Are you planning to buy a memory card for your camera? If you don’t know how to select the right memory card, I will help you to select one.

There are certain things that you need to look for before buying a memory card for your camera.

Camera Memory Card Buying Checklist

I will list out the checklist of things to be checked before buying a camera memory card.

1. Memory Card Type

SD Card Memory

There are many types of memory cards for a digital camera. Each camera comes with the option of adding a specific type of card for storage. Some cameras come with two memory slots. So, you have the provision to add more than one.

This can be similar memory slots, which support the same type of memory cards or they can be different memory slots.

So, you need to check your camera specification or the instruction manual to see the type of memory card supported by the camera.

2. Memory Card Size/Capacity

Now you know the memory card type required for your camera. So, let us see the next important parameter, which is the memory card size or capacity.

I recommend you to go through the user manual of your digital camera thoroughly to know the maximum memory size supported by the camera.

All cameras come with a maximum memory limit. If you use a card above this limit then it may not work. So, always double-check it.

Once you know this limiting value, you can decide the maximum memory card size.

SD Card Memory Capacity

Now, you should decide how many pictures you want to capture in the same memory card. Let us say that you want to capture 500 images on a memory card.

Now, you should see the camera user manual to see the file size of an image. File size depends on the file format you have chosen for capturing. If you have selected RAW file format then it will occupy more space when compared to JPEG.

I will take Canon 1DX Mark II DSLR camera as an example. If you are planning to capture in the RAW format then you will require approximately 24.5 GB of memory space to store 500 photos of 50 MB size each. So, you need to buy a 32 GB memory card.

If you are planning to capture the image in JPEG format then you need 4.9 GB of space to store 500 photos. So, you will need an 8GB one. Most DSLR/ Mirrorless camera comes with the option to record JPEG+RAW format simultaneously. If you go for this option then you will need 29.4 GB of space.

A 32 GB card would be sufficient in this condition.

NOTE: A 32 GB card will not have the exact 32 GB memory space. It will be somewhere between 29GB and 30GB.

If you are planning to record videos then you need to take that memory also into account. You can check the user manual to see how much memory space a video of a particular duration takes and in what quality (1080p/ 720p).

3. Maximum Data Transfer Speed

This is the most important thing to check while buying a memory card for your camera. Every memory card comes with a write speed and read speed.

We are more interested in write speed than read speed. It is the write speed that determines how fast the camera can write the image onto the memory card.

So, it doesn’t mean that you can go for the fastest one available in the market.

It would be a waste of money if you invest in such a card and the writing speed of your camera is much less than that.

Data transfer speed is more important if you are using Burst mode in the camera or video recording feature. If the write speed of the camera is not sufficient then you will get a memory error message while video capture.

So, check for the writing speed of the camera and try to buy a memory card that matches this writing speed.

4. Memory Card Class Rating

If you are interested in capturing videos with your camera then the Class rating of your memory card becomes important. Class 2, Class 4, Class 6, and Class 10 are some of the most commonly available memory cards.

I recommend using memory cards above Class 6 on any digital cameras. They are good for recording videos up to 720p at 25fps.

If you want to record 1080p videos then you can go for a Class 10 card or above. There are other high-class versions like the UHS Class I denoted as U1 and UHS Class 3 (U3).

They are also good for recording videos. If you want to capture 4k videos in your camera, go for the U3 Class memory cards.

5. Memory Card Manufacturer

You should also give importance to card manufacturers. Don’t go for a cheap memory card manufactured by some unknown Chinese companies.

You may get it for a very cheap price. But, it will not serve the purpose. It can even damage your camera with low-quality electronics inside.

So, buy a good quality one from a good brand. SanDisk, Lexar, Transcend, and Kingston are some of the popular memory card brands for cameras.

Memory Specifications to Check in a Memory Card

There are many parameters written on top of a memory card. They are the basic memory specifications that a user can easily read and make use of.

Let us understand the different parameters written on top of a typical SD card memory, which is the most commonly used one in cameras.

SD Card Memory Specifications

Let us also have a look at the different parameters mentioned on top of a CF card (Compact Flash Card).

Compact Flash Card Specification (Sandisk)


After reading this article, you can easily choose the right memory card for your camera.