GoPro SD Card Recommendations

After extensive use and testing, here are my practical recommendations on the best SD cards for GoPro cameras.

GoPro HERO8 Black SD Card

Top Picks

A GoPro camera won’t work without a memory card. Here are my top picks for the best SD card for GoPro cameras:

Wondering what SD card is best for GoPro cameras? These recommendations are based on a combination of my own microSD card speed tests and from the practical experience of using them in a variety of GoPro cameras, as well as cross-referencing with GoPro’s official recommendations. These have a proven track record of reliability and performance, they’re readily available at major retailers, and they are cost-effective. And most importantly, they’re fast enough to work with all of your GoPro’s features.

SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I
  • Write speed of at least 30 MB/s
Lexar Professional 1066x Silver V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I
  • Write speed of at least 30 MB/s
Samsung EVO Select V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I
  • Write speed of at least 30 MB/s
Delkin Devices V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I
  • Write speed of at least 30 MB/s
PNY Elite-X V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I
  • Write speed of at least 30 MB/s

What are the Best Memory Cards for GoPros?

GoPro cameras don’t come with an SD card as standard. Some retailers will include one as part of a special bundle. But unless you’re buying one of those special bundles, the chances are that you’ll have to buy an SD card separately.

Buying SD cards can be confusing. They all look the same, but they come with cryptic codes and ratings. What I’m trying to do here is take the guesswork out of it, so you can spend more time out shooting rather than searching.

GoPros used a smaller variant of SD cards known as microSD cards. They’re available in a range of storage capacities, ranging from 16GB up to 1TB. Newer GoPros are compatible with the larger storage capacities (there are some exceptions for older models; more on that below). But the key thing to watch for is that the card is fast enough for the camera. Using a card that’s too slow can cause problems when you’re trying to shoot. That’s where these recommendations come in.

There are several memory cards on the market that will work well in GoPro cameras. Having used many SD cards in GoPros and also run my own independent microSD card speed tests for several years now, here are my top picks for the best SD cards for GoPro cameras.

The ones here are general recommendations across all GoPro models. If you’re looking for recommendations for specific camera models, you can find links for more detailed recommendations for each camera below. And the ones I’m recommending here aren’t necessarily the fastest microSD cards money can buy. The biggest issue is that all GoPros use the UHS-I interface. So while you can use microSD cards with the newer, potentially faster UHS-II interface, you won’t get any extra benefit in the camera. In other words, you want a card that’s fast enough to make full use of all of your GoPro’s features without paying extra for a card that is more than your GoPro needs.

So here’s my shortlist of the best SD cards for GoPro cameras.

1. SanDisk Extreme / MicroSD Card for GoPro

SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I

If I had to pick one memory card as the best choice for using in a GoPro, I’d choose the SanDisk Extreme. They’re fast enough for any GoPro model (including the latest models, the HERO11 Black and MAX), readily available, have a very good track record of reliability, and are cost-effective. You can also get them in a range of different sizes, all the way up to 1TB. In short, these memory cards are a safe bet. They also happen to be among the easiest to find in stores.

It’s also the card that GoPro officially recommends, and it’s the one that they bundle with their cameras that they sell directly from their own store. I’ve used many, many SanDisk memory cards over the years and found them to be very reliable, easy to find in stores, and generally cost-effective.

While the Extreme lineup isn’t the fastest in SanDisk’s range—that would be the Extreme Pro, currently—the Extreme cards are plenty fast enough for even the latest GoPros, including the HERO11 Black, while also working well with older GoPro models.

Buy at: Amazon | B&H Photo | GoPro.com

3. Samsung EVO Select / MicroSD Card for GoPro

Samsung EVO Select V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I

Samsung makes several models of microSD cards, and more than one model will work well in GoPro cameras. But they have a somewhat confusing naming system that doesn’t always make clear what the difference between the models is.

The EVO Select is one of their better cards but is also very cost-effective.

