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Which SD Memory Card For My GoPro?

One of the biggest areas that is overlooked when getting a video/camera setup for trips out is the speed of the your SD or Micro SD card. Now this doesn’t matter if your camera is a GoPro, Contour, Garmin, Sony or whatever because without a good memory card you may struggle to capture the video footage you want.

Which SD Memory Card For My GoPro?

The Speed Class Rating is the official unit of speed measurement for all SD cards, including both full and micro sized versions. Speed Class is a minimum speed based on a worst case scenario test and represents the minimum transfer rate of data that the card is capable of.

GoPro SD Memory Card Recommendation

SD Speed Class

Class 2 – 2MB/s
Class 4 – 4MB/s
Class 6 – 6MB/s
Class 8 – 8MB/s

Class 10 – 10MB/s

This can be seen on cards as a number within a circle.

Ultra High Speed (UHS) Class

Just to confuse things a little more there is also an Ultra High Speed (UHS) classification. Ultra High Speed 1 – U1 is the same as Class 10 (10MB/s). UHS sets a minimum transfer of data that the card is capable of in a similar way to the SD speed class.

U1 – 10MB/s (same as class 10)
U3 – 30MB/s

This can be seen on cards as a number within a bucket/U.

U3 is pretty new and is a response to ensure that consumers can easily identify those cards with the highest transfer rates suitable for 4K/2K filming. If your card is not U3 this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is not up to the job. It may simply not be labeled with the new U3 symbol. Check the transfer rates – this is the key.

Why should you care?

The Speed Class is important for video mode or camcorders, as when recording video the device is actually saving a steady stream of data. This is exactly what you are expecting a GoPro camera to do whilst filming video at high resolutions. GoPro recommend SDHC cards with a Class 4 rating or higher for the Hero 2. A Class 10 SD card is recommended when using Time-Lapse mode or photo every 0.5 seconds. For the GoPro Hero 3, 3+, 4, Session 4, 5 or Session 5 a Class 10 SD card/U1+ is the best choice regardless of what you are using it for. Always get the fastest card you can.

There is always a danger that if your SD card isn’t up to it that you could encounter error messages or loss of data. When ever my GoPro has crashed or frozen it has always been down to the card I have been using.

The difficulty comes when you start looking at Speed Class and card storage size. The higher the speed class the higher the price, the higher the card capacity the higher the prices. Over the last few months I have swapped out all of my cards for the newest Lexar 633x U1/U3 series. All are more than capable of coping with all the recording options available on the GoPro. All my cards are also 32GB as a battery on the GoPro won’t last longer than a 32GB would anyway.

GoPro SD Memory Card Recommendation

SD Card Recommendations

GoPro issue a list of suitable cards and seem to update this on a fairly regular basis. It’s important to use one of the recommended SD cards (or a similar/better spec card) in your camera, or you may experience freeze-up or video corruption issues.

I have owned and used all of the brands and models of Micro SD cards shown below. They have always performed well without issue.

Here are the Micro SD card requirements for each camera:

HERO3 Black Edition, HERO3+ Black Edition a Class 10/U3 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required.

For the Hero 4 Silver, Black and Session cameras and the new 2016 Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session a U3 MicroSD card up to 128GB is required.

SanDisk Extreme 32GB microSDHC – Up to 80/50MB/s read/write speed.

SanDisk Extreme 64GB microSDXC – Up to 80/50MB/s read/write speed.

Lexar 633x Class 10 32gb micro SD – Transfer speed up to 95MB/s

Lexar 633x Class 10 64gb micro SD – Transfer speed up to 95MB/s

U1 and U3 633x Lexar Cards have the same transfer rates – 95MB/s.

Lexar 1000x U3 32gb MicroSD – Transfer speed up to 150MB/s

Lexar 1000x U3 64gb MicroSD – Transfer speed up to 150MB/s

Lexar 1000x U3 128gb MicroSD – Transfer speed up to 150MB/s

For HERO3 Silver and White Editions any class 10 micro SD cards can be used.

