Best SD Cards for GoPro HERO11 Black | Top Picks
Here are some quick recommendations for the best SD cards to use in the GoPro HERO11 Black.
These cards have a proven track record of reliability and performance, are readily available at major retailers, and are cost-effective. Most importantly, they’re fast enough to let you use all of the HERO11’s features, including the 120Mbps 5.3K and 4K video modes:
- SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I
- Lexar Professional 1066x Silver V30 UHS-I
- Samsung EVO Select V30 UHS-I
- ADATA Premier Pro V30 UHS-I
- Gigastone 4K Camera Pro V30 UHS-I
- 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
- Premium memory solution for action cameras, drones, or high-end smartphones and tablets
- Superior read speed up to 160MB/s and write speed up to 120MB/s
- ALL THE SPACE YOU NEED: Store lots of media on your phone with this micro SD memory card, load games on...
- FAST AND SMOOTH: Superfast U3, class 10 rated transfer speeds of up to 130MB/s¹,²and UHS-I Interface.³
- 256GB capacity SD 6. 0
- Up to 100MB/80MB per sec* Read/ write speed based on ADATA internal testing; performance may be lower...
- [Speed] Read/Write up to 100/60 MB/s, V30 speed grade, Ultra HD (UHD) 4K video recording, UHD 4K gaming.
- [App] A2 grade provides faster App loading performance for Smartphone & Tablet.
My aim with these GoPro HERO11 Black SD card recommendations is to make it easier to find an SD card that won’t limit the camera’s features you can use, and so that you can have confidence that you’re getting a card that works well in this specific camera.
Any of these makes for a good choice for the HERO11. They all meet this camera’s minimum requirement of a “microSD card with v30 or UHS-3 rating.”
There’s no particular benefit to choosing one over another—it comes down to price, availability, and personal preference between brands. These are fast enough for the HERO11 Black’s 120Mbps top-end video modes, and choosing a card that is faster than the camera needs doesn’t provide any benefit when using it. 1
There are other brands and cards that will also work well, and if you’re interested in some of those, you can find more details further down the page.
I also have a more general guide to the best SD card for GoPro cameras if you’re using other GoPro models.
What Are the GoPro HERO11 Black’s SD Card Requirements?
An SD card is an essential accessory for your GoPro, but the GoPro HERO11 Black doesn’t come with an SD card as standard.
Some retailers, like GoPro.com, include one as part of an accessory bundle. But unless you buy a bundle like that, you’ll need to pick up the SD card separately. And you might want to upgrade your SD card to a larger-capacity one; you’ll find that a 32GB SD card is fine as a starter card, but it’ll fill up quickly if you’re shooting with the HERO11 Black’s high-bitrate video recording. (If you buy your HERO11 from GoPro directly, they throw in a 32GB SanDisk Extreme card but also give you the option to upgrade to a 64GB version for another $19.99.)
But which one?
If the SD card isn’t fast enough to keep up, you can run into problems like the recording stopping unexpectedly, dropping frames, or even having the camera overheating or locking up.
GoPros use 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. 2
Newer GoPros like the HERO11 Black 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.
So not all SD cards work well in the GoPro HERO11 Black. You don’t necessarily need the fastest microSD card for the HERO11, but you will need one that’s fast enough. Assuming you want to use all of the camera’s features and reduce the chance of problems and interruptions in your shooting. The main issue is that the card needs to be fast enough to keep up with the camera. While it’s not hard to find cards that will work well, it’s also quite possible to get the wrong card.
A faster SD card won’t give you better video quality or help you take better pictures. But a card that’s fast enough will allow you to use all of the camera’s features without running into problems.
This main issue comes down to the HERO11 Black’s high-bitrate video recording. GoPro has increased the maximum video vitrate with the HERO11, up to 120Mbps from the 100Mbps that previous models (including the HERO10 Black) have.
While that’s not the bleeding edge in terms of video bitrate–a number of larger cameras shoot at 400 Mbps or higher–it’s still high enough to be fairly demanding of the memory card.
When using the higher-end video modes of the HERO11 Black—specifically the 5.3K and 4K modes—the camera needs to be able to write a lot of data to the card very quickly. If the SD card isn’t fast enough to keep up, you can run into problems like the recording stopping unexpectedly, dropping frames, or even having the camera overheating or locking up.
Detailed Recommendations on SD Cards for the GoPro HERO11 Black
So here are my recommendations for which memory cards to use with the HERO11 Black.
