woman inserted an SD card into her camera Photo by Samsung Memory on unsplash

Ultimate Guide to SD Card: Know Memory Cards & Top Ones

SD cards are removable media that use Flash technology to store data even when the power is off. SD cards are the most popular type of memory card.

But which SD card is best for you? What do an SD card's various letters, numbers, and symbols mean? Below, we've covered common symbols, abbreviations, and numbers on SD memory cards. Also, after observing that the best SD card depends on the photographer's needs, we have created a guide to assist you in finding the best SD cards.

Know Your SD Card in One Image

Memory card shopping can be confusing. This section discusses what the letters symbolize to help you distinguish the best SD cards.

SD card with parameter explanation

Storage Capacity

The storage capacity of an SD card is the number of gigabytes it can hold. The most popular sizes are 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and choice depend on the type of photography and camera.

File Type

The most popular SD types are SD, SDHC, and SDXC. SDHC cards offer up to 32GB of storage, while SDXC cards offer a up to 2TB.

SDHC cards are ideal for regular and budding photographers. SDXC cards are ideal for photographers and videographers who shoot at high megapixel counts and in 4K. Secure Digital(SD) cards are no longer being produced.

Read Speeds and Write Speeds

The read speed of an SD card is the rate at which it can transfer data to the device after being inserted. The write speed is the rate at which the card ingests data when taking pictures or recording video. There are four categories in the speed class, with the minimum sustained write speed increasing as the number rises. The video speed class is more important for videos, as it is the main determinant of a card's write speed performance.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an SD Card?

 man is inserting an SD card into the camera

Photo by TheRegisti on unsplash

Before purchasing an SD card for your camera, there are a few things you should check off your checklist to ensure you are choosing the best. They include the following.

1. Card Type

Memory cards come in three main formats: SD, SDHC, and SDXC. Remember to account for the compatibility issue when selecting the type of card. Review your camera's specifications or the user manual to find out what SD card the camera supports. Also, decide on the memory card's brand and capacity.

Extended capacity SDXC cards offer up to 2TB of storage space and faster transfer rates than SDHC, which has a capacity of 64GB. The SD card format is no longer manufactured.

2. SD Card Size or Capacity

Review the user handbook carefully to determine what memory capacity your camera can accept. There is a maximum memory size for every camera. If you use a card over this threshold, it might not function. You can choose the maximum SD card size after knowing this limiting number.

hand holding SD card next to computer

Photo by Samsung Memory on unsplash

3. Maximum Data Transfer Speed

Every memory card has a read speed and a write speed. A photographer should be keener on write speed than read speed. The write speed controls how quickly the camera can transfer a picture to a memory card.

However, don’t go for the fastest model. Buying such a card if your camera's writing speed is substantially slower will waste money.

Data transfer speed becomes more crucial if you shoot on Burst mode on the camera or the video recording function. A memory error warning will appear during video recording if the camera's write speed is insufficient.

4. Memory Card Class Rating

The class rating of your memory card is crucial if you are using your camera to record videos. Some of the most often used classes of memory cards include classes 2, 4, 6, and 10.

If you use a digital camera, we advise using memory cards rated higher than Class 6. A class 10 card or higher is ideal for capturing 1080p videos.

There are more premium variations, such as UHS Class I (abbreviated as U1) and UHS Class 3. (U3). These work well for recording videos as well. Choose U3 Class memory cards if your camera records 4K videos.

Best SD Card to Buy in 2023

Memory cards are undoubtedly essential photography storage accessories. We advise starting with at least two or three memory cards to avoid running out of storage at a crucial moment.

Below are a few of the best SD cards to consider in 2023.


1. SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Memory Card

SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I Memory Card

Image credit: amazon.com

Sometimes you need speed. The SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-I card offers the speed to record excellent, unbroken 4K UHD videos. This card, rated UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30), lets you take uninterrupted burst mode shots. It is temperature-proof, waterproof, shock-proof, and X-ray-proof.


  • Card type:  SDXC
  • Capacity:128GB
  • Read Speed: 200 MB/s
  • Write Speed: 90 MB/s
  • Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty
  • Best for:4K UHD video and sequential burst mode photography


  • It offers lightning-fast data speeds.
  • It's speedy, dependable, and offers excellent value for money.
  • It includes downloadable recovery software.
  • It is resistant to extreme temperatures, water, stress, and X-rays.


  • It is slower than UHS-II.    
  • There are faster cards at this level

2. Lexar Professional 2000x 64GB SDXC UHS-II Card

 Lexar Professional 2000x 64GB SDXC UHS-II Card

Image credit: amazon.com

You can easily take and transfer high-quality pictures and videos with Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II cards thanks to their read speed of up to 300MB/s. Its high-speed performance and UHS-II support allow you to breeze through post-production with lightning-fast file transfers from card to computer.


