus speed (data transmission channel, not to be confused with the write speed) of at least 50MB / s up to 104MB / s.
  • The UHS-II cards have bus speed (data transmission channel, not to be confused with the write speed) of at least 156MB / s up to 312MB / sec.

2.2 What are Video Speed ​​Classes

The Video speed Class is a specific speed class for those who use cards to record video. It is indicated with a V followed by a number ranging from V6 to V90. It is not always indicated in the cards, also because it is a fairly new standard, and these are the values ​​that can be found:

  • V6 enough to record video in 720p resolution
  • V10 enough to record Full HD videos
  • V30 suitable for 4K video recording
  • V60 and V90 suitable for recording 4k @ 60fps, 8K and 360 ° videos

3. Application Performance Class

As the name suggests, this standard refers to the performance of a card in running applications, specifically on Android. In fact, micro SD cards are increasingly used to expand the memory of phones or tablets, and it is also possible to use them to install applications. So this standard allows you to quickly understand if the card is suitable for this purpose or not.

There are currently only two classifications, A1 and A2, based on the number of IOPS – input/output operations – that the card can handle:

best micro sd class a1 a2
Therefore if you have to use the card in a smartphone to install applications, this is the symbol you must look for, if instead you will use the card to record videos you can ignore it and only watch the VSC standard described above.

4. Maximum read / write speed

Each card reaches a maximum reading and writing value, which can differ greatly even with the same class or standard of minimum guaranteed speed. If we use the SD card to record photos and videos, the most important data to take into account is the writing speed, as we care that the card is fast to write the data of the photo or video we are recording, while if we use it for archives or to listen to music we may be interested mainly in the reading speed.

This data is not marked on the card, but is usually written on the package or in the description of the card. In our article we will indicate the maximum speeds indicated by the manufacturer and those detected by us with special programs.

How to choose the best micro SD cards

The most important data that we must take into account in choosing the best SD card, in addition to the price, are the minimum and maximum writing speed, as it is important that the card is fast to write the data of the photo or video we are recording. in order not to risk losing data or filling the buffer of our reflex by slowing down the sequential shooting speed, for example.

So let’s see, depending on the use, what type of SD card you need to look for:

  • record videos: for 4K resolutions or higher, cards that meet at least V30 and U3 standards or better still V60 are required, moreover it is good that the card reaches writing speeds higher than 60MB / s, while for 2K and full HD they are sufficient 30MB / s in writing and the V10 and U1 standards. Our tip if you need to record 4K movies is to buy a UHS-II and V60 SD card, or at least U3.
  • take pictures: a good write speed is important for multiple shots and bursts, such as in sports and hunting photography, for which you should buy a card with standard U3. For other uses this data is not very important, look for a class 10 and standard U1 card.
  • listening to music and MP3: in this case the reading speed is relatively important, while the writing speed is only used to speed up the transfer process from the PC to the card. A Class 10 card is sufficient.
  • Store data and documents: Any SD card is fine, just be aware that the slower the speed, the longer the file transfer time will be.

The best micro sd cards

Let’s see in detail the best micro sd cards we considered in our chart, all of them are SD at least Class 10 and UHS-I:

1. SanDisk Extreme PRO – Class 10, U3, V30

– Speed Class: UHS-I U3, Class 10, V30, A2
– Declared Speed (read – write): 170MB/s – 90 MB/s
– Detected Speed * (read – write): 95.33MB/s – 90.66 MB/s
– Compatible Devices: GoPro 6, Yi 4k Plus, SLR, fullframe, smartphone, tablet, [email protected] action cams, mirrorless cameras
– Amazon User rating: 4.8 / 5
– Price: from 12$

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, 4K action cams, GoPro 10 and 9 black, Sony X3000, Xiaomi Yi 4K plus, SJ8, Firefly 8s, Smartphones, tablets.

Probably the best micro SD card on the market, it has excellent performance in both reading (95MB/s) and writing (up to 90 MB/s). This micro sd is perfect for all those uses that require fast writing, such as GoPro 6 Black, Yi 4K plus, Sony X1000v, fullframe SLR Cameras, tablets and smartphones and 4K devices. UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Class 10, supports 4K Ultra HD video and Full HD video. The price is in line with the other PRO, and if you want the best, this is the microSD for you. You get also the SD adapter (to use the micro sd with SLR cameras, for example).
Deluxe one year media recovery software (download offer), SanDisk Memory Zone included, Lifetime limited warranty, water proof, shock proof, x-ray proof, temperature proof. Updated models are in A2 class, so perfect for smartphone’s use.
Available capacities: from 32GB to 1012GB.

