The GoPro HERO 3+ Black Edition and the slightly older GoPro HERO3 Black Edition are particularly sensitive to the type of microSD memory card you use. If you’re finding that the video recording is stopping unexpectedly, the first thing to check is that your memory card is fast enough (assuming it’s not the battery running out, of course…).
The issue has to do with how quickly the memory card can write the GoPro video data when you’re recording with the high resolution video options that the camera is capable of.
It can be particularly true if you have ProTune enabled, since that records even more data than the standard modes. The problem is made even more difficult because of the inconsistent way that memory card manufacturers report the speed of their cards. If you look at any of the packaging of memory cards from the major manufacturers, you’ll find that they use different numbers and names to try to convey speed. Some use the read speed. Some use a “times” rating like 300x.
Both of the GoPro 3 Black Edition models require a microSD card with fast write speeds–it’s not enough just to have a Class 10 card.
I got caught out with the SanDisk Ultra card. On paper, it looks good. But I found that the video was cutting out. The culprit was the memory card–it’s simply not fast enough to handle the data rate of the newer GoPros (but the SanDisk Extreme’s listed below are fast enough). Once I got one of the faster cards, there was no more cutting out, even with Protune turned on.
Both the GoPro HERO 3+ Black Edition and the GoPro HERO 3 Black Edition require a Class 10 microSD card up to 64GB. But not all Class 10 cards are created equal. It would be nice if Class 10 was a consistent standard, but the reality is that it’s not. Two different Class 10 cards from two different manufacturers can have very different write speeds, and that’s the crucial spec here. And to complicate things further, there are different kinds of write speeds and they vary by the hardware and software combination that’s doing the writing.
Below is a list of the memory cards GoPro officially recommends for the GoPro HERO 3+ Black as well as a couple of newer, faster versions that have been released since the GoPro list came out.
And if you’re wondering what the difference is between SDHC and SDXC, it has nothing to do with speed. SDHC applies to 32GB or smaller. SDXC applies to larger than 32GB.
Best SD Cards for the GoPro HERO3+ Black and HERO3 Black
Fast enough, cost-effective, reliable, and widely available, this is the card that GoPro itself bundles with some of the newer cameras like the HERO5 Black in some packages, and it's one of the ones they officially recommend in their Works with GoPro program.
With a write speed of up to 60MB/s, it has plenty of headroom for the high-bitrate video like 4K30. It comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB--any of those will work, although you'll fill up a 16GB card pretty quickly with the GoPro's high-resolution video, so the larger cards make more sense.
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. This is the latest version, rated with the V30 symbol on the card.
SanDisk uses a three-part model numbering system in the format SDSQXVF-064G-ANCMA. In this example, SDSQXVF is the model general, 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.
One thing to note: some users reported battery drain issues and occasional lockups with this card in the HERO5 Black. Those issues should have been addressed with the latest GoPro camera firmware.
The SanDisk Extreme microSD cards are on GoPro's list of officially recommended cards for these models: HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO Session, HERO4 Black and HERO4 Silver, HERO3+ Black, HERO3 Black, HERO+ LCD, HERO+, and HERO (NB: the HERO will only support cards up to 32GB).
Lexar tends to put more emphasis on marketing the read speeds of their cards--in this case, 1000x or up to 150MB/s--but several of their cards have write speeds fast enough for the high-end GoPro cameras. This is one of the newer ones and is rated for a write speed of up to 45MB/s. It comes in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions.
This card is officially recommended by GoPro for use in the GoPro HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO Session, HERO4 Black, and HERO4 Silver. It has the stamp of approval of the Works with GoPro program.
SanDisk Extreme PLUS
The Extreme PLUS line is a relatively new addition to SanDisk's product lines and, as you'd expect, this is a faster card than the Extreme. But you won't get any added benefit in the camera—both cards exceed the speed requirements of the camera's data stream—but in theory you might get slightly faster speed in downloading to your computer, although there's not much in it (up to 95 MB/s vs 90 Mb/s).
This is the latest version of this card--you can tell it apart by the V30 rating on the card. But in practice, previous models of the Extreme PLUS microSD cards will also work well.
