The Nikon D5600 doesn’t come with a memory card as standard. Some retailers do bundle them with various accessories, sometimes including a memory card, but if you haven’t purchased one of those bundles, chances are you’ll need to pick up an SD card separately. So what I’m trying to do here is provide some practical recommendations for good SD cards to use in the Nikon D5600.
Nikon D5600 Quick Recommendations
If you’d like to get right down to business, here are some quick recommendations for good memory cards for the Nikon D5600. You can find more detailed explanations and more options below.
- 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
Any of these offers a good combination of compatibility with the D5600 and cost-effectiveness, are quite readily available at major retailers, and are produced by reliable manufacturers. So any of these makes for a good choice.
If you’ve already looked in the reference manual, you’ll have come across some rather vague advice. It does discuss approved memory cards for the Nikon D5600, but it’s not especially helpful. Buried on page 324 of the manual is this:
That’s not especially helpful if you’re trying to decide which memory card to buy. It’s not really Nikon’s fault–it’s not practical for them to update the manual as memory card manufacturers release new models. But what I’m hoping will be helpful are some real-world, practical recommendations.
The good news is that the D5600 isn’t all that demanding on memory cards, and if you’re upgrading from the D5500, the same SD cards will work just fine in both. It also means that many of the memory cards on the market today will work nicely and you don’t need to go hunting for them. But there are still some things to watch out for, because if you get an SD card that’s too slow, you might run into issues with video recording and burst mode shooting. So ideally you want a card that meets the requirements of the camera so that you can use all of the camera’s features, including video recording and burst mode, without going overboard with cutting-edge speeds and the prices that come with them.
First, here’s the quick version of what specs to look for on the SD card. A little further down the page you’ll find some specific models that will work well in the Nikon D5600.
- SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards will work. In practice, you’ll be wanting SDHC (8GB – 32GB) or SDXC (64GB and above). Put another way, cards from 2GB to 512GB will work.
- Cards with the markings for Class 10, U1, U3, V30, and UHS-I, and UHS-II will all work (although you might not get any benefit in using the fancier ones in the camera).
Recommendations for SD cards for the Nikon D5600
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.
What Size Memory Card is Best for the Nikon D5600?
The D5600 is compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards. That means you can use a card with any amount of storage space that’s currently on the market.
The most common sizes for now are 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 200GB, 256GB, and 512GB. So if you want to put a 1TB SDXC card in it, knock yourself out (just be sure to keep backups as usual!)
One of the great features of the Nikon D5600, of course, is the resolution of its 24.2MP images. But that also means that the files are quite large, especially if you’re shooting in the 14-bit RAW mode. At that highest setting, the files will come out somewhere in the range of 26 megabytes on average, depending on the compressibility of the individual photos, and you can expect to get roughly 850 photos or so on a 32GB card. If you’re shooting in JPG, the files are smaller, so you’ll fit more of them.
In terms of what size to get, if you’re looking for the sweet spot of practicality and value, 32GB to 128GB is probably it at the moment. Larger memory cards mean you can fit more photos and videos on it, of course, but also means that if something goes wrong with the card there’s potential to lose more (all the more reason to backup your photos, of course).
Here are some rough guidelines on how many photos taken with a D5600 you can expect to fit on a given size of memory card. These are only estimates (based on Nikon’s own guidance), and in practice your results are likely to vary a bit because the compression that the D5600, whether in RAW or JPG modes, varies from photo to photo depending on the information in the image.
|Image Quality Setting||Size Setting||File Size MB (approx)||16GB||32GB||64GB||128GB||256GB||512GB|
|NEF (RAW), Compressed, 14-bit||26.3||428||856||1,712||3,424||6,848||13,696|
|NEF (RAW), Compressed, 12-bit||21.3||511||1,022||2,044||4,088||8,176||16,352|
What Do All Those Codes on SD Memory Cards Mean?
Memory cards have a bunch of codes and acronyms that are used to describe their capabilities. Here are the main ones relevant to memory cards for the Nikon D5600. (I have more details on these ratings and codes on my Fastest SD Cards page.
SD, SDHC, SDXC. Technically, this refers, at least in part, to the filesystem that they’re formatted in—FAT32 or the related exFAT. Most current cameras, including the D5600, can read and write both, so you don’t need to worry about it much. But the distinction between SDHC and SDXC has a practical use–it’s useful for determining what size card you need. SD refers to cards 4 gigabytes and smaller. SDHC refers to cards from 8 to 32GB. And SDXC refers to cards 64GB and larger. In short, you can use any of them in this camera, so you can safely ignore this rating and choose based on the size of card you want. If you want to put in a 32GB, go ahead. If you want to put in a 512GB card, knock yourself out.
Recommendation: Both SDHC and SDXC cards are compatible with the D5600. There’s no functional difference in speed–just storage space.
UHS-I. This refers to something known as Ultra High-Speed Bus, which is the technology behind how the camera interfaces with the card. So far there’s UHS-I (sometimes written, incorrectly, as UHS-1) and UHS-II.
Recommendation: The D5600’s manual says that it’s compatible with UHS-I. There’s no harm in using a card that’s rated with UHS-II, but it won’t give you any extra benefit in this camera. All else being equal, UHS-I works just fine in the D5600.
Class 6. This is the speed class rating. Class 6 is pretty much superseded now, and most of the cards that are readily available are now Class 10 or U1. The faster cards will work fine–they’re designed to be backward compatible. And, frankly, there’s now a much bigger range of options in Class 10 cards and Class 6 ones are becoming harder to find. If you use a card slower than Class 6 you risk the recording stopping randomly if you’re shooting video.
Recommendation: At the moment, cards with a Class 10 or U1 rating are the most common and offer the best combination of speed and price.
To minimize the risk of filesystem errors, it’s always a good idea to format the card in the camera, not in your computer, and to format it regularly.
And while memory cards are remarkably resilient, just like any electronic product they can and do fail. So regular backups are very much recommended.
What If I Accidentally Delete the Photos on a Memory Card?
It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t recover them. There are apps available to help you try to recover deleted photos from a memory card. I’ve put together some recommendations for recovering photos from a memory card here.
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