October 2


My Pick for The Best Memory Card

By Dan

October 2, 2014


Cameras keep getting better every year, which is awesome. Higher capacity buffers allow you to capture huge bursts of RAW files without having the camera lock up.

This is crucial when shooting sports and action, even when photographing people and lifestyle. Expressions and body positions can change in the blink of an eye and so I often keep my camera on continuous high when doing this kind of work.

In order to take full advantage of your bad ass cameras, though, you’ve got to have a memory card that can keep up. Most newer cameras produce large RAW files, and that’s a lot of data to move to the memory card. If your card can’t keep up, the entire system will freeze up until it’s done writing and you’ll miss shots.

Sandisk’s latest 280MB/S Extreme Pro UHS-II SD cards are the fastest cards to date, and they’re ideal if you shoot tons of action or if you shoot 4K video. This is by far the best performing card for the Fuji X-T1 and any camera that has a large buffer. If you shoot video, you probably want the 32GB version.

However, my favorite card is the Sandisk 95MB/S SD Extreme Pro card. It costs less than half as much as the 280MB/S card, but it’s not half as slow. In fact, it keeps up surprisingly well. In tests, it’s only about 25% slower when writing a 10 second burst of RAW files on the X-T1, and it’s WAY faster than my slower 30 and 40MB/S cards. Those are fine for landscapes and travel, but kick the camera into continuous mode and they hold me back.

If you have a newer DSLR or mirrorless camera and you shoot a mix of subject matter, this is the card I recommend. it’s reasonably priced and performs exceptionally well.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.

As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

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  • Hi Dan.
    Been trying to choose a second card for my xt1. I currently use SandiskaSandisk extreme 45mb. If am just shooting landscapes, portraits and bracketing for HDR would say there’s no need for a fast card like the pro?
    I would love your thoughts on this please.
    Paul jeffries

  • Hi Paul,
    You’re right. If you’re not shooting in Continuous High, then you don’t need a fast card. I’ve got a few 30MB/s Sandisk Ultra cards that I use for non-action subjects with my X-T1, and they work fine. You’ll be fine shooting landscape and portraits with a slow card, it just may take longer to download your images from card to computer.

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    Terry Bourk

    I have read you new book “Behind the Landscape.” I could not “put it down” meaning that I kept at it because each photo you presented/analyzed was interesting and informative. I am trying to develop an eye for composition (both the scene and the light).

    Thank you! The examples you present and the suggestions are very helpful. Purple Mountains, McKinley River and Wonder Lake are fascinating.

    Roger Sinclair

    You have done it again! Another triumph.

    Your generosity to share, the clarity of thought and concise explanation thereof is brilliant. Perhaps I should also mention the beautiful photos and the talent necessary to produce them.

    Thank you, Dan.