The best micro SD cards of 2017 for photography, gopro and action cams

Which micro SD card is the fastest? Which is the most reliable? Which is more suitable for the GoPro Hero 3 +, Gopro 4 black, SJ4000 or SJ5000+ and which is the cheapest? We’ll try to compare and evaluate the performance of micro SD cards considering the price and your needs. We’ll start with a graph of micro SD’s reading and writing performance.

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techfunology.com chart


The above graph compares the performance (or benchmark) of some micro SD cards measured using CrystalDiskMark 3.0 * in sequential read and write. Obviously, 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, 90MB/s corresponds to the specific 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 quality fast and reliable memory card, is essential to avoid loss 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 full HD video, or 4k video: both cards must be very fast). Choosing a good memory card is crucial.

micro-sd-classes

What is 'Class' and what UHS-I U1 or U3 means

We’ll explain briefly the meaning of Speed Classes and UHS-I classes

  • 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 for shooting videos in 4K Ultra HD (i.e. > 30MB / s constant writing) with devices that support the UHS-I standard.
For convenience we divide the micro SD cards into 3 categories:

  • PRO: read speed of 90MB/s, suitable for all, full frame professional DSLR, GoPro Hero 3 + at all resolutions, camcorders 4k, 2k and fullHD, tablets and smartphones of all kinds
  • PLUS: read speed of 45MB/s, suitable for SLR cameras also fullframe (not for fast continuous shooting), GoPro Hero 3 + when used in fullHD, tablets and smartphones of all kinds
  • STANDARD: read speed of 30MB/s or less, suitable for SLR cameras (not for pictures in continuous shooting), in Full HD action camera (such as SJ4000, or the gopro at medium resolution), tablets and smartphones of all kinds
  • ECONOMIC: cards from low-cost, but as we will see they have performances of all relief sometimes even superior to the standard cards, they are probably made in the same factories of the most famous brands but they come out with no brand. You can use them as standard cards, or plus cards in some cases.

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Let’s see in detail all the micro sd cards considered in the comparison chart, all of them are SDHC Class 10 UHS-I:

PRO: 90MB/s read

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDSDQXP-032G-G46A microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I U3

Sandisk_Extreme_Pro_Benchmark– Price: 32$ / 33€ / 25£
– Amazon User rating: 4.8 / 5
– Speed Class: UHS-I U3, Class 10
– Declared Speed (read – write): 95MB/s – 90 MB/s
– Detected Speed * (read – write): 95.33MB/s – 90.66 MB/s
– Compatible Devices: GoPro 3 +, Gopro 4, SLR, fullframe, smartphone, tablet, Action cam, compact cameras

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 Hero 3 + or GoPro 4 Black, Sony AS200v and 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.
Available capacities: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, GoPro 4, Sony action cams as AS200v and X1000v, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi 2K, Smartphones, tablets.

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Kingston SDCA3/32GB, UHS-1, Class 10 UHS-I U3

Benchmark_Kingston_SDCA332GB– Price: 23$ / 33€ / 25£
– Amazon User rating: 4.8 / 5
– Speed Class: UHS-I U3, Class 10
– Declared Speed (read – write): 95MB/s – 90 MB/s
– Detected Speed * (read – write): 93.28MB/s – 86.41 MB/s
– Compatible Devices: GoPro 3 +, Gopro 4, SLR, fullframe, smartphone, tablet, Action cam, compact cameras

Card with announced performance of up to 90 MB/s read and 80MB/s write speeds. From tests, values are in line with the declared data, even slightly higher, reaching 93.3 MB/s read and 86.4MB/s write.
This micro SD High-end suits every use, like the GoPro Hero 3 + and 4 Hero, other action cam like Sony AS200v, AS30v and X1000v, SJ4000+, SJ5000 +, 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, write speed too (> 80MB/s as stated), reaching Sandisk Extreme Plus performances. 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.

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, GoPro 4, Sony action cams as AS200v and X1000v, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi 2K, Smartphones, tablets.

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SanDisk Extreme PLUS microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I 600X 32GB

Sandisk_Extreme_Plus_Benchmark– Price: 29$ / 34€ / 20£
– Amazon User rating: 4.8 / 5
– Speed Class: UHS-1 grade U3, Class 10, 600x
– Declared Speed (read – write): 90MB/s – 80 MB/s
– Detected Speed * (read – write): 95.22MB/s – 59.94 MB/s
– Compatible Devices: GoPro 3 +, SLR, fullframe, smartphone, tablet, Action cam, compact cameras

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 (96MB/s) and writing (up to 74 MB/s). This micro sd is perfect for all those uses that require fast writing, such as GoPro Hero 3 + or GoPro 4 Black, fullframe SLR Cameras, tablets and 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).

