A memory card is an essential accessory if you want to get out shooting with the COOLPIX B500, but the camera doesn’t come with a memory card as standard.
Some retailers put together a deal bundle that might include some accessories, including a memory card, but chances are you’ll have to pick up a memory card separately. Or maybe you want something bigger with larger storage capacity—the cards that are included in bundles are often on the small side and might fill up quickly, especially if you’re on a trip.
But what type of memory card does the Nikon COOLPIX B500 take? That’s where this post comes in—hopefully, to help you get out shooting sooner and taking full advantage of all the features of your new camera rather than spending your time searching the web and trying to make sense of cryptic technical codes. I’ve been buying and testing numerous SD cards for several years and have put many of the most popular SD cards on the market through their paces.
You might see in some places, including the format menu item on the camera (see below), that the Nikon B500 has internal memory. That’s true, and the camera will work to a limited extent without a memory card.
But it’s not a viable replacement for saving images and video to a memory card simply because it’s such a small amount of storage space. It’s only 20MB, so you really can’t fit very much on there. It’s more like the tiny backup in a car’s gas tank after the gas-empty light comes on.
Quick Recommendations on SD Cards for the Nikon COOLPIX B500
If you just want some quick recommendations, here you go. Any of these will work well in the B500. These SD cards meet the needs of the B500’s feature, have a strong track record of reliability, are readily available, and are usually cost-effective.
- Video Speed Class: U1
- UHS Speed Class: UHS-I
- Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
- Video Speed Class: V30
- UHS Speed Class: UHS-I
- Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Nikon B500 Memory Card Requirements
While it looks a little different from many other smaller point-and-shoot cameras, the Nikon COOLPIX B500 still falls into that category. It has auto-everything shooting that’s designed to make it easy to get great photos and videos. Two things make the camera larger than the average point-and-shoot: the ergonomic grip that makes it more comfortable to hold in hand, and the large lens that has both a very long 40x optical zoom and is larger to let in more light.
The B500 has a 26-megapixel sensor and shoots full HD video up to 1080p. It has a single memory card slot. It’s compatible with SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards.
All of those mean that it’s easy to find SD cards that will work well in the B500 and that you don’t need to break the bank to find a good one.
Because of the way that cameras interface with memory cards, once you have a card that meets the requirements of the camera, you don’t get any extra benefit by inserting a card with high specs and performance that exceeds the camera’s capabilities. 1 And, naturally, high-performance cards are more expensive. So why pay extra for high performance that your B500 can’t use? By all means, if you already have a fast SD card on hand, you can use it in the B500, but it won’t get you any extra performance in the camera (it might when downloading the photos and videos to a computer).
That said, in the recommendations below, I’m factoring in cost-effectiveness as well. And because memory card manufacturers are coming out with newer, faster models all the time, it’s quite possible that the most cost-effective cards are faster than your camera needs. But that’s a case where it makes sense to go with the cost-effective option even if its performance exceeds the requirements of the camera.
Nikon COOLPIX B500 Memory Card Requirements
So which SD card should you get for your Nikon COOLPIX B500? Here’s the more detailed version.
If you go looking in the B500’s instruction manual, you’ll find that it’s not very helpful in providing useful information on what memory card to get.
This is what it says (on page 175):
Nikon does have a webpage of approved memory cards for COOLPIX cameras, but it’s not much more helpful. For starters, it refers only to brands and storage capacities and not to speeds or card model numbers.
So what I’m aiming to do here is provide some practical recommendations on which SD cards to get for the Nikon B500 so you can spend less time searching online and more time out shooting. I’m not trying to list every SD card that works in the B500–there are others that will work just fine as well. I’m focusing here on ones that offer a good combination of meeting the requirements of all of the B500’s features, are readily available at major retailers, are cost-effective, and come from major manufacturers with track records for good-quality cards. I’m also basing this on my own SD speed tests.