The SanDisk Extreme PLUS cards are on GoPro's list of officially recommended cards for these models: HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO Session, HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver, HERO+ LCD, HERO+, and HERO (NB: the HERO will only support cards up to 32GB).
SanDisk Extreme PRO
SanDisk has released a newer version of this card (model SDSQXPJ) in 64GB and 128GB sizes.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro cards are on GoPro's list of officially recommended cards, as part of its Works with GoPro program, for the HERO5 Black, Session, HERO Session, HERO4 Black, and HERO4 Silver. It will also work well with the HERO3 Black and HERO3+ Black.
SanDisk Pixtor Advanced
The Pixtor cards are the same as SanDisk's Extreme range--it's simply a rebranded version that's designed as house brand for Best Buy. But their labeling is not as clear as it could be.The one you want is the SanDisk Pixtor Advanced, which is red and gold, but the card itself doesn't have the "Advanced" part printed on it. There's another version, which is just the SanDisk Pixtor, which is red and gray; that's the equivalent of the SanDisk Ultra and isn't fast enough for the GoPros.
While slower than the newer 1000x Lexar cards, these also work well and are a good cost-effective option. One of the appeals of this range is that there's an unusually wide choice of sizes: 256GB, 200GB, 128GB, 64GB, 32GB, and 16GB.
This card is another that is officially recommended by GoPro for use in the GoPro HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO Session, HERO4 Black, and HERO4 Silver.
It comes with either a microSD to SD adapter cartridge or a USB 3.0 thumb reader, so make sure you're getting the version you want. You can also find multi-packs.
These are fast--the fastest in Lexar's current range--and they're officially recommended by GoPro for these cameras, but the extra speed isn't going to give you any benefit in the camera. You might see some benefit when downloading the footage or images from your memory card to your computer using a card reader.
A side benefit is that they come with one of the fastest microSD readers available. It's a USB thumbdrive-style reader--and one of the fastest readers available, at that.
They're available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB sizes.
GoPro recommends the Lexar 1800x cards for use in the GoPro HERO5 Black, HERO5 Session, HERO Session, HERO4 Black, and HERO4 Silver.
Samsung has two cards with very similar specs. This one, the Pro+ is rated for U3 with write speeds of up to 90 MB/s. It comes with a microSD to SD adapter cartridge.
This card is officially recommended by GoPro for the HERO5 Black, HERO5 Silver, HERO Session, HERO4 Black, HERO4 Silver. The smaller cards (64GB and 32GB) will also work in earlier models.
This new version has been upgraded to U3 class.
This is another one that's on GoPro's list of cards known to work well with any of the recent ranges of cameras.
Buy at: Amazon
Transcend Ultimate 633x
While Transcend doesn't have the same marketing budget in the US as SanDisk or Lexar, they're actually one of the major players in memory cards globally, and in addition to the consumer market they also make specialist industrial and high-durability cards.
This card has a rated write speed of up to 85MB/s and read speed of up to 95MB/s. I used it in a GoPro HERO5 Black at 4K30 with Protune without a problem. It comes with an SD adapter cartridge.
Buy at: Amazon
Will 128GB Cards Work in the GoPro HERO3+ Black and HERO3 Black
They’re not recommended for these models. 64GB cards work fine.
Recommended Memory Cards for other GoPro Cameras
The other models of GoPro Hero are more forgiving in their requirements because they don’t have the same maximum resolutions and data rates of the Black Editions. But there are still some gotchas to be aware of with some models and some shooting modes.
HERO3 White and Silver
HERO3 Silver and HERO3+ Silver
A Class 4 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required.
A Class 10 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required for 0.5 sec Timelapse, 10/1 Photo Burst, and Protune.
HERO3: White Edition
A Class 4 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required.
A Class 10 MicroSD card up to 64 GB is required for 0.5 sec Time-lapse.
A Class 4 SD card up to 32 GB is required.
A Class 10 SD card up to 32 GB is required to use 0.5 sec Time-lapse, 10/1 Photo Burst, and Protune (ie. if you want to use any of those features, make sure your card is an SDHC card, NOT an SDXC card).
HD HERO Original & HD HERO 960
A Class 4 SD card up to 32 GB is required. SDXC cards (ie. larger than 32GB) will NOT work in these models.
Last update on 2017-11-22 at 17:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API