Photography / Buying Guide

The Fastest Memory Cards Money Can Buy

         

Nobody has ever complained about a memory card being too fast, and increasingly, electronics manufacturers are expecting you to have high-speed memory cards that are compatible with certain features. Smartphones, tablets, and even laptops often rely on memory cards for external storage these days. With consumers demanding both higher resolution and less compressed video from cameras, manufacturers have responded by supplying more and more capable memory cards. Today, cameras are recording 4K video to microSD cards and RAW HD video to SD cards. Luckily, memory cards have kept up with the rising demand, and the fastest cards around rival SSD drives, though finding out which ones are truly fast can be a challenge.

How to determine whether a card is fast, and the dreaded “Up To”

When memory cards list their read and write speeds, they often use terms like “up to” or “maximum” when reporting the spec. A maximum read speed or speed “up to” a certain amount is the maximum burst speed of a card. It might be able to sustain that speed for a few seconds, which is great for saving a picture quickly, but don’t actually expect to see read and write speeds like that for sustained transfers, such as when you’re shooting video. Plus, some manufacturers are a bit more liberal with the speeds they quote than others. Sustained transfer speeds can vary greatly from card to card, so to determine a memory card's overall speed, just looking at the card's advertised maximum speed isn’t always the best yardstick.

It is also important not to confuse bits and bytes. Bits are abbreviated with a lowercase b (as in Mb/s), while bytes are abbreviated with a capital B (MB/s). There are eight bits in one byte. Oftentimes, video-recording codecs will list their speeds in bits per second, while cards list their speeds in bytes per second. So when a video camera like the GH4 records at 100 Mb/s, remember that is only 12.5 MB/s. 

Luckily, memory cards have a number of metrics to help you sort out which ones are fast all around. To the uninitiated, they can be a bit overwhelming and look like random numbers, so in this article we will not only reveal what the fastest cards are, but also help you understand why.

SD and microSD Cards: SD vs. SDHC vs. SDXC

One of the more obvious metrics to consider when comparing SD cards is whether they are SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards. While these cards look same, the file format they use is different, which determines the maximum capacity of the card. Plain SD cards have a maximum capacity of 2GB, while SDHC cards max out at 32GB, SDXC cards can support up to 2TB—though we aren’t there yet. This metric does not affect speed at all; an SDHC card can be just as fast as a SDXC card, and oftentimes are.

SD memory card capacity


UHS (Ultra High Speed) Card Classifications

Some SD cards have UHS (Ultra High Speed) Classifications. A UHS (Ultra High Speed) Classification determines the maximum speed at which a memory card can read. This doesn’t affect the speed of the memory in the card, but manufacturers will rarely make a UHS-I card that is unable to read or write faster than a non UHS card. Non UHS SD cards max out at 25 MB/s, but UHS cards can work much faster. Currently, there are two types of UHS classifications: UHS-I Cards, which have a maximum theoretical speed of 104 MB/s, and UHS-II Cards that allow for a maximum transfer speed of 312 MB/s. UHS-II cards also have a second row of electrical contacts to aid in the speed boost. If your memory card reader or camera does not have the second row of contacts, the speed will be more in line with UHS-I cards. A card’s UHS classification is a good way to help gauge a card’s burst speeds.

UHS classification and max burst speed in MB/s
 

Speed Class Ratings

Since card manufacturers almost always only give you burst read and write speeds instead of sustained speeds, it can be difficult to pick out a card for video. Many new 4K-capable cameras write at very high bit rates, and if you plan on recording video for longer than a few seconds, the burst speed doesn’t help much. Also, there can be a huge variation between the maximum burst read speeds and the minimum sustained write speeds of different cards. It’s not a simple ratio. To determine the minimum write speed of a card you need to look at its speed class rating. A speed class rating means that the card has been verified to never write slower than whatever its class. Some cards may write a lot faster, especially since the fastest speed class is currently just 30 MB/s, but you can be comfortable knowing that any card with a speed class rating will never write slower than that speed. Also remember there are eight bits in one byte, 30 MB/s is 240 Mb/s.  Some popular speed class ratings used on SD cards today are:

