Picking the best memory card to avoid picture loss can be a bit tricky without knowing what to look for. Different devices, cameras etc. have differing data and compatibility needs. Add to it the number of companies with products avaliable and it can quickly turn out to be a bewildering process.
In general, memory cards haven’t really changed that much in recent years. Secure Digital cards (SD cards), have been around for about two decades, followed by the microSD card version found today in smartphones and tablets.
While the physical product itself has remained the same on the outside, inside the cards themselves has seen an evolution of technological advancements. The more recent cards are able to process greater amounts of data at much faster speeds.
This is in direct response to devices (especially cameras) becoming faster and more capable of capturing higher-quality images and video. Better quality means larger file sizes so with that said, SD cards need to adapt to the needs of the device in use.
If you have purchased a new camera for example, you will need to invest in the latest generation media card that can keep up to the demand of photo and video shooting capabilities.
Choosing the right card
While keeping budget in mind is the goal, it is not always logical to ensure you buy the one high capacity card with the quickest read and write speeds you can afford. It is recommended instead to opt for several cards rather than one giant capacity card, in case the latter becomes corrupted and the images are lost.
Aside from common SD and microSD cards, there are still older CompactFlash (CF) cards along with its successor the newer XQD format used in some mirrorless cameras (Nikon Z6 and Z7). Not surprisingly, this XQD card has keep up to date with high resolution cameras shooting RAW files and/or 4Kvideo.
Yet another format designed for power users has been developed by Sony called the Sony Tough. This is an SDXC card that is dust proof, waterproof (resisting pressures up to 16kg) and super-fast read/write speeds.
Top two suggestions
Best all round memory card for pro photographers: does go to SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-I. It is best known for its capacity (32GB to 512GB) and speed with an amazing 95MB/s of transfer speed suitable for everyone from enthusiasts to pros. Great with 4k video and high-res RAW files.
A faster card than the UHS-I Pro version: SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-II offers read speeds up to 300MB/s and write speeds equally impressive at 260MB/s. This is perfect for sports, wildlife, shooting bursts of rapid stills and of course videographers.
It is ok to delete images from your SD card. There is still a myth circling about stating that deleting images will affect the performance of the SD card and will eventually corrupt the cards. This is simply not true.
Another thing to give thought to is to replace your cards every few years. Every 3-4 years or sooner if you use them constantly. Like any storage type, it isn’t a question of “if” but more-so “when” the memory card will fail. Better yet, keep in mind the newer cards will be much faster and potentially even more reliable.