I make a point of buying and testing as many SD and microSD cards for cameras as I can—you can see those test results separately. So I’m lucky enough to have on hand many of the major current memory cards available.
With the HERO11 Black, GoPro has kept the maximum available video bitrate at 120 Mbps. That’s 20 percent higher than the previous three models, all of which maxed out at 100Mbps. That highest bitrate is available in some of the resolution/framerate options, including 5.3K60, 4K120, and 1080p240 video modes.
So here are some more detailed recommendations on which SD cards support the HERO11 Black. As a practical matter, there’s a lot of overlap here with the HERO10 Black and HERO9 Black SD card recommendations, and if you’re upgrading from either of those cameras, you’re probably fine sticking with the same SD card you already have.
SanDisk Extreme V30 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 many cameras, including the GoPro HERO10 and HERO9 Black. SanDisk Extreme cards are the cards that GoPro bundles with their cameras and sell on GoPro.com, and list in their official recommendations.
From my own speed tests, it is plenty fast enough for the high-bitrate video settings on the HERO10 Black and HERO9 Black.
The latest version of the SanDisk Extreme comes in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB, and even new 1TB versions. The most practical sizes for the HERO10/9 Black are probably the 128GB-256GB sizes.
As with most of their 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 higher bitrates.
SanDisk uses a three-part model numbering system in the format SDSQXA1-256G-GN6MA. In this example, SDSQXA1 is the model number, the 256G refers to the amount of memory, and the last five characters are used by SanDisk's 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 five characters.
The basic version includes a microSD-to-SD adapter. You can also find it bundled with a USB microSD card reader.
Samsung EVO Select V30 UHS-I
- 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 the HERO10 and HERO9 Black. But they have a somewhat confusing naming system that doesn't always make clear what the difference between the models is. The Select is one of their better cards but is also very cost-effective. Like SanDisk, Samsung recycles the series names. This is the brand-new version of the EVO Select--it's blue/teal--and is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB sizes. Alternatively, the previous version (green, white, and gold) also works well.
It includes an SD adapter.
Find them at: Amazon
Lexar 1066x V30 UHS-I
- Professional-level performance for action cameras, drones, or Android smartphones
- Leverages UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds up to 160MB/s (1066x)
A few years ago, Lexar changed hands, and there was some disruption to the supplies of their cards at retailers. But things seem to have stabilized now, and this solid, general workhorse card is again widely available.
Lexar has always put more emphasis on marketing the read speeds of their cards--in this case, 1066x--but several of their cards have write speeds fast enough for the HERO10 and HERO9 Black.
The 1066x card is rated for a write speed of up to 120MB/s (the 160MB/s you see in their marketing is the sequential read speed). It's available in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512MB versions.
Delkin Select V30 UHS-I
- 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 of microsSD cards--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 HERO10/9 Black 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 to 512GB--again, the 128GB to 512GB sizes are probably the sweet spot for the HERO10/9 Black cameras. It comes with an SD adapter.
PNY Elite-X V30 UHS-I
- 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 to 256GB end of the range for the HERO9 and HERO10 Black.
If you order your GoPro HERO11 Black directly from GoPro.com, they throw in a 32GB SanDisk Extreme SD card. It works well, but you’ll probably find you’re filling it up very quickly. I find 256GB, 128GB, or even 512GB cards to be more practical sizes. But they now also offer you the option of upgrading that card to a 64GB for another $19.99.
Why Do You Need a Fast SD Card for the HERO11 Black, Anyway?
A faster SD card won’t give you better video quality or help you take better pictures, but a card that’s fast enough will allow you to use all of the camera’s features without running into problems.
For the past several generations of GoPros, I’ve been putting together recommendations on which SD cards work best in these cameras. I started doing them when I first got burned with a card that was too slow for the HERO3 Black. Since then, the capabilities (and, importantly, the video bitrates) of GoPro models have only increased. In turn, that has required better and faster SD cards to keep up. Thankfully, memory card manufacturers have come through, and it’s easy to find cards that work well in the HERO11 Black without paying an arm and a leg. But that’s not to say that you can just choose any old SD card and expect it to work well—there are some minimum requirements.
You won’t break your camera if you put an SD card that’s too slow in your HERO11 Black, but you can end up with some pretty unfortunate side effects. You might have already found this out the hard way if your recordings have stopped unexpectedly, or you’ve been getting SD card errors. Those are the most common issues you can run into with a slower SD card, but you can also get the camera overheating or shutting down. You might see an error message, you might lose footage or frames, or the camera might lock up. Or maybe you’ll get all of the above. Some memory cards can also provoke write error messages and cause excessive battery drain, although those issues tend to be less common. But the upshot is that if your GoPro is behaving strangely, one of the first things to check is the microSD card.