HERO3: Silver Edition & HERO3+ Silver Edition Cameras

A Class 4 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required – you’ll be hard pushed to find a Class 4 card, go straight for Class 10 as a minimum.
A Class 10 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required for 0.5 sec Time-lapse, 10/1 Photo Burst, and Protune.

HERO3: White Edition Camera

A Class 4 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required.
A Class 10 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required for 0.5 sec Time-lapse.

HD HERO2 Camera

A Class 4 SD card up to 32 GB is required.
A Class 10 SD card up to 32 GB is required to use 0.5 sec Time-lapse, 10/1 Photo Burst, and Protune.

The safe bet is to get the fastest Class 10 U3 you can afford as it will work in all of the GoPro range and just about any other POV/Action camera that requires a Micro SD card.

I have also been using the new range of Turbo Boost U3 cards from PNY with success. No issues at all and given the price are well worth checking out.

There are a great deal of fake SD cards out in circulation and it is important that you buy yours from a reputable supplier.

Storage:

Once you get into taking video you’ll soon build up a collection of memory cards. These things are so easy to misplace or lose. After losing a few last year I use Peli SD Card storage case. It can handle both SD and Micro SD cards at the same time, and although not fully waterproof it is water resistant and keeps the dirt/grime out.

What else should you consider?

I have a fair bit of GoPro kit and to maximise its use I also have a range of must have accessories.

65 Comments

  1. Unsponsored

    May 24, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Update: I’ve been using a couple of Samsung cards for the last couple of weeks and the transfer rates seem pretty good. well worth checking out.

  2. Thanks for sharing

  3. Just got a GoPro Black Hero3. Used a SanDisk ultra 64GB disc. Went on a 3 day scuba trip. Made 7 dives on 1080p video. All recordings stopped after 1 minute and 10 seconds!!! Was too busy diving to check video – never thought it would stop recording.

  4. I use Sandisk Ultra series in my Hero3 Black and Silver, 32gb as main cards and 16gb as spare ones
    I got them for around $25 from ebay and they’re working fine
    I Would recommend Sandisk Extreme for Hero3 and Hero3+ cameras

  5. So is sandisk ultra is okay except to shoot an 4k and 2.7k? I want to shoot only 1080p..

  6. Don’t use the SanDisk 32gb micro sd ultra with GoPro hero 3 silver constant freezing issues and on/off problems. Only used it for 2 weeks in a whole year due to all the problems caused, with only a year warranty I haven’t got a choice anymore but to either give up on the useless item because it’s faulty itself or to buy a micro sd extreme if it’s really worth it. However I can’t see it working because I have followed recommendations everywhere for my camera and the memory cards were even sold on Gopro store. Updating, hard reseting, formatting with both computer and camera still doesn’t fix GoPro…… What to do?

    • I chose the Lexar 600x 32GB as my first card for my H3+Black, and it works flawlessly running 1080@60fps w/ Protune on. It was only $45 with a USB3.0 adapter.

      I just bought a Sandisk Extreme Plus as a second card, again $45. Haven’t used it yet, but it seems like with any of the H3+ cameras, you need a high end card for the write speed. If it doesnt do at least 30mb/s, it won’t work properly, so even some of the samsung cards won’t do the trick. Best to just invest in a good 32GB, and that will get you 90min 1080@60 w/ protune, and enjoy for years.

  7. I have a hero 3, any recommendations for that, people are now sayin Lexar, and not sandisk is this the way forward,?

  8. Hi All, I have the hero3+ Black edition. I bought a Sandisk Ultra 64gb card, wacked it in the gopro, pressed record, it went for about 30 seconds then froze. I had to pull the battery out to turn it off, put it back in, turned it on, SD Err. Hmmm I thought, took the card out and put in my laptop, windows couldn’t format it. The card is dead. After doing a lit of reading, I would not recommend any 64gb Sandisk card in your GoPro. Thats only my opinion of course. I wasn’t recording in 4k or 2,7, just the standard 1080P. Have had no probs with any other smaler cards, just that one. For the cost of the memory card, it’s worth getting something that is going to be reliable.