  • Card type:SDXC
  • Capacity:64 GB
  • Read Speed:300 MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260 MB/s
  • Warranty:Limited lifetime warranty
  • Best forProfessional photography and videography


  • Utilizes UHS-II technology (U3) for super-fast performance
  • The cards are also backward compatible with UHS-I devices for versatility.
  • Its 260MB/s write speed allows you to shoot in sequential burst mode effortlessly.


  • It is relatively pricier than its comparables.
  • Maximum transfer rates are only possible when used with an SD UHS-II reader.

3. Transcend SDXC UHS-I U3

 Transcend SDXC UHS-I U3

Image credit: amazon.com

Transcend's SDXC 330S memory cards are made with premium 3D NAND flash memory for maximum dependability. The cards provide excellent transfer rates and top-quality video recording without losing frames, making them perfect for advanced camcorders and DSLR cameras.


  • Card type:SDXC
  • Capacity:64 GB
  • Read Speed: 100MB/s
  • Write Speed:65 MB/ s
  • Warranty:Five-year warranty
  • Best for:DSLR cameras and advanced camcorders


  • They comply with the most current A2 standards for excellent mobile performance.
  • They can withstand extreme temperatures and are X-ray, shock, and static-proof.
  • The cards comply with UHS Video Speed Class 30 (V30), enabling seamless, nonstop 4K video capture.


  • They have an average pricing
  • They are not entirely indestructible

4. Sony SF-G Series TOUGH UHS-II


Image credit: amazon.com

Sony uses high-hardness materials and the world's first one-piece molded architecture to produce an SD card with quality that is 18 times greater than the SD standard. They have also adopted a ribless design to lessen harm to the casing.


  • Card type:SDXC
  • Capacity:128GB
  • Read Speed: 300 MB/s
  • Write Speed: 299 MB/s
  • Best for: Photography and 4K Videos


  • It is backward compatible with UHS-I-compatible hardware.
  • Its distinct ribless design lessens casing damage and the likelihood of data loss.
  • It's a great SD card for professional use with high volume because of the quick transfer rate.


  • It is relatively pricey.
  • It is large. It fits very snugly in the camera or memory card reader.



Image credit: amazon.com

These cards have Class 10, U3, and V90 ratings, ensuring lightning-fast transfer rates. Moreover, the PNY EliteX-PRO90 SD cards have V90 Video Speed, which enables long bursts of cinematic-grade video capture in 8K resolution, pushing the boundaries of the UHS-II bus interface.


  • Card type:SDXC
  • Capacity:64GB to 256GB
  • Read Speed:300 MB/s
  • Write Speed:280 MB/s
  • Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty.
  • Best for:Shooting burst mode HD photos and long-form, high-definition videos in 8K, 4K, and Full HD


  • It is waterproof, temperature-proof, shock-proof, and magnet-proof.
  • It works with DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras, professional video cameras, and advanced video cameras.
  • It is backward compatible with UHS-I devices at UHS-I rates.
  • It enables speedy read and write rates, leading to higher shooting speeds.


  • Compared to SDXC cards with comparable specifications, the PNY is a little expensive.
  • Some reviewers reported that after receiving an error warning on their camera, they completely lost all of their data.


Given the vast selection of memory cards available in the market, you should always use your camera's manufacturer as a guide when deciding on an SD card format. Ensure the card you choose best matches your demands, which may change based on the type of photography you take. You can set parameters for your budget, storage needs, and performance speed once you know your needs. This list will be helpful to you while you shop for the ideal sd card for your camera.

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What is the Difference Between SD and Micro SD?

The primary distinction between SD and microSD is size. The latter are smaller-sized SD cards. They are also more adaptable because they are frequently sold with an SD adaptor that enables microSD cards in hardware that only accepts SD cards.

What is the Difference Between CompactFlash and SD?

SD and CompactFlash differ in price, size, and speed. Because they are more compact, lighter, and more affordable than CompactFlash cards, SD cards have largely supplanted those larger cards in device applications. An SD card can cost up to half as much as a CF card with a comparable amount of storage space, depending on its maker and variables like read/write performance. In addition to being larger, the CF card transfers data at a rate that is more than twice as fast as the SD card.

How to Read the Speed Class Rating on SD Card?

The speed class of an SD card is listed on the SD card. The speed class is also shown on the card's packaging or the item in the online retailer. An SD card, for instance, includes indicators for speed class 10, video speed class 30, and UHS speed class 3. The speed classes of the memory card are indicated by numbers that have a circular "C" sign, "U" symbol, or "V" symbol adjacent to or encircling them.

What is the difference between SDUC, SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards?

The Secure Digital card families are SDHC, SDXC, SDUC, and SD. SD applies to cards with a maximum storage size of 2GB. The Secure Digital High Capacity design specification is used For SD cards with capacities greater than 2GB and up to 32GB. SD cards with a capacity greater than 32GB and up to 2TB are called Secure Digital eXtended Capacity. Secure Digital Ultra Capacity accommodates cards with 2 TB to 128 TB capacity.