Canon EOS R5 Memory Card Recommendations

Wondering which memory cards to get for the Canon EOS R5? Here are some recommendations for CFexpress and SD cards are fast enough to use all of the R5’s features.

Canon EOS R5 Mirrorless Camera
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:

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The Canon R5 has two memory card slots. One takes UHS-II SDXC and SDHC cards. The other takes a CFexpress Type-B card.

It’s not required to fill both for the camera to work with most shooting settings, but there are advantages to filling both memory card slots. And some of the high-end video shooting modes will only work with a CFexpress Type-B card.

Canon R5 Memory Card Quick Recommendations

If you just want to cut to the chase, you can find quick recommendations on which cards to get here:

Canon R5 Memory Card Recommendations in Detail

Now, for the more detailed version.

The R5 has two memory card slots.

Memory Card Slot 1: CFexpress B / CFexpress Type B

Slot 1 is for a CFexpress card.

There are three flavors of CFexpress cards: A, B, and C. The type you want for the Canon EOS R5 is Type B. They’re sometimes listed as CFexpress Type B or just CFexpress B. (Don’t get a Type A or Type C—those won’t work in the R5. Same with CFast—that’s a different type again.)

B&H Photo has an excellent selection of CFexpress B cards from manufacturers like SanDisk, Lexar, Sony, ProDigital, Angelbird, and Delkin. You can find them here.

Most CFexpress B cards are pretty fast and should work well. But Canon has taken the extra step of identifying some specific models that fully support the camera’s RAW 8K 29.97p video recording.

They are:

ProGrade Digital Cobalt CFexpress Type-B – 325GB
  • CFexpress Type-B
  • Max Write Speed: 1700 MB/s
  • Max Read Speed: 1500 MB/s
SanDisk Extreme Pro CFexpress Type-B – 512GB
  • CFexpress Type-B
  • Max Write Speed: 1400 MB/s
  • Max Read Speed: 1700 MB/s
Lexar Professional CFexpress Type-B – 256GB
  • CFexpress Type-B
  • Max Write Speed: 1700 MB/s
  • Max Read Speed: 1900 MB/s
Sony Tough CFexpress Type-B – 512GB
  • CFexpress Type-B
  • Max Write Speed: 1480 MB/s
  • Max Read Speed: 1700 MB/s

Memory Card Slot 2: SDXC & SDHC

The second slot is an SD/SDHC/SDXC slot. As a practical matter, SDXC cards make the most sense. That covers cards 64GB and larger. Any smaller than that isn’t very practical with the high-resolution still and video files the R5 produces.

SD cards have been around much longer and are very widely available. They’re inexpensive, and you can get very large storage capacities with them. The downside is that even the fastest SDXC card is much slower than a CFexpress B card.

And many SD cards are too slow for all of the R5’s features. For the best performance in the R5, you’ll generally want to use a fast UHS-II SDXC card—aim for at least a V60 rating, but preferably V90. And with the large images and high-bitrate video, larger storage capacities of 128GB+ are much more convenient.

I have some practical recommendations for fast SD cards separately. I’ve bought and tested many SD cards over several years. But for some quick recommendations, these are good bets in the R5 for offering a good combination of performance, availability, and value.

ProGrade Digital V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Lexar Professional 2000x V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II SD Card
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
PNY EliteX-PRO90 V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Angelbird AV PRO SD MK2 V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Canon R5 Memory Card Compatibility & Requirements

Canon is unusually helpful in saying what kinds of memory cards are required for what combination of settings. You can find a general breakdown here.

And you can get away with slower cards if you never plan to use the higher-end video and burst photo modes. But it makes more sense to me that if you’ve spent the big bucks on buying a high-end camera like the R5, you probably want to have the option to be able to use all of the camera’s high-end features.

The R5 is an awesome camera—and I’ve loved shooting with it—so why not make full use of its features? In other words, you probably don’t want to skimp on subpar memory cards for it. So I’m focusing here on memory cards that are compatible with all of the R5’s shooting modes.

Sample Images: You can see some of the photos I’ve taken with the Canon EOS R5 here.

Number of Memory Cards for Canon EOS R5

The R5 has two memory card slots. But they’re not both the same.

Even though the R5 has two memory card slots, it’s not required to fill both of them for the camera to work. If you only have an SDXC card, for instance, you can go ahead and use the camera with just that.

There are, however, advantages to filling both memory card slots. The first advantage is that you’ll get several extra options, such as being able to save images to both simultaneously in order to have a redundant backup copy; being able to copy still images to one card and video to another; being able to save a RAW video file to one card and an MP4 version simultaneously to the other; and treating them as a sequence of two cards, so that when it fills one, it just moves to the other, which gives you the maximum amount of storage space.

