Canon T3i Memory Card Recommendations

Which SD card should you get for your Canon EOS Rebel T3i? Here are some straightforward and practical recommendations.

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The Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D doesn’t, by default, come with a memory card. So unless you’ve picked up a retailer bundle that does include the card, you’ll have to buy one separately.

The good news is that because the T3i is an older camera and memory card technology has been progressing in leaps and bounds since it was release, you don’t need a particularly fast or fancy memory card by current standards. That means you don’t need to fork out the big bucks for the latest and greatest and fastest memory cards out there. But you still need to get a good one. Some are more reliable than others, and there’s a surprising number of counterfeits around.

Canon T3i Memory Card Quick Recommendations

Here are some quick recommendations for those who just want to cut to the chase.

  1. SanDisk Ultra
  2. Lexar Professional 633x
  3. Kingston Canvas Select Plus
SanDisk 256GB Ultra SDXC UHS-I Memory Card - 100MB/s, C10, U1, Full HD, SD...
  • Fast for better pictures and Full HD video(2) | (2)Full HD (1920x1080) video support may vary based upon...
  • Great choice for compact to mid-range point-and-shoot cameras
Lexar Professional 633x 256GB SDXC UHS-I Card, Up To 95MB/s Read, for...
  • High-speed, Class 10 performance leverages UHS-I (U1 or U3 depends on capacity) technology for a read...
  • Capture high quality images of stunning 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video
Kingston 256GB SDXC Canvas Select Plus 100MB/s Read Class 10 UHS-I U1 V30...
  • Faster speeds — Class 10 UHS-I speeds up to 100MB/s.
  • Capture in full HD & 4K UHD video (1080P) — the advanced UHS-I interface makes the card ideal for...

Detailed Recommendations for SD Cards for the Canon T3i

The Rebel T3i’s manual isn’t particularly helpful in giving information on what kind of memory card works best. I only includes a few scattered references to the memory card, mentioning that it will work with SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. But that’s not especially illuminating.

So what I’m trying to do here is cut through the jargon and provide some practical recommendations for what memory card to get so you can get out taking photos and shooting video with your T3i. My priorities here are cards that not only work well in the T3i but are a combination of being reliable, readily available, have a good selection of memory sizes, and are good value. There’s no point buying a high-end, super-fast, and expensive memory card because the T3i can’t take advantage of those–so I’m not including them here. I’m also not including every single card that will work in the camera.

Note: You might sometimes see this camera referred to as a T31, with a numeral one in place of the letter “i”. The correct model number is T3i. But it’s not even that simple. The camera has different model numbers in different parts of the world. In Japan, it’s the EOS Kiss X5. In the United States, it’s the EOS Rebel T3i. In other parts of the world, it’s the EOS 600D. All refer to the same camera–the differences are just in regional marketing model numbers. (There’s also an EOS 60D, which is a different camera.)

Memory card manufacturers release new models of memory cards all the time. And because of the way the market works, sometimes these newer and faster cards can be cheaper and more readily available than the older, slower versions. That’s why some of the ones I’ve included here can end up being quite a lot faster than the minimum requirements of what the camera needs–but they’re likely also a good combination of value and availability. I’ll do my best to keep this list updated.

A natural question is what size to get. Many of these come in memory sizes from 8GB up to 128GB. They’ll all work in the T3i, and choosing between them basically comes down to the convenience of not running out of space to take new photos or shoot new video. For most users, the range from 32GB to 128GB is likely to be a good choice in terms of cost and convenience.

So here are some recommendations for SD cards for the Canon Rebel T3i.

These aren't necessarily the fastest SD cards on the market, but they're fast enough for this camera. It's also not designed to be a comprehensive list of every SD card that will work.

My emphasis here is on cards that meet these criteria: fast enough for all the features of this camera; from a reputable and reliable brand; readily available at retailers; and good value for money. If you want to use a faster, fancier card you can, but you won't see any extra benefit in doing so while you're operating the camera (but you might see some faster speeds when downloading the photos to a computer, depending on your computer and memory card reader combination).

SanDisk Ultra U1 UHS-I

SanDisk 256GB Ultra SDXC UHS-I Memory...
  • Fast for better pictures and Full HD video(2) | (2)Full HD (1920x1080) video support may vary based upon...
  • Great choice for compact to mid-range point-and-shoot cameras

The SanDisk Ultra line is their cost-effective mid-range option. The latest versions of the Ultra cards are much faster than older versions, and it's a good basic option for cameras that don't demand too much of their SD card. The next level up--the Extreme cards--are also a good option, but the Ultra cards are often priced slightly lower. They're usually very easy to find in stores, too.

SanDisk recycles its model names, and you can still find older, slower versions. This latest version of the Ultra card is rated for U1 for video recording and uses a UHS-I interface.

It comes in sizes ranging from 32GB through 256GB.

