If you are wondering “What SD card should I get for my camera?” then you have come to the right place. Today I’m going to share with you how memory cards work, how many pictures a memory card can hold, which SD cards are best for your DSLR or Mirrorless camera, and even what is the difference between SD and SDHC memory cards.
What is an SD Memory Card
In digital photography, your memory card is what the photos you take are recorded on to so you can transfer the photos to a computer. There are different types of memory cards but the most common type is the SD Memory card. SD stands for secure digital.
How Memory Cards work
When you take a photo, you camera records all of the light and color data that landed on the digital sensor. The camera then takes that info, packages it into a single file and then transfers the file to the memory card to be stored. There are different options to look for in a memory card to ensure its the best choice for you. Let's get into them now.
What is the difference between SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards
Simply put when first created SD card capacity maxed out at 2GB. Once technology advanced we needed higher capacity cards. From there was born the SDHC (High Capacity) card which had a capacity of up to 32GB. Once again technology has advanced and today we need even more storage, and so was born the SDXC memory card with a capacity of up to 2TB (2000GB) If you’re buying a memory card after 2017 there is a great chance it will be an SDXC card, even if it is just called an SD card.
How many memory cards do I need for vacation or a wedding?
Memory cards hold the photos you take so choosing a memory card with a high capacity means it will hold more photos. Common sizes for memory cards are 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB. My camera takes 24 megapixel photos. The average photo is about 30 MB.
There is 1000 MB in 1 GB.
A 16GB card can hold 533 24 megapixel photos.
A 32GB card can hold 1066 24 megapixel photos.
A 64GB card can hold 2132 24 megapixel photos.
A 128gb card can hold 4264 megapixel photos.
Now depending on how long your trip is or how many photos you think you will take, you can make a pretty good decision on how big of a memory card you need.
At a wedding I typically take about 3000 photos so I know that I need a memory card with at least 128gb of storage. On a week long vacation I take about 1000 photos so to be safe I bring a 64gb memory card with me so I don’t have to worry about running out of storage space.
Which memory card is best for DSLR
There are several options you need to look for in a memory card to ensure its the best fit for your needs and your budget. Know that all of these memory cards will work no matter if you have Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, or any other camera that takes SD memory cards. Just a note
DON’T SKIMP ON YOUR MEMORY CARDS!
You spend a lot a lot of time and money picking out the right camera and lens don’t risk loosing a photo because you thought you could save $4 on a cheaper memory card.
Here are my recommendations on which memory cards to buy and their prices. The links to memory cards I have listed below contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase through one of the links you click on I will receive a commission at no cost to you. I assure you as a professional wedding photographer I have used a lot of different memory cards and the cards listed below I stand behind 100%.
Best Memory Cards for Beginner Photographers
I started with cards and they served me well until I needed faster read and write speeds once I started shooting weddings. These are great all around cards and as long as you wont be shooting sports or high volume they could last for several years.
Best Memory Cards for Hobbiest Photographers
Serious hobbiest typically have cameras with higher megapixel counts than entry level camera. Hobbiest also generally shoot more images than beginners so I choose a card with faster write speeds so that the memory card does not become a bottleneck.
Best Memory Cards for Professionals or Wedding Photographers
Wedding photography requires you to take a bust of many images in a short period of time. If you have a slow memory card you could be waiting for your camera to clear its buffer and miss the first kiss completely. If reliability and speed is important to you these are the cards to trust.
How to Keep Memory Cards Safe and Organized
As a wedding photographer I have to cary multiple memory cards on a wedding day. To keep them organized and save myself from potentially losing a card full of wedding images I use an SD card wallet that clips onto my camera bag and it has eliminated so much stress from my life! And for under $20 I consider it a must have.
How to Upload Photos from your Camera to the Computer
There is a good chance you either plug your camera into your computer or take out the memory card and plug the card into the side of your computer. Both of these ways are painfully slow and in the case of plugging your card into your computer can cause it to break off inside your computer and lose the images.
That is why I use a dedicated SD card reader. It’s portable, accepts multiple types of memory cards, takes advantage of newer technology, has ultra fast transfer speeds and again, under $20. For these reasons it too is a must have.
So there you go, everything you need to know about memory cards, how to pick the right one, how to keep them organized, and how to upload the beautiful photos you take onto your computer.