A second advantage is that it will make available to you all of the R5’s top-end video modes. Some of the R5’s video settings, particularly 8K RAW and 4K RAW, will only work when saving to a CFexpress card because even the fastest SDXC cards currently on the market are still too slow for those very high-bitrate modes.

So What Is the Advantage of CFexpress Type B?

CFexpress is a memory card format developed by the CompactFlash Association. The main appeal of this format, at least compared to the older CompactFlash and even SDXC cards, is speed. At the time of writing, the fastest SDXC cards max out at around 300 MB/s. By contrast, most of the currently available CFexpress B cards are rated for around 1700 MB/s read and at least 1200 MB/s write. That means that they can keep up with the extremely high bitrate video recording of cameras shooting 8K, RAW video, and ProRes codecs.

It’s important to note the “B” here. Confusingly, there are currently three types of CFexpress cards, and they’re all different physical sizes (aka form factors), and they’re not interchangeable. That is, a CFexpress A card won’t work–or even fit–in a CFexpress B slot. [1]

CFexpress A cards are the same physical size as SD cards, and that’s the type used in some cameras, such as the Sony A1.

What you want for the Canon EOS R5 is the CFexpress Type B. You’ll sometimes see it written as CFexpress (Type-B) or CFexpress B.

CFexpress B cards are the same size and have the same contacts as an XQD card, if you’re familiar with those. If you try using a CFexpress A or CFexpress C card in the R5, it won’t work. [2]

How to Format Memory Cards in the Canon R5

You can find the memory card format setting under:

Wrench Icon > Tab #1 > Format Card
Canon EOS R5 Menu Screenshot Format Card

You’ll then get a choice of which memory card to format, slot 1 (CFexpress B) or 2 (SD card).

Canon EOS R5 Menu Screenshot Format Card

After the obligatory warning that you’re about to wipe everything on the card, you can go ahead. For a normal format, just hit OK.

Canon EOS R5 Menu Screenshot Format Card

But you also have the option to do a low-level format. A low-level format will take longer, but it’s a much more thorough and secure process that actually wipes the data on the card by going sector by sector, not just the master index pointing to the data. (With a high-level format, there’s a good chance of still being able to recover data from the card.) The low-level format is good if you have sensitive data on the card or have been seeing errors or slowdown with the memory card. Otherwise, the regular format is sufficient. But if you want to do a low-level format, check the checkbox next to that option.

Things Worth Knowing

  • Video File Chaptering. If you use an SDHC card (i.e., FAT32) to save video, the video files will be chaptered in 4GB chunks. If you use an SDXC or CFexpress B card (i.e., exFAT) to save video, the files will be saved as a single stream and not be broken into chunks.
  • Memory Card Readers. Don’t forget that you’ll need a compatible card reader to download the images to your computer.

    I personally use Prograde Digital Readers these days and have had excellent results. I use their combination CFexpress B / SDXC (UHS-II) reader, which is a great option when shooting with an R5.

    Of course, there are plenty of other manufacturers putting our CFexpress B readers, including cheaper options from third-party manufacturers.

    You don’t run into the same issues with SD readers–they’re very widely available. That said, speed and performance vary widely. If you’re using a UHS-II card, you get better performance from a UHS-II-compatible memory card reader.
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Canon EOS R5 Memory Card FAQs

What type of memory card does the Canon EOS R5 use?

The Canon EOS R5 mirrorless cameras has two memory card slots. One is compatible with SDHC and SDXC memory cards. The other is compatible with CFexpress Type-B memory cards.

Do you need to fill both memory card slots on a Canon EOS R5?

No, you don’t need to fill both memory card slots on a Canon EOS R5. The camera will work normally with only one memory card. However, there are advantages to filling both slots, such as more control over where the different file types are saved and the ability to make real-time backups as well making available the 8K and 4K RAW video modes (which only save to CFexpress B).

Does the Canon EOS R5 come with a memory card?

The Canon EOS R5 does not come with a memory card as standard. Some retailers might put together special deal bundles that include some basic accessories, but in general, you’ll have to pick up a memory card (or two) separately.

  1. Even more confusingly, there are also versions within each of these form factors. Those affect compatibility, but they aren’t related to the physical size of the cards.[]
  2. While CFexpress A and SD cards have the same form factor, and you can physically fit a CFexpress A card into the R5’s SD slot, the R5 does not have compatibility with CFexpress A using the SD slot.[]

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Profile photo of David Coleman | Have Camera Will Travel | Washington DC-based Professional Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a professional photographer based in Washington, DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and many places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications, from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.

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