Our own memories might be priceless, but that doesn’t mean the best memory cards for our cameras should cost a king’s ransom – and nowadays they don’t! The transparency of the internet means it’s very easy to shop around and grab a cheap SD card deal.
The SD card format is the most popular type of memory card out there – and particularly so for digital cameras and camcorders.
Choosing the right SD card
SD cards come in lots of different types. First there is the capacity in gigabytes (GB)... with cards that are 32GB or larger being called SDXC, and those above 4GB being called SDHC.
The next thing to choose is the speed - the rate at which a card can record information, and also the rate it reads this data. If you shoot images with lots of megapixels, and shoot fast action sequences you need a faster card. And if you are shooting video, you definitely to avoid slow cards. The different speeds are described by a variety of different letters and numbers you will find next to the card's name.
So let's cut through the jargon, and pick out some of the best SD card deals out there at the moment:
1. SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDXC UHS-I 95 MB/s
Best all-round SD card deal
Capacities available: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
This is the older generation of the Sandisk Extreme Pro family... but this version clearly distinguished by the 95/Mbs on the label is now an extremely good buy. The speed is more than enough for most people's uses (including video) – the 32GB capacity will also be plenty for most people (and you can always buy more than one at this price!).
2. SanDisk Ultra 16GB SDHC 80MB/s
The ultra budget SD card choice
Capacities available: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
There are times, and applications, where you don't want to pay any more than you need for a memory card - and the SandDisk Ultra is the card for this. It is a reliable brand, but also offers a reasonable speed despite the low cost. There is an older 40MB/s version kicking around – but here the newer 80MB/s Ultra cards are the better value.SanDisk Ultra 16GB SDHC 80MB/s
3. Lexar Professional 667x SDXC UHS-I 128GB
Fast for the price, good budget card for video
Capacities available: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
This is a great value SD card for serious photographers and for 4K vidographers alike. This offers an impressive transfer speeds - at a sensible price. The 128GB version would be our choice - but the 64GB and 256GB versions are good value too.
4. Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB
3. Top performer if you want UHS-II speed & performance
Capacities available: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
If you want the fastest speeds and the best performance from an SD card, then you need to look for a card that uses the newer UHS-II standard. You can see the difference between UHS-I and UHS-II as the latter has two rows of metallic contacts on the back, rather than just one. Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB. This physical advantage helps with the faster transfer rate... but you do need a UHS-II compatible camera to take advantage of the speed boast. This Lexar offers scintillating speeds that would suit pro 4K shooters, and anyone that shoots high-resolution burst sequences of stills.
5. Sony M-Series UHS-II 32GB SDXC R: 260 MB/s
Great value UHS-II SD card
Capacities available: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Another UHS-II card for use with compatible cameras which allow the speed boast offered by this standard. This Sony M-Series card offers a sensible compromise between value for money and performance.
6. SanDisk 256GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I 170MB/s
Big capacity SD card for power users
Capacities available: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB
Some people prefer having multiple cards, rather than one big capacity card. But there are times when having a huge amount of storage on the one SD card a benefit. This 256GB has more capacity than some computers, but with the Sandisk Extreme Pro you get this at a sensible price. Make sure you get the latest generation of this card with 170MB/s printed on the front of it.