How To Choose The Right Memory Cards

//How To Choose The Right Memory Cards

In this video blog post, we will teach you about memory cards, and how to choose the one that’s right for you and your photography or video.


We know that you have many choices when it comes to picking and buying the right memory card for the type of video or photography you are doing. It can certainly be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what all the numbers and symbols mean. Luckily for you, Photonerds University is here to decode all of the confusion once and for all starting with the 3 main types of Memory Cards you have seen and perhaps will find yourself using now and in the future.

The most Common Types of Memory Cards

Memory Cards up close, what does it all mean?

We have broken it all down into 3 categories, don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it looks.



1. Capacity = How much can your memory card hold. X = Performance

Personally, we don’t like to get cards with too much capacity. We’d rather buy two 32GB cards than one 64GB card. We do this because cards can fail or get damaged and then we’ll lose less files. Plus, the smaller capacity cards usually cost less too.

2. X-Speed

  • X-Speed has to do with how fast the photos or videos can be transferred to and from the card, also called the write and read speeds.
  • The higher the number, the higher the performance.
  • Each “x” represents .15MB/s. For example, if you multiply our SD 1000x by .15MB/s, you will get 150MB/s.
  • And you can also see that 150MB/s is printed on this SD card.
  • So as you can see, Performance and x-speed are really the same thing.
  • On some brands of cards the x-speed is printed as both x amount, and as MB/s

3. Speed Class

  • The first has a C around it. This number designates minimum write performance to record video. 10 is the fastest speed.
  • The UHS Speed class has to do with transferring the files into the memory card, which is very important if you shoot video or large raw files.
    • UHS-I enables maximum transfer speeds of 104MB/s
    • UHS-II enables maximum transfer speeds of 312MB/s.
  • U numbers: Within the UHS Speed Class there are two designations, U1 and U3, which represent minimum write speeds of 10MB/s and 30MB/s respectively.


If you shoot 4K Photo, Video, raw files, or use high speed burst photography, get a card with a high performance speed, Class of 10, and a U3 rating

Memory Card Readers


Buying the fastest card on the market won’t do you any good if you have a slow card reader.

  • If your computer has a USB 3.0 port, buy a USB 3.0 card reader to take advantage of fast read speeds.
  • The difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 can mean cutting transfer times down from hours to minutes. Transferring your content faster lets you start editing sooner, which in turn allows you to more quickly shift your focus back to shooting.

Nerd Alert!

For more detailed information on memory card terminology, check out these links:

Last tip:

Format your new memory cards before using them!


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