GoPro HERO4 SD Card Recommendations

Here are some practical recommendations for SD cards for the GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver. Not every microSD card you can find will work–you’ll need a card that’s fast enough to keep up with the high-bitrate recording that these cameras are capable of.

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Best SD Card for GoPro HERO4 Black & HERO4 Silver – Quick Recommendations

If you just want to cut to the chase, here are some quick recommendations for the best SD cards to use in GoPro HERO4 Black and HERO4 Silver. These are fast and reliable, cost-effective, and readily available. Any of these make a good choice.

SanDisk Extreme microSD Card
  • Up to 160MB/s read speeds to save time transferring high res images and 4K UHD videos (2); Requires...
  • Up to 90MB/s write speeds for fast shooting; Requires compatible devices capable of reaching such speeds
Samsung EVO Select microSD Card
  • All The Space You Need: Store tons of media on your phone, load games or download more apps on your...
  • Fast and Smooth: With superfast U3, class 10 rated transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s¹,²and UHS-I...
Lexar 1066x Silver microSD Card
  • Professional-level performance for action cameras, drones, or Android smartphones
  • Leverages UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds up to 160MB/s (1066x)

If you’d like more detailed recommendations or other brands and models, you can find them below.

GoPro HERO4 SD Card Requirements

If you’ve just picked up a GoPro HERO4 Silver or Black, you’re going to find out pretty quickly that GoPros don’t come with a memory card as standard. Some retailers put together bundles that include a memory card with the camera, but unless you buy one of those you’ll most likely have to pick up an SD card separately.

Sounds simple enough, right? But there’s a catch. Not every card will work well in the GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver editions.

When these cameras were originally released, there were relatively few memory cards that worked well. Since then, memory card manufacturers have been coming out with newer and faster cards. So it’s now quite easy to find a good SD card for them, and you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it. That still doesn’t mean you can just throw any old microSD card in the HERO4 Silver or Black, though.

The biggest issue is the speed of the card. And, more specifically, the write speed of the card. That’s how quickly the card can record the stream of data that’s being thrown at it as the camera films video. The GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver editions can both shoot 4K and high-framerate video. Those video modes use high bitrates of up to 60 megabits per second (In the Silver, it’s a maximum of 45 megabits per second). So to be able to use the full range of video modes on these cameras you’ll need a card that can keep up.

If you use a card that’s too slow, the most common thing you’ll run into is the video recording stopping unexpectedly. That’s usually because the card simply can’t handle the data that’s being thrown at it. If that happens, you can get some unexpected and unwanted behavior, such as the recording stopping unexpectedly, the camera overheating, or the camera shutting down.

So I’ve put together some practical recommendations on which SD cards work best in the HERO4 Black and Silver. I’m focusing here on cards that are fast enough for these cameras, readily available at major retailers, reliable, and cost-effective. I make a point to speed test as many models of microSD cards as I can get hold of, including all of the ones here. So I’ve had the chance to try these out myself in addition to consulting GoPro’s official recommendations.

I also have a more general guide to the best SD card for GoPro cameras.

Best SD Card for GoPro HERO4 Black & Silver – Detailed Recommendations

SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I

SanDisk 256GB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I...
  • Up to 160MB/s read speeds to save time transferring high res images and 4K UHD videos; Requires...
  • Up to 90MB/s write speeds for fast shooting; Requires compatible devices capable of reaching such speeds

The SanDisk Extreme cards are fast, cost-effective, reliable, and widely available. They're also safe bets for a wide range of action cameras, including GoPros. Extreme cards are the ones that GoPro themselves often bundle with their cameras and sell on GoPro.com, and it's one of the few they officially recommend in their "Works with GoPro" certification program.

From my own speed tests, it is plenty fast enough for GoPro Black edition cameras.

The latest version of the SanDisk Extreme comes in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB, and even new 1TB versions.

As with most of its product names, SanDisk recycles them with newer, faster cards. So you can find "Extreme" cards that are actually several years old. It's therefore worth checking the model number, although in practice even a number of the older versions of the Extreme cards will support the kinds of speeds that GoPro's need with their high-bitrate video recording modes and rapid burst photo shooting.