The most significant requirement that an SD card needs meet to work well in the HERO11 Black is that it’s fast enough. But it has to be a specific type of fast, and often the speed ratings you see on SD card packaging and marketing materials refer to characteristics that aren’t directly relevant to the camera’s requirements.
Usually, the speed rating you see in memory card marketing materials refers to a “transfer speed.” That’s only a very vague term that really isn’t very helpful in trying to work out the card’s capabilities. It typically means sequential read speed. That’s the speed at which data can be downloaded from the card. But when choosing an SD card for the HERO11 Black, what we want to look for is the speed at which data can be transferred or written to the card. And even then, it’s a specific type of writing: sequential write speed. Some cards are designed to be fast at a different type of writing: random write speed. Those are well-suited to use in a device used for gaming or mobile computing, but that particular measure is not directly relevant to shooting video with a GoPro.
How to Format SD Cards in the HERO11 Black
It’s always good practice to format the memory card in the camera rather than with a computer. And to do it regularly (once you’ve safely downloaded and backed up your photos and video, of course). That ensures the card is prepped in such a way that the camera needs it, and it reduces the risk of something getting messed up.
Formatting the SD card in the GoPro HERO11 models isn’t complicated, but the menu item isn’t necessarily in the most intuitive place.
You can find the option under:
Preferences > Reset > Format SD Card
The Reset bit is the part that made me pause the first time because when I see that, I think of a factory reset of the camera. But in this case, it’s a subcategory title option, not actually resetting the camera (those other reset options are under the same subcategory screen).
NB: The menu item is different–along with the method of accessing it–on the HERO11 Black Mini. I have more details on that here.
If you’re using the GoPro mobile app, it’s still in the same place as with previous models, although, confusingly, the wording is different than it is on the camera. You find it under:
Settings > Delete > Delete All Files from SD Card
I’ve also put together a more detailed guide on how to format an SD card for GoPro cameras here.
GoPro SD Card FAQs
Here are some answers to some common questions.
Can You Use UHS-II Cards in the GoPro HERO11 Black?
Yes, you can safely use UHS-II cards in the GoPro HERO11 Black, but you won’t get any benefit compared with using a UHS-I card. The camera’s own bus interface is UHS-I, so if you use a UHS-II card, it will still roll back to UHS-I.
Can You Use 512GB or 1TB Cards in the HERO11 Black?
GoPro’s official recommendations don’t include the 1TB storage capacity cards (at least, not yet).
But in my experience, yes, so long as those cards properly conform to the microSDXC spec and they’re otherwise fast enough, you shouldn’t have any issue.
SD Card Slots
There’s a single microSD card slot. It’s right next to the battery. On this model, the card sits flush with the battery. To remove it, just push down lightly on the card edge, and it should spring out.
About these GoPro SD Card Recommendations
I’m not aiming to create a comprehensive list of every card that works with the GoPro HERO11 Black. There are some other cards that also work well; I’ll update this list as I have a chance to test them or as new models come out. 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 the ones that are readily available and reasonably priced. What I am trying to do is present some options so you can choose a card and be confident that it’s compatible.
GoPro does have their own official list, and I’ve consulted that in compiling these recommendations, but it doesn’t always stay up to date with the latest versions of the memory cards. I’ll do my best to keep the recommendations above up to date with the latest versions of the memory cards.
Formats, Speed Rating & Types of microSD Cards Explained
There are a few different types of cards that fall under the general “SD card” umbrella. For the HERO11 Black, you’ll want a microSD card. Those are physically smaller than SD cards that you might be used to with larger cameras. Smartphones also use microSD cards, which is a common place you might have come across them.
In terms of storage capacity, measured in gigabytes, you can safely use any of the currently available sizes. So if you want to use a 16GB card, you can (although you’ll run out of space pretty quickly). Or if you want to use a 1TB card, knock yourself out. The current sweet spot in terms of convenience, availability, and price tends to be around the 256GB, 400GB, and 512GB sizes.
You can use either microSDXC or microSDHC cards in the HERO11 Black. As a practical matter, you’ll almost certainly be using a microSDXC card. This isn’t a performance rating. It refers to the formatting system used on the card. The cards you buy will be microSDHC if they’re in the 16GB to 32GB range, and they’ll be microSDXC if they’re 64GB or larger. Those are specs assigned by the SD Association, and it applies to all SD and microSD cards you’ll find for sale. You can find a more detailed explanation below.
