In this guide, we’ll cover five of the best SD cards for video recording.

Whenever I leave the house for a day of shooting I run a quick mental checklist: cards, camera, batteries. If I’ve got those, barring my premature death, I will be able to do my job and film something.

While you’re stuck with whatever battery your camera accepts, you have some choices when it comes to SD cards. But when it comes to abbreviations like SDHC vs SDXC, or specs like 95 mb/s versus 300 mb/s, or picking the right card for 4K recording, making that choice can get pretty technical. 

But if you’re just itching to record, we’ve made this quick guide to five cards with the storage, read/write speeds, and durability you need to get out there and create. 

And if you’re interested in learning more about what all of those specs actually mean, check out our technical breakdown at the end of the article.

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5 of the Best SD Cards for Video Recording

SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card - C10, U3, V30, 4K UHD, SD Card - SDSDXXY-064G-GN4IN

SanDisk 64 GB Extreme PRO

SanDisk is a recently acquired brand of the computer storage giant, Western Digital. Founded in 1988, SanDisk was the first company to produce a 2.5” SSD drive (with a then-impressive capacity of 20 MB). Today, SanDisk is producing industry standard credit-card-thin memory devices with 50,000 times that capacity.

Call me a brand boy, but all of my SD cards are SanDisk. In my experience, my cards have lasted longer than they were supposed to and continue to keep on reading/writing. SanDisk also guarantees a limited lifetime warranty, which is always nice.

For full HD recording, 64 GB should be plenty of room for one project. But, if you go long periods of time between offloading footage to the computer, you can always get a couple spare cards. I like to keep the raw footage from different projects on different cards for my own organizational sanity, but that’s just me. 

SanDisk sells an “Extreme” series and an “Extreme PRO” series. Extreme are gold colored and Extreme PRO are black. But other than that there isn’t a huge difference between the two in specs or even price.

With this generation of SD cards, the only difference is 20 MB/s of max read speed (which, as I discuss below, isn’t a big deal). At the time this was published, the Extreme series’ availability is limited but if you can find one you can save a few bucks on a card that is practically the same.

Features & Specs

  • Capacity: 64 GB
  • Format: SDXC (exFAT)
  • Max read speed: 170 MB/s
  • Minimum sequential writing speed: 30 MB/s
  • Bus interface: 1
  • UHS speed class: 3
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SanDisk 128 GB Extreme PRO

This is the same card as above but with twice the storage. I find higher capacities to be useful for longer shoots, 4K cameras, or going long periods between offloading footage. It’s nice not to worry about switching out a full SD card in the middle of shooting.

SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Card - C10, U3, V30, 4K UHD, SD Card - SDSDXXY-128G-GN4IN

Features & Specs

  • Capacity: 128 GB
  • Format: SDXC (exFAT)
  • Max read speed: 170 MB/s
  • Minimum sequential writing speed: 30 MB/s
  • Bus interface: 1
  • UHS speed class: 3
View & Check Price at Amazon!

Lexar Professional 2000x 64GB SDXC UHS-II Card (LSD64GCBNA2000R)

Lexar Professional 2000x 64 GB

Lexar is a brand division of the Chinese flash memory company, Longsys.

Originally founded in San Jose, Lexar’s popular JumpDrive is the reason we use the trademarked name interchangeably with “flash drive”, kind of like Band-Aid or Kleenex.

If you can get a SD card reader with USB 3.0 or 3.2 speeds you might just be able to make use of the 300 MB/s top speed which is nice for offloading footage. Lexar also sells a bundle with their own card reader that ensures you get those top speeds when transferring files to your computer. The minimum sequential write speed of the Lexar is 90 MB/s which is great if your camera is able to write that quickly.

Features & Specs

  • Capacity: 64 GB
  • Format: SDXC (exFAT)
  • Max read speed: 300 MB/s
  • Minimum sequential writing speed: 90 MB/s
  • Bus interface: 2
  • UHS speed class: 3
View & Check Price at Amazon!

Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card 64 GB

One does not simply give a brief history for the tech/entertainment giant that is Sony Group. But in a word: “conglomerate” does nicely. Started in 1945 after the end of World War II (which seems to be a theme of many electronic companies), Sony has proven success in just about every entertainment sector they compete in. 

Sidenote: Sony is also the company responsible for threatening to cut out the best version (imo) of Spider-Man from the MCU. Kindly remove those corporate scissors from my nerdy little heartstrings.

Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card 64GB, V90, CL10, U3, Max R300MB/S, W299MB/S (SF-G64T/T1)

Setting SanDisk’s “Extreme” series aside, this Sony SD card is the one you want to make your next GoPro montage. For extreme sports, underwater exploration, or another rainy day in Seattle (ew), this waterproofed card is built to last. 

