SD cards are one of the most ubiquitous type of memory card used by digital cameras today. If you are shooting 4K video write speeds are of particular importance which we cover below.
For stills image photographers, the type of card you choose will depend on the type of camera you use, how much you shoot, and what you are capturing. Despite SD cards being universal, they must be formatted for your particular camera model. Once inserted for the first time, navigate your camera menu system and reformat the card. It will then be recognised and optimised for your model. Some photographers use this method to delete images once they have been copied onto a hard drive or computer.
Brands such as Sony, Sandisk and Angelbird design ultra high speed cards capable of the fastest read and write speeds. This is useful when shooting in fast burst modes or recording video. A faster card will allow a larger number of images to be written before the camera warns that the buffer is full. Bus speed (UHS-I, UHS-II, UHS-III etc.) denote the read and write capacity. Higher numbers are better.
Other variations include the card capacity, with Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC) featuring on models with over 32GB.
There are three main factors to consider with SD cards:
CARD SIZE IN GIGABYTES
Size (written as GB) – this is important because it determines how many images you can store before having to change your card. It’s generally considered good practice to have multiple cards of a smaller size, rather than one large card as it spreads the risk. If one card is corrupted you’ll only have lost some of your images, not all of them.
Speed is written as MB/s which means MegaBytes per second and describes how quickly your images will be saved to the card (not to be confused with MegaBITS per second, which is how video quality is described – 1 byte = 8 bits). This is important because it affects how quickly you can shoot and how many images you can shoot in sequence.
CLASS OF CARD
There are two of these! Firstly the ‘Speed Class’ which is written as a large C with a number inside, and secondly the ‘UHS Speed Class’ which is written as a large U with a number inside. These classes indicate the minimum writing speed of the card. They are more relevant to video recording than stills photography, and some cameras will require a card with a minimum UHS or Speed Class.
Park Cameras provide a huge range of camera memory cards of all types including manufacturers Lexar, Sandisk and Sony. We also stock readers and holders, useful for transferring files and organising or transporting cards. Please contact us if you have any questions and we will be happy to provide our award winning service to point you in the right direction.