  9. Hi, I have bought a GoPro 3+ black edition and would like to film in 4K mode on it. I have two questions regarding 4K filming:

    1 – What is the optimal MB/s read/write speed for 4K filming. I currently have a class10 micro sd card with 30MB/s. Will that be enough for 4K?

    2- When using the iPhone wifi GoPro app, can you use the preview film screen when filming in 4K mode.

    Thanks

    • Unsponsored

      April 9, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      You need the fastest card possible., A 30mb/s may have trouble with the 4.7k setting. I believe that preview is available in all settings.

  10. has anyone tried a 128Gb class 10 card? Could you give us details of the card(s) used and your results?

    • I was wondering the same question. I have just left an enquiry with Go Pro to see if they ‘support’ 128gb. I have the H3+ Black Edition

  11. Is SanDisk Extreme 32GB sufficient for 120fps?

  12. I just bought a GoPro Hero 4 Silver but havent’t tested it because I don’t have a memory card yet. Lexar and Sandisk are out of stock. I found a store with Samsung 64G Pro. Will it work well?

  13. I have just bought a go pro hero 3. I’ve bout a Samsung micro Sd class 10 64gb at 48mps speed. I started playing around with it and the video recording quality….. And I’m only showing around 10-11 mins video time? But 23k for photos….. Is that right or am I missing a trick? I was expecting much more recording time??

  14. I have a problem, i need to record tonight(new years eve) but i lost my sd card(32GB Class10)
    I’ve found a 16gb class6 but can i use that for my gopro hero3s?
    Thanks anyway for thinking

  15. Hello, I bought GoPro Hero white, I am looking for micro sd card which is the best for this edition. I think 32 Gb is enough for now. Do you have any advice?

    Thank you very much

  16. hi there, i ve recently got go pro 3+silver edition, and going for a 3 months bike trip across Asia, would anyone advise me realistically how many memory cards would I need, taking into accountt that internet access will be an unlikely luxury, therefore won t be able to transfer anything by email, neither will I have a laptop with external drive … help please ^_^

    • Unsponsored

      April 28, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Hi, the more the better. It depends on what setting you’ll be using, just video, just photos, 1080p, 720p etc.

      3 months is a long time and you won’t be in a situation where you can edit footage. The Gopro 3+ can take up to a 64gb card, 32gb will get you this.

      1080p (30 fps): 4h 21m
      960p (30 fps): 5h 26m
      720p (60 fps): 4h 21
      720p (30 fps): 8h 09m
      WVGA (60 fps): 8h 09m

      If taking just photos you’ll get approx 18k photos at 10mp on a 64gb card. It’s a tough call. They are small, easy to carry, weigh next to nothing and can be bought relatively cheaply. However after 3 months of shooting I wouldn’t fancy the job of sorting through the footage.

      • OH MY GOD ! thank you o much for getting back to me, I was beginning to think I d be left alone with this choice. It ll mainly be used for video, that s the whole point of me buying it, and Ive got a spare camera, to take pictures. 🙂
        What resolution would you realistically recommend to take video at ?
        would 3 x 64gb cards be enough ? I obviously wouldn t be recording every step of the way 😛 just main attractions, view, surroundings …
        Thanks
        xxx

        • Unsponsored

          April 28, 2015 at 9:51 pm

          3 as a start. Will you be able to buy more out there? Post used ones back home?

          If you plan just to show friends and family the videos along with say an upload to Youtube or the like you can avoid the top settings that chew data.

      • would you also recommend getting additional batteries and mounts ? I was thinking of a helmet mount, but the camera came with 2 set of sticky attachment, and one of them is angled, and I think might do the job, what would you recommend ? 🙂
        thanks a million !