Like SanDisk, Samsung recycles the series names. This is the new version, which is blue/teal in color. It also has the V30 and A2 markings on it. It’s a little faster than the old version (green), but the old version also works well in GoPro cameras and has been one of my go-to cards for a few years. The latest version of the EVO Select is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB sizes. Alternatively, the EVO Plus cards also work well.

It’s a UHS-I card with a V30 video recording speed rating.

Buy at: Amazon

4. Delkin Select / MicroSD Card for GoPro

Delkin Devices V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I

Delkin Devices have been making memory cards for a long time, and good ones at that. But it’s only recently that they simplified and streamlined their product lines to make it clearer what the differences are between cards. The Select line isn’t their fastest line—that is the Power V90 line—but the Select series are rated for V30 and are a good combination of being fast enough for the latest GoPro cameras as well as being cost-effective.

This card is rated for V30 and has a UHS-I interface. It’s available in sizes ranging from 16GB up to 512GB, and it comes with an SD adapter.

Buy at: B&H Photo | Amazon

5. Lexar Professional 1066x V30 UHS-I / MicroSD Card for GoPro

Lexar Professional 1066x Silver V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I

Lexar also has slower microSD cards that will work well in some older GoPros, but they aren’t the best choices for the newer GoPros that record in 4K, 5K, or 5.3K. But this 1066x version is plenty fast enough.

This is a UHS-I card, which matches the interface used in GoPro cameras (some other Lexar models have a UHS-II interface, which will work but is more than the camera can make use of).

Buy at: Amazon

6. PNY Elite-X / MicroSD Card for GoPro

PNY Elite-X V30 UHS-I
  • Type: microSDXC / microSDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V30
  • UHS-Speed Class: UHS-I

PNY, based in New Jersey, isn’t as well known as some of the other memory card manufacturers, but in my experience, they make very good cards. They have a few different ranges, but the Elite-X strikes a good balance of being fast enough and good value.

They’re UHS-I cards and carry a V30 rating. The 32GB card is a little slower than the larger capacities, but most users will probably prefer sizes more on the 128GB-256GB end of the range anyway.

Buy at: Amazon | B&H Photo

Best SD Card for GoPro: What to Look For

Memory cards come with an assortment of confounding codes and acronyms. I go into detail on what they all mean in several other places on this site. But the short version of what you want to look for in the safest options when choosing an SD card for a GoPro camera is:

  • microSDXC. You can use a card that’s microSDHC, but those cards are getting harder to find in stores simply because the larger-capacity memory cards have come down drastically in price. The practical difference (not the technical difference), is that all microSDXC cards will be 64GB or larger. With the large amount of data that high-resolution recording video takes, the larger cards that are now easily available make more sense.
  • U3, V30, V60, or V90. These refer to the ratings specifically for recording video footage. Cards rated for any of those speeds will be fast enough for GoPros.
  • UHS-I. It’s often just written as “I”. There’s a newer, faster interface known as UHS-II. GoPros so far use only up to UHS-I. UHS-II cards will work—the specification is designed to be fully backward compatible—but you won’t get any extra benefit out of the UHS-II spec. I have more details on using UHS-II microSD cards in GoPro cameras separately.

One prominent spec that you can safely ignore for this purpose is the A1 or A2 rating (if it has one). That refers to a type of speed rating that’s not relevant to recording video. If you’d like a more detailed explanation, you can find one here.

GoPro SD Card FAQs

Why not just get the fastest microSD card you can find for GoPro cameras?

You can do that, and those cards will work well. There’s no harm in doing that except that you’ll probably be spending more money than you need to. But if you’re using the fastest memory card money can buy, you won’t see any improvement over a card that’s fast enough. (I’m referring here to the performance in the GoPro camera. If your computer hardware can handle it, you might see better download speeds when downloading the video and photo data from the memory card to your computer if you use a card with a faster sequential read speed, especially with UHS-II (if your memory card reader also supports UHS-II).)

It is true that GoPros do need a fast microSD card—especially the newest models. But only up to a point. Once a memory card is fast enough to deal with the highest video bitrate in that GoPro model, having an even faster card won’t give you any performance benefits.

