Canon 90D Memory Card Quick Recommendations
If you just want some quick recommendations, here you go. Any of these will work well in the Canon EOS 90D.
- ProGrade Digital V60 UHS-II
- SanDisk Extreme Pro
- Lexar Professional 1667x Silver V60 UHS-II
- Sony TOUGH-G V90 UHS-II
- Type: SDXC / SDHC
- Video Speed Class: V90
- UHS Speed Class: UHS-II
- Storage Capacities: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
- Type: SDXC / SDHC
- Video Speed Class: V90
- UHS Speed Class: UHS-II
- Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
- Type: SDXC
- Video Speed Class: V60
- UHS Speed Class: UHS-II
- Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
These SD cards meet the needs of the 90D’s features, have a strong track record of reliability, are readily available, and are usually cost-effective. Any of these makes for a good choice. If you’re after more detail, you can find it below.
Canon 90D SD Card Requirements
Released in 2019, the Canon EOS 90D is among Canon’s higher-end APS-C DSLRs, and it has a 32-megapixel sensor. It shoots 4K30 video with a maximum video bitrate of around 120Mbps. That’s relatively high, but it’s still nowhere near the top-end cameras that shoot at 400Mbps and above.
It has a single SD card slot, and is compatible with SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards.
But something that stands out on the 90D is that it’s the first Canon DSLR to have a UHS-II slot. 1
That opens up possibilities to use a faster SD card in order to take advantage of the faster write speeds of UHS-II cards. And in practice, that means a lower risk of SD card-related errors when recording in the 90D’s high-end video modes and faster flushing of the in-camera buffer when shooting rapid bursts of photos (i.e., the camera will be available to continue shooting more quickly).
So which SD card should you get for your Canon EOS 90D? Here’s the more detailed version.
The 90D’s instruction manual is pretty unhelpful on the topic of which SD card to get. If you go looking, you’ll find on page 10 that there is a section titled “Compatible Cards,” but that it doesn’t help much. It says:
The following cards can be used with the camera regardless of capacity. If the card is new or was previously formatted (initialized) by another camera or computer, format the card with this camera.
UHS-II and UHS-I cards supported.
Cards that Can Record Movies.
When recording movies, use a high-capacity card with ample performance (fast enough writing and reading speeds) for the movie recording size.
So what I’m aiming to do here is provide some practical recommendations on which SD cards to get for the Canon EOS 90D so you can spend less time searching online and more time out shooting.
I’m not trying to list every SD card that works in the 90D–there are others that will work just fine as well. I’m focusing here on ones that offer a good combination of meeting the requirements of all of the 90D’s features, are readily available at major retailers, are cost-effective, and come from major manufacturers with track records for good-quality cards. I’m also basing this on my own SD speed tests. You can get away with slower cards than some of these, particularly if you’re shooting with lower video settings, but the cards here will take full advantage of all the camera’s features.
So here’s more detailed information on these cards, along with some other alternatives.
SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II
- Tap into pro performance designed for professional and advanced photographers and videographers.
- Super-fast write speeds of up to 260MB/s* help rapidly clear buffer time to support continuous burst mode...
SanDisk's Extreme Pro range is their top model.
One thing to note with SanDisk cards is that they recycle their model names. So you can find Extreme cards that are older and slower. And, even more confusingly, you can also find another version of this card widely available—there are Extreme Pro UHS-I and UHS-II versions. The one I'm listing here is the one is the UHS-II version that is rated for 300 MB/s and V90. There are also UHS-I Extreme Pro cards that are rated for 170 MB/s and 200 MB/s.
Lexar Professional 1667x Silver V60 UHS-II
- Get high-speed performance with UHS-II technology (U3) for a read transfer speed up to 250MB/s (1667x)
- Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080P full-HD, 3D, and 4K video with a DSLR...
Like the SanDisk Extreme Pro, this one actually has UHS-II. It's rated for video recording speed rating of V60. It comes in sizes up to 256GB.
Kingston Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II
- Ultimate speeds to support professional camera use — Transfer speeds up to 300MB/s and recording speeds...
- UHS-II standard for reliable high-resolution photography and video recording — Capture 4K and 8K...