You’ll see the current generation of cards marked with either UHS-I or UHS-II (or sometimes UHS-1, which is technically incorrect). This is labeled with either a small I or II on the card. The HERO11 Black uses the UHS-I host specification, so you won’t get added benefits if you put a UHS-II card in it. But it will still work because of the way that the specification is designed to roll back gracefully to UHS-I.
SD and microSD cards also have a speed rating system that refers specifically to recording video. Confusingly, there are three different generations of ratings. Older cards used a rating such as Class 10 or Class 4. They’re too slow to work well in the HERO11 Black.
A newer speed rating system uses either a U1 or U3. For the HERO11 Black, you’ll want one with U3 (at least).
Better yet is a card with V30 or V60 on it. This is a newer speed rating system again.
Confusingly, many microSD cards have combinations of these rating systems on them. So you might find a card that has Class 10, U3, and V30 all on it. In those cases, focus on the newest and fastest rating–in that case, it would be the V30. And if it doesn’t have U3 or V30 or V60 (or V90) on it, it’s probably too slow, and you’ll be better off looking for a different card.
And, finally, you’ll also come across cards that have an A1 or A2 rating on them. You can ignore that for these purposes. That’s a separate kind of speed rating that refers to random write speed and is relevant to devices that run apps, such as smartphones or gaming devices.
Speed Measures Explained
A common source of confusion with the speed of memory cards is the difference between Mb/s and MB/s (or Mbps and MBps). Whether or not that “b” is capitalized is a little thing, but it matters.
Video bitrates are conventionally measured in megabits per second, which is sometimes written as Mbps or Mb/s. The speed of memory cards is conventionally measured in data transfer in terms of megabytes per second, which is written as MBps or MB/s. There are eight megabits in 1 megabyte. So 60Mb/s (megabits per second) is equivalent to 7.5 MB/s (megabytes per second).
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story. It would be nice and easy if that meant that you could just make sure your card had a write speed faster than 7.5 MB/s, but there are other factors that come into play, including inflated manufacturer speed ratings, sustained speeds vs. peak speeds, and the overhead that’s inherent in host devices and connections. All of this means that it’s best to stick to cards that are known to work rather than try to cut it too fine with measurements.
Another common source of confusion is that not all memory card manufacturers use the same speed measure. Some manufacturers use a more cryptic “x” rating in place of MB/s. Lexar, in particular, has long used this system. It comes from the old way of measuring the speed of CD-ROM drives when the standard speed of a CD-ROM drive was 150KB/s. Each x, therefore, equals 150KB/s. But that’s obviously not particularly useful today, and thankfully more and more manufacturers are adopting the more conventional of using raw MB/s numbers.
What’s the Difference Between microSDHC and microSDXC Cards?
As I said above, microSDHC and microSDXC don’t refer to a performance rating. They refer to the storage capacity and the kind of storage formatting they use (microSDHC cards use FAT32; microSDXC cards use exFAT). These are specifications adopted by the SD Association.
microSDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) is a design specification that refers to SD cards that are between 4GB and 32GB in capacity and formatted with the FAT32 filesystem. FAT32 supports individual files up to a maximum of 4GB.
microSDXC (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity) refers to SD cards with a capacity larger than 32GB and with a maximum theoretical limit of 2TB. They’re formatted in the exFAT filesystem.
In practice, you’ll see minimal, if any, difference in terms of performance. But there is one aspect where you will see a big difference: microSDHC cards are 32GB or smaller while microSDXC cards are 64GB or larger.
The HERO11 Black is compatible with both the microSDHC and microSDXC formats, so you can use either. But it’s more likely that you’ll be using a microSDXC card simply because that covers the larger-capacity cards that are so readily available today and so convenient to use in cameras like the HERO11.
The SD Association has also created a newer specification known as SDUC. It has its own host technology, but in terms of storage capacity, it’s designed to cover cards ranging from 2TB up to 128TB. SDUC cards will only work with devices that have SDUC compatibility specifically included. The good news, for now, though, is that it’s very unlikely you’ll accidentally get one of these cards—they’re not yet readily available at consumer retailers.