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, GoPro 4, Sony action cams, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi, Smartphones, tablets.

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Samsung MB-HC PRO MG32D, UHS-1 Class 10

Samsung_Pro_Microsd_benchmark– Price: 29.99$ / 29 € / 26£
– Amazon User rating: 5/5
– Speed Class: UHS-1 grade 1, Class 10, 600x
– Declared Speed (read – write): 90MB/s – 80 MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 84.57MB/s – 75.1 MB/s
– Review: Samsung MicroSDHC PRO

This micro sd card declares up to 90 MB/s read and 80 MB/s write. It belongs to the new line of Samsung PRO products (April 2014), a line of high-end (600x) products with excellent performance, suitable for any use from the GoPro Hero 3 + and GoPro 4 Black, up to SLR cameras – using an adapter for microSD -, or smartphone and tablet. The reading speed is very good, writing speed is excellent (up to 80MB/s as stated), reaching the Sandisk Extreme Plus performance. Price dropped quickly from 40 € to 28 €, making it a real bargain. It is not U3 class so it is not certified for Ultra HD videos, even though it has excellent performances.

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, GoPro 4, Sony action cams, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi, Smartphones, tablets.

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Lexar HIGH Performance Micro SDHC UHS-I U3 1000X 32GB

– Price: 33$ / 34 € / 25£
– Amazon User rating: 4.9/5
– Speed Class: UHS-II U3, Class 10, 1000x
– Speed declared (read – write): 150MB/s – ? MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 140MB/s – ~50 MB/s
– Provided with USB 3.0 reader

We didn’t test this micro sd card, but from users we get this results: read speed 140MB/s, write speed around 50 MB/s.

The latest micro sd produced by Lexar has really excellent read performance (140MB/s) while write speed is the same measured in the previous version, 633x (reaches ~50 MB/s), making this micro sd card effective for all those applications that require fast writing, as GoPro Hero 3+, GoPro 4, SLR cameras, tablets and high-end smartphones that record in 4K as the Samsung Note 4. It doesn’t reach 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.

Recommended in the official website for use with the GoPro Hero 3+ Black and GoPro 4 Black and Silver.

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, GoPro 4, Sony action cams, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi, Smartphones, tablets.

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Lexar HIGH Performance Micro SDHC UHS-I 633X 32GB

Lexar_SD_633x_Benchmark– Price: 38$ / 30-32 € / 26£
– Amazon User rating: 5/5
– Speed Class: UHS-1 grade 1, Class 10, 633x
– Speed declared (read – write): 95MB/s – 45 MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 94.27MB/s – 48.61 MB/s
– Provided with USB 3.0 reader

SD memory card on market since May 2014. Fast reading (declared 633x), in writing it is a bit slower than the previous ones, but the lexar is famous for reliability and high read speed, useful to handle large flows of data after shooting. The price is in line with the direct competitors in the PRO category. It comes with a USB 3.0 reader very fast and useful in many situations. Suitable for anyone who is demanding and requiring fast performance, as to the GoPro hero3 + or SLR cameras and fullframe users. It is not U3 class so it is not certified for Ultra HD videos, even though it has excellent performances.

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, GoPro 4, Sony action cams, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi, Smartphones, tablets..

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PLUS: read speed 45MB / s

SanDisk Extreme SDSDQXL-032G-G46A Micro SD Mobile

SD_Sandisk_Extreme_32GB_Benchmark– Price: 27$ / 22€ / 18£
– Amazon users vote: 4.5 / 5
– Speed Class: UHS-1 grade 1, Class 10, 300x
– Speed declared (read – write): 45MB/s – 45 MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 43.4MB/s – 40.85 MB/s
– Includes SD adapter.

Quality micro SD card, very fast and reliable. 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 Pro. Best value / price between those listed here. SanDisk Memory Zone software included (requires download). RescuePRO Deluxe media recovery software (1 year free).

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, GoPro 4, Sony action cams, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi, Smartphones, tablets..