  • U3:               Minimum 30 MB/s Read
  • U1:               Minimum 10 MB/s Read
  • Class 10:      Minimum 10 MB/s Read
  • Class 6:        Minimum 6 MB/s Read
  • Class 4:        Minimum 4 MB/s Read

Speed class ratings: minimum read speeds in MB/s

The Fastest SD Cards

Now that we’ve decoded all the technical jargon, it should be clear that if you want the fastest SD cards you can get, look for UHS-II, class U3 cards. Luckily, we carry a number UHS-II U3 cards from a few manufacturers. SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II cards are available in 64GB, 32GB, and 16GB capacities, and offer read speeds up to 280 MB/s and write speeds up to 250 MB/s, which should satisfy the most bandwidth-hungry cameras. Delkin also offers a 32GB card with the same 280 MB/s maximum read and 250 MB/s maximum write speeds. For those willing to trade a little speed for more capacity, Lexar’s Professional UHS-II cards are available in 256GB and 128GB capacities and offer a slightly slower maximum read speed of 150 MB/s.

If you do not have a UHS-II-capable camera or computer but still need a fast card, take a look at the SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I U3 memory card line, available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities. These cards offer read speeds up to 95 MB/s and write speeds up to 90 MB/s, very close to the maximum possible speed of UHS-I.

The Fastest microSD Cards

MicroSD cards are essentially miniaturized SD cards, and share the same UHS and class properties as their full-size brethren; so just like full size SD cards, the fastest microSD cards are UHS-II, class U3 cards. Currently Lexar offers UHS-II, class U3 cards in capacities up to 128GB. These cards offer read speeds up to 150 MB/s.

However, UHS-II microSD cards are very new, and the chances are that whatever device you are using that takes microSD cards, it won’t be able to take advantage of the fast speeds offered by UHS-II. If that’s the case, UHS-I U3-rated cards are also worth a look. Delkin Devices offers UHS-1 U3 rated microSD cards in 32GB and 64GB capacities. These cards offer up to 99 MB/s read speeds and 50 MB/s write speeds. SanDisks’s fastest microSD cards are the UHS-I U3-rated Extreme PRO line, which offer maximum read speeds of 95 MB/s and maximum write speeds of 90 MB/s. They are available in 32GB and 64GB capacities. If you need more than 64GB of space along with high speeds Lexar, Delkin and PNY offer 128GB UHS-I U1-rated cards with maximum read speeds of at least 50 MB/s.

CompactFlash Cards

CompactFlash cards used to be the faster and more professional big brother of SD cards; however, several years ago, the CompactFlash Association announced there would be no more updates to the format, leaving card performance with a glass ceiling. Today, CompactFlash cards have hit their performance ceiling, and are slower than the fastest SD cards, though they are still quite fast. The UDMA 7 interface has a maximum possible transfer speed of 167 MB/s, and even if a card manufacturer put faster flash memory in a UDMA 7 card, it wouldn’t matter—it would be like plugging an SSD drive into a USB 2 port on your computer (well, not quite that bad, but you get the point). The bright side of this is that the sustained transfer speeds of CompactFlash cards will most likely be a lot closer to the maximum speed; however, since manufacturers don’t share that information, it is difficult to verify.

CompactFlash Card Speed Class Ratings

Many CompactFlash cards have speed ratings like 800x, 1066x, 400x, etc. This speed rating system is quite old and is based on the data-transfer rate of audio CD files, a paltry 150 KB/s. Needless to say, this doesn’t have much bearing on anything you will probably be doing with your cards, so while you could figure out how fast an 800x card is in KB/s by multiplying 150 by 800 and converting KB/s to MB/s by dividing by 1,000 (the answer is 120 MB/s), you could also just go by a card’s stated 120 MB/s speed.