Technically, it’s possible to use a computer to format, say, a 32GB microSD card with exFAT or a 128GB card with FAT32. But doing so goes against the SD Association specifications, can cause problems in some cameras, and they’ll be overwritten to the appropriate standard next time you format the card in the camera. In general, I don’t recommend it. That said, if you really want to do it, I’ve put together a guide to using the official SD card formatter app.
microSD Speed Classes Explained
Just like SD cards, microSD cards are assigned a class rating that refers to their speed in writing data. Each category corresponds to a real-world video recording use. These apply the same to microSDHC and microSDXC cards. Where things get a little complicated, though, is that these speed ratings don’t necessarily reflect the absolute speed of the card. Put another way, a card that has a V30 rating isn’t necessarily faster than one that has a U3 rating. That’s because to display the rating on the card, the manufacturers must have their cards certified for that rating. It also involves revising packaging and marketing materials, which is an expensive process. So not every manufacturer will go to that trouble and expense right away. The upshot is that it’s not as simple as just looking at a card with a V30 or even V60 rating and knowing that it’s faster than one that only carries a U3 rating. It might be, but the rating system doesn’t work quite that way.
V90. The V-class is a new designation created to designate cards that are designed to work with the speeds required for 4K video and faster. The SD Association added some lower numbers to make them backward compatible with the older class designations (e.g., Class 10 and Class 6), but the most important ones are V30 and above.
Memory cards in the V90 class are rated to support a minimum sequential write speed of 90MB/sec. Their primary market is for cameras that shoot 8K video. There aren’t many V90 microSD cards available yet, and there aren’t many cameras that can use them (most of the cameras that can use those speeds use the larger SD format cards). But expect to see more of them as action cameras and other small cameras start incorporating UHS-II interfaces.
V60 is applied to cards that support a minimum sequential write speed of 60MB/sec.
V30 is applied to cards that support a minimum sequential write speed of 30MB/sec. These are designed to support at least full HD video and some 4K video cameras like GoPros.
U3 is designed to support 4K video recording at a sustained video capture rate of 30MB/s. This class overlaps with the newer V30 class.
U1 is designed to support real-time broadcasts and HD video (720p and 1080p) with a minimum serial write speed of 10 MB/sec. This overlaps with the newer V10 class.
Class 10 is designed to support 1080p recording at a minimum (but again, not at all framerates) with a minimum serial write speed of 10 MB/sec.
Classes 2, 4, and 6. Class 2 supports standard definition video recording with a minimum serial write speed of 2 MB/sec. Classes 4 and 6 are designed to support 720p and 1080p video (but not all framerates) with a minimum serial write speed of 4 MB/s and 6 MB/s, respectively. Most newer cameras need cards faster than these, so memory cards in these speed classes aren’t as commonly available now.
A1 / A2. Finally, you might have noticed the speed ratings A1 starting to appear on some of the newer cards. That’s a different type of speed rating geared toward apps. Devices that run apps, like smartphones and gaming devices, don’t send a long stream of continuous data but rather lots of small chunks of data. So they need cards with fast random write speeds. And that’s where the A ratings come in—to help identify cards that are suitable for app devices. So it’s not really relevant for using SD cards in GoPros. I have a more detailed explanation of the A1 and A2 ratings separately.
How to Recover Data from a GoPro HERO11’s 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 that works with GoPro videos and photos as well as more comprehensive data recovery software that requires a license.
FAQs About GoPro HERO11 SD Cards
What type of memory card does the GoPro HERO11 Black use?
The GoPro HERO11 Black uses microSD cards and is compatible with microSDHC and microSDXC cards.
Is the GoProHERO11 Black compatible with UHS-II microSD cards?
The GoPro HERO11 Black has a UHS-I microSD card slot. So you can use UHS-II microSD cards in it and they will work because the system is designed to be backward compatible. But you won’t get the extra potential benefit of the UHS-II or be using it to its full potential.
Can you use 512GB and 1TB microSD cards in the GoPro HERO11 Black?
Yes, you can use 512GB and 1TB microSD cards in the GoPro HERO11 Black so long as the card is otherwise fast enough to support the HERO11’s features (particularly high-bitrate video recording).
What is the maximum video bitrate of the GoPro HERO11 Black?
The GoPro HERO11 Black has a maximum video bitrate of 120Mbps.
- I’m referring here to use in the camera. Depending on your computer and memory card reader setup, you might get faster performance from some cards over others when downloading the images to your computer with the right combination of memory card reader and computer USB.
- You might come across microSD cards with even lower storage capacities, but those aren’t practical options for the HERO11 Black and are rare now as the technology has improved. Most of the newer higher-end cards start at around 64GB.
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