Here are the top ten memory cards compared

Aug 3, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Here are the top ten memory cards compared

Aug 3, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Memory cards are the biggest pain in the backside for photographers. We have to keep getting new ones whenever we upgrade because cameras make bigger files. Video requires higher bitrates. Our low capacity slower cards can no longer keep up. And we need a bunch of them, because we need to shoot backups, use multiple cameras, or lose them.

Storage technology is always changing, too. You have to keep up-to-date with what’s the best, and the best value, to spend your money wisely. Tom of Tom’s Tech Time decided to put 10 of the current range of popular micro SD cards up against each other to see how they compare.

YouTube video

While microSD might not be the first thing you think of for your camera, they can be more versatile than buying regular SD. They’re the same technology, just shrunk down, and they will work just fine in any DSLR or mirrorless through a simple adapter. But, you can also use them with action cameras, phone card readers, 360° cameras, drones and other devices.

So, this is the lineup for the cards being tested.

The manufacturer read & write speeds for each of these cards are often wildly inaccurate, to put it nicely. So, first Tom lays out each of the cards along with the manufacturer’s spec for each. Apparently Panasonic don’t list the speeds for their cards.

Tom tested the speeds of each card using CrystalDiskMark, a fairly common application used for such tests. He also took a 4.1GB video file on his computer and copied it straight to each memory card to see how long it would take.

In testing these cards, the results are very different from those the manufacturers claim. Of course, there will be some variance depending on the card reader used. In Tom’s tests, though some of them actually outperformed the manufacturer’s claims, especially when it came to write speeds. And this is Tom’s final leaderboard.

It’s probably not much of a surprise which card won. The SanDisk Extreme Pro cards regularly come in at the lead in such tests. It’s why they’re so often recommended by both gear manufacturers and users alike. Although it just goes to show you can never really depend on the manufacturer to give you accurate read or write speeds on cards.

Despite the recent bad news, I was quite surprised to see no Lexar cards in the test. I’ve never been a particular fan of Lexar cards myself (too many failures), but there’s still plenty of unsold stock available out there.

What’s your memory card of choice?

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

8 responses to “Here are the top ten memory cards compared”

  1. lewisfrancis Avatar
    lewisfrancis

    In case it’s not obvious, click on the leaderboard graphics to see them in their larger, clearer form — save the eyes!

  2. pincherio Avatar
    pincherio

    Why does the SanDisk Extreme have a faster write speed when it takes longer to copy a file than the cards below it (Sony, Panasonic, Kingston)? Shouldn’t a faster write speed make it copy quicker?

    1. radj Avatar
      radj

      Maybe the 2nd photo didn’t load for you. The 1st photo shows the declared speeds but the third photo shows the actual measured speeds. In the 2nd photo, SanDisk Extreme was ranked 7th.

      1. pincherio Avatar
        pincherio

        It loaded properly. It’s ranked 7th ahead of Sony, Panasonic and Kingston but look at the bottom stat (Copy Time). It took SanDisk Extreme 1:27 to copy the file. It took Sony 1:23 while Panny and Kingston took 1:24 to copy the file. Meanwhile, Transcend and Patriot also took 1:23 to copy the file, same as Sony. What I don’t get is how the SanDisk Extreme gets ranked ahead of others when it was the slowest card to copy a file. Another takeaway from all this is how close the 5th to 10th ranked cards are in terms of time it takes to record the file with only 1 second separating them, if you take out the 7th ranked SDExtreme.

        1. Doug Sundseth Avatar
          Doug Sundseth

          Since the SanDisk card has a lower read speed and data integrity checking requires reading after writing, the difference is probably related to integrity checking.

  3. Daniel Shortt Avatar
    Daniel Shortt

    Always use SanDisk extreme pro.

  4. Kay O. Sweaver Avatar
    Kay O. Sweaver

    I’m actually surprised how similar they all are, truth is we’re pretty spoiled these days as only a few years ago speeds were far below any of these. Personally I have a mismash of SanDisk, Promaster, Transcend & Hoodman cards – all of them work great for me.

  5. Erik Saari Avatar
    Erik Saari

    Micro SD Cards?