SanDisk uses a three-part model numbering system in the format SDSQXA1-256G-AN6MA. In this example, SDSQXA1 is the model number, the 064G refers to the amount of memory, and the last 5 characters are used by the marketing department for different parts of the world but the cards are otherwise the same. So the first part is the crucial part if you're looking to see which model the card is, and you don't have to take much notice of the last 5 characters.

The basic version includes an SD adapter. You can also find it bundled with a USB microSD card reader.

You can find them at: Amazon | B&H Photo | GoPro.com

Samsung EVO Select V30 UHS-I

SAMSUNG EVO Select Micro SD-Memory-Card...
  • All The Space You Need: Store tons of media on your phone, load games or download more apps on your...
  • Fast and Smooth: With superfast U3, class 10 rated transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s¹,²and 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 (they're not alone in that!) 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 latest version of the EVO Select--it's a blue/teal color. It's a little faster than the previous model, but the older green/white/gold version still works well in any of the GoPro cameras released so far.

It's available in storage capacities from 64GB up through 512GB and includes an SD adapter.

Find them at: Amazon

Lexar 1066x V30 UHS-I

Lexar Professional 1066x 256GB MicroSDXC...
  • Professional-level performance for action cameras, drones, or Android smartphones
  • Leverages UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds up to 160MB/s (1066x)

Lexar has been one fo the leading flash memory card makers for years. They went through some corporate upheaval a few years ago, and their cards became hard to find. But now that they're under new ownership, and supplies of their memory cards seem to have stabilized. They've also made some logical changes to their lineups of microSD and SD cards.

When marketing their cards, Lexar has always to put more emphasis on marketing the read speeds of their cards--in this case, 1066x or up to 160MB/s (that's the read speed; the rated write speed is up to 120MB/s)--but several of their cards have write speeds fast enough for GoPros shooting 4K and 5K video.

Find them at: Amazon | B&H Photo

Delkin Select V30 UHS-I

Delkin Devices 256GB Select microSDXC...
  • Supports Full HD 1080p Video Recording
  • Time-Lapse, Photo-Burst, Protune & HDR Ready

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 good combination of being fast enough for GoPro cameras as well as cost-effective.

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

Find them at: Amazon | B&H Photo

PNY Elite-X

PNY 256GB Elite-X Class 10 U3 V30...
  • Up to 100MB/s read speed
  • Class 10, U3, V30 performance for recording of 4k ultra HD videos at 4096x3072 pix as well as 60 and 120...

PNY is another memory card brand that isn't as well known as some of the others, 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 tad slower than the larger capacities, but most users will probably prefer sizes more on the 128GB-256Gb end of the range anyway.

Find them at: Amazon | B&H Photo

About these Recommendations

This is not designed to be a comprehensive list of every card that works with the GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver models, and there are plenty of others that will work well that aren’t listed here. There are also other fast cards that simply aren’t easy to find or aren’t cost-effective when you do. I’m most interested in ones that are readily available and reasonably priced. What I’m trying to do is present some options so you can choose a card and be confident that it’s compatible.

This list is a combination of GoPro’s official recommendations and my own real-world testing in the cameras, not on card manufacturers’ speed claims or the microSD benchmark testing I conduct separately (although it won’t come as a surprise that the ones that top my list of fastest microSD cards work well in these cameras).

What Size, Format, and Rating of SD Card Works Best in the HERO4 Black and Silver?

Both the Silver and Black models are fully compatible with both the microSDXC and microSDHC specifications (more on that below). This isn’t a performance rating. It refers to the formatting system used on the card. and I’ve been using 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 200GB cards in them. There are also some 256GB cards available now, but I haven’t yet tested any of those.

You want either UHS-I or UHS-II host specifications. This is marked with either a small I or II on the card. The cameras use the UHS-I host specification, so you won’t get added benefits if you put a UHS-II card in them, but it will still work but will roll back to UHS-I.

For the speed rating, the safest bet is to stick with one that’s rated with the new V30 category or U3, although there are also U1 cards that work just fine.

Why You Need an SD Card with a Fast Sequential Write Speed in the GoPro HERO4 Black and HERO4 Silver

So why do you need a fast memory card in these models? Both of these cameras can create ultra-high-definition video. The flagship Black edition is capable of up to 4K at 30fps and 2.7K at 60fps and 1080p at 120fps (you can find more details here). Even Silver edition can capture 4K video at 15fps, 1080p footage at 60fps, and 720p footage at 120fps. That’s going to make for some incredible video footage when you get to filming. But if you try to use a memory card that’s not fast enough, you’re going to run into trouble.