        • Unsponsored

          April 28, 2015 at 9:49 pm

          I would def get hold of a couple of batteries. They don’t last long at all. Will you be able to get spare ones charged along the way?

          Mount wise you could stick the curved mount to your helmet. A chest mount is very good when on the bike as it a bike mount so you can clip the camera to different parts of the frame.

          • thank you,that s very helpful indeed 😉
            Read the whole post, and someone mentioned that it d be more sensible to get the 32gb instead of 64, since the battery does t last that long anyway. Is that true ?
            Yes, I will be able to charge the batteries while touring I think ..
            x

          • Unsponsored

            April 28, 2015 at 10:07 pm

            You are right about the 32gb vs 64gb for battery time. Batteries are a pain to change when you are on the water but on your trip will be hopefully easier. Using 64GB will also cut down on the cards you need. My personal card of choice is the Lexar 633x. The 64GB one here and the 32GB one here.

            Chest mount here.

  17. Amazon i am able to find one with 32gb but i have a question.
    Go pro suggested LSDMI32GBBEU633R and on Amazon.in its LSDMI32GBBNL633R. Now how much of a difference will it make.

  18. I bought an Ultra PLUS 48MB/s 64GB SanDisk and I place it in my GoPro. It acts the same as if there was no card in it, just — on the display where the 000 should be. Place in a SanDisk 8GB class 4 and the 000 show up. $50 wasted from Best Buy 🙁

    • Unsponsored

      August 3, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Sounds like a dodgy card. Lots of fake ones out there, even within the normal supply chain.

  19. Hi I am using Kingston 16gb Class10 U1, and I am experiencing a bit of lag when taking pictures. is it normal or should I need to get the UHS3 version?

  20. I bought Hero4SE Music edition and I am using Kingston 16gb Class10 U1, I am experiencing a bit of lag when taking pictures. is it normal or should I need to get the UHS3 version?. Not really much into video recording. I just noticed that there is quite a log in taking pictures, and most of the time pictures gets blurred. Thanks!

    • Unsponsored

      October 21, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      What read/write speeds does the card have?

      How much lag?

      Do you have spot metering activated? Are the shots taken indoors or out?

      • R/W is not stated in the packaging, but after I checked it Kingston’s website, its Read45mbs/Write 10mbs. Lag takes about 1.5secs to 2secs. Spot metering is not activated. 1080p Wide, low light settings. Shots are usually taken inside the office only.

        • Unsponsored

          October 22, 2015 at 7:26 pm

          That sort of lag is pretty long. I’d change cards for sure to something that is at least 90mbs and make sure that the camera has the latest firmware.

  21. hi, just bought the gopro hero 4 and looking inte buying the sandisk extreme u3 64gb, would that card work or should i get the plus version, or something else.

    • Unsponsored

      December 29, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      Any U3 would be ideal all the way up to and including filming in 4K. The extreme range is very popular and not a bad price at all. You can get the Pro version for almost the same price. I would always go for the card with the greatest speed.

  22. Hello, I just got my hero 4 black.. And I wanted to know if SanDisk Extreme 600x Micro SDXC UHS-I SDSQXNE-064 will work perfect when I will record 4k 30fps or 1080p 120 fps?
    Thanks.

  23. hi there,
    i just bought my gopro hero 4 and im using SanDisk ultra 32gb micro sd HCI is it okay?
    one more question, why my gopro getting hot while using wifi?

    • Unsponsored

      May 14, 2016 at 9:29 am

      The card may be ok if it’s an updated one with faster transfer rates. Although it at not handle 2.7 or 4K happily. There is a great deal of power being used whilst the wifi is on. Hence the heat. How hot does it get?

  24. I have been using this card and it has been flawless – SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s

    Perfect for 4K/30fps or 1080P/60fps recording

  25. ugnius cizauskas

    August 20, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Hei I bought a Gopro Hero 3+ Silver Can I use my Sandisk Ultra Micro SD 16gb 80mb/s?Will it be good to shoot 1080/60fps?

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