Looking for the right memory card for your camera? I’ll show you what’s important and give you my personal recommendations!
Here is a detailed article about memory cards for cameras. If you don’t want to read it all, but just need a quick recommendation, you can find my overview here:
These memory cards fit all current cameras with SD memory card slot.
Which memory card for camera…
If you want to know exactly which memory card you need for your new camera, check out the following listing. I’ve separated the list by SD, CF, XQD and CFexpress memory cards. Some high-end cameras support different memory cards, so I’ve listed those multiple times as well.
As a rule, I recommend the Sandisk Extreme Pro memory cards because they are among the fastest and most reliable memory cards currently available. Chip reviewed this again in a recent review. The current price for a Sandisk Extreme Pro with 32 GB is currently around 12 euros.
Memory card for Canon
- EOS R
- EOS RP
- EOS Ra
- EOS 2000D
- EOS 4000D
- EOS 1200D
- EOS 1300D
- EOS 200D
- EOS 250D
- EOS 750D
- EOS 800D
- EOS 850D
- EOS 90D
- EOS 77D
- EOS 80D
- EOS 6D
- EOS 6D Mark II
- EOS 7D Mark II
- EOS 5D Mark IV (UHS-I only)
- EOS 5DS R
- EOS 5DS
- EOS M6 Mark II
- EOS M5
- EOS M6
- EOS M50
- EOS M50 Mark II
- EOS M100
- EOS M200
- PowerShot G1 X Mark III
- PowerShot G3 X
- PowerShot G5 X Mark II
- PowerShot G5 X
- PowerShot G7 X Mark III
- PowerShot G7 X Mark II
- PowerShot G9 X Mark II
An SD memory card will fit these Canon cameras. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB.
- EOS R3
- EOS R5
- EOS R6
For these Canon EOS R cameras fits a SD memory card with UHS-II. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 64 GB UHS-II.
Memory card for Nikon
- Z fc
For these Nikon cameras a SD memory card fits. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB.
- Z 5
- Z 6 II
- Z 7 II
For these Nikon cameras fits a SD memory card with UHS-II. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 64 GB UHS-II.
Memory card for Sony
- a7 II
- a7 III
- a7 IV
- a7S II
- a7S III
- a7R II
- a7R III
- a7R IV
- a9 II
- RX100 II
- RX100 III
- RX100 IV
- RX100 V
- RX100 VI
- RX100 VII
For these Sony cameras a SD memory card fits. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB.
- a7S III
An SD memory card with UHS-II fits these cameras. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 64 GB UHS-II.
Memory card for Fujifilm
- GFX 100
- GFX 100S
- GFX 50S
- GFX 50R
An SD memory card fits these Fujifilm cameras. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB.
Memory card for Olympus
- OM-D E-M1X
- OM-D E-M1 Mark II
- OM-D E-M1 Mark III
- OM-D E-M5 Mark II
- OM-D E-M5 Mark III
- OM-D E-M10 Mark II
- OM-D E-M10 Mark II
- OM-D E-M10 Mark III
- OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
- PEN E-PL10
- PEN E-P7
An SD memory card will fit these Olympus cameras. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB.
Memory card for Pentax
- K-1 Mark II
- K-3 Mark III
An SD memory card fits these Pentax cameras. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB.
Memory card for Panasonic Lumix
- DC-FZ1000 II
- DC-LX100 II
For these Panasonic cameras a SD memory card fits. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB.
Memory card for Canon and Nikon cameras with Compact Flash
- Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
- Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- Nikon D5 CF
A CompactFlash memory card fits these Canon and Nikon cameras. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB.
Memory card for Nikon cameras with XQD-Flash
- Z 6
- Z 6II
- Z 7
- Z 7II
- Z 9
- D5 XQD
For these Nikon cameras a XQD flash memory card fits. My recommendation: Sony XQD 64 GB.
Memory card for cameras with CFexpress type B
- Canon EOS R5
- Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
- Nikon D6
- Nikon Z 9
A CFexpress Type B memory card fits these Canon and Nikon cameras. My recommendation: SanDisk Extreme PRO CFexpress 64 GB.
To my knowledge, CFexpress Type B memory cards for camera are currently the fastest.
Memory card for cameras with CFexpress Type A
- Sony a7S III
- Sony FX3
For these Sony cameras a CFexpress Type A memory card fits. My recommendation: Sony 160GB CFexpress Type A flash memory card.
Information about memory cards for cameras
Which memory cards are available for cameras?
Almost all current cameras use either Secure Digital (SD) or CompactFlash (CF) memory cards. SD memory cards are used in most entry-level and mid-range cameras. CompactFlash memory cards are primarily used in professional cameras.
SD cards are smaller and lighter than CF cards. CompactFlash cards on the other hand are much more robust.
Together with a friend I once tried to break or at least bend a CF card with my fingers, but there was nothing I could do. I also know from him that he once washed one of his CF cards in his pants pocket and it still worked perfectly afterwards.
As a rule, however, a memory card for the camera does not have to withstand any major stresses, which is why this point is not a selection criterion.
Some new cameras like the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 use XQD as memory card medium. These new memory cards are currently still relatively expensive, but fast.
CFexpress is another type of memory card. These are sometimes even faster than XQD cards. There are currently CFexpress Type A and Type B. In my list below you can see exactly which cameras need which memory cards.
What is the difference between SD, SDHC and SDXC cards?