The Fastest CompactFlash Cards

Because the maximum speed of CompactFlash cards has been capped at 167 MB/s, for a while almost all card manufacturers offer cards capable of peak read and write performance at that speed. The fastest cards will be UDMA 7 and advertised as having maximum read speeds between 160-165 MB/s. Lexar’s fastest line of CompactFlash cards is the Lexar Professional, available in capacities between 16GB and 256GB. Lexar rates these cards as having a 160 MB/s maximum write speed and 155 MB/s maximum read speed, as well as a minimum write speed of 65 MB/s. SanDisk’s Extreme Pro line of cards also offers similar performance of up to 160 MB/s read and 150 MB/s write speeds, while the Transcend Ultimate and Delkin Devices Cinema CompactFlash card lines also offer similar maximum read speeds, though their write speeds are a bit slower than the Lexar and SanDisk cards. All of these cards are as fast as CompactFlash cards are going to get—if you want something faster, you will need a different type of memory card.

New Memory Card Types

XQD Cards  XQD Cards are the reason CompactFlash cards aren’t getting a speed update, as they are the CompactFlash Association’s official replacement for CompactFlash cards. XQD cards offer far higher maximum transfer speeds than CompactFlash, are much smaller, and have a more rugged build than SD cards. There are currently two versions of XQD cards, Version 1.0, which allows for maximum transfer rates of 500 MB/s, and Version 2.0, which allows for speeds up to 1000 MB/s. While still limited in use, both versions offer faster possible transfer rates than the fastest CF or SD cards available. 

The Fastest XQD Cards  Currently, Sony and Lexar are the only XQD memory card manufacturers. The Sony XQD Version 2.0 cards in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB capacities are the fastest ones around. All three cards offer extremely fast read speeds of up to 400 MB/s and write speeds of up to 350 MB/s. When it comes to speed, these cards give computer SSD drives a run for their money. If you don’t need your XQD cards to be quite that fast, Lexar also offers XQD Cards in 64GB and 32GB capacities with read speeds up to 200 MB/s.

CFast 2.0 Cards  Despite the fact that CFast cards look almost identical to CompactFlash cards, they are a completely different standard, and will not work in CompactFlash card slots or devices. They are not backed by the CompactFlash association, but are beginning to pick up some steam due to the slow adoption of XQD cards. CFast Cards use SATA connectors to interface with computers and cameras, and the new CFast 2.0 cards use SATA III, meaning they allow for the same maximum transfer rate of 6 Gb/s (750 MB/s) as SATA III drives. While the interface isn’t quite as fast as XQD 2.0, there still aren’t any cards in either format that come close to the maximum possible speed so, at this point, it isn’t really an issue.

The Fastest CFast 2.0 Cards  Currently, Lexar, SanDisk, and Transcend offer CFast 2.0 cards. The Lexar Professional CFast2.0 cards are advertised as having up to 510 MB/s read speeds and come in 256GB, 128GB, 64GB, and 32GB capacities. Transcend also offers 256GB and 128GB CFast 2.0 cards with 510 MB/s read speeds. For even more speed check, out the SanDisk Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 cards that can reach read speeds up to 515 MB/s, which would makes them the top contender for the fastest memory card mentioned in this article.

So, if its performance you need, you have to pick sides, CFast 2.0, XQD, or UHS-II. It’s all up to you—well really, it’s up to device manufacturers, but at least now you know how to find the fastest cards available.

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Well this is certainly the best article about memory cards I've ever read. Thank you.

I do have a slightly related question though:

I had a Samsung Galaxy S3. Bought a PNY 128GB High Performance microSDXC UHS-I/U1 Class 10 Memory Card, Speed Up to 60MB/s (P-SDUX128U160G-GE). Installed apps2sd, which swaps the internal & external memory, So instead of being a 16GB phone, it's a 128GB phone. After about 3 weeks, phone powered off to a boot loop. After some trouble shooting, the sd card is not recognizeable, or formattable. The emmc in the S3 is also toast. :(

Got a replacement card from PNY & a new LG K7 phone. Did the apps2sd thing again. This time it lasted about 20 minutes. Phone is ok, but the card is toast, again.

So, my conclusion is one of 3 things:

1) PNY doesn't make very good cards.

2) The PNY cards aren't fast enough.

3) I'm just really unlucky & these failures are just coincidences.

Any thoughts / advice?

