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Posted by Kaley Torres - Contact Author

How to Select the Best SD Card for 4K Camera, Drones, GoPro

Selecting the best SD card for 4K video cameras, DJI drones, Gopro motion cams, dash cams, etc. is not easy. To select a SD card for 4K filming, you can't simply buy one with 64GB, 128GB, or a larger capacity. There are different memory card types, sizes, speeds, brands, and more confusing features to consider. If the wrong micro SD card is selected for 4K video camera, you may see frame drops during recording for a smooth playback. Here we will tell you how to select 2021 best SD card for your 4K camera, drones, GoPro, dash camm, etc. and list the top ones.

best sd card for 4k drone video
Recommended SD Card for 4K Video

Part 1 How to Select the Best Micro SD Card for 4K Video Recording?

Capacity

To get clear what size a SD card for 4K video should be, you need to know the space that 4K videos will take. Below is the memory card recording time using GoPro. Please note that 4K videos in RAW formats recorded by professional cameras require more space.

4K Resolution

SD Card Size

Recording Time

4K Resolution

SD Card Size

Recording Time

4K 60fps

(9.25 MB/s)

16GB

0:29 Hours

4K 24-30fps

(7.5 MB/s)

16GB

0:35 Hours

32GB

0:58 Hours

32GB

1:11 Hours

64GB

1:55 Hours

64GB

2:22 Hours

128GB

4:44 Hours

128GB

4:44 Hours

256GB

7:41 Hours

256GB

5:55 Hours

There are four types of SD cards in regards of capacity.

  • SD standard – Up to 2GB SD memory card using FAT 12 and 16 file systems
  • SDHC standard – over 2GB-32GB SDHC memory card using FAT32 file system
  • SDXC standard – over 32GB-2TB SDXC memory card using exFAT file system
  • SDUC standard – over 2TB-128TB SDUC memory card using exFAT file system

Sum: So you may at least want a SD card for 4K recording with a storage larger than 32GB. Therefore, consider SDXC or SDUC cards for 4K video recording. (Warm prompt: you're always suggested to use multiple smaller-size SD cards than a single large one. This can avoid the risk of lost or failed SD card.)

FAT32 and exFAT

FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, and exFAT are file systems. When you selecting a SD card for your 4K video camera, you should at least have a rough idea of FAT32 and exFAT.

  • FAT32: FAT32 is the most widely compatible file system. Genreally, SDHC devices support FAT32 file system while SDXC cards use exFAT file system. The biggest drawback of FAT32 is that individual files on a FAT32 drive cannot excessed 4 GB in size (check the detailed FAT32 file size limit). FAT32 is only supported by SD/uSD cards with capacity less than 32GB. That's why the recorded footage is divided into several segments.
  • exFAT: exFAT is a modern replacement for FAT 32 released to carry files over 4GB. It has no limits on the file sizes or partition sizes. Also if the capacity of your SD/uSD card is larger than 32GB, you should format it to exFAT.

Sum: In fact, when you record 4K videos using GoPro or other cameras, you may find your recordings are split into pieces. That's because you're using a FAT32 card and it automatically cut your recording every 4GB. In this case, you may need to merge the videos together and switch to an exFAT card.

Speed

There are 3 different Speed Classes used to define the absolute minimum sustained write speed for the SD and micro SD cards.

  • Speed Class – there are Class 2, 4, 6, and 10, representing a minimum write speed of 2MB/s, 4MB/s, 6MB/s, and 10MB/s respectively.
  • UHS Speed Class – there are UHS Speed Class 1 (U1) and UHS Speed Class 3 (U3), representing a minimum write speed of 10MB/s and 30MB/s respectively.
  • Video Speed Class – there are V6, V10, V30, V60 and V90, representing a minimum write speed of 6 MB/s, 10MB/s, 30MB/s, 60MB/s, and 90MB/s respectively.
what speed sd card for 4k video cameras
SD Card Speed Class

Sum: What speed a SD card for 4k video filming should be? Cameras that shoot Ultra HD 4K video require a SD card with minimum write speed of at least 30MB/s. So, the best micro SD card for 4K 60fps video recording should have a speed class of U3, V30, or higher.

