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The 9 Best SD Cards For 4K Video

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The higher the resolution, the bigger the toll on your memory card – so finding the best SD card for 4K video becomes a pretty important part of the equation. A card that writes slowly or doesn’t have a big enough capacity will shorten your video length and bog down the quality. 

From my many years of testing various SD cards, I have compiled a list of the best options to effectively capture 4K footage – for all types of videographers and budgets.

The Best SD Cards For 4K Video

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Beginners to Professionals 
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Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Card

Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260MB/s 
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 256GB
  • Best For: Beginner to Mid-Level
Find On Amazon
Kingston Canvas React Plus SDXC UHS-II

Kingston Canvas React Plus SDXC UHS-II

  • Read Speed: 300 MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260 MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 256GB
  • Best For: Professionals
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Fastest & Most Durable
Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card

Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 299MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 64GB – 128GB
  • Best For: Professionals
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Best UHS-I Card
SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I

  • Read Speed: 200MB/s
  • Write Speed: 140 MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 1TB
  • Best For: Beginners to Professionals
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Samsung EVO Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

Samsung EVO Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 130MB/s 
  • Write Speed: 85MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 256GB
  • Best For: Beginners 
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Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I

Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I

  • Read Speed: 95MB/s
  • Write Speed: 70MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Beginner to Mid-Level
Find On Amazon
Kingston Canvas Go! Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

Kingston Canvas Go! Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 170MB/s
  • Write Speed: 90MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 64GB to 512GB
  • Best For: Beginners to Mid-Level
Find On Amazon
PNY Elite Performance UHS-I SDXC Card

PNY Elite Performance UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 95MB/s
  • Write Speed: 65MB/s (via independent tests)
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 512GB
  • Best For: Beginners
Find On Amazon
We review products based on independent experience and research, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page.

1. SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Beginners to Professionals 

Often seen bundled with cameras, SanDisk is a long-standing memory card with a reputation in the imaging world that is rated highly. Known for reliability and good customer service, SanDisk cards are often found in the hands of beginners and professionals alike (myself included!). The SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II SDXC Card is a great option for speed at a decent price. 

With a write speed of 260MB/s and a read speed of 300MB/s, this is a delicate balance between recording long 4K clips and not having to wait hours for the information to transfer to the computer. Admittedly, other UHS-II cards are on the faster side, so this one is not quite up there in maximum speed. 

That being said, in independent tests, this card was shown to achieve the speeds promised (with the most reduction only being at about 30MB/s). This allows the Extreme Pro to achieve up to 8K footage recording for cameras capable. 

For 4K Sony shooters, this card can achieve XAVCS video format. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Reliable brand with reliable performance 
  • Able to achieve XAVCS video format (for Sony shooters)
  • Lifetime warranty with excellent customer service 
  • Waterproof, shockproof, temperature proof, and x-ray proof

Reasons To Avoid

  • Not as fast as other UHS-II cards

2. Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260MB/s 
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Beginner to Mid-Level

Fast and efficient, the Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Card is an excellent choice for a powerful UHS-II card. Lexar is a reliable and feature-full brand, offering a variety of memory cards at great prices.

The price per GB in capacity is very competitive against other cards on the market, making this a good option for beginner or mid-level shooters (or for professionals to have as a backup thrown in the bag). 

This being said independent reviews show that the card does not always reach the promised levels in every situation but remains fast enough to handle 4K footage with ease. This particular model is also backward compatible with UHS-I should your reader or card be specific on this, but it will drop down to UHS-I speeds. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Fast write speed of 260 MB/s, great for 4K video
  • Backward compatible with UHS-I
  • Great price

Reasons To Avoid

  • Lacking larger capacity options 

3. Kingston Canvas React Plus UHS-II SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 300 MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260 MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Professionals

A frequent name amongst professional videographers, the Kingston Canvas React Plus UHS-II SDXC Card is a superb card I can personally vouch for. I’ve been using this brand for over four years with little complaint! 

The Kingston Canvas React UHS-II SDXC Card has fast read and write speeds, making it ideal for shooting 4K videos and transferring data quickly. However, it has limited capacity options and is expensive, making it more suitable for professionals.