So here’s more detailed information on these cards, along with some others.
These aren't necessarily the fastest SD cards on the market, but they're fast enough for this camera. This isn't necessarily a comprehensive list of every SD card that will work in this camera—there are also others that might work well, too.
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
- 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
- Great choice for compact to mid-range point-and-shoot cameras
- Quick transfer speeds up to 150MB/s (Up to 150MB/s read speed engineered with proprietary technology to...
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 with the Ultra name. 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 64GB up to 512GB.
Buy at: Amazon
Lexar 633x V30 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
- 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.
PNY Elite-X V30 UHS-I
- 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
- 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 they've had something of a resurgence in recent years after simplifying their product lineup and updating the performance of their cards up to current specs.
This card is on the lower end of their range, but it works well in this camera without the higher price point of the faster cards. The Advantage card is rated to V30 and has a UHS-I interface. It currently comes in sizes up to 512GB.
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.
Making Sense of the SD Card Specifications
You’ll find a range of different acronyms and codes on SD cards. Here’s a quick overview of which to look for.
SDHC vs SDXC
Most of the cards you’ll see available have either SDHC or SDXC printed on them. The Nikon COOLPIX B500 will work with both SDHC and SDXC cards (and, for that matter, just plain SD cards, but they’re hard to find these days).
These are categories assigned by the SD Association, which is the organization that oversees and develops the standards for SD and microSD cards. The difference between those two specifications is in the filesystem they’re formatted with–the SDHC specification uses FAT32 formatting, while the SDXC specification uses exFAT–but when it comes to buying memory cards, the practical difference is that cards 32GB and smaller will be labeled SDHC and cards 64GB and larger will be labeled SDXC.
There’s really no right answer when it comes to what size, or storage capacity, to get–it’s mostly a matter of convenience so that you don’t keep running out of space. As is probably obvious, you can fit twice as many photos on a 64GB card as on a 32GB card. And a 128GB card can four times as many photos as on a 32GB, and so on. And that’s especially handy when you’re travelling; even more so if you’re shooting any video. The most logical sizes for this camera in terms of convenience and price are probably the 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB sizes. But if you want to use a larger or smaller one, say 64GB or even 1TB, go right ahead–they’ll work just fine because of the way that the SDXC spec is designed.
UHS-I vs UHS-II
Newer SD cards also have UHS-I or UHS-II on them (or often just an I or II). This refers to the type of interface that’s used to connect to the cards. It stands for ultra-high-speed bus.
UHS-I is the older, simpler bus interface. UHS-II is newer and potentially faster. The catch is that you only get the extra benefit of UHS-II if the device is also UHS-II. But the spec is designed to be backward compatible, so you can use UHS-II cards in UHS-I devices, but you will only get the speed of UHS-I.
The Nikon COOLPIX B500 doesn’t have a UHS-II interface, so, as a practical matter, there’s no benefit to using UHS-II cards in it (but it’s perfectly fine to do so).
Video Speed Classes
The SD Association has come out with various rating systems over the years to help buyers choose a card that’s suitable for use in cameras. Because recording high-resolution video (or, more specifically, high-bitrate video) is often the most demanding operation in terms of a camera and its memory card, it’s known as a video speed class rating system.
Most cards available now have a mix of old and new speed class codes printed on them. And while it’s helpful, it’s still an imperfect system for judging the speed of an SD card.
As a practical matter in the Nikon COOLPIX B500, cards that have any of these on them should be fast enough:
V60 and V90 are also fine, but they’re overkill for the B500.
There’s a separate rating system that you might also see on some cards. They might have an A1 or A2 on them. You can ignore that when choosing an SD card for a camera. It’s designed for the kinds of operations that gaming devices and smartphones do.
What Size SD Card to Use in the Nikon COOLPIX B500
The B500 is compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards. That means you can use cards from 4GB all the way to the largest cards currently available, which are 512GB and 1TB cards.