If you find that your video is stopping prematurely or that the camera is freezing while you’re trying to record video, the first thing to check is that your memory card is fast enough. (If it’s just breaking up the video file into smaller segments but keeps recording, that’s normal. Here’s an explanation of why.) You won’t see any error message that tells you what the problem is–it tends to just stop recording and lock up.

The GoPros’ high-resolution video modes require a lot of data to get written very quickly to the memory card. And not all memory cards are equal. You can’t just put any Class 10 microSD card in the new GoPros and expect it to work flawlessly. If the card is too slow, you’ll find that the camera stops recording as the memory card just can’t keep up. The newer cards use a newer transfer technology known as UHS-I that allows for speeds that far exceed the older Class 10 technology.

Aside from reliability–which is a big issue in itself–memory cards vary widely in their speed. The key is the write speed–or, technically, sustained write speed–which is how fast the camera can write to the memory card. All of the cards that GoPro recommends with the new high-resolution video modes on the new GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver editions are rated for writes speeds of 40MB/s or faster.

Card manufacturers don’t make it easy in other ways. They often advertise “transfer speed” or “read speed.” Neither of those is the same thing as “write speed.” When memory card manufacturers put the speed on their advertising, it’s usually the read speed (ie. the maximum speed you can get data off the card). It’s often a higher number and sounds more impressive. But for our purposes, we need to know who quickly we can get data onto the card–that is, write speed.

The speed at which data can be written also depends also on the file sizes of the data you’re writing. The speed ratings provided by manufacturers are sequential write speed. They don’t typically divulge for a different kind of writing: large-block random data. That figure is typically significantly slower than the sequential write speed, and it explains why, when the GoPro HERO4 Black maxes out at 60Mb/s (7.5MB/s) and the Silver at 45Mb/s (5.625MB/s), you need a card with a speed rating that’s much higher than 7.5MB/s or 5.6MB/s (ie. they’re measuring two different kinds of data writing).

Video Bitrates of the HERO4 Black vs Silver

The Silver edition doesn’t have the top-end video modes of the Black; its maximum data stream is 45 Mbps. So technically it can handle a memory card that’s a little slower than the requirements of the Black.

Below are the write date speeds for all the video modes available on the GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver editions. The Black’s top data rate is 60 Mbps, whereas the Silver’s is 45 Mbps. So any of the video modes that record at 60 Mbps are only available with the Black. 1

Note that these data rates are in megabits per second (Mbps or Mb/s), whereas memory card speed ratings are typically measured in megabytes per second (MBps or MB/s). There are 8 megabits to one megabyte. But it’s not as simple as doing the conversion and then comparing that to the card speed because the card speeds are maximum speeds for writing small files of sequential data. Writing large files of random data is usually much slower.

But this chart will give you ideas on which video modes to try if your memory card is struggling to keep up.

ModeFPSBitrate (Megabits/s) - Protune / + ProtuneAspect RatioResolutionHERO4 BlackHERO4 Silver
4K3060/6016:93840x2160
2560/6016:93840x2160
2460/6016:93840x2160
1545/4516:93840x2160
12.545/4516:93840x2160
2.7K6060/6016:92704x1520
5060/6016:92704x1520
4860/6016:92704x1520
3045/4516:92704x1520
2545/4516:92704x1520
2445/4516:92704x1520
2.7K SuperView3045/6016:92704x1520
2545/6016:92704x1520
2.7K 4:33045/604:32704x2028
2545/604:32704x2028
1440p8060/604:31920x1440
6045/604:31920x1440
5045/604:31920x1440
4830/454:31920x1440
3030/454:31920x1440
2530/454:31920x1440
2430/454:31920x1440
1080p12060/6016:91920x1080
9060/6016:91920x1080
6030/4516:91920x1080
5030/4516:91920x1080
4830/4516:91920x1080
3030/4516:91920x1080
2530/4516:91920x1080
2430/4516:91920x1080
1080p SuperView8060/6016:91920x1080
6030/4516:91920x1080
5030/4516:91920x1080
4830/4516:91920x1080
3030/4516:91920x1080
2530/4516:91920x1080
2430/4516:91920x1080
960p12030/454:31280x960
10030/454:31280x960
6030/454:31280x960
5030/454:31280x960
720p24060/6016:91280x720
12030/4516:91280x720
6030/4516:91280x720
5030/4516:91280x720
3030/4516:91280x720
2530/4516:91280x720
720p SuperView12030/4516:91280x720
6030/4516:91280x720
5030/4516:91280x720
WVGA24030/3016:9848x480

Common Questions About the SD Cards for the HERO4 Black and Silver

Here are some quick answers to some of the common questions I get about the SD card for these models.