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Buy it on Amazon:

32GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
64GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
128GB: USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain


2. SanDisk Extreme PLUS – Class 10, UHS-I, U3, V30, A2

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10, V30, A1/A2
– Declared Speed (read – write): 170MB/s – 90 MB/s
– Detected Speed * (read – write): 158.22MB/s – 89.94 MB/s
– Compatible Devices: GoPro 3 +, SLR, fullframe, smartphone, tablet, Action cam, compact cameras
– Amazon User rating: 4.8 / 5
– Price @ Amazon: from 9$

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 4, GoPro 5, Sony action cams, SJ5000X, SJ7, Xiaomi Yi 4K, Firefly 8S, Smartphones, tablets.

One of the best micro SD cards on the market, as you can see from the comparison chart, it has excellent performance in both reading (98MB/s) and writing (up to 80 MB/s). This micro sd is perfect for all those uses that require fast writing, such as GoPro Hero 5 or GoPro 6 Black, [email protected] cams like Yi 4k plus and SJ7, 4K action cams as Firefly 8S, Xiaomi Mijia, SJ7, fullframe SLR Cameras, tablets and high end smartphones. UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Class 10, supports 4K Ultra HD video and Full HD video. Really good performance and a good price. You get also the SD adapter (to use the micro sd with SLR cameras, for example). Some models are in A2 class, so perfect for smartphone’s use.

Buy it on Amazon:

32GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
64GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
128GB: USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain

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3. Lexar Professional 1066x

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10, V30, A2
– Declared Speed (read – write): 160MB/s – 120 MB/s
– Compatible devices: GoPro 10 and earlier, SLR, full frame cameras, smartphone, tablet, 4k @ 60fps action cameras, compact cameras, 4k drones

It has a really excellent read performance (160MB/s) while write speed is around 120MB/s, making this micro sd card effective for all those applications that require fast writing, as GoPro Hero 10, GoPro Max, SLR cameras, tablets and high-end smartphones that record in 4K as the Samsung S22. It doesn’t reach the writing performances of the Sandisk Extreme Pro and Kingston. It ‘Class UHS-II U3, so it’s certified to record movies in Ultra HD 4K. The price is in line with other micro sd in the PRO category, and if you want the fastest in reading, this is the microSD for you. It comes with USB 3.0 adapter UHS-II (to quickly download data from the card into PC).
Limited lifetime warranty for the card and one year for the reader. Includes a copy valid for life of  downloadable Image Rescue® software.

Lexar is a well known brand for its reliability. This micro SD is very performing, in U3 class and V30 certified, therefore suitable for 4K videos with GoPro, drones, fullframe reflex cameras and video cameras. It can also be used to take pictures with any high-end camera.

As for use as a memory expansion of tablets and smartphones, it is certified in class A2, so it is certainly suitable for the purpose, even for installing apps directly.


4. Samsung Evo Pro Plus

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10, V30, A2
– Speed declared (read – write): 160MB/s – up to 120 MB/s
– Includes SD adapter

This micro SD have a read speed of 160MB/s, and write speed up to 120MB/s (128GB and above). Cheap Micro SD but with excellent performance, it is in fact rated U3 and V30 certified, ensuring that it can be used to record 4k videos with any device, such as GoPro, drones, reflex cameras. It is also in class A2, therefore suitable for expanding the memory of smartphones and tablets, also for installing applications. A good choice if you want to spend little and have a lot of GB to use.

Huge capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB give you plenty of storage space for hi-res photos, must-have apps, and all the media you want. Get extra drone memory that will allow you to record high-quality footage on your DJI drone, store it, and transfer it between devices. The Pro Plus takes on life’s adventures with water, temperature, X-ray, magnet, drop and wearout protection; Backed by a 10-year limited warranty.


5. Samsung Evo Select

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10, V30, A2
– Speed declared (read – write): 130MB/s – up to 90 MB/s
– Includes SD adapter

If your priority is a low price, but still want good quality and speed, then this is the micro sd card for you. For a few bucks you can have a micro SD with a read speed of 130MB/s, and write speed up to 90MB/s (128GB and above). Cheap Micro SD but with excellent performance. It is in fact U3 and V30 certified, ensuring that it can be used to record 4k videos with any device, such as GoPro, drones, reflex cameras. It is also in class A2, therefore suitable for expanding the memory of smartphones and tablets, also for installing applications. A good choice if you want to spend little and have a lot of GB to use. You can find 2 different versions: green (older and slower) and blue (newer and faster).