Buy at: Amazon

Lexar 633x V30 UHS-I

Lexar Professional 633x 256GB SDXC UHS-I...
  • High-speed, Class 10 performance leverages UHS-I (U1 or U3 depends on capacity) technology for a read...
  • Capture high quality images of stunning 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video

The Lexar 633x range has been one of the mainstays of Lexar's SD cards for a while now. There are now faster cards available, but this one is again fast enough for this camera while also representing good value for money.

One distinctive thing about this range is that they're available from 32GB up through `TB.

Buy at: Amazon.

Kingston Canvas Select Plus V30 UHS-I

Kingston 256GB SDXC Canvas Select Plus...
  • Faster speeds — Class 10 UHS-I speeds up to 100MB/s.
  • Capture in full HD & 4K UHD video (1080P) — the advanced UHS-I interface makes the card ideal for...

Kingston is a 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.

This particular card (model SDS2 Canvas Select Plus) isn't the fastest in Kingston's range, but it's fast enough to work well in this camera. It's available in sizes from 16GB through 128GB.

Buy at: B&H Photo or Amazon.

PNY Elite-X V30 UHS-I

PNY 256GB Elite-X Class 10 U3 V30 SDXC...
  • Class 10, U3, V30 speed rating, with read speeds up to 100MB/s
  • Class 10, U3, V30 rating delivers speed and performance for burst mode HD photography and 4K Ultra HD...

PNY is another brand that isn't as well known as some others, but they've been around a long time and make very good memory cards that are usually very competitively priced and good value.

This particular model is available in sizes ranging from 64GB to 512GB.

Buy at: Amazon

Delkin Devices Advantage V30 UHS-I

Delkin Devices 256GB Advantage SDXC...
  • Supports 4K & Full HD 1080p Video Recording at High Frame Rates
  • RAW Continuous-Shooting Approved

Delkin Devices have been around for a long time but have been relatively quiet in recent years. But they've refreshed their entire lineup of cards recently to simplify the range and bring the cards up to current specs.

The Advantage card is rated to V30 and has a UHS-I interface. It currently comes in sizes up to 512GB.

Buy at: B&H Photo or Amazon.

Other Brands

There are also a lot of smaller, mostly unknown brands. In general, I'd recommend sticking to a brand you know and trust or one of the brands I've mentioned on this page because they have well-established reputations for putting out high-quality cards. Some of the other lesser-known brands might work, but they also might not be all they claim to be. The ones above should give a good selection of ones you can find fairly easily at retailers near you.

Faster SD Cards

If you're looking to use a faster card, take a look at the ones that I've subjected to my independent SD card speed tests.

Other Brands

Some of the other brands that make very good memory cards are Toshiba, Kingston, and PNY. There are also a lot of smaller, mostly unknown brands. In general, I’d recommend sticking to a brand you know and trust or one of the brands I’ve mentioned on this page because they have well-established reputations for high-quality cards. Some of the other lesser-known brands might work perfectly well, but they also might not be all they claim to be.

What Do All Those Codes on SD Memory Cards Mean?

Memory cards have a bunch of codes and acronyms that are used to describe their capabilities. Here are the main ones relevant to memory cards for the Canon Rebel T3i. (I have more details on these ratings and codes on my Fastest SD Cards page.

SD, SDHC, SDXC. While these technically distinguish, at least in part, the filesystem type that they’re formatted in, in practice it’s useful for determining what size card you need. SD refers to cards 4GB and smaller. SDHC refers to cards from 8 to 32GB. And SDXC refers to cards 64GB and larger. In short, you can use any of them in this camera, so you can safely ignore this rating and choose based on the size of card you want. If you want to put in a 32GB, go ahead. If you want to put in a 256GB card, knock yourself out.

Recommendation: Both SDHC and SDXC cards are compatible. There’s no functional difference in speed–just storage space.

UHS-I. This refers to something known as Ultra High-Speed Bus, which is the technology behind how the camera interfaces with the card. So far there’s UHS-I (sometimes written, incorrectly, as UHS-1) and UHS-II.

Recommendation: As the instruction manual says, there’s no harm in using a card that’s rated with UHS-I (or even UHS-II), but it won’t give you any extra benefit in this camera.

U3. This is the speed class rating. U3 is designed to support 4K video recording at a sustained video capture rate of 30MB/s. The other video ratings you’ll see on cards are C10 (Class 10) and U1.

Recommendation: Cards with a U3 rating are the safest bet, especially if you plan to record video, because they’re designed to handle a constant stream of data being written to the card. If you’re solely doing still photos, U1 will work fine too.

Avoiding Fakes

There are a lot of counterfeit memory cards out there, so it’s always a good idea to purchase from a reputable retailer. I buy most of mine from Amazon and B&H Photo. Best Buy, Target, and Adorama are also good options

Basic Precautions

It’s a good idea to format the card in the camera, not in your computer, and to format it regularly. And while memory cards are remarkably resilient, just like any electronic product they can and do fail. So regular backups are very much recommended–here are some ideas.

What If I Accidentally Delete the Photos on a Memory Card?

It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t recover them. There are apps available to help you try to recover deleted photos from a memory card. I’ve put together some recommendations here.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2021-11-26 at 17:12. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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