Which is the Best SD Card for Your DSLR Camera?
In this article, we shall be looking at the best SD card options in terms of extended memory and reliability for two very popular DSLR cameras. One of them is the full-frame Canon EOS 6D and the other is the current Nikon entry level champion the crop sensor D3300.
No digital SLR is complete without a memory card inside it. It is the most quintessential of all items when it comes to recording your work. A memory card ensures whatever you capture is recorded on a secure media until such time when you are able to download the information onto a portable hard drive or a computer.
One really cannot overemphasize the importance of a reliable memory card. Most photographers would purchase nothing but the best SD card their money can buy and with which they can trust an entire day’s worth of work. You need enough of these to ensure that you never run out of storage while shooting.
Best Memory Cards for your DSLR
Before we go further we need to have an understanding of the different card types on the basis of storage capacity. In this article, we are only going to learn about SD cards and their various types based on storage capacity, namely, SD, SDHC and SDXC.
There are others based on different designs such as Compact Flash cards and memory sticks etc. However, those are irrelevant for this discussion and are thus outside our purview. Memory card types can impact the amount of storage you can squeeze out of a single memory card slot.
1. SD Cards
These are the standard Secure Digital cards. These were the earliest cards to be developed and are still around. SD cards typically have a storage of 128 MB to 2 GB.
People have moved on to better capacity cards like the SDHC and SDXC which have larger storage. By default the file format is FAT16.
2. SDHC Cards
SDHC stands for Secure Digital High Capacity. These are the cards that are more commonly used today. SDHC cards have a capacity of about 4 GB to 32 GB. By default the file format is FAT32.
3. SDXC Cards
SDXC stands for Secure Digital Extended Capacity cards and is typically of the size 64 GB to 2 TB. While the storage capacity is quite a lot these cards can be extremely expensive too. The file format is exFAT. None of the advanced cards are backward compatible, though. That means if you have a storage slot (on an older camera) that only supports SD cards; the other two cards, SDHC and SDXC, will not work.
For most purposes a 32 GB card is good enough for a single day of shooting. However as sensor resolution keeps increasing by the day, file sizes, especially RAW files, shoots up. As such photographers ask for more storage.
The EOS 6D
The EOS 6D is a full-frame camera that comes with a single card slot which supports only SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. This is a rare full-frame camera that does not support Compact Flash (CF) cards. On the plus side, however, if you upgraded from a cheaper rebel camera, your existing memory cards will all be compatible.
Since this is a full-frame camera and you are likely to shoot RAW most of the times (if not all the time) you should buy the highest capacity and best SD card that you can afford.
The Best SD Cards for the EOS 6D
The 6D is compatible with all UHS-I cards and that means you can go for the SanDisk 64GB Extreme UHS-I U3 SDXC Memory Card (Class 10).
UHS stands for Ultra-High Speed and has a bus speed of 10MB/s. These cards are ideally suitable for full-HD video recording and other high memory consuming operations. At 64 gigs that should be enough for at least 4-5 days’ worth of shooting.
Unless of course you prefer to keep your camera in the burst mode. Ideally, you should have at least two cards with you. These cards can be pricey though and if you feel the pinch the other best SD card options would be the:
- Lexar 32GB Platinum II UHS-I 300x SDHC Memory Card (Class 10) and the
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB UHS-I/U3 SDHC Flash Memory Card with up to 95MB/s.
The Nikon D3300
The Nikon D3300 is an entry-level DSLR with a crop sensor. It is usually bundled with an 18-55mm zoom lens that gives it a standard coverage for everyday shooting requirements.
The Nikon has a single memory card slot that supports SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. It may or may not come with a bundled memory card as a deal. Even then you should buy at least one more card, possibly two more to ensure that you have enough storage when leaving for a long vacation.
Nikon released a guideline that outlines the details of the memory cards and capacities that the camera can support. It is available here.
The best SD Cards for the Nikon D3300
If you are in the market for good memory cards for your D3300 look for SDHC cards to start with.
The D3300 supports up to 32 GB on the SDHC format. The larger capacity gives you a far greater flexibility in terms of an extended time frame of shooting.
The best SD cards for this camera on the SDHC format are the
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB UHS-I/U3 SDHC Flash Memory Card with up to 95MB/s and the
- Lexar 32GB Platinum II UHS-I 300x SDHC Memory Card (Class 10)
If increase your budget by about $10 you can opt for an even higher capacity SDXC card. The SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB SDXC Flash Memory Card with up to 95MB/s gives you 64 Gigs of storage, enough to last you through a week-long trip. Or if you shoot lots of videos you may want to consider the 126GB version.
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