Sony claims this card can withstand 18 times more force in a bend test than the average SD card. They also removed the standard SD card lock switch which is just like– duh! The only experiences I’ve had with those switches have been bad experiences. They were either inadvertently switched on or just straight up broke… in the locked position. Not to mention top of the line write speeds, Sony is to be thanked for coming up with this SD card.

Features & Specs

  • Capacity: 64 GB
  • Format: SDXC (exFAT)
  • Max read speed: 300 MB/s
  • Minimum sequential writing speed: 90 MB/s
  • Bus interface: 2
  • UHS speed class: 3
View & Check Price at Amazon!

Lexar Professional 633x 32GB SDHC UHS-I Card (LSD32GCB1NL633)

Lexar Professional 633x 32 GB UHS-I

If you just need some memory for the lowest price, this is a great card. The speeds aren’t as fast as the previous options, but if you want to get started with an older camera a couple of these will do nicely. To be honest, the specs on this card are still better than most I still have bumping around.

Features & Specs

  • Capacity: 32 GB
  • Format: SDHC (FAT32)
  • Max read speed: 95 MB/s
  • Minimum sequential writing speed: 10 MB/s
  • Bus interface: 1
  • UHS speed class: 1
View & Check Price at Amazon!

How to Pick the Best SD Card for Video Recording

Choosing the right SD card pretty much comes down to storage size and write speed. While there are plenty of technicalities for you gearheads swimming in the deep end, we’ll just cover the two big points the rest of us need to feel confident about our decision. 

Storage size

SD card storage limits breakdown into three categories: SD, SDHC, and SDXC.

SD secure digital

Even if you’re shooting at 720p, these puny cards are going to fill up fast. At this point, they’re all but obsolete for video shooters.

SDHC secure digital high capacity

Even these “high capacity” cards are liable to fill up on a regular work day of full HD shooting. When I was shooting 10-12 hour weddings, I would always keep a couple of spare 32 GB cards in my backpack. If you’re not filming in 4K yet, these cards are a good choice for budgets. You might even find a deal that bundles multiple cards in one purchase. SDXC secure digital extended capacity

If you’re shooting 4K, these cards are a necessity not only for their size but because of their file system, exFAT, which is able to transfer those large 4K files. SD and SDHC use FAT16 and FAT32 file systems whose files tap out at 4 GB.

SDUC secure digital ultra capacity

Yup, *blinks twice*. That’s 128 terabytes. So surprise, there is actually a fourth category! Of course, most of us won’t have to worry about it because these cards are still in development, theoretical at best. And even when they do hit the market the prices will be astronomical, but they’re coming. Bet your bottom dollar, SDUC is coming. 

At the time of this writing, SDHC is already on its way as maximum storage capacities of two terabytes hit the market. Granted 2 TB cards are currently about as expensive as an entry level camera but it’s only a matter of time until they are as commonplace as 32 GB cards. Behold the Singularity and weep.

Write speed 

sandisk extreme

Don’t be too dazzled by the 150 MB/s read speed. While a higher number does mean it’s a faster card, it denotes the card’s top speed, not necessarily the sustained speed.

Consider a hippo moving through the African bush. Yes, they can run faster than the average human being at 19 miles per hour, but it’s unlikely that hip-hop-o-potamus will keep it up for your everyday safari-themed 5K.

Oh lawd he comin.

The more significant number is next to the “V”, the minimum sequential writing speed. This SanDisk card, for example, will never write slower than 30 MB/s. The “U” shape is the ultra high speed (UHS) class rating: U1 for 10 MB/s and U3 for 30 MB/s. 

Write speed requirements vary from camera to camera so make sure to check your specs, but in general, 4K recording requires SDXC and UHS 3 cards. 

A bonus note about durability

SD cards don’t last forever. After several years of use, I’ve noticed the metal contacts have worn down and little bits of plastic have broken off. While they still work, I feel less confident about using them on important projects. 

I can’t say with confidence that any particular brand is better at durability than the next (with the exception of the Sony Tough-G), but I would just keep in mind that SD cards seem to have a natural life cycle. Unlike lenses or microphones that can be passed on as family heirlooms, SD cards are meant to be replaced. 

If your cards are starting to look a little beat up, play it safe and refresh your armory of memory. Because this niche of tech products upgrades and outdates itself so quickly, you always get the benefit of faster speeds and dropping prices. If any piece of camera gear is bound to get marked down during the next Amazon sale, it’s SD cards. 

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