I invest a lot of effort and expense in testing the fastest microSD cards, and I’ve had the opportunity to use many of them in my large (and growing!) collection of GoPro cameras. And the simple reality is that what you’re looking for is a memory card that’s fast enough. This is why I put the focus on a combination of being fast enough, reliable, cost-effective, and readily available at major retailers.

SD Card Read Speeds vs Write Speeds

There are various kinds of speed ratings for microSD cards. In some marketing materials, the read speed is the most prominently featured. This is mostly because it’s often a higher number that sounds more impressive. But the read speed is much less relevant to our purposes here than the memory card’s write speed (and, even more specifically, sequential write speed). That’s the measure of how quickly data can be written to the card. And that’s the most important factor here.

And it’s not a coincidence that the speed class ratings (eg. V30 (which is the minimum recommended for most recent GoPro cameras) or V60 or U3) refer to sequential write speed, not read speeds.

Will these memory cards work in any GoPro?

For the most part, yes. There is an important exception if you’re using some of the old models of GoPros. For instance, the HERO (2014) will only work with microSDHC cards (i.e., up to 32GB). But any of the later models will happily take microSDXC cards (i.e., 64GB and above).

Is one of these cards better than the others?

While I said above that if I had to single out one as the best SD card for GoPro cameras that I’d probably choose the SanDisk Extreme, the reality is that all of the ones I’ve listed here are very good cards that work well in GoPro cameras. And I have all of them and use all of them in my GoPros (I have a lot of GoPro cameras!). After all, the whole idea of putting this list together in the first place is to provide some recommendations of cards you can use with confidence in your GoPro camera.

So I’d recommend choosing the one with the best combination of a brand you like, price, and availability that fits with your preferences. If you’ve had a bad experience with one brand, go with one of the others.

What size microSD card is best for GoPro cameras?

Which storage capacity to get is mostly about convenience. With a larger card, you won’t run out of space as quickly and can therefore keep shooting longer before downloading from the card or swapping it out for another one. (There is also the eggs-in-one-basket argument against using a few smaller cards in place of one massive one.)

Because prices and availability are always on the move, the sweet spot for the combination of convenience, availability, and price is a moving target. Right now, I’d suggest getting something in the range of 128GB to 512GB. If you’re shooting a lot of high-bitrate 4K, 5K, or 5.3K video, you might lean more toward the upper range of 256GB to 512GB sizes or even 1TB.

Some readers have asked whether you can use 1TB microSD cards in GoPro cameras. I’ve tried that myself in some of the newer models and haven’t run into any issues. But you do need to make sure that the card otherwise meets the camera’s speed requirements.

How do you format a memory card in a GoPro?

The process for formatting a memory card in a GoPro varies slightly between models. I’ve put together a detailed guide on it here.

Will a better microSD card improve the image or video quality?

No, a faster and better memory card won’t improve the image quality or help you take better photos or video footage.

What it will do is let you take full advantage of all the camera’s features. So I guess in a sense, you could argue that a faster SD card will let you shoot video at 4K, 5K, 5.3K or at the fast framerates and top video bitrates, and that that can improve image quality over lower-resolution video. But that’s a bit of a stretch.

But, in general, no, a faster SD card won’t improve photo or video quality.

Does a GoPro Need an SD Card?

For normal shooting with a GoPro camera, an SD card is required. GoPros do not have user-accessible internal memory; the only internal memory is temporary memory used as a buffer for operations such as burst shooting or data processing.

An exception is if you’re using your GoPro as a webcam or streaming cam. In that case, the video feed is passed from the camera to an external device such as a computer or external recorder. An SD card is not required in that instance.

Can You Use a GoPro Without an SD Card?

While smartphones and a handful of other cameras have their own internal memory for storing photos and videos, that’s not true for GoPro cameras.

For normal shooting with a GoPro camera, an SD card is required. GoPros do not have user-accessible internal memory; the only internal memory is a temporary memory used as a buffer for operations such as burst shooting or data processing.