I'll be getting a newer galaxy soon, and don't want to break it. The author of the apps2sd app says no one else has experienced this, there are quite a few users & quite a thread over on xda forums about this app. I also see no evidence as to why it would kill cards, either.

Hi -

I strongly doubt if this a memory card/phone issue at all.  I would recommend pointing inquiries to the app developer: If in doubt I certainly wouldn't load this app onto a new Samsung Galaxy phone.

Developer

Visit website Email vb.kgec@gmail.com

C/o Gautam Banik, Garaputa school road, Nadia - 741502, West Bengal, India

What about the Lexar 128GB Professional 1800x UHS - II MICROSDXC MEMORY CARD (U3) For $127. 50 ??? On B & H app editor's choice app. It comes with a USB & SD Adapters one of each. A minimum write speed of 30GB/s A Maximum data read speed of 270MB/s & A Maximum write speed of 100GB/s. Plus Lexar has made use of the UHS - II Bus Interface design which features a reconfigured pin layout making the card compatible with both UHS - I AND UHS - II INTERFACE DEVICES. Lexar has included a lifetime copy to their downloadable Image rescue softwar.So it has everything the SanDisk has and more I believe. The two different kinds of Adapters & the fact that is a UHS - II but can be used on UHS - I as well plus it's (U3) CLASS 10 TOP OF THE LINE CARD AS WELL IT has all the features of the SanDisk Pro please tell me if I am wrong about this card. Plus it comes in 32GB & 64GB as well.

The Lexar 128GB Professional 1800x UHS-II microSDXC Memory Card (U3) would also be a great Mico SD option for speed. Given the age of the article this particular card may not have been available at the time of its writting, hence the omission. 

which of these cards does anyone reccomend for hunting trail cam's , ive tried several cards i know sandisk works but its slower on downloading then lexar and not all cards work also some cards take longer then others to download to a computer...why is that..i use 16GB and 32GB's cause i get lots of video's....oh and by the way i use all my cam's on video mode..

If the main issues you are having have to do with downloading to your computer, you would want a card with a faster read speed.  Lexar and SanDisk both make excellent cards, and the amount of time it takes to download shouldn’t be impacted by which of the two brands you are using, but on the read speed of the card.  Keep in mind that the card reader you are using as well as your computer itself will play a factor in how fast the video will download.  If you would like recommendations for a memory card, I would suggest sending us an email letting us know which trail cam you are using.  If you also let us know which computer you have and what card reader, we could also see if there might be the option of speeding up the process with a faster card reader.  AskBH@bhphoto.com

The articles goes to great lengths to explain that burst read speed is of little interest and what counts is sustained write speed, then quietly switches to "read speed is all that matter" with zero information about the all-important sustained WRITE speed of any product mentioned, only maximum READ speed and minimum sustained READ speed, which does not indicate how fast we can write continuously on those cards. Clearly, B&H is here to sell cards and not to shed any bad light on any product by exposing their true characteristics, but at the end the article is totally uninformative: we can all read an "up to" label on the picture of a product, that's not the information the article promised, and it failed to deliver. What is the card with the fastest sustained write speed?

Hi, i recently purchased 2 Lexar 64gb pro sdxc cards to use in my Pentax K3 and ran into a problem with having to wait, watching the little hour glass before being able to view my recent pictures (raw). I am a budget buyer, even my camera gear is all used and just cant justify the inflated price of Sandisk products, can you please recomend a sd card that will fill my needs.

Ideally you would need card with a faster write speed so you'll be able to view the images with little wait after just shooting, this will however mean a more expensive card. If trying to cut cost, you could go with a lower capacity while maintaining a faster write speed. From what I am finding a SanDisk may be the better option in this case as they will match Lexar in terms of reliablity and exceed them in speed. The SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro UHS-I SDXC U3 Memory Card would have a Max write speed, 90 MB/s. Any of the UHS-I Lexar 64GB cards would have much slower write speeds. 

There only cheaper option that matches the speeds of SanDisk would be PNY Technologies 64GB Pro Elite SDXC Memory Card (U3) or the Sony 64GB UHS-I SDXC Memory Card (Class 10/U3), but again, your paying extra for the relibitly of the card and quality in production, if shooting professionally this would be well worth the extra cost. 

