Hi everyone, my name is Nick Chill. Follow me for photography tips and tutorials, to help you learn your digital camera and how to take better photos. Today I want to go over the speeds of SD cards and how they affect your ability to both take photos and upload your photos from your card to your computer. If you’ve ever run into the issue where you’re in continuous shooting mode, you’re taking multiple photos, and all of a sudden it slows down really significantly. There’s a very good chance that you’ve reached the limits of the speed at which your memory card can take in the information that the camera is giving.

SD Card Speed Classes   SD Card Speeds

Whenever you take out your memory card, you’ll notice some designation symbols. One of the ones that you’ll notice is a number inside of the letter C. That is the class rating of your memory card. There are Classes 2, 4, 6, and 10. The classes designate the continuous minimum write speed of your card. So for example, Class 2 can write a continuous 2 megabytes per second minimum, and a Class 10 writes at a minimum 10 megabytes per second. Beyond class 10 you have a UHS system, which stands for Ultra High Speed. That’s a significantly more expensive card, and it’s meant for professional photographers. That designates cards that have a read write up to 312 megabytes per second.


SD Card Speeds and What They MeanFor most equipment these days, the Class 2 cards are just too slow. Class 4 and Class 6 are considered to be the general use SD cards for high definition photography, and some SD video. If you’re looking for really high continuous shooting rates, or high quality video, you’re going to want to go with a Class 10 card. As far as what speed you might need, that’s completely up to how you shoot. Generally, I would say if you are in doubt go with a little bit faster than you think you need, because I would rather spend a little bit more money for a faster card than have to run into these issues where it takes me 10 hours to upload my 3000 photo wedding.

Another thing to consider when buying memory cards is the capacity of the cards. You’ll notice that some cards are rated SDHC or SDXC. HC is High Capacity and XC is Extreme Capacity. Basically, this is just a designation for a class of cards that has a higher capacity. For example, 16GB cards compared to 64GB cards. Another thing to consider is how the capacity of your card can affect your ability to take advantage of the speed of the card. High speed cards and your camera require side-by-side memory slots inside the card, to quickly store and file new information. As you start to run out of space on the card the camera is not able to quickly shuffle the information in there, and so you can start to lose some of your speed. So try to get a card that you’re less likely to fill up and more likely to have some of that extra buffering space in it. As you’re shopping for memory cards, just make sure to compare the read speed and the write speed with different brands of cards, and figure out which one’s going to work best for you.

SD Card Capacity
That’s it for this one. Thank you for watching, and be sure to subscribe to my videos to keep up with future tips, tutorials, and even some behind-the-scenes footage of my own photo shoots. Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions, or if you have a topic you would like me to cover.

Gear used in this video:
The camera I was holding is a Nikon D600 dSLR. The video was shot on a Nikon D750, with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens. The memory card I was showing is a SanDisk Extreme 32GB 90 Mb/s SDHC UHS-I Card.

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