1 Secure Digital The most popular cards across the board are Secure Digital (SD) memory cards, launched before the millennium. But not every SD card is the same: each one comes with a whole list of terms on it. All cards are either marked SD, SDHC or SDXC. This specifies the maximum capacity of each card. Standard SD cards go up to 2GB, while SDHC is indicative of higher capacity and ranges from4-32GB. Meanwhile, SDXC stands for extra capacity and these are available in sizes from64GB up to a mind-blowing 2TB. Cards are either classified as UHS-I or UHS-II, which all relates to the different transfer speeds. The UHS-I goes up to 104MB/s, while UHS-II is much faster at up to 312 MB/s. It’s easy to tell the difference because UHS-II cards have two rows of pins instead of one. You need to check whether your camera’s card slots are UHS-II compatible before splashing out on them. If your camera is only a UHS-I spec, then a UHS-II still works perfectly but it can only record at UHS-I speeds. So, you’ll have wasted your money. Other symbols vary according to how a manufacturer chooses to state their card spec. But, generally, they clearly show a Speed Class, rated Class 2 to 10, a UHS Speed Class, which is U1 or U3, and a Video Speed Class fromV6 to V90. These indicate the SD card’s minimum sustained write speed. For example, this is 10MB/s for Class 10, 30MB/s for U3 or 90MB/s for V90. In general, V60 or V90 SD cards are the best for data-intensive video use, such as 4K filming or above in high frame rates or bit rates, and definitely for VR cameras. SD cards rated U3 or V30 can typically handle 4K at 30fps, while those marked Class 10, U1 or V10 are good for FHD 1080p video recording at up to 30fps. Of course, these are a lot cheaper. Cameras that take SD cards include the Panasonic S1, S1H and S1R, Sony A7S III and
“V60 and V90 SD cards are the best for video use”
Nikon D850. The Canon EOS R5, C300Mark III and C500Mark II are other examples of cameras compatible with SD cards. 2 MicroSD/MiniSD Ideal for use in drones or action cameras, MicroSD andMiniSD cards are hugely popular. They can be fast and very large in terms of capacity. MiniSD cards are roughly half the size of standard SD cards, and a simple adapter allows it to be used in standard SD card slots. By and large, MiniSD has been replaced by the smaller MicroSD that is roughly a quarter of the size of a standard SD card andmuch thinner. These fit in a standard- size SD card adapter to be compatible with larger SD-equipped cameras or for use in a conventional SD card reader.
Just like SD cards, MicroSD comes in SD, SDHC and SDXC card formats. This means that despite their size, they can still be very large in capacity, such as Samsung’s Evo Plus 512GB card, ideal for 4K drones. 3 CFexpress Type B Now four years old, CFexpress Type B memory cards have exploded in popularity. They capture data at speeds reaching up to 4GB/s and are compact yet rugged, with a metal and plastic construction. That makes them the fastest cards on the market. Cameras that use these cards include many of the latest crop of high-resolution and bit rate products, such as Panasonic S1 and S1R, Nikon Z 6 and Z 7 and Canon EOS R5, EOS-1D XMark III, C300Mark III and C500Mark II. CFexpress Type Bmemory cards are becomingmore readily available as they are made by several manufacturers. 4 CFexpress Type A This is the latest card that has been released by Sony and currently the only camera it fits is the Sony A7S III. It is significantly smaller than the CFexpress Type B cards, but is limited in speed. For example, a CFexpress Type B can be up to four times faster than its successor. The only option on the market at the moment is the Sony CFexpress Type A Tough, which has a read speed of 800MB/s and a write speed of 700MB/s. It needs its own dedicated card reader, but the Sony version also comes with an SD slot – as does the A7S III camera. There is also a spec for a CFexpress Type C card, but as yet no camera or cardmanufacturer makes one.
ABOVE SD cards like this SDXC V90-spec model from Pro Grade are very fast and are ideal for shooting 4K or above
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