There are a lot of different types of SD cards. It can be hard to decide which one you need for recording videos.

In this post, you will learn about the various standards of SD card speed and classes. You will also get a quick recommendation of a few fast SD cards that are good for general video recording (up to 4k) with most cameras and GoPros.


Speed Class Standards for SD Cards

When you record videos, your device has to be able to write the data fast enough so that it doesn’t miss any frames. This is especially important if you’re recording something that’s moving around a lot. A “fast” SD card will help make sure that your video recordings are smooth and can be played back properly.

Here come 3 kinds of Memory Card speed indications:

  • Speed Class
  • Video Speed Class
  • UHS Speed Class

The speed of the SD memory card is written on the front of the card. It is a number with a circle, U shape, or V shape next to it. The manufacturers use these “classes” to determine the speed of the memory card.

1. Speed Class

The Speed Classes include: Class 2, 4, 6 and 10. Class 2 cards are the slowest and class 10 cards are the fastest. The class number refers to the minimum write speeds in megabytes per second (MB/s), so:

  • Class 2 = 2MB/s
  • Class 4 = 4MB/s
  • Class 6 = 6MB/s
  • Class 10 = 10MB/s.

2. Video Speed Class

The Video Speed Classes are V6, V10, V30, V60 and V90. For 4K recording, you need a video speed class of at least V30.

The table below shows the minimum sequential write speed you’ll get with each SD Card speed class. It also has the recommended corresponding video format for different speed classes.

table video speed

From this table, it’s clear that if you’re looking to record standard definition videos, SD cards with specifications Class 10, U1 & V10 are sufficient. For HD/Full HD video recording, you need up to U3, V30 rating. For 4K videos, you need an SD card with video speed class of at least V30. Lastly, for 8K video recording, you need at least a V60 video speed class rating.

To know more about the fastest V90 speed class read: V90 SD Card: Worth it? [Memory Card Review].

3. UHS Speed Class

There are two types of UHS Speed Classes: U1 and U3. The U symbol on the top of the card means it is a high-end card. U1 cards have a write speed of at least 10MB/s (like a Class 10 card), and U3 cards have a write speed of at least 30MB/s. If you shoot in 4K, you need a minimum U3 SD card.

UHS Speed Class has another classification system that includes UHS-I, II, and III. This refers to the maximum speed the SD card can handle instead of the minimum speed. It’s a good way to see how fast the card can take burst shots. For example, UHS-I Cards have a maximum speed of 104 MB/s, while UHS-II cards can go up to 312 MB/s. The newest type, UHS-III Cards, can theoretically reach 624 MB/s speeds but aren’t available yet.




 4K Video Recording: Memory Cards Recommendations

It is a good idea to get an SD card that is fast. This is especially true if you are shooting in RAW or filming high-resolution videos. An SD card that offers a minimum of 30MB/sec write speed is sufficient for recording in 4K. So, for 4K, a video speed class of U3, V30 or more is ideal.

3 Recommended Memory Cards for 4K Video Recording:

1. Memory Card SanDisk Extreme UHS-I 

  • Brand: SanDisk
  • Speed Class: UHS-I, U3, V30
  • Maximum Read Speed: 160MB/s
  • Maximum Write Speed: 90MB/s
  • Storage Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB, 1TB
SanDisk 256GB Extreme microSDXC...
343,412 Reviews
SanDisk 256GB Extreme microSDXC...
  • Up to 160MB/s read speeds to save time transferring high res images and 4K UHD...
  • Up to 90MB/s write speeds for fast shooting; Requires compatible devices capable of...
  • 4K UHD and Full HD Ready with UHS speed class 3 (U3) and video speed class 30 (V30)

The SanDisk Extreme UHS-I SD Card is very popular and our top pick for 4K videos. It has great write speeds of up to 90 MB/s and read speeds of up to 160 MB/s. This means you can easily capture Full HD, 4K videos, as well as raw and burst photography with your camera. It comes in different sizes: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB and 1TB. The SanDisk Extreme SD Card is ideal for recording extreme sports and other fast-action activities.

If you lost information from Sandisk Memory card, check out the article that will help you to recover it.

2. Memory Card SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I 

  • Brand: SanDisk
  • Speed Class: UHS-I, U3, V30
  • Maximum Read Speed: 170MB/s
  • Maximum Write Speed: 90MB/s
  • Storage Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC...
147,568 Reviews
SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO SDXC...
  • Shot speeds up to 90MB/s, transfer speeds up to 170MB/s [requires a compatible device...
  • Perfect for shooting 4K UHD video (1) and sequential burst mode photography, (1)Full...
  • Capture uninterrupted video with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and video Speed Class 30...

The SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I microSD card is one of the fastest cards available, with read speeds up to 170 MB/s and write speeds up to 90 MB/s. This means you can smoothly capture burst photos, 4K videos, and access other features on your camera without any hassle. The card is available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1 TB variants. It’s also built for tough conditions and tested to withstand extreme temperatures, water damage, shocks, and X-rays.

3. Memory Card Lexar Professional UHS-II U3 1000x 

  • Brand: Lexar
  • Speed Class: UHS-II, U3, V60
  • Maximum Read Speed: 150MB/s
  • Maximum Write Speed: 90MB/s
  • Storage Capacity: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Lexar Professional 1000x 128GB...
1,901 Reviews
Lexar Professional 1000x 128GB...
  • High-speed performance—leverages UHS-II technology (U3) for a read transfer speed...
  • Premium memory solution for sports camcorders, tablets, and smartphones
  • Designed for high-speed capture of high-quality images and extended lengths of 1080p...

The Lexar Professional 1000x is designed for DSLRs, action cameras and drones. It uses UHS-II technology (U3) to provide amazing read speeds of up to 150 MB/s and write speeds of around 90 MB/s. This makes it perfect for high-speed capture of high-quality images and extended lengths of 1080p Full-HD and 4K video. The Lexar Professional UHS-II U3 1000x SD Card is backwards compatible and works at the highest UHS-I speeds if your camera only supports UHS-I SD cards. It comes in four sizes: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.

More SD card options: 10 Best SD Cards for Recording Video (Up to 8k).


 What SD Card Speed is Needed for Video Recording?

Now you know that the SD card speed is important for video recording. If you don’t have a fast memory card in your camera, it may make your camera not work well and videos files may fail to save.

The SD card speed you need for video recording depends mainly upon the bitrate of the video. Generally, the higher the resolution and frame rates, the higher the bitrate. So, as a general rule of thumb, if you’re shooting at high resolutions (eg. 4K) or high frame rates (eg. 240fps) go for a minimum of U3, V30 card.





Thank you for reading this guide! I hope that it was helpful in teaching you everything you need to know about SD card speed:)

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