Nikon Zf Memory Card Recommendations

To take full advantage of the power the Nikon Zf has to offer you’ll need SD cards that are fast enough. Here are some practical recommendations.

Nikon Z f Memory Cards. Photo by David Coleman - havecamerawilltravel.com
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:
Topics: Nikon, Nikon Zf

I MAY get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Like most cameras, the Nikon Zf doesn’t come with memory cards included as standard. So unless you’ve picked up a bundle that a retailer has put together that includes accessories like memory cards, you’ll have to pick them up separately.

The Nikon Zf has two memory card slots:

  • Slot 1: full-size SD slot (UHS-II)
  • Slot 2: microSD slot (UHS-I)

But just putting any old SD and microSD cards in your Zf might lead to disappointment if you can’t take full advantage of the camera’s powerful features.

Nikon Zf Memory Card Top Picks

If you’d just like to cut to the chase with some quick recommendations, here are some good options:

Slot 1: SD Card

ProGrade Digital V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Lexar Professional 2000x V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II SD Card
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
PNY EliteX-PRO90 V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Angelbird AV PRO SD MK2 V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Slot 2: microSD Card

SanDisk 256GB Extreme microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card with Adapter - Up to...
  • 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
Lexar 256GB Professional 1066x micro SD Card w/ SD Adapter, UHS-I, U3, V30,...
  • Professional-level performance for action cameras, drones, Android smartphones, portable gaming devices...
  • Leverages UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds up to 160MB/s
SAMSUNG (MB-ME256GA/AM) 256GB 100MB/s (U3) MicroSDXC EVO Select Memory Card...
  • Ideal for recording 4K UHD video: Samsung MicroSD Evo is perfect for high res photos, gaming, music,...
  • Enhanced read write speeds: Sequential read and write performance levels of up to 100MB/S and 90MB/S,...

I have a lot more detail below, but the upshot is that any of these are fast enough, are readily available, and are generally good value for money.

And don’t forget that the Zf has two memory card slots, and they each take a different type of card. You don’t have to fill them both—the camera will still work with only one SD card in it—but if you want to take advantage of the full power of the Zf’s file storage options, use two cards.

Nikon Zf Memory Card Requirements

The Nikon Zf has quite high bitrate video capabilities—up to 340 Mbps in some combinations of settings—as well as a high-speed frame capture photo mode of up to 30 frames per second.

But a key thing to know is that if you don’t use memory cards that are fast enough, you run the risk of not being able to use those features or even losing footage or photos or the camera locking up.

While it’s not hard to find memory cards that are fast enough, there are so many cards on the market and so much marketing material that it’s not always clear which cards will work.

This is why I’ve put together this page: to provide some practical recommendations on which SD cards to buy for the Zf so that you can get out shooting sooner and use all the capture features the camera has to offer.

Nikon’s Official Recommendations on Nikon Zf Memory Card Compatibility

The Zf’s manual isn’t all that helpful when it comes to pointing to specific memory cards to get for the camera. It does say that you’ll need a fast one to use all the features, but it also refers to an older speed rating system rather than the newer Video Speed Class system that is more prominently featured on current SD and microSD cards.

Nikon Z f manual on Approved Memory Cards

So what I’m trying to do is take the information provided by Nikon and combine it with both my own experience shooting with a Zf and also the findings from my own SD card speed tests and microSD card speed tests, both of which I’ve been running for several years. The objective is to provide some practical recommendations for which memory cards to get to be confident that they’ll work well with all of the Zf’s advanced features.

My emphasis here is on memory cards that offer a good combination of meeting the camera’s technical requirements, are from well-known and reputable manufacturers, are readily available at major retailers, and provide good value for money. This is not designed as a definitive listing of every SD card that will work well in the Zf—there are others that can also work well—but I’ll do my best to keep it updated as new memory card models are released and I have a chance to use them.

Detailed Recommendations

Here’s more detailed information on these SD card recommendations for the Nikon Zf.

Slot 1: Full-size SD Cards

ProGrade Digital V90 UHS-II SD Card

ProGrade Digital V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

ProGrade Digital is a brand that might not be instantly familiar because it's quite new (although they've been making great progress in brand awareness in the past few years). It was created amongst the fallout from the upheaval at Lexar several years ago, with some of the experts leaving to start their own company.

ProGrade Digital is catering to the top end of the market, and having used several of their cards, I've found them to be excellent. (I also highly recommend their card readers, which are my main card readers now.)

Buy at: Amazon | B&H Photo

SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II SD Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

SanDisk is probably the best-known of the SD card manufacturers listed here, and the Extreme Pro range is their top model.

One thing to note with SanDisk cards is that they recycle their model names. So you can find Extreme cards that are older and slower. And, even more confusingly, you can also find another version of this card widely available—there are Extreme Pro UHS-I and UHS-II versions. The one I'm listing here is the one is the UHS-II version that is rated for 300 MB/s and V90. There are also UHS-I Extreme Pro cards that are rated for 170 MB/s and 200 MB/s.

You'll probably find those older versions work just fine--it really depends how far back you go--but you can tell the latest version because it's labeled with both V90 and UHS-II.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Lexar Professional 2000x Gold V90 UHS-II

Lexar Professional 2000x V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

This is the fastest card in the Lexar Professional line and is available in sizes from 32GB up to 256GB.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

PNY EliteX-PRO90 V90 UHS-II SD Card

PNY X-PRO 90 V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

New Jersey-based PNY have been making very good flash memory for quite some time, and in my own tests I've found this card to be very fast--even slightly faster than the speeds they claim on the box. It comes in storage capacities of 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Kingston Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II SD Card

Kingston Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Kingston is another 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.