Thank you!

Please tell which cards r best for me for mobile devices also which class I.e. @10 etc is faster
It i didn't find any UHI option is SD card so which card i should by ? , By the way nice article sir I get too much
Thanks 😃

Hi -

Depending upon the device, a microSDXC memory card  with UHS-1 Class 10 speed will work fine.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Will my Nikon D5300 be able to handle a high capacity XQD?

Hi Anna -

Your camera is not compatible with the XQD format memory cards.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I'm looking at getting the new 2016 Sony FDR-AX53 4K video camera.  

I am a bit confused on the two references to Class 4 vs 10, and a separate Class specification, UHS.  Why are cards expressed with two 'speed?' metrics/what are they?

Background.  I have a 4-yr old Sony HDR-PJ-790V camera.  It records in AVCHD at a max of 24Mbps.  I have 'San Disk Extreme 45MB/s, Class 10, UHS 1' cards.  I've never had an issue in recording.  If I understand the math on your website, this '24Mbps' is the same as 3MB/s, well under my San Disk SDXC's 45MB/s max.  Have I got this correct?

For the FDR-AX53 I want to buy, I want to be certain I get the right SDXC cards.

On Sony's website, the user manual for this model states that in XAVC S 4K mode, video is recorded at a 'Bit Rate of 60Mbps or 100Mbps' (there are two quality settings).   The manual goes on to say that when recording at 100Mbps or higher, that SDXC with at least 'Class 10/UHS Class 3' is required.

So...

1. Why do I need UHS Class 3?  It appears that 100Mbps=12.5MB/s, and my current SDXC can handle 45MB/s.
2. Is UHS Class 3 a system requirement of 4K recording?

Thank you!

Hi Bob -

SONY's engineers have stipulated UHS Class 3 for 4K recording and they are not alone in this recommendation.  UHS Class 3 will ensure reliability and prevent dropped frames or other recording issues. Other cards may work, at times - but why take the risk?

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Thank you, but my questions were not completely answered. 

 I have emailed utilizing reference 06301300.

Hi Bob -

SONY and most other manufacturer's have been recommending UHS Class 3 cards when recording 4K for some time.

For video shooting, which requires constant real-time recording, you must use an SD card that satisfies the Speed Class requirements by the host device. Otherwise, a stable write speed will not be maintained and may cause dropped frames or, in the worst case, shooting could be interrupted. UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) is a new standard specified by the SD Association to meet 4K video needs. It guarantees a minimum constant write speed of 30 MB/s (240 Mbps).

There is never an issue with a card being too fast.  Headroom is a good thing. 

Hello and thank you for the above information.

I want a compactable sd for my canon 60d for effective and efficient video recording. Kindly recommend the suitable Mb/s for this purpose.

Thank you.

 This memory card will offer both speed and performance with your Canon EOS 60D:

SanDisk 64GB Extreme UHS-I U3 SDXC Memory Card (Class 10)  B&H # SAESD64GBU3Z

 

I just want to buy a Ax53 4K Sony and record at 100 mbps, which brand and model of memory card do I need?

Hi Jesus-

Consider the  Sandisk 128GB Extreme Pro UHS-I SDXC U3 Memory Card which provides photographers and videographers with a high-speed SDXC memory card rated Ultra High Speed Class 3 (U3) and SDXC Class 10, offering up to 95 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write speeds. This high-capacity card is specifically engineered for sustained RAW + JPEG burst shooting modes and fast-action Full HD video recording.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Considering new professional cameras work with CF and SD cards, which of them should we choose when they both claim to have the same speed considering also reliability?

The fastest UHS-I SD cards will still be slower than the fastest CF cards. Unless the camera you are working with is UHS-II compatible, CF will be the way to go. Most cameras are still only UHS-I compliant.

Once you’re at the UHS-II level however, I would tend recommend the UHS-II SD card, no threat of bent pins and faster speeds.