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Samsung EVO MB-MG32D / EU microSDHC UHS-I, 32 GB, Class 10

samsung_microsd_EVO_benchmark– Price: 18$ / 18€ / 12£
– Amazon User rating: 4.7 / 5
– Speed Class: UHS-1 grade 1, Class 10, 330x
– Declared Speed (read – write): 48MB/s – 45 MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 44.6MB/s – 40.03 MB/s
– Warranty: Limited 3 year

This is the best seller micro SD card in Amazon all over the world.

The performance of this new Samsung micro sd card put it at the top of the mid-range cards up to 300x (48MB/s) with excellent performance even in write speed, reaching a great value up to 40MB/s write, a performance very close to PRO cards, but it comes with a price up to 50/60% lower (below 20$ / 20€). Perhaps the best microSD in the range price of 18-25€, and one of the best microsd cards for quality / price ratio.
The newest EVO Series by Samsung , launched in April 2014, is designed for those seeking reliable memory cards to use in their digital cameras, digital SLR cameras, camcorders, and PC action cam that combine performance and price. In addition, they are declared water proof, shock, magnets, X-rays and extreme temperatures proof, a good feature for those who travel frequently in various types of environments and situations.

Good for: SLR cameras, action cams, GoPro 3+, Sony action cams, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi, Smartphones, tablets.

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64 GB for 17$ at Gearbest
Samsung MB-MPBGC Plus microSDHC UHS-I, 32 GB, Class 10

– Price: 18$ / 19 € / 16£
– Amazon User rating: 4.7 / 5
– Speed Class: UHS-1 grade 1, Class 10, 300x
– Declared Speed (read – write): 45MB/s – 30 MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 20.1MB/s – 16.9 MB/s
– Warranty: Limited for 10 years
– SD adapter included (in some countries)

This is the old Samsung PLUS, replaced by the EVO. Great price, good for SJ1000 Economic Action Cam and smartphones, a bit less for SLR cameras. Performance is good though inferior to those of the categories described above but the price is almost half; Amazon users reviewed this card as extremely reliable. The rated speed is up to 45MB/S and corresponds to a 300X, actually the measured performances are lower, but it may be a problem with the card we tested. The price is good, only € 19 for a 32GB Plus card. Warranty is 10 years. Card suitable for devices that do not require a huge speed (eg. the Gopro 3+ for which cards are recommended above) but great for phones, tablets, cameras no more than fullHD, economic action cam. We greatly recommend the new Samsung EVO instead of the old PLUS.

Good for: cheap action cams, Sony action cams, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi, cheap smartphones, cheap tablets.

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Economical: low prices for very interesting performances

Qumox 32GB UHS-I Class 10

– Price: 14$ / 14-16 € / 11£
– Amazon User rating: 4.8/5
– Speed Class: UHS-1 grade 1, Class 10
– Declared Speed reading – writing: 70MB/s – 15 MB/s
– Detected Speed* read – write: 72MB/s – 19 MB/s
– Supplied with SD Adapter

Micro SD Card with exceptional performance considering the ridiculously low price. 13€ for a 32gb card that has PRO performance in read speed and PLUS speed in writing. Indeed, by measuring with an SD USB 3.0 reader it measures a write speed up to 19MB/s making the card usable with full HD action cams, camcorders up to FullHD, SLR. Not suitable for fullframe and movies in 2K and GoPro 3+. Perhaps the best micro sd between cheap cards. Users who bought it on Amazon didn’t encounter any kind of problem with this card. Suitable for those who use the action cam SJ1000 and SJ4000, as it is produced by the same company.

Good for: Full HD action cams, Sony action cams, SJ4000, SJ4000+, SJ5000+, Xiaomi Yi, cheap smartphones, cheap tablets.

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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 3 and Gopro 4, or mobile filming at high resolutions like the Samsung Note 4, we recommend a micro SD card belonging to the category that we called PRO.
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!

* Sources:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/sd-cards-2014/benchmarks,168.html
http://www.storagereview.com/


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21 Comments

  1. Megaconfused

    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.

    Reply
  2. Shawn

    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.

    Reply
  3. russel

    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.

    Reply
    1. mork

      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.

      Reply
    1. mork

      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.

      Reply
  4. Eric Chang

    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

    Reply
    1. mork

      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)

      Reply
  5. Paul

    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.

    Reply
    1. mork

      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.

      Reply
  6. Jackson

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

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

    Reply
  7. Oleg

    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

    Reply

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