Part 2 Recommended Best SD Card for 4K Video Recording 2021

1. SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I

  • Capacity: 32GB-1TB
  • Speed Class: UHS-I, U3, V30
  • Read Speed: Up to 90MB/s
  • Write Speed: Up to 170MB/s
  • Suitable for: Photography and 4K video

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I is recommended as the top best micro SD card for 4K UHD video cameras for its good value for the money. Offering a maximum read speed of 170MB/s [64GB-1TB] and a maximum write speed of 90MB/s, it’s one of the fastest UHS-1 SD cards. That's enough speed to record 4K 60fps, 24fps and HD 240fps videos smoothly on any modern cameras.  

 best sd card for 4k 60fps video
SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I

2. SanDisk Extreme UHS-1 SD Card

  • Capacity: 16GB-256GB
  • Speed Class: UHS-I, U3, V30
  • Read Speed: Up to 150MB/s
  • Write Speed: Up to 70MB/s
  • Suitable for: Photography and 4K video

SanDisk Extreme SD UHS-I memory card is the standard version of SanDisk's Extreme range. It's recommended for 4K video recording for its fast speed at reasonable prices. With up to 150MB/s [64GB-256GB] read speed and up to 70MB/s [128GB-256GB] write speed, it lets you capture any 4K UHD videos without missing a beat.

what size and speed sd card for 4K video
SanDisk Extreme UHS-1 SD Card

3. Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I

  • Capacity: 32GB-256GB
  • Speed Class: C10, U1/U3, V10/V30 (depending on capacity)
  • Read Speed: Up to 95 MB/s
  • Write Speed: Up to 45MB/s (128GB – 256GB)
  • Suitable for: Photography and 4K video

Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I has fast speeds to make it a good SD card for 4K video cameras, mid-range DSLRs, and HD camcorders. The 4K video support is available in 64GB and the above. But if you want a better micro SD card for 4k @60fps or higher video recording, you may consider its advanced models like 1066x SD UHS-I Card, 1667x SD UHS-II Card, or 2000x SD UHS-II Card. They provide a write speed way faster than 100mbps.

best sd card for 4k filming
Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I

4. Kingston SDXC Canvas React Plus Card

  • Capacity: 32GB-256GB
  • Speed Class: UHS-II, U3, V90
  • Read Speed: Up to 300 MB/s
  • Write Speed: Up to 260MB/s
  • Suitable for: 4K/8K video production

For professionals who want an SD card to record 4K and even 8K videos, they won't go wrong with SD Canvas React Plus. Designed for UHS-II cinema professional cameras, it delivers an amazing performance with up to 300MB/s for reading and 260MB/s for writing. Professional creators can capture 4K 60fps, 120fps, and 8K UHD videos without dropping frames. If you want some cheaper and consumer 4K video SD cards, try the Canvas Select Plus or Cavas Go! Plus SD.

best micro sd card for 4K video recording
Kingston SDXC Canvas React Plus Card

5. Sony SF-G Tough SDXC

  • Capacity: 32GB- 128GB
  • Speed Class: V90, CL10, U3
  • Read Speed: Up to 300 MB/s
  • Write Speed: Up to 299 MB/s
  • Suitable for: High speed burst photography and 4K vide

Sony SF-G Tough SDXC memory cards are well-suited for recording fast-speed videos, including 8K, 4K XAVC S, 60p AVCHD, 3D, HFR, and Full HD video. It's one of the best SD cards for 4K video cameras like GoPro, DJI, etc. for its highest grade durability. With an ultra-rugged design, users can record videos under any tough conditions without worrying about card failures. If you're a pro shooter and have the budget, you won't want to miss it.

 best sd card for 4k 60fps video recording
Sony SF-G Tough SDXC

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author - Kaley Torres

Kaley Torres twitter icon

Kaley Torres is a self-motivated, creative editor with eight years of marketing and SEO experience, specializing in writing on DVD, video, audio, images, new digital contents etc. With a partiality DVD collection, Kaley also enjoys digitizing DVD and is keen to share her DVD video conversion solutions as well as video sharing tips on social media.

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