At the highest end though, we’re seeing Canon adding CFast compatibility, and Nikon with XQD, both offering significantly higher speeds than UHS-II SD. 

I just got off the on-line chat with Samsung support. They stated that the controller in the galaxy S7 writes to the SD card at 10MB/s UHS-1. If true does it make sense to purchase a card rated any higher than UHS1 U-1 over UHS U-3 I am really confused on witch card to purchase. Also Samsung indicated when shooting 4K vid information goes to system memory then is transferred to SD card. Any info on this?

While U3 support may not be needed for your phone, many cameras require a U3 speed rating for recording 4K video. In general, a U3 Micro SDHC/SDXC card will provide faster read and write speeds than that of Class 10 cards. In addition to video capture, an U3 card would increase the speed in which any information on the card is accessed or written. If you were looking to save a few bucks, a class 10 should perform adequately; you may see a small bump in performance with the U3 on a phone.

The card I am looking to get from you is the Samsung 128GB PRO+ UHS-I micro SDXC U3 Memory Card. Looks like it meets the requirements. Do you think this it's a good choice. I want the fastest card that the Galaxy S7 phone will be compatible with.

Hi Jay -

I think, hands down, this is one the best cards for the new SAMSUNG  GALAXY S7 phone:

This Samsung EVO UHS-I microSDXC U1 Memory Card (Class 10) with Adapter, holds 128GB of data. Its Ultra High Speed Class 1 (UHS-I) bus interface enables it to achieve maximum read and write speeds of 48 MB/s and 15-25 MB/s respectively, which are far greater than the 10 MB/s minimum speeds guaranteed by the Class 10 and UHS 1 ratings. This microSD card is ideal for Full-HD video recordings and high resolution pictures. A microSD adapter is included, allowing you to use the card in a full-size SDHC/SDXC slot.

The EVO series is waterproof (lasting up to 24 hours in seawater), magnet-proof, and X-ray–proof. Additionally, it is capable of withstanding temperatures of -13 to 185°F.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Has anyone noted how many claims of fake Sony cards are popping up? How can I be assured of getting an original card and not one of these fakes?

Hi John -

B&H buys directly from SONY so we have no issues.  B&H purchases either directly from manufacturers or their authorized distributors to avoid knock-off and counterfeit products.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Thanks for a clear delineation of specification definitions for these cards.

I am concerned, though, that write speeds are not addressed by you, and they are sometimes more crucial than read speeds.

Too, specs are often not proved in actual use, so benchmarking would be the most solid set of numbers on all these.

You would look at the speed class rating of a SD card to determine the minimum write speed and from there determine if this is suitable for the kind of shooting you would be doing. The speed class would provide the minimum write speed and would not write slower than its class rating. As noted above:

U3:               Minimum 30 MB/s Read

U1:               Minimum 10 MB/s Read

Class 10:      Minimum 10 MB/s Read

For compact flash cards, the minimum write speed is generally included in the individual cards specifications, with UDMA 7 cards offering some of the highest speeds.

Most manufacturers certainly test their cards to provide as accurate as possible speed results in their specifications. This is why professions gravitate towards certain more trusted brands whose specs accurately reflect their usage. 

Great thorough article, thanks a lot. Hope you will update it because they just announced the Galaxy S7 with microSD slot and I don´t want to slow that phone down with a slow card. If anyone did some research on what is the fastest card for the S7, I would be forever in your debt :).

Unfortunately I was not able to find any details published by Samsung yet as to the speed requirements for the memory cards to be used with this phone.  Currently we offer two different type Samsung cards in various capacities, both are U1 and U3 type cards.  If you're concerned about the performance, opt for the U3 options.

I just got off the on-line chat with Samsung support this evening. They say that 20 MB write speed is sufficient for recording 4k with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, and pointed me to their own products. They don't have a list or minimum speed requirements that I could find.. Unfortunately my chat was wiped out when i clicked on the X to get a transcript :) should have know to do a screen capture..argh..

Thank you for following up wit that useful information.  Thats good to know. 

I have ordered an SJ8000 4K videocamera, but I am not sure of the bitrate of this product. So I also have ordered Transcend 633x micro SD-card, and hope this is suitable. Any comments to this?