The designations SD, SDHC and SDXC refer to the capacity of the memory cards. SD stands for Secure Digital, SDHC for Secure Digital High Capacity and SDXC for Secure Digital Extended Capacity. The following sizes are available for these different cards:
- SD: 128 MB – 2 GB
- SDHC: 4 GB – 32 GB
- SDXC: 64 GB – 2 TB
What should be the capacity of my card?
Memory card size for photos
Many of the current cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels, whether system camera or SLR. Therefore I take this 24 MP as an example.
On a 32 GB memory card then fit about 2500 images in JPG format. In RAW format, about 880 pictures go on the 32 GB card.
Even calculated generously, this number of images is enough for 1 to 2 weeks of vacation. Therefore, I would also recommend a 32 GB card to photographers. I always have a second memory card with 16 GB with me, in case the first one should really be full. With both memory cards, I also did a three-week photo tour of Scotland without the cards getting full.
Memory card size for videos
If you’re producing videos, then the memory card should be much larger. Videos take up a lot of space, so the memory capacity can be exhausted quickly.
For Full HD videos, I recommend a 64 GB memory card, and for 4K videos, a 128 GB memory card. Depending on how much video footage you shoot, you may also need multiple memory cards.
How many images can fit on one memory card?
To clarify the storage capacity, I have created a small table for the current memory card sizes 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB. Here you can see how many pictures fit on the respective memory card.
Size of the memory card Number of JPG images Number of RAW images
32 GB 2500 880
64 GB 5000 1760
128 GB 10000 3520
I assume here a camera with 24 megapixels. By JPG I mean JPG files with the fine setting, by RAW I mean uncompressed RAW files. More about the difference between RAW and JPG files can be found here.
Should I rather use one big memory card or 2 to 3 small ones?
I would rather use 2-3 smaller memory cards instead of one big one. This is mainly for data security. If my one memory card is defective, I always have a second one with me.
What do the memory card classes mean?
The classes are the speed specifications of the memory card manufacturer. Here there are the specifications in Class 2, 4, 6 or UHS. Without explaining each class individually, the card should be able to store 90 MB per second.
How fast should the card be? (Speed)
In practice, a high write speed means that you can save your pictures faster with a faster card. So if you take your pictures in quick succession, such as wildlife photography, you don’t have to wait for the camera to catch up with saving.
My recommendation is to use a Class 10 or UHS-I memory card. That way you never have to wait for the camera to catch up when taking pictures and it’s fast enough for videos too.
If your camera supports it and you shoot 4K, 8K videos or shoot with a lot of the continuous shooting mode, then a UHS-II card can be worthwhile. UHS-II cards are very fast, but cost more accordingly.
Why I recommend brand manufacturers
Imagine you’re going on vacation or on a photo tour for a week. You have a really good time. The light is good, you have great motifs and you already have the feeling that you are taking some great pictures.
Now you come home and find out that the memory card is faulty and half of your pictures were not saved correctly. Then the disappointment is huge.
For this reason, I recommend not skimping on the memory card and going with a brand name manufacturer instead. A good choice are SanDisk, Kingston and Transcend.
Memory card defective – the data recovery tool for memory cards
It has already happened to me once, even with a brand manufacturer like SanDisk, that I had defective pictures on the memory card. However, also only once in 15 years.
In this moment a special tool is really worth its weight in gold: RescuePro. I was able to recover the pictures with it. I was also able to recover 70% of the pictures on a friend’s card. RescuePro is included with the purchase of a SanDisk Extreme card, which is why I strongly recommend these cards.
By the way, SanDisk replaced the defective card within a week without any problems. My good experiences with this manufacturer are also the reason why I like to recommend SanDisk.
Is a memory card reader worth it?
I use a memory card reader to transfer my photos to my computer. That way I don’t always have to plug the cable into the camera. On top of that, most memory card readers are also faster than a cable connection to the camera.
My current memory card reader comes from Transcend and supports SD and CompactFlash cards as well as MicroSD. It’s decently fast due to USB 3.1.
Memory card for videos
If you shoot videos, then you should dimension the card a bit bigger and faster. For Full HD videos I recommend this 64 GB SD memory card, for 4K videos this 128 GB variant.
A note on the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV: To store 4K videos here, a very fast memory card is necessary. Robert Sperling has tested various cards in this context and documented the result.
Format memory card for camera
When is it worth formatting the memory card for the camera? If you have bought a new memory card, I recommend formatting it before using it for the first time. You can find the item for this in the menu of your camera. Often it is marked as „Format card“. On my Canon EOS 77D you can find it here:
When you select this menu item, the camera’s software will ask you again exactly how you want to format:
In very simplified terms, there is a fast and a slow formatting. The slow one works more thoroughly and is called „low level format“. In this case, the file system of the memory card is rewritten from scratch.
In most cases, the memory card has already been formatted by the manufacturer before it was shipped. So formatting the card after the first insertion is not always necessary. However, I still do this with a new memory card, because the camera then creates its optimal file system and thus works best.
About once a year I format the SD card again, but then not at low level, but with the fast variant.
Which memory card should I buy for my camera?
That was a lot of information about memory cards. Finally, here is a table with my personal recommendations. These memory cards are suitable for all cameras with SD memory card slot, which are currently all current cameras except Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, EOS R5, Nikon D5 CF+XQD, Z 7, Z 6 and Z 9.
I hope this article was helpful for you. If you still have questions, just write me in the comments.