So you bought a video camera and you’re wondering what is the best micro SD card for 4K videos. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to find the best micro SD card for your new camera.
You might think that any micro SD card, as long as it has enough storage, is good enough for 4K footage. But that’s not necessarily the case. To make the most of 4K footage, there are certain micro SD card features that you need to look for.
To save you time, we went ahead and did the research for you. We’ll cover topics such as SD card classes, what the icons mean, brands, read/write speed, storage, and other important features. When you’re done reading this post, you’ll know exactly what you need to buy the best micro SD card for 4K videos.
To start, let’s walk through some of our recommended micro SD cards:
Best Micro SD Cards:
Micro SD Card Buyer Guide:
So now that you have an idea of what kind of micro SD cards to keep an eye out for, let’s dive a little deeper into the exact specifications, ratings, and labels.
What is SD, SDHC, and SDXC?
These represent the type of SD card capacities. Bear in mind, each one uses a different format, and they are not backwards compatible. SD is the standard, and oldest, the storage range is from 128 MB to 2GB and it uses the FAT16 format.
SDHC represents “High Capacity”, it has a range of 4GB to 32GB, with FAT32 format. SDXC is “Extended High Capacity” and the range is 64GB to 2TB using exFAT format. Most modern electronics will be compatible with SDXC cards, but it’s always best to check your camera or phone’s manual.
You might have also noticed another label on the card, a U with a number inside. This is called the UHS Speed Class (Ultra High Speed). The number represents the minimum read and write speed, meaning the card is rated to never drop below that speed. UHS 1 stands for 10 MB/s, UHS 2 is 20 MB/s, and UHS 3 is 30 MB/s. We recommend cards with a UHS of 3 or higher for 4K videos.
Understanding Megabytes and Megabits:
These numbers are often confused because they look so similar. 1 Megabyte (Mb) is equal to 8 megabits (Mbps). Therefore, if a camera has a record rate of 100 Mbps, divide that by 8 to find the megabyte value, which is 12.5 MB/s. It’s an easy mistake to make. Most SD cards advertise their read/write rates in Mbps.
How Much 4K Video can a Micro SD Hold?
The exact time it takes to fill up a Micro SD card with 4K footage varies depending on the camera’s bitrate, framerate, and compression technology. Nowadays, bitrates and framerates are always improving so it’s hard to get a very accurate number.
Using an average record rate of 60 Mbps, a 126 GB micro SD can hold around 2 hours of recording at 30 frames a second. The exact duration will vary depending on the camera, codec, and format. In most cases, people are able to get around 2 hrs of footage from a 126 GB SD card.
Let’s take the GoPro 8 as an example. It can record 4K footage at 60 frames a second which has a bitrate of 60-100 Mbps. Most cameras have a lower bitrate, but it’s important to realize these numbers will continue to increase.
Below are some quick answers, assuming a standard bitrate of 60 Mbps. It’s always best to figure out what your camera’s bitrate is before you buy an SD card.
How Many Hours of 4K Video can 128 GB Hold?
In most cases, a 128 GB SD card will be able to hold around 2 hours of 4K footage, and almost double that for regular 1080 footage, at 30 frames a second.
How Many Hours of 4K Video can 256 GB Hold?
A 256 GB micro SD card can hold anywhere between 10 – 12 hours of 4K footage at 30 frames a second.
How Many Hours of 4k Video can 512GB Hold?
The 512GB micro SD card can hold about four hours of 4K Ultra HD video or about a full day’s worth of 1080p video