Choosing the right memory card for your camera

  Posted on November 8, 2017

SD cards are used in a wide range of devices – digital cameras, smartphones, laptop computers, tablets, game consoles, 3D printers, drones, and many more. However, they come in various sizes, types, capacities, transfer speeds and prices, which can make it tricky to buy the correct one. Here is a quick guide from Verbatim to help you pick the right SD card!

What is a memory card?

A memory card is an electronic flash memory data storage device which can be used to store and transfer data on various portable devices.

Storage Capacity

This is a fairly simple feature when buying a memory card – the capacity of a memory card determines how much space there is available to store your photos and/or videos. The higher the capacity, the higher the amount of data the memory card can hold. Do bear in mind that videos will take much more space than photos, and the exact number of photos you take will depend on the resolution and format. If you are an amateur photographer, clicking pictures at medium resolution, you will need a lower capacity card in comparison to a professional photographer who will click images in RAW format.

Types of SD cards

There are many types of SD cards on the market which can get a bit confusing. However, we have drawn a table for you to make it easier to understand and choose.


Type of card



SD Card

Holds up to 2GB of data

Earliest SD card on the market

Secure Data High Capacity (SDHC)

Holds 2GB of data – up to 32GB

Same size and shape as SD cards but a different format. New devices will read both cards but older devices will not read SDHC format

Secure Digital Extra Capacity (SDXC)

Holds 32GB of data – up to 2TB

Similar to SDHC cards but higher capacity and faster speed. Only recognised by new devices.

UHS-I Standard SD


When used with a UHS-I interface device these cards have very high read & write speeds allowing you to capture photos/videos at the highest resolution standards giving ultimate performance to your device(s). They are backwards compatible with devices that don’t have a UHS-I interface but the performance will be limited by the device.

With full size SD Cards, there are also MicroSD, MicroSDHC and MicroSDXC cards which essentially have the same use, but are smaller in size to fit smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets.



Choosing a memory card on its speed can be complicated. Speed is rated in terms of read and write speeds; the faster the read speed of a card, the faster you can retrieve/transfer your images or videos form the card to another device. The write speed describes the rate at which you can shoot your videos or images. This is particularly important if you are using the card for 4K video or in high-resolution cameras to shoot large files as a faster write speed will ensure you do not encounter any slowdowns while shooting.

So, how do we as consumers identify memory cards that would meet the minimum level of required performance based on the use and/or application of the device? Thankfully, the SD Association has established a way to standardise the speed ratings of the different cards. These are defined as ‘Speed Class’ and ‘UHS Speed Class’ which standardise the specification for both memory cards and devices to guarantee minimum writing speeds and deliver the best performance. Below you can see a listing of the applications for each speed class and also a diagram on how to look out for the speed specifications on a memory card.


  • Class 2 – Guaranteed minimum write speed 2MB/sec
    • Application: H.264 video recording, MPEG-4, MPEG-2 video recording


  • Class 4 – Guaranteed minimum write speed 4MB/sec
    • Application: MPEG-2 (HDTV) video recording, DSC consecutive shooting


  • Class 6 – Guaranteed minimum write speed 6MB/sec
    • Application: Mega-pixel DSC consecutive shooting, professional video camera


  • Class 10 – Guaranteed minimum write speed 10MB/sec
    • Application: Full HD video recording/picture capture


  • U1 Speed Class – Applies to UHS-I cards & devices; guaranteed minimum write speed 10MB/sec
    • Application: Full HD video recording/picture capture


  • U3 Speed Class – Applies to UHS-I cards & devices; guaranteed minimum write speed 30MB/sec
    • Application: 4k video recording/picture capture

(Source: SD Association)


Memory card imagery_JS.jpg

Although the faster card the better, you don’t really need a high speed card many of the applications that it will be used for, and lower speed cards are less expensive.  However, if you are taking professional images for a wedding or an action video which requires high resolution and fast shooting, higher speed cards would be advisable.

Backup your memories with Verbatim

Once you have taken those important photographs and videos, you will want to make sure they are safe. Research shows that 1 in 3 people have lost digital files at some time in their lives – you won’t want that happening to you!  From graduation and holiday pictures, to wedding and family pictures – precious files can be lost in seconds.

So make sure you have a plan to back up. If you need products to help you do this, such as high capacity hard disk drives or optical drives and media for long-term storage, click here to visit Verbatim’s website.