The lifetime unlimited warranty is additional assurance that this card is spectacular in quality, as a company wouldn’t typically offer this without feeling confident about their product. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Fast write speeds for burst mode and up to 8K video 
  • Lifetime unlimited warranty
  • Very reliable (from personal experience)

Reasons To Avoid

  • Few capacity options, which may be too limited for 4K video 

4. Sony SF-G Tough Series UHS-II SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 299MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 64GB – 128GB
  • Best For: Professionals

The Sony SF-G Tough Series UHS-II SDXC Card is an excellent workhorse with an impressively fast write speed. Although nearly all the cards on this list have a durable design, this one takes it further. 

The construction is a unique resin-molded design, promised to be 18 times stronger than other SD cards (according to Sony). The structure allows for dirt, dust, water, and grime-proofing, which can be felt by hand. The backside of the card also has a protective protrusion. 

The writing speed of 299MB/s is faster than many others in its UHS-II class, placing it higher up on the speed list. This, paired with durability, comes at a steep price but is well worth it for professionals. 

Reasons To Buy

  • It does not get more durable in design than this card 
  • Very fast writing speed for its UHS-II class 
  • Dirt, dust, water, and grime-proof

Reasons To Avoid

  • Limited capacity options 

5. SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 200MB/s
  • Write Speed: 140 MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 1TB
  • Best For: Beginners to Professionals 

Although the UHS-II version of this card is (of course) much faster in speed than the SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Card, this one shouldn’t be overlooked. For those on a budget, the UHS-I version is still full of all of the great perks and features SanDisk has to offer. 

From waterproof, shockproof, temperature-proof, and x-ray-proof design to make travel less worrisome to a lifetime warranty, if something is to go amiss, this card inspires confidence in all sorts of videographers. With many different capacities to pick from, there is a card to suit every need. 

This card is more expensive than other UHS-I cards, and it isn’t as fast as other UHS-I cards out there, but the reliability makes these small costs to pay. Being confident that your memory card will perform is often worth the cost. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Reliable brand with reliable performance 
  • Lifetime warranty with excellent customer service 
  • Waterproof, shockproof, temperature proof, and x-ray proof

Reasons To Avoid

  • More expensive than other UHS-I cards 

6. Samsung EVO Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 130MB/s 
  • Write Speed: 85MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Beginners 

Of all of the memory cards on the list, the Samsung EVO Plus UHS-I SDXC Card stands out the most visually; this card is light in color rather than dark like the rest. This change in design is not the only thing unique about the Samsung card. 

This card is water-proof, temperature-proof, x-ray-proof, magnet-proof, shock-proof, drop-proof, wear-proof, and vibration-proof. This allows the SD card to be easily taken on various travels, knowing that whatever elements you come across during your shoots won’t cause the card much damage. 

Unfortunately, the card did not frequently reach its promised read speed of 130MB/s in independent tests, even with the correct hardware. However, the speed it does reach is an average of 93MB/s, which is decent enough!

Reasons To Buy

  • Very inexpensive 
  • Many capacity options 
  • Durable design that is water-proof, temperature-proof, x-ray-proof, magnet-proof, shock-proof, drop-proof, wear-proof, and vibration-proof

Reasons To Avoid

  • Does not always reach promised speeds 

7. Lexar Professional 633x UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 95MB/s
  • Write Speed: 70MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Beginner to Mid-Level

Another option in the Lexar realm is a relatively budget-friendly option. However, the 256GB capacity version can be pricier than some comparables but is often noted to drop in price on holiday sales. The Lexar Professional 633x UHS-I SDXC Card is a significant upgrade for beginners and mid-level videographers, where the difference between this card and cheaper options can be felt. 

The construction of the memory card itself is worthy of note, made to withstand the elements. Considering the price, this is a fantastic feature to have. The many capacity options also present a lot of versatility! Professionals may find this card relatively slow, despite the V30/U3 classification (more on classifications below). 