6. SanDisk Extreme – Class 10, U3, V30, A1

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10, V30, A2
– Speed declared (read – write): 90MB/s – 60 MB/s
– Includes SD adapter
– Amazon users vote: 4.7 / 5

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 10, Sony action cams, Smartphones, tablets.

Quality micro SD card, very fast and reliable for a very low price. Great reviews on Amazon. Its writing speed almost reaches the performance of the PRO micro SD cards, but with a lower price by 20% compared to the Extreme Plus. Best value / price between those listed here.
SanDisk Memory Zone software included (requires download). RescuePRO Deluxe media recovery software (1 year free). SD adapter included

Economic Micro SD but with excellent performance. It is in fact V30 certified, ensuring that it can be used to record 4k videos with any device, such as GoPro, drones, reflex cameras. It is also in class A2, therefore suitable for expanding the memory of smartphones and tablets, also for installing applications. A good choice if you want to spend little.

32GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
64GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
128GB: USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain

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7. Arcanite

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10, V30, A1/A2
– Speed declared (read – write): 90MB/s – 70 MB/s
– Includes SD adapter
– Recommended for: GoPro 10 and earlier, SLRs, smartphones, tablets, 4k @ 30fps action cameras, compact cameras, 4k drones

A good micro SD at cheap prices, there are two versions, one slower (90-70MB / s) and cheaper, the other faster (95-80Mb / s) and slightly more expensive. It is in U3 class and V30 certified, therefore suitable for recording 4K videos with Gopro, other action cameras, drones and reflex cameras. Obviously also excellent for any type of single-shot photography.

The economy version is in class A1 and therefore suitable for use for expanding the memory of smartphones and tablets, but if you also want to use it to install apps, I recommend purchasing the A2 version (you can always find it on the product page).


8. Kingston Canvas GO

– Speed Class: UHS-I U3, Class 10
– Declared Speed (read – write): 90MB/s – 45 MB/s
– Compatible Devices: GoPro, SLR cameras, smartphone, tablet, Action cam, compact cameras

Card with announced performance of up to 90 MB/s read and 45MB/s write speeds. This micro SD High-end suits every use, like the GoPro, other action cam like Sony AS200v, Xiaomi Yi, up to full frame SLR cameras – using an adapter for microSD – or smartphones and tablets including the latest generation.
Read speed is very good (> 90MB/s as stated). It is class U3 and is therefore certified for use in recording 4k, 2k and fullHD videos. With this price/performance ratio it is a good choice.

Buy it on Amazon:

32GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
64GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
128GB: USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain

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9. Samsung Evo Plus – Class 10, U3

– Speed Class: UHS-I U3, Class 10
– Declared Speed (read – write): 100MB/s – 60 MB/s
– Detected Speed * (read – write): 96.70MB/s – 64.33 MB/s
– Compatible Devices: GoPro 6, Yi 4k Plus, SLR, fullframe, smartphone, tablet, 4k Action cam
– Amazon Users rating: 4.7 / 5

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, [email protected] action cams, GoPro 6 and 5 black, Sony X3000, Xiaomi Yi 4K plus, SJ8, Firefly 8s, high end Smartphones, tablets.

Whenever someone asks me for advice on what is the best micro sd card with a good price, I recommend this Samsung Evo Plus. Class 10 U3, up to 100 MB/s read and 60 MB/s write. From the tests write values are ​​higher than the data declared, making this high-end micro SD suitable for every use from the GoPro Hero 5 and Hero 6 Black, to other 4K action cams like Yi 4K plus, SJ8, Xiaomi Mijia, or SLR cameras – using the adapter for microSD included – or even the latest generation smartphones and tablets. Excellent values ​​both in reading and writing, and being in class U3 it is certified to be used in video recording in 4k and 2k resolutions, and obviously fullHD. It comes with an SD / microSD adapter which can always be useful.
Given the performance / price ratio it is an excellent choice, if you want to save money and have good performance, this is the card for you. After trying it to write this article, I bought 3 more for my personal use. I also use it for 4K @ 60fps with Yi 4K plus.