Kingston is another brand that isn't as well known as some of the others, but they've been making reliable memory cards for a very long time. As a brand, they don't tend to focus on the cutting edge speeds but rather on reliable and good-value memory cards.
But this card is an exception to that. It's Kingston's fastest model in their SD card lineup, and it's very quick indeed. It's available in sizes from 16GB through 512GB.
Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II
- Uninterrupted 8K, 4K, 3D, HDR, 360º & High-Speed Recording
- Specialized for Simultaneous Recording
Delkin Devices have actually been around for years, but not too long ago they refreshed their SD card lineup to make it both clearer and more competitive. The Power range is their fastest line. This card is rated at V90 with UHS-II.
Sony TOUGH-G V90 UHS-II
- Tough specs: world's first one-piece molded construction with high hardness materials have resulted in...
- Ribless, no write protection switch design: world's first ribless, no write protection switch design6...
These Sony cards are quick, reliable, and fairly widely available. Sony also has SF-E and SF-M models. The SF-G is the fastest (it has a red "G" on the card next to the storage capacity).
Canon EOS 90D SD Cards
A memory card is an essential accessory for the Canon EOS 90D. Without it, you’re not going to be able to take many photos or shoot much video. But the 90D doesn’t come with one by default. There are some bundles that retailers put together that might include a memory card, but chances are it’s something you’re going to have to pick up separately. Or maybe you want something bigger with larger storage capacity—the cards that are included in bundles are often on the small side and might fill up quickly, especially if you’re on a trip. So which card should you get?
That’s where this post comes in—hopefully, to help you get out shooting sooner and taking full advantage of all the features of your new camera rather than spending your time searching the web and trying to make sense of cryptic technical codes. I’ve been buying and testing numerous SD cards for several years and have put many of the most popular SD cards on the market through their paces. You can find my main SD card tests here.
Making Sense of SD Card Specifications
There are several types of SD card, and you’ll find a range of different acronyms and codes on them. Here’s a quick overview of what to look for.
SDHC vs. SDXC
Most of the cards you’ll see available now have either SDHC or SDXC printed on them. The Canon EOS 90D will work with both SDHC and SDXC cards (and, for that matter, just plain SD cards, but they’re hard to find these days and have impractically small storage capacities).
These aren’t performance categories, as such. An SDXC card isn’t necessarily any faster than an SDHC card, and vice versa. But they’re important for compatibility with the camera and also in terms of storage capacity.
They’re categories assigned by the SD Association, which is the organization that oversees and develops the standards for SD and microSD cards. The difference between those two specifications is in the filesystem they’re formatted with–the SDHC specification uses FAT32 formatting, while the SDXC specification uses exFAT–but when it comes to buying memory cards, the practical difference is that cards 32GB and smaller will be labeled SDHC and cards 64GB and larger will be labeled SDXC.
UHS-I vs. UHS-II
The current generations of SD cards also have UHS-I or UHS-II on them (or often just an I or II). This refers to the type of interface that’s used to connect to the cards. It stands for ultra-high-speed bus.
Aside from whatever is printed on the card or packaging, you can tell UHS-I and UHS-II cards apart just by looking at them. UHS-I cards have a single row of contacts on the back. UHS-II cards have a second row of contacts.
UHS-I is the older, simpler bus interface. UHS-II is newer and potentially faster. The catch is that you only get the extra benefit of UHS-II if the device is also UHS-II. But the spec is designed to be backwards compatible, so you can use UHS-II cards in UHS-I devices, but you will only get the speed of UHS-I.
Notably, the Canon 90D does have a UHS-II interface. So if you want to take full advantage of the benefits that offers, it makes sense to use a UHS-II SD card in the 90D.
Video Speed Classes
The SD Association has come out with various rating systems over the years to help buyers choose a card that’s suitable for use in cameras. Because recording high-resolution video (or, more specifically, high-bitrate video) is often the most demanding operation in terms of a camera and its memory card, it’s known as a video speed class rating system.
As a technical matter, the first system was known Speed Classes (these were Class 2, 4, 6, and 10). The second system was known as UHS Speed Classes (U1 and U3). The third system is known as Video Speed Classes (V6, V10, V30, V60, and V90).