Reasons To Buy

  • Very durable design
  • Lots of capacity options 
  • Excellent price

Reasons To Avoid

  • On the slower side of UHS-I cards 

8. Kingston Canvas Go! Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 170MB/s
  • Write Speed: 90MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 64GB to 512GB
  • Best For: Beginners to Mid-Level

The only microSD on the list is the Kingston Canvas Go! Plus UHS-I SDXC Card, which is a good option for cameras that can support this card format; drones, GoPros, and action cameras all require a microSD. 

This card has a fast read speed, making transferring data simple. The write speed is on the slower side, but for the cost, it is a great option. The price is affordable by many, keeping at a very low cost for the various capacities offered. 

Reasons To Buy

  • A great choice for microSD cameras, such as drones and GoPros
  • Very fast read speed, decent write speed 
  • Inexpensive 
  • Plenty of capacity options

Reasons To Avoid

  • MicroSD is very limited in devices that utilize it, but the adapter makes it useable with more devices.

9. PNY Elite Performance UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 95MB/s
  • Write Speed: 65MB/s (via independent tests)
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 512GB
  • Best For: Beginners

 The lowest-cost card on our list, the PNY Elite Performance UHS-I SDXC Card, is the most budget-friendly card I know (still capable of performing decently). 

Although the lower price leads to compromises in speeds and some performance, it is still more than capable of capturing decent length 4K footage. This is a great entry-level option for beginners looking to dabble in 4K filming without too much serious investment. 

The card design is magnet-proof and waterproof, aiding in shoots on location or going through TSA with travel. The lower cost also allows beginners to buy multiples of this card, which is highly advised for anyone capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments. 

Reasons To Buy

  • Great price
  • Magnet-proof design 
  • Waterproof design

Reasons To Avoid

  • It does not always reach its promised speeds 

How to Choose the Best SD Card for 4K Video

4K footage is approximately 4,000 pixels running through each frame, so you can expect rather large file sizes. These large files don’t just need capacity to be stored. They also need speed to be effectively written! If your SD card writes slowly, the length of the 4K clip you can record gets reduced significantly, making capturing a feature rather tricky. 

Card Capacity

Card capacity refers to how much information the memory card can hold, measured in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), and terabytes (TB). Card capacity is crucial when shooting in 4K, as the footage requires more storage than lower resolutions. 

To put things into perspective, an 80-minute 1080p video will typically use up to around 16 GB, whereas 4K footage can go up to 64 GB. For further reference, the following chart is a pretty good guide: 

Card Capacity (GB)Number of minutes for 4K video
16GB20 minutes
32GB40 minutes
64GB80 minutes
128GB160 minutes
256GB320 minutes

Therefore, choosing a memory card with enough capacity to meet your shooting needs and ensure that your footage is adequately stored and protected is essential. Ideally, most 4K shooters should keep an eye on the 256GB cards because of the ability to consistently record without a card swap. 

Larger cards exist, but they are not always the best option. Memory cards are not indestructible, and there is always a risk of corruption and damage. 

If this were to happen, you would lose much more data with a larger card than with a smaller one. Not only will your footage be divided so that you only risk losing a percentage in case of corruption, but smaller cards also have a lower risk of data corruption than larger ones.

Speed Class

SD cards come in what is known as a speed class, indicating the minimum speed they can read and write information. There are six speed classes for SD cards: 

  • C2 (Class 2): Write speed of 2MB/s
  • C4 (Class 4): Write speed of 4MB/s
  • C6 (Class 6): Write speed of 6MB/s
  • C10 (Class 10): Write speed of 10MB/s
  • U1 (UHS Speed Class 1): Write speed of 10MB/s
  • U3 (UHS Speed Class 3): Write speed of 30MB/s

When the U cards are paired with the correct UHS interface, their speeds can further increase: 

  • UHS-I: Speeds up to 104MB/s
  • UHS-II: Speeds up to 312MB/s

When shooting video, all of the above information can be further divided into video classes (something new in SD cards): 

  • V6 (Video Speed Class 6): Write speed of 6MB/s
  • V10 (Video Speed Class 10): Write speed of 10MB/s
  • V30 (Video Speed Class 30): Write speed of 30MB/s
  • V60 (Video Speed Class 60): Write speed of 60MB/s
  • V90 (Video Speed Class 90): Write speed of 90MB/s

Because so much of our modern technology requires faster writing speeds, C2, C4, and C6 class cards are rarely seen. C10 is the minimum industry standard. However, at 10MB/s, this is far too slow for a 4K video recording. 