Is it Normal for the Card and Camera to Get Hot?

All of the cards I’ve tried get hot, along with the rest of the camera, when recording the top-end video modes that write at 60 Mbps on the Black (making anti-fog inserts a good idea in cold, wet, or humid shooting conditions).

Should I Get the SDHC or SDXC Versions?

SDHC and SDXC aren’t really direct versions. SDHC applies to cards that are between 4GB and 32GB. They use a filesystem known as FAT32. SDXC applies to cards 64GB and larger; they use a filesystem known as exFAT. You won’t find a 64GB card that’s SDHC or a 32GB card that’s SDXC. Both the HERO4 Black and Silver cameras work with both SDHC and SDXC cards.

What Size Memory Card is Best for a GoPro HERO4?

The short version is that any size will work. In terms of convenience, 32GB or larger make the most sense so that you’re not constantly filling it up. In terms of a good mix of convenience, price, and availability, cards in the 64GB to 128GB range probably make the most sense right now.

I’ve put together a more detailed post on this topic

Do 128GB and 256GB Cards Work in the GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver?

Yes. Or, more precisely, some do. So long as it meets the other speed requirements outlined on this page, it should work just fine. There are some cards, like those in SanDisk’s Ultra range, that don’t work as well.

But cards like the Lexar Professional 1000x 128GB SDXC card and I’ve not had any issues using ones in SanDisk’s Extreme, Extreme Plus, and Extreme Pro lines.

General Tips for Buying and Using microSD Cards

Here are some general tips about using SD cards in the HERO4 Silver and Black:

  • If you’re going with SanDisk, I don’t recommend their “Ultra” or “Ultra Plus” range of cards for any of the recent GoPros. Despite being Class 10, many users have reported issues with the recording stopping prematurely (a problem I ran into myself). The faster cards in the Extreme range are not much more expensive and work much better.
  • Test your memory card before using it on your once-in-a-lifetime footage. Memory cards are pretty reliable, but it is possible to get a faulty one. And here are some steps to try if you need to recover photos from a memory card.
  • Before using it, format the memory card in the camera. It’s a safer option that formatting on your computer and can help prevent problems. And it’s a good idea to reformat in the camera fairly regularly as a way to prepare the card for use. I do it immediately after downloading all my footage/photos from the card to my computer so that it’s ready to go for next time. You can find the reformat function under Settings > Delete All.
  • Buy from a reputable retailer. There are a lot of counterfeit memory cards out there being peddled by less-reputable dealers.
  • Don’t use the memory card for long-term storage. Download it to a computer or similar as soon as practicable (and back that up!).
  • There are also other brands that make very good memory cards, and they might work well in the GoPros. But GoPro doesn’t include them on their recommended list. If you go with another brand, there are some things to look for. Pay careful attention to the write speed of the card, not the misleading read speeds that are often used in advertising. If you’ve never heard of the brand and can’t find good reviews of it online, it’s probably a good idea to go with another that you do know. Some brands that have good reputations include PNY, Transcend, Samsung, Delkin, Sony, and Kingston. Not all cards from all of those manufacturers work well with the new GoPros–some are too slow, for example–but I have a separate roundup of the fastest microSD cards.

You can find GoPro’s official list of microSD card recommendations here.

How to Recover Data from a microSD Card

If you’ve accidentally deleted videos or photos from your GoPro’s microSD card, there’s still a good chance that you can recover it.

The first thing to do is stop using the card. The more data is overwritten, the harder it will be to recover what you’re after.

The next thing to do is to use data recovery software to scan the card to find recoverable data. There are a number of options for doing this, including free data recovery software and more comprehensive data recovery software that requires a license.

  1. Data sources: 1 | 2.[]

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2022-05-19 at 22:28. 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.

David Coleman / Photographer
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 every model since. More »