3 Keys to Choosing the Right Micro SD Card

If you want to capture a photo or video to earmark a special occasion, make sure your SD card is ready to record the moment

Micro SD cards
Thanks to advances in technology, using high-capacity memory cards to capture special moments is more affordable than ever.SanDisk

Buying the right memory card for your camera is a balancing act between capacity, speed, and price. In general, the more speed and capacity you need, the pricier the storage becomes. This leads to a fundamental decision in photography. Should you buy one card for all your needs, or multiple cards to minimize the risk inherent in committing all your images and video to one disc? One large card is better for convenience. Multiple smaller cards are better for editing organization and security. If you lose one card, you haven’t lost everything. No matter which route you take, here are a few basic considerations to keep in mind while you’re shopping.

SD to SDUC and Beyond

Samsung 128GB Micro SD
Make sure your device is capable of handling a SD card before you buy it.Samsung

Before you buy, the first thing you’ll want to consider is the compatibility of the card with whatever device you plan to pair it with. Most digital camera’s use some version of the standard secure digital (SD) card that has been around for years. But the evolution of the memory card has progressed from SD to SDHC, SDXS, and SDUC. Each iteration of the SD card takes a quantum leap in storage capacity ranging from the original 128 megabytes to a whopping 128 terabytes. Make sure your device or camera will accept the micro SD iteration you buy because older devices are not compatible with some of the newer SD cards.

Memory Space

Samsung 512 Evo Micro SD Card
If you plan to capture high-definition photos or video, a high-capacity card that’s able to record and save quickly is exactly what you’ll need.Samsung

The largest number on the face of the card represents its capacity as measured in gigabytes, which will impact how many still photo frames or video minutes a card will hold. If you are just shooting JPEGS and occasional video, you can get away with a memory card that doesn’t hold much storage space. But if you plan to shoot data-intensive RAW images, full HD, or even 4K Ultra HD video, then capacity and write speeds become more critical. In simplest terms, the more you ask of your camera, the more capacity and space you will need. Action photography, such as stopping a fly-rod cast in mid-motion, or capturing a bird in flight, often requires shooting in memory-hogging burst mode. Shooting flies in a vise or taking grip-and-grin photos does not.

Writing Speed

SanDisk ultra 400GB Micro SD Card
If you’re unsure about how fast you need a card to write to memory, buy the fastest card you can afford.SanDisk

Cards are rated in speed classes as an expression of the camera’s writing speed, or how fast your card can record data. The speed classes of 10, 6, 4, and 2 are represented by one of those numbers in a circle on the face of the card. A class-10 card writes data at a minimum of 10 megabytes per second. Lower numbers indicate lower speed. Generally speaking, in our photo-hungry culture anything less than a class-10 card for serious photography is probably a waste of money. Buy the fastest you can afford.