4K video is data-intensive, and a slow memory card can lead to dropped frames, lag, and even corrupt footage. A minimum of U3 is required for 4K footage, ideally paired with a UHS-I or UHS-II. Regarding video classes, a minimum of V30 is needed, but ideally, V90 will yield the best results. 

It’s important to note that not all memory card readers can read the fastest speed classes. Ensure your reader can handle U1/U3 cards; otherwise, you must pick one that can! 

Read & Write Speeds

You can’t talk about speed classes without diving into the speed itself. For an SD card, speed refers to how fast the card can write and transfer information. 

To record 4K footage effectively, the card needs a fast write speed. When shooting high-resolution footage, a slow card may be unable to keep up with the camera’s data rate. This can result in dropped frames or corrupted footage. 

After the footage has been captured, transferring it to the computer (or another device) becomes the second part of the equation. This is the read speed, and too slow a read speed equals a lot of time wasted waiting on the computer. 

While the read speed is often listed on the card, the speed class indicates the write speed. The general speeds include: 

  • SD cards: 2MB/s to 10MB/s
  • SDHC cards: 2MB/s to 10MB/s
  • SDXC cards: 10MB/s to 300MB/s
  • CFexpress cards: 1 000MB/s to  4 000MB/s
  • UHS-I: 50MB/s to 104MB/s
  • UHS-II: 156MB/s to 312MB/s

With how demanding 4K video is, UHS-II cards are typically the best choice because of their high read and write speeds.

Which Memory Card Should You Choose For 4K Video?

As for what card you should choose, that’s dependent upon your budget and the kind of 4K footage you are capturing. 

If you’re capturing shorter snippets and want to be budget-conscious, smaller capacity cards are acceptable. For lengthier footage, it is worthwhile to invest in higher capacities. 

In the least, the SD card must be classified as a U3 or V30. Ideally, the card would be a UHS-II with a V90 rating for optimal performance. 

Of the above, the top three UHS-I cards I’d recommend are: 

The top three UHS-II cards I’d recommend would be: 

The Best SD Cards For 4K Video – Summary

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best Overall
SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Beginners to Professionals 
Find On Amazon
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Card

Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260MB/s 
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 256GB
  • Best For: Beginner to Mid-Level
Find On Amazon
Kingston Canvas React Plus SDXC UHS-II

Kingston Canvas React Plus SDXC UHS-II

  • Read Speed: 300 MB/s
  • Write Speed: 260 MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 256GB
  • Best For: Professionals
Find On Amazon
Fastest & Most Durable
Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card

Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card

  • Read Speed: 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: 299MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 64GB – 128GB
  • Best For: Professionals
Find On Amazon
Best UHS-I Card
SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I

SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-I

  • Read Speed: 200MB/s
  • Write Speed: 140 MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 1TB
  • Best For: Beginners to Professionals
Find On Amazon
Samsung EVO Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

Samsung EVO Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 130MB/s 
  • Write Speed: 85MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 256GB
  • Best For: Beginners 
Find On Amazon
Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I

Lexar Professional 633x SDXC UHS-I

  • Read Speed: 95MB/s
  • Write Speed: 70MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 32GB – 256GB
  • Best For: Beginner to Mid-Level
Find On Amazon
Kingston Canvas Go! Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

Kingston Canvas Go! Plus UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 170MB/s
  • Write Speed: 90MB/s
  • Capacity Options: 64GB to 512GB
  • Best For: Beginners to Mid-Level
Find On Amazon
PNY Elite Performance UHS-I SDXC Card

PNY Elite Performance UHS-I SDXC Card

  • Read Speed: 95MB/s
  • Write Speed: 65MB/s (via independent tests)
  • Capacity Options: 32GB - 512GB
  • Best For: Beginners
Find On Amazon
We review products based on independent experience and research, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page.


Photo of author
I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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