Most cards available now have a mix of old and new speed class codes printed on them. And while it’s helpful, it’s still an imperfect system for judging the speed of an SD card.
As a practical matter in the Canon EOS 90D, cards that have any of these on them should be fast enough:
There’s a separate rating system that you might also see on some cards. They might have an A1 or A2 on them. You can ignore that when choosing an SD card for a camera. It’s designed for the kinds of operations that gaming devices and smartphones do.
What Size SD Card to Use in the Canon EOS 90D
The 90D is compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards. That means you can use cards from 4GB all the way to the largest cards currently available, which are 512GB and 1TB cards.
The choice really comes down to convenience. You can fit more on larger cards, which means you don’t have to download and swap them as often (of course, that also introduces some extra risk of the all-your-eggs-in-one-basket problem if something goes wrong or gets lost).
Canon provides this table in the manual that gives the duration of recordings that will fit on 8GB, 32GB, and 128GB SD cards in various video shooting settings.
For a 256GB or 512GB card, just multiply the 128GB value by 2 or 4.
So Why Get a Good Memory Card?
A better memory card is not going to help you take better photos or improve image quality. But it can let you take advantage of all of the camera’s features. A card that’s not fast enough to keep up with the camera can cause issues like locking up, dropping frames, and overheating.
There’s also the issue of reliability. There are plenty of junk memory cards on the market. Not only do they have flaky performance, but they’re also more likely to fail. And that means the risk of losing your photos and videos.
At the same time, you don’t want to pay extra for a high-performance SD card that’s overkill for the camera.
How to Format SD Cards
When you buy a new SD card, you should format it before use and then regularly after that. If you’re formatting a card that you’ve already been using, make sure that you’ve downloaded any photos and videos you want to keep, because formatting deletes everything on the card.
Here’s some information on how to format the memory card.
How to Format SD Cards in the Canon EOS 90D
It is best practice to always format memory cards in the camera that you’ll be using them in. That sets the card up with the filesystem, folder hierarchy, and, in some cameras, a database file, so that the card is just how the camera expects. That greatly reduces the risk of unexpected errors and unpleasant surprises.
Always be sure you’ve backed up everything you want from the card, because formatting it will wipe everything. (If you’ve formatted accidentally, it still might be possible to recover data from the memory card, but it’s not always guaranteed, and it can incur the expense of buying recovery software; more on that below.)
On the Canon 90D, you can find the format function under:
Settings (wrench icon) > 1 > Format card
The default formatting mode is for a high-level format, which basically wipes the file allocation table but doesn’t drill down and wipe the actual data from the card. That means it can (probably) still be recovered with determined effort and the right tools. So Canon also offers a low-level format option that you can check (it’s on the same screen). It takes a little longer, but it’s a more secure wipe.
How to Format SD Cards with a Computer
Having said that, it is still possible to format memory cards using a card reader and computer. You get a lot more flexibility that way, but also some extra risk if things aren’t set up just how the camera wants them. It’s also sometimes a good troubleshooting step if you’re having issues with a memory card.
There are some things to watch out for, particularly when it comes to choosing which filesystem to use. So I’ve put together guides on how to format SD cards on Mac and how to use the free SD Card Formatter app for Windows or Mac.
FAQs About Canon EOS 90D Memory Cards
Does the Canon 90D come with a memory card?
The Canon 90D doesn’t come with a memory card as standard. Some retailers might put together a special deal bundle that includes some accessories, but in general, you’ll have to pick up a memory card separately.
What type of memory card does the Canon 90D use?
It has a single SD card slot, and is compatible with SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards. It’s SD card slot is UHS-II compatible.
Does the Canon 90D use UHS-II SD cards?
Yes, the Canon 90D has a UHS-II compatible SD memory card slot, meaning that with a UHS-II SD card, you can take full advantage of the speed benefits of UHS-II.
- It wasn’t the first Canon camera to support UHS-II–there are others in the mirrorless lineup that beat it to that–but it was the first among Canon’s DSLRs.
- On page 617, it does refer to a “UHS-I, UHS Speed Class 3 or higher” when shooting in the top 4K modes, and some lower requirements for other modes. But it’s still not specific.
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