Buy it on Amazon:

32GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
64GB:   USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain
128GB: USA | GB | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain

Smartphone
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FullHD
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Bestsellers

Now let’s see the ranking of the best-selling micro SD cards:

Conclusions

Choosing the best micro SD card is subjective, it depends on what you need to do with it and how much you want to pay it.
For cameras with very high resolution (Ultra-HD, 2K, 4K), or to do continuous shooting with full frame SLR, Gopro 10, or mobile filming at high resolutions like the Samsung S22, we recommend a micro SD card belonging to the first 3 positions, the Sandisk extreme Pro, SanDisk Extreme PLUS, Lexar Professional 1066x.
For full HD cameras, SLR fullframe in single-shot or continuous for 4-5 shots, cell phones that record FullHD (i.e. Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 and S5) we suggest one of the SD cards in the PLUS Category.
For everything else (compact cameras, SLR cameras up to 15Mpx, HD ready cameras, economic cell phones) could be ok a standard card.

Have you purchased one of these micro sd cards? Share your experience with us writing a comment below!

22 Comments on “The best micro SD cards for photography, gopro and 4k action cams”

  1. You’re confusing the information by interchanging megabits and megabytes units. MB = megabyte, Mb = megabit. 1 MB = 8 Mb. It seems the article is only giving values in MB.

  2. Samsung Evo was measured at 20.2Mb sequential write at Tom’s HW. Not 40+ as you stated here?
    Some GoPro users say issues at 1080/60 but ok for less.

    1. I have Samsung Evo, and this is what i personally measured with Crystal disk mark 3 and 5.
      Here’s the screenshot, again
      Samsung Evo benchmark

  3. im confused about sd card classifications.(not very techy).
    For hero4 session, is it ok to use an sd card with uhs 3? or uhs 1 will be just right?
    what’s the difference? thanks for answering.

    1. Hi, if you plan to use the gopro in fullHD 1080p, it’s quite the same. If you are using 4K, you should buy a UHS-I U3 card. U3 cards are certified for 4K recording, U1 cards are certified for FullHD recording (but fast U1 cards can record also 4K). If you want to be sure, buy a U3 card.

    1. Hi, for your purposes is quite the same. If you buy a fast SD card it will work properly in any case. They show quite the same speed also during test, sandisk is slightly faster.

  4. can any adapter work with a u3 micro card? I have a bunch of old adapters lying around and if I buy a micro sd card u3, and use it with an old adapter in a new camera to shoot 4k video will I get the same speed or are the adapters different classes too? thanks

    1. Hi, if you buy a UHS-I card there should be no problem with your old adapters. UHS-II cards have different pins, so they won’t probably work (or they will work slower)

  5. I ordered a Git2 because of your review and now I’m looking at Micro SD cards. You mentioned using the Samsung EVO in the review. Have you tested the Samsung EVO+? It seems to be newer than the EVO, but the rated write speeds for the EVO+ are slower. I saw the GIt2 supports 128GB now and I thought to ask because the price for an EVO+ 128GB micro sd is ~$40 USD.

    1. Yes, i suggest samsung Evo beacuse I use it and it is cheap but works fine. I never tried the Evo+ and i also saw the rates are lower. I suggest not to use 128GB cards for many reasons (and in case you lose it you lose everything) but 2 of 64GB or 3-4 of 32GB.

  6. I got my U3 card, a SanDisk Extreme. So far it has been flawless.

    Perfect for 4K/30fps or 1080P/60fps recording

  7. Don’t Buy Sandisk Ultra Cards for Dash Cameras!
    The Ultra series is a popular purchase because of their price and availability. They are not a good choice because of their high failure rates when used in dash cameras. As well SanDisk will not warranty any cards used in a dash camera unless you use their High Endurance lineup.
    Suspected Problem
    TLC cards like the Ultra can have worse controllers, error correction and wear leveling which reduces reliability in heavy use. It’s suspected that the Ultra’s controller chip has an especially hard time handling the constant rewriting of dash cameras. The Ultra may also be overly aggressive in permanently write-locking the card when it detects bad sectors. This is a protective mechanism found in many cards to ensure your data is saved when there are errors. The Ultra may be over-zealous and lock the card early.
    Manufacturers Agree – Avoid the Ultra
    Vicovation has a post advising users to avoid the Ultra series in their newest camera. After extensive testing they noted it’s significantly slower than other similarly rated brands. The owner of Street Guardian has said that Sandisk cards are not compatible with dash cameras except for the recent Endurance line. Papago does not recommend Sandisk or Samsung cards because they cause disruption in their dash cameras

  8. As of September 2018, easily the best card for GoPro Hero is the Samsung EVO Plus microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card (2017 Model), Class 10 U3 speed (up to 100MB/s Read and 60MB/s Write). 64GB with adapter widely available for only $21. For best results it’s important with formatting to use the official SD Association Memory Card Formatter: https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/

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