The current sweet spot for a combination of convenience, being readily available, and being cost-effective is probably around the 128GB to 256GB range. But you can use larger or smaller ones if you prefer–it’s mostly a matter of convenience of how much video footage or photo data you can store on the card before it fills up, and you have to download to a computer or some other device.
So Why Get a Good Memory Card?
A better memory card isn’t going to help you take better photos or improve image quality. But it can let you take advantage of all of the camera’s features. A card that’s not fast enough to keep up with the camera can cause issues like locking up, dropped frames, and overheating.
There’s also the issue of reliability. There are plenty of junk memory cards on the market. Not only do they have flaky performance, but they’re also more likely to fail. And that means the risk of losing your photos and videos.
At the same time, you don’t want to pay extra for a high-performance SD card that’s overkill for the camera.
How to Format SD Cards
When you buy a new SD card, you should format it before use (and then regularly after that). Before starting, though, make sure you’ve saved any data you want to keep from the card, because formatting the card will delete all of the data on it.
Here’s some information on how to do that.
How to Format Memory Cards in the Nikon COOLPIX B500
It is best practice to always format memory cards in the camera that you’ll be using them in. That sets the card up with the filesystem, folder hierarchy, and, in some cameras, a database file, so that the card is just how the camera expects. That greatly reduces the risk of unexpected errors and unpleasant surprises.
On the Nikon COOLPIX B500, you can find the format function under:
MENU > Settings (the wrench of spanner icon) > Format Card
Formatting the internal memory works the same way–just choose the
Format Memory option instead. To save to the internal memory card rather than the SD card, just make sure that the SD card isn’t inserted, and it will save to internal memory automatically. To copy images and video between the internal memory to the SD card, go to:
Playback mode > MENU button > Copy > (choose the appropriate option) > OK.
How to Format SD Cards with a Computer
Having said that, it is still possible to format memory cards using a card reader and computer. You get a lot more flexibility that way, but also some extra risk if things aren’t set up just how the camera wants them. It’s also sometimes a good troubleshooting step if you’re having issues with a memory card.
There are some things to watch out for, particularly when it comes to choosing which filesystem to use. So I’ve put together guides on how to format SD cards on Mac and how to use the free SD Card Formatter app for Windows or Mac.
Nikon COOLPIX B500 FAQs
Is the Nikon COOLPIX B500 a DSLR?
While it does look a bit like a DSLR, and this category of cameras is even sometimes referred to as SLR-like, the B500 isn’t one. Most importantly, it has a fixed lens that you can remove and change out for a different one. DSLRs have interchangeable lenses. The closest DSLR models to the B500 would be the Nikon D3500 or Nikon D5600. Neither of those comes with a kit lens that has zoom anywhere close to the 40x optical zoom of the B500, but with the DSLRs, you can attach a wide range of compatible F-mount lenses for flexibility.
Can You Add Lenses to the Nikon COOLPIX B500
The B500 has a fixed lens that doesn’t come off. So you can’t put different lenses on it in the way that you can with a DSLR.
How to Update the Nikon COOLPIX B500 Firmware
You can find the latest firmware for the B500 here. That page includes a step-by-step guide to updating the firmware.
What is the Highest Video Resolution the Nikon COOLPIX B500 can Shoot?
The maximum video resolution available on the B500 is 1080p (dimensions 1920×1080) at framerates of up to 30p or 60i.
What is the Physical Size of the Sensor of the Nikon COOLPIX B500?
The B500’s sensor measures 1/2.3 inches. Which is approximately 6.16 x 4.62 mm. This is much smaller than the sensor in a basic APS-C cropped-sensor DSLR like the D3500 (23.5 x 15.6 mm) or a full-frame sensor DSLR like the D850 (35.9 x 23.9 mm).
- Depending on your computer and memory card reader setup, you might get some speed benefit when putting a faster memory card into your card reader and downloading images to your computer.
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