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SD Card Buying Guide for Photographers-How to Choose the Right One!

Summary: This blog guides you through several aspects that photographers should look for when buying an SD card. This will make it easier for them to get the best one depending on their requirement. Further, this blog also explains the aftereffect of not buying the right SD card and the ways by which one can overcome the repercussion.

SD cards are data storage devices that can store a significant amount of data depending on their size. Thus, photographers of all types, be they fashion photographer, landscape photographer, wildlife photographer or any other, they all use SD memory cards to store the photos that they capture through their camera or the videos that they shoot. Well, since not all SD cards match the requirement of professional photographers, they can go through the SD Card buying guide in the sections below:

What to Look For When You Are Buying SD Card?

1. Class 10 Rating – The Class 10 rating of an SD card guarantees that the card has a minimum and sustained sequential Write speed of least 10 MB/s. This is the minimum Write Speed for shooting videos of 1080p. Therefore, photographers should look for SD cards with Class 10 rating if they wish to shoot videos, and not the SD cards with Speed classes of 2, 4, and 6.

2. U3 rating – U1 cards are suitable for recording videos of 1080p and have minimum Write Speed of 10 MB/s whereas U3 memory cards are suitable for 4K video. In addition, it designates a minimum Write speed of 30 MB/s making it suitable for shooting videos. Therefore, it is recommended to the photographers that they use U3 memory cards only. The other benefits that memory cards with U3 rating offer is that they are not too expensive and gives better performance.

3. UHS-I bus mode – The way SD cards of different generations work is defined by a standard called Bus mode. All the cameras of the point-and-shoot type that are suggested for use by photographers, support at least UHS-I bus cards. Additionally, the standard is backwards compatible. This means that one can use a faster UHS-II card with a UHS-I camera, or a UHS-I card with a UHS-II camera. However, the full speed of UHS-II will not be available unless both camera and card support each other. The reason being, it requires an additional row of physical pins to achieve high speed.

4. Video Speed classes – The V6, V10, V30, V60, and V90 Video Speed Class Ratings ensure minimum levels of performance for recording video on SD cards. Cards with Video Speed class ratings have become available as of early 2017, and there are more to come in the coming year. Thus, photographers should look for Video Speed classes before purchasing an SD card.

5. Storage Capacity – Photographers must always check the storage capacity of SD cards before buying. The more is the storage capacity, the more data can be stored on it. For instance, a 64 GB SD card has more storage space as compared to 32 GB SD cards. In addition, a 64 GB SD card is cheaper than memory cards with 32 GB storage space. Memory cards with 128 GB capacity are also available and are priced at almost the same cost as 64 GB SD cards. Also, they should check the device before purchasing to ensure that it supports SDXC (XC denotes extended capacity) cards.

6. Reliability – SD cards hold only one copy of a photo between the time it is captured and is copied to a system for editing. Therefore, it is exceedingly important for photographers to buy memory cards from a reputable manufacturer such as SanDisk, Transcend, Lexar, Integral, Toshiba, Delkin, Sony etc. This is to ensure reliability and minimise the chances of error. Many SD cards come with a warranty of lifetime or 10 years, and the SD Card Association says that most of the SD cards have a lifespan of about 10 years with ‘normal usage.’

In this way, after looking into these aspects, photographers can buy the best SD cards that would serve their purpose of professional and quality photography.

Perfect SD Cards Recommended for Photographers

Here are the top 2 SD Cards recommended for photographers based on the important features that are Speed (Read and Write), Storage Capacity, Reliability, Price, and Warranty.

1. 64 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro – It is a Class 10, U3, V30 card meaning that it is fast enough to record both 1080p and 4K video. It’s read and write speed is 95 MB/s and 90 MB/s respectively. It is one of the best SD cards because it has the fastest speed of all the UHS-I cards at least by 33%. Further, it is reasonable for the reason that it is less expensive per GB than the 32 GB model. If more space is required, the 128 GB capacity SanDisk Extreme Pro is more affordable. Next, it has a lifetime warranty because it can withstand 1 meter of salt or fresh water exposure up to 72 hours, temperatures ranging from –13 ºF to 185 ºF, and airport X-rays. It works properly unless mishandled.

You can get it from here.

2. 64 GB Transcend W60MB/s – It is the next best option in case SanDisk Extreme Pro is not available. Like the top pick, 64 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro, the Transcend is a Class 10, U3 card due to which it can shoot both 1080p and 4K video. It lacks the new V30 rating, though the U3 specification guarantees the same 30 MB/s minimum write speed. Its Write speed is 21.2 MB/s less than that of SanDisk Extreme Pro, but has the same Read speed. Further, it is cheaper than the SanDisk Extreme Pro at around 46¢ per gigabyte. It also comes in 128 GB capacity, but at 57¢ per gigabyte. Further, it enjoys lifetime warranty same as the SanDisk Extreme Pro.

You can get it from here.

Effects of not Using the Right SD Card?

If photographers fail to use the right SD card, the same can become corrupt or damaged easily. In such a case, photos, videos, or other multimedia files stored on it will become inaccessible. Photographers, of course, do not desire such an outcome. To counteract this inaccessibility, they should use a third party tool that facilitates recovery of the photos, videos, etc. from the damaged SD card. For instance, they can use Stellar Photo Recovery Software. This feature rich software can easily recover the inaccessible photos and videos supporting a wide range of photo and video file formats.

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After reading the above SD Card buying guide, photographers can now easily select the SD cards suitable for their purpose. On the other hand, if there are any issues like corruption, damage or accidental formatting of the selected SD Card, he or she can go for Stellar Photo Recovery software to recover the photo, video, or both as the case may be.

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