The best micro SD cards of 2018 for photography, gopro and 4k action cams

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 6 black, Yi 4k plus or other 4k action cams, a 4K mirrorless or other devices, you are probably seeking for a micro sd that can shoot 4K@60fps at a good price. 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 is a benchmark that compares the performance of some micro SD cards, measured using CrystalDiskMark 3.0 * in sequential read and write mode. 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 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 4k@60fps videos: 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 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.
We divided the micro SD cards into 4 categories:

  • PRO: write speed of at least 80MB/s, suitable for every device, full frame professional DSLR, GoPro Hero 6 at all resolutions, 4k@60fps camcorders, 2k and fullHD, tablets and smartphones of all kinds
  • PLUS: write speed of at least 50MB/s, suitable for SLR cameras also fullframe (not for fast continuous shooting), GoPro Hero 4 when used in fullHD, tablets and smartphones of all kinds
  • STANDARD: write speed of at least 30MB/s , suitable for SLR cameras (not for pictures in continuous shooting), Full HD action cameras (such as SJ4000, or the gopro at medium resolution), tablets and smartphones of all kinds
  • ECONOMIC: low-cost cards, write speed <30MB/s, but as we will see sometimes they have performances good enough for many purposes, they are probably made in the same factories of the most famous brands but they come out with no brand.

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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: >80MB/s write speed

You can use this micro sd cards with Gopro 5 & 6 Black, Yi 4k plus, 4k@60fps devices, fast SLR and mirrorless cameras.

SanDisk Extreme PRO - Class 10, U3, V30

– Speed Class: UHS-I U3, Class 10, V30
– Declared Speed (read – write): 95MB/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, 4k@60fps action cams, mirrorless cameras
– Amazon User rating: 4.8 / 5
– Price: $22.85

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

Sandisk_Extreme_Pro_BenchmarkProbably 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.
Available capacities: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.

$22.85 @ Amazon US

 

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SanDisk Extreme PLUS - Class 10, UHS-I, U3, V30, A1

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10, V30, A1
– Declared Speed (read – write): 100MB/s – 80 MB/s
– Detected Speed * (read – write): 98.22MB/s – 79.94 MB/s
– Compatible Devices: GoPro 3 +, SLR, fullframe, smartphone, tablet, Action cam, compact cameras
– Amazon User rating: 4.8 / 5
– Price @ Amazon: $29.99

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, 4K@60fps 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).

$29.99 @ Amazon US

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Samsung PRO Plus - Class 10, U3

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10
– Declared Speed (read – write): 100MB/s – 90 MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 92MB/s – 86 MB/s
– SD adapter included
– Amazon User rating: 4.7/5
– Price @ Amazon: $26.99

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 5 & 6, Sony 4k action cams, SJ7 & SJ8, Firefly 8s, Xiaomi Mijia, Xiaomi Yi 4k Plus, high end smartphones like Samsung S9 and Huawei P20, tablets.

This micro sd card declares up to 100 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write. It belongs to the new updated line of Samsung PRO products, a line of high-end products with excellent performance, suitable for any use from the GoPro Hero 5 and GoPro 6 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 90MB/s as stated), reaching the Sandisk Extreme Plus performance. Price dropped quickly from 50$ to 30$, making it a real bargain. It is U3 class so it is certified for Ultra HD or 4K videos, and has excellent performances.

$26.99 @ Amazon US

 

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Toshiba Exceria PRO M501 - Class 10, U3

– Speed Class: UHS-2, U3, Class 10
– Declared Speed (read – write): 270MB/s – 150 MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): nd – nd
– SD adapter included
– Amazon User rating: 4.7/5
– Price @ Amazon: Check on Amazon

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 5 & 6, Sony 4k action cams, SJ7 & SJ8, Firefly 8s, Xiaomi Mijia, Xiaomi Yi 4k Plus, high end smartphones like Samsung S9 and Huawei P20, tablets.

This micro sd card declares up to 270 MB/s read and 150 MB/s write so it’s the fastest micro SD card in this article. It belongs to the new updated line of Toshiba Exceria PRO products, a line of high-end products with excellent performance, suitable for any use from the GoPro Hero 5 and GoPro 6 Black, up to SLR cameras – using the included adapter for microSD -, or smartphone and tablet. The reading speed is very good, writing speed is excellent (up to 90MB/s as stated), reaching the Sandisk Extreme Plus performance. Price dropped quickly from 50$ to 30$, making it a real bargain. It is U3 class so it is certified for Ultra HD or 4K videos, and has excellent performances.

Check on Amazon @ Amazon US

 

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Kingston SDCA3 - Class 10, U3

– 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
– Amazon User rating: 4.8 / 5
– Price on Amazon: $20.41

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, 4K action cams (but I had problems), GoPro 5 and 4 black, Sony X1000v, Xiaomi Yi 4K, SJ8, Firefly 8s, Smartphones, tablets.

Benchmark_Kingston_SDCA332GBCard 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. I had problems recording in 4K with this card, so be aware.

$20.41 @ Amazon US

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PLUS: > 50MB / s write speed

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
– Price: $14.40

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, 4K@60fps 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.

$14.40 @ Amazon US

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SanDisk Extreme - Class 10, U3, V30, A1

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U3, Class 10, V30, A1
– Speed declared (read – write): 90MB/s – 60 MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 90.4MB/s – 60.85 MB/s
– Includes SD adapter
– Amazon users vote: 4.7 / 5
– Price@Amazon: $16.95

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 4, GoPro 5, Sony action cams, SJ7, Xiaomi Yi 4K, 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

$16.95 @ Amazon US

 

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Lexar 1000x - Class 10, U3
– Speed Class: UHS-II U3, Class 10, 1000x
– Speed declared (read – write): 150MB/s – ? MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 147MB/s – 52 MB/s
– Provided with USB 3.0 reader
– Amazon User rating: 4.7/5
– Price @ Amazon: $29.00

Good for: SLR cameras, fullframe cameras, action cams, GoPro 5, Sony 4k action cams, Xiaomi Yi 4k, Smartphones, tablets.

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 4 Black and GoPro 5 Black.

 

$29.00 @ Amazon US

 

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Standard: >30MB/s write speed

SanDisk Ultra - Class 10, U1, A1

– Speed Class: UHS-1, U1, Class 10, A1
– Speed declared (read – write): 100MB/s – ? MB/s
– Detected Speed* (read – write): 90.4MB/s – 49MB/s
– Includes SD adapter
– Amazon users vote: 4.5 / 5
– Price@Amazon: $11.69

Good for: SLR cameras, FullHD action cams, GoPro 3+, Smartphones, tablets.

Quality micro SD card, very fast and reliable for a very low price, rated A1 for faster app performance and UHS Speed Class U1 and Speed Class 10 for Full HD video recording and playback. 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.
This is the new version of Sandisk ultra recently renovated, the previous one was declared at 30MB / s and had many problems, solved in this sheet. The speed declared in reading is 100MB/s. On Samsung S5, action cam SJ5000 and Nikon D7000 SLR, and I’ve never encountered any kind of problem, so surely this new version is suitable for these types of use. Suitable for tablets and smartphones of mid-high range that records up to FullHD, not suitable for devices that record in 4k as the Samsung Note 8 or the Gopro 4. Suitable for use as an archive of music, documents and more, given the reduced price.

$11.69 @ Amazon US

 

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Economical: <30MB/s write speed

Qumox - 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 good 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.

Find it in your country:
Amazon USAAmazon UKAmazon DEAmazon ESAmazon FRAmazon ITAmazon CAN

 

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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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