Sigurd

Hi Sigurd -

According to the manufacturer - you may use up to a 64GB microSDXC card rated at Class10 UHS1 or better.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

Is it wise to use micro sd with a full size sd adapter on a Sony MEAD SXS adapter for my pxw x200 camera? Or should i get the full size sd instead? Where im from theres an abundance of the micro sd and very little of the full sized ones.

It would not be recommended to use a Mirco SD card with an adapter. Aside from diminished reliability read/write speeds would also be slowed down.

I recently bought a Nikon CoolPix P900. It is VERY, VERY SLOW at "recovering" after I shoot a burst (takes a LONG time to be ready to take another picture). Is this because of the card I have in it? If so, WHAT is the FASTEST Card you would recommend for it, with high capacity? (I often take 500 to 1000 shots a day plus some video.) Thanks for your input and thanks for this GREAT article.

Many of these people should also call the tech support department of the manufactures of the canera they own.  For example Canon has a great tech department.  These tech guys know the most about your camera and would give the best advise on what card to use.  Also various card manufactures have tested all their cards on the top cameras and know what card would work best too.

How do I know what Card My D7100 Nikon will use ! I dont know if buying a faster card like the 64 Sandisk  Extreme UHS -II will work faster than my Camera can handle !!

For your camera a UHS-I card would be recommended. The Nikon D7100 would not be able to take advantage of the enhanced speed UHS-II cards provide as it does not have the second row of contacts that allow UHS-II card to read and write so quickly. UHS-II cards can be used in the D7100 however their speeds would be limited to that of a UHS-I. 

looks good
 

I remember paying about $50 for a ½-gig card around '07. Now for that price you can get the fastest micro SD card - 128 gig U1 (large mem. and fast).

BTW as was mentioned in the article, fast is not only for the device but also for download/transfer from/to the computer - and it really makes a difference when you have a lot to transfer. (If the computer doesn’t have such a 'fast-capable' reader built in, you can get one that plugs into USB 3 or even USB 2, because, what I remember hearing, is that the UDMA technology (the 'U' on the card) is a special technology which sends the signal over the USB quicker (it has to do with cycles of electricity and they were able to do this. The manufacturer of such an adapter told me that it does not compress or diminish the quality of the files in any way.) 

Adaper: Moshi Cardette 3 USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader - B&H # MOC3CR MFR # 99MO059201

·        USB 3.0 Interface

·        Max. Read Speed: 100MB/s

·        Supports UDMA 7

TY for the article

You mention that the CF and XQD cards are stronger than the SDs, but what you don't say is: SD cards can more easily break.

I have had that experience. So, photographers should be very careful as to using the SDs. One solution is to put it in the camera and transfer photos/videos by USB/HDMI. Another answer is to buy the micro SDs, then the adapter can/will break but, the micro SD will not. Have a camera with 2 SD slots is also a good answer.

I think the main reason for the slow adaptation of the newer cards is that people use SDs for many different devices, not only in cameras, therefore their sales figures are much higher than the CF models suported only in pro cameras. 

Do you neen a fast memory card for portrait and Landscape or Is a fast memory card used for sports and video only.

You would want a fast memory card for any subject matter in which you would be shooting continuously/burst shooting. Sports, weddings, events will all typically need the extra speed but even in a studio or portrait setting the added speed can be useful if trying to capture a particular motion or action. Landscapes, still life, or anything not particularly going anywhere however would not necessarily require a high speed card. 

I now own audio recording devices that use either SD or CF cards. Are the transfer speeds for audio as critical as those for video?

In general the speed requirements for external audio recording devices are not as demanding as camera used for recording HD video files.  Those using SD cards are generally ok with Class 4 or Class 10 speed cards.  For each brand/model of recording devices, the manufacturer usually lists tested cards by brand name and model #. For the models we carry we also post recommended/compatible cards in the "Accessories" section on the product link for the recorders on our site.  If you'd like help finding appropriate cards, feel free to email us at askbh@bhphoto.com and our agents there will be happy to reply with recommended cards for the devices you have. 

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