An exception is if you’re using your GoPro as a webcam or streaming cam. In that case, the video feed is passed from the camera to an external device such as a computer or external recorder. An SD card is not required in that instance, but for more conventional uses, an SD card is required.

How much storage do I need for my GoPro?

Storage needs may vary depending on your usage, recording quality, and duration. Generally, a 64GB or 128GB SD card is suitable for most users. However, if you plan to record longer videos or in higher resolutions like 4K or 5K, consider a larger capacity SD card (256GB or 512GB).

How do I format an SD card for my GoPro?

To format an SD card for your GoPro, follow these steps:

1. Insert the SD card into your GoPro.
2. Turn on your GoPro.
3. Navigate to the preferences/settings menu.
4. Locate the “Reset” or “Format SD Card” option and select it.
5. Confirm the action to format the SD card.

Please note that formatting the SD card will erase all data stored on it. Make sure to back up any important files before proceeding.

Do GoPro cameras come with SD cards?

GoPro cameras typically do not come with SD cards. You will need to purchase a compatible SD card separately based on your specific GoPro model and storage requirements.

Can I recover deleted photos from my GoPro’s microSD card?

Yes, it’s possible to recover deleted photos from a GoPro microSD card using specialized data recovery software. However, the chances of successful recovery may vary depending on factors such as how much new data has been written to the card since the deletion and the condition of the card.

To increase your chances of recovery, stop using the card immediately after you realize the photos have been deleted and use a reliable data recovery tool to attempt the recovery process. I’ve put together a more detailed post on how to recover deleted files from an SD card that goes through various options and tools.

How long can a GoPro record continuously?

The continuous recording time on a GoPro camera depends on various factors such as video resolution, frame rate, and SD card capacity. The camera will record until the SD card is full or the battery is depleted. Using an external power source can extend recording time beyond battery life limitations.

Keep in mind that GoPro cameras have a file size limitation of 4GB per video file. When the file size reaches 4GB, the camera will automatically create a new file and continue recording. This process is called “file chaptering” and will not affect your recording, but you may need to merge the files in post-production.

What is the difference between buying multiple smaller-capacity SD cards and one large-capacity SD card for your GoPro camera?

There are pros and cons to using multiple smaller capacity SD cards versus a single larger capacity SD card:

Pros of multiple smaller capacity SD cards:
– If one card fails, you will not lose all your footage.
– Easier to organize and manage your files by keeping different projects on separate cards.

Cons of multiple smaller capacity SD cards:
– Increased risk of losing or misplacing individual cards.
– More frequent card swapping during recording sessions.

Pros of a single larger capacity SD card:
– Less card swapping during recording sessions.
– Lower risk of losing or misplacing cards.

Cons of a single larger capacity SD card:
– If the card fails, you could lose all your footage.
– Potentially higher initial cost.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your preferences, workflow, and specific use case. Some users prefer the security of having multiple cards, while others find the convenience of a single, larger-capacity card more appealing.

What file system do GoPro cameras use? Can they use exFAT?

For storing data on the SD card, GoPro cameras can work with FAT32 (SDHC/microSDHC) and exFAT (SDXC/microSDXC) file systems.

However, even when using an SD card with exFAT file system, GoPro cameras will respect the 4 GB maximum file size limit of FAT32. So video files larger than 4 GB will be broken up (or chaptered) into chunks smaller than 4 GB.

Does GoPro SD card format use high-level format (quick format) or low-level format (secure format)?

The SD card format feature on GoPro cameras uses standard high-level quick format. If you have sensitive data on the SD card that needs to be wiped, you’ll need to use a secure format function on a computer.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2023-12-01 at 13:45. 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.

Best SD Cards for GoPros

Since 2013, after running into trouble with an SD card that was too slow for the HERO3 Black, I've been putting together my recommendations on the best SD cards for GoPro cameras. Because some GoPro models have specific requirements, I've also put together detailed model-specific pages.

Text & Photos by David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here.

I've been shooting with GoPros for years, starting with the HD HERO, and have owned and used just about every model since. More »

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