There are numerous storage devices: SSDs, hard drives, USBs, etc. and they all have a common characteristic, and that is to keep your digital data safe and sound. Of course, depending on the device that you use, the type of storage also changes and in the case of digital cameras, they are mostly the SD cards.
SD card has earned that position thanks to its compact size, large capacities and, before anything else, affordability. As expected, finding the best SD card can be a bit of an issue if you are not familiar with the subject. Nevertheless, even the complete newbies can get a great device, as long as they follow a couple of advice.
How to Choose the Best SD Card
Although SD cards are highly important for keeping your data integrity, they are nowhere near complicated devices like hard drives, for instance, and offer a rather simple design. Their main characteristics may be summed into following:
Capacity is one of the most important aspects of an SD card. The card itself can be blazing fast, but if it doesn’t have enough space, many of your works won’t be able to fit in it and that way it is ruined or half-finished. For that reason, carefully calculate what your real needs are and choose the card in accordance to your requirements.
Although it might not play a huge role for many, insufficient speed of an SD card can be a real issue, if you are into a 4K recording, for instance. On that account, be sure that the card’s performance can withstand your requirements and always go for at least a little bit higher speeds than you really need. That way, your choice will become future-proof.
Large price is always an issue. For that reason, carefully asses each of your needs and market offerings and balance them out. Price isn’t always evidence of quality; therefore, do a little bit of research before the final decision.
Best SD Cards
Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card
Great Choice for Professional Use
If you’re looking for a professional/high-speed recording SD card, the Sony Tough-G series would definitely fit the bill. This is arguably one of the best SD cards in the industry in terms of structural rigidity, i.e. it’s built as a coffin nail.
To begin with, the Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC is 18 times stronger compared to a regular SD card, which means it’s almost impossible to break it, even if you want. Sony gives it a 10N rating, as well as IPX6 dust-proof and IPX8 waterproof ratings. And before you ask, yes, this SD toughie would survive nuclear apocalypse.
Seriously speaking, in terms of build quality, this is as good as it gets: it’s unbreakable, it will survive a dip in 5 meters of water for 3 days, and, on top of that, it’s blazing fast. And since we’re talking performance and toughness, let’s concentrate on speed for a moment: being a UHS-II card, the Tough-G series (also known as G-Shock) boasts 300 MB/s burst rates and 299 MB/s read and write speeds, and a minimum transfer rate for large folders of 90 MB/s, which is respectable, to say the least.
Even if this Sony SD card doesn’t come cheap, quality never is. Cheap we mean. So, yeah, if you’re looking for something out of this world in terms of durability, this is it. Cut and dried.
- Virtually indestructible
- Smooth profile
- Good for 8K recording
- Fast transfer rates
- Great for professional use
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I Card
A Great Value for the Money SD Card
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I Card is a device that offers an ideal combination of performance, available capacities (from 16GB till 512GB) and price. Although it doesn’t represent the fastest option on the market, since it complies with UHS-I and not the UHS-II standard, its 95MBps speed is still good enough for 4K filming, but in general, is more suitable for sequential shootings in both JPEG and RAW formats. In other words, if you are a more demanding user, you should probably go for some faster models.
Overall, SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I Card is a decent SD card choice, with a lifetime warranty and a great overall value, but with a performance that just isn’t up to the standards of the best SD cards. Nevertheless, its reliability, great capacity and affordability make it a great buying choice.
- Nice performance
- Lifetime warranty
- Various capacities
- Speeds could be a bit faster
Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC UHS-II
A High-Performing SD Card, Suitable for even the Most Demanding Users
Super-fast speeds (reading speed is 300MBps and writing speed is 260MBps), lifetime warranty and a good capacity (32GB, 64GB and 128GB) are the main features of Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC UHS-II SD card, and they make it perfectly suitable for both professional photographers and movie makers.
Coming with a lifetime warranty and an included SD card reader, this amazing device offers everything that a user might need, and much more. If you need the best SD card for DSLR, 4K video or high-resolution pictures, you can’t do better than Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC UHS-II card.
Yes, it is expensive, but quality costs and with this “dude”, you may at least be sure that it delivers what you are paying for.
- Lifetime warranty
ProGrade SD UHS-II Card V60
The Ideal SD Card for Low Budgets
To begin with, we must mention that ProGrade is the new kid on the block, as in this is a relatively new company; however, the people who are behind ProGrade have decades of experience in the niche. With this in mind, the ProGrade Card V60 makes for a value-oriented SD card, which means it will provide you with the optimal bang for the buck asked.
There’s nothing fantastic about this SD card in terms of specs, but the price tag is delightfully low, i.e. this is a budget option for nonprofessionals requiring vast amounts of storage for peanuts money. However, even if you’ll get almost 2 GB/$1, write speed stands pretty at 130MB/s, which is not bad, and read speed is quoted at 250 MB/s.
All in all, if you want value for money and decent performance, the ProGrade SD UHS-II Card V60 would make for the sensible option, and it’s backed up by a solid 3-year warranty. Write speed is good enough for 4K recording and high bit rate MPEG 4, and if you’re an amateur photographer, vlogger or a wannabe filmmaker or videographer, you’ll definitely enjoy ProGrade .
- Amazing value for money
- Good for shooting 4K
- Accurate writing speeds
- Great for shooting large files
- Very sturdy
- None really at this price
PNY Elite-X Class 10 U3 V30 SDXC Flash Memory Card
Good Value Entry Level SD Card
Don’t let the Elite thing deceive you: usually speaking, elite gear comes at premium prices, but the PNY Elite-X is very, very affordable. To give you an idea about what affordable means in PNY’s world, you’ll get ton of storage for peanuts money, and that’s something to write home about.
However, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean low quality and cutting corners, as the PNY 128GB Elite-X comes with up to 100MB/s read-speed, which doesn’t say much, but it’s relatively decent for an entry-level SD card.
And by decent, we mean you can use it for burst mode HD photography and 4K Ultra HD Videography, where this PNY SD card would do an OK job if you’re a photography and /or videography enthusiast.
To be more specific about performance, this SD card scored 92.48MBps sequential read and 58.95 MBps write speed in Diskmark x64 benchmark, which is not bad for a budget SD card. However, if you’re looking for high-performance and/or you’re going to use the card in expensive gear, this is not the droid you were looking for.
- Good value for money
- Decent read/write speed
- Some QC issues reported by users
Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I Card
A Decent-Performing SD Card with Excellent Capacities
Sometimes owning a storage device with extra-large capacity, is everything you need. Lexar has obviously been aware of that, and that is probably one of the main reasons for the production of Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I Card series that comes in various capacities from 16Gb to the staggering 1TB.
Other than the large capacity, this card offers compliance with UHS-I U3 standard and allows for reading speeds of around 95MBps and modest write speeds at around 45MBps, which is rather disappointing for an SD card of this class.
Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I Card comes with a lifetime warranty and is more suitable for photography rather than the 4K recording, even though it can handle it. Altogether, this card offers a great capacity, but rather limited performance. Therefore, if you are looking for just sheer storage, go for it; in every other scenario, better go for some other option.
- Nice performance
- Lifetime warranty
- Too slow writing speed
We hope that this guide has clarified any confusion you may have had about what the best SD card should include. If it has also helped you pick your ideal partner in crime, we are more than happy!