But this card is an exception to that. It's Kingston's fastest model in their SD card lineup, designed for 4K and 8K video production and cinema cameras. And it's very quick indeed. It's available in sizes from 32GB to 256GB.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II

Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II SD Card
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Delkin Devices have actually been around for years, but a few years ago they overhauled their SD card lineup to make it both clearer and more competitive. The Power range is their fastest line. This card is rated at V90 with UHS-II.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Angelbird AV PRO SD MK2 V90 UHS-II SD Card

Angelbird AV PRO SD MK2 V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Angelbird is a relatively new entrant in the memory card game, and they're a boutique manufacturer catering to the very top end of the market. And in my experience, their reputation for excellence is well deserved. These cards aren't always widely available, but they're well worth trying to track down. There's also a V60 version. It's also very good, but the one I'm including here is their faster V90 card.

Buy at: Amazon | B&H Photo

Slot 2: microSD Cards

It’s worth noting here that the SD card slot has a UHS-II interface, while the microSD slot has a UHS-I interface. What that means in practice is that the SD card slot is used for the highest-bitrate video recording. There are faster microSD cards available than the ones I list here, ranging up to V60 and V90 ratings, but they’re UHS-II.

While they will work in the Zf, you won’t get the added benefit of the UHS-II speeds with them; both the host and the card need to support UHS-II to get UHS-II speeds. So there’s really no reason to spend the extra money on a faster UHS-II microSD card because the camera can’t take full advantage of it (you might, however, see faster download speeds to your computer with the right combinations of memory card readers and computer).

SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I microSD Card

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

Fast, cost-effective, reliable, and widely available, the SanDisk Extreme cards are safe bets for a wide range of cameras. They're readily available at major retailers and quite cost-effective,

The latest version of the SanDisk Extreme comes in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 400GB, 512GB, and 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 some of the older versions of the Extreme cards will also work well.

SanDisk uses a three-part model numbering system in the format SDSQXA1-064G-AN6MA. In this example, SDSQXA1 is the model number, 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.

Buy at Amazon or B&H Photo.

Lexar Professional Silver 1066x V30 UHS-I microSD Card

Lexar 256GB Professional 1066x micro SD...
  • Professional-level performance for action cameras, drones, Android smartphones, portable gaming devices...
  • Leverages UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds up to 160MB/s

Lexar has a long track record of making very good memory cards. This isn't their fastest, but the faster cards are UHS-II, which won't see any extra benefit in this camera.

It's available in sizes from 64GB up to 1TB and comes with a microSD-to-SD adapter.

Samsung EVO Select V30 UHS-I microSD Card

SAMSUNG (MB-ME256GA/AM) 256GB 100MB/s...
  • Ideal for recording 4K UHD video: Samsung MicroSD Evo is perfect for high res photos, gaming, music,...
  • Enhanced read write speeds: Sequential read and write performance levels of up to 100MB/S and 90MB/S,...

Samsung makes several excellent microSD cards, but they also have a confusing way of naming their cards that doesn't always make clear what the difference between the models is. The Select is one of their better cards, but it's also very good value.

Like SanDisk, Samsung recycles the series names. The latest version of the EVO Select is available in 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB sizes. If you can't find the EVO Select line at your preferred retailer, the EVO Plus line also works well.

Buy at Amazon.

SanDisk Extreme PRO V30 UHS-I microSD Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro Micro SDXC UHS-I U3...
  • Waterproof, shock and vibration proof, protected from airport x-rays, temperature proof

The Extreme Pro line is SanDisk's top-of-the-range line. They're consistently among the fastest microSD cards in my tests. While it's faster and fancier than the camera technically needs, they do work very well. Extreme Pro cards are among my go-tos in all of the memory card formats because of their speed and reliability.

This latest version comes in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 400GB versions. The latest version of the packaging includes both V30 and A2 on them. It gets a little confusing because SanDisk is mixing and matching model numbers even amongst the current cards, but you're looking for model numbers that start with SDSQXCY (for 64GB and 128GB) and SDSQXCZ (for 256GB and 400GB versions).

The standard version of this includes a microSD-to-SD cartridge adapter. You can also find versions that include a USB thumb reader.

Buy at: Amazon.

Why Use a Fast Memory Card in the Nikon Zf?

You can use slower SD cards in the Zf. Many of the basic camera functions like standard single-shot stills photography or low-bitrate video recording will work with slower cards for the simple reason that in those modes it’s not as crucial for the card to be able to keep up with a large stream of data being thrown at it in a short period of time.

The modes where you’ll run into trouble are the high-bitrate recording (eg. 10-bit 4K at 340 Mbps) or the high-speed photo burst modes that take sequences of still images in rapid succession. If the card is too slow to keep up with those, you can get unwanted side effects like the recording stopping unexpectedly, dropped frames, or the burst sequence being interrupted.

That’s why I’m focusing here on cards that allow you to use all of the Zf’s capture modes: because I’m assuming that most people who shoot with a Zf probably want to have the option available of using the camera to its full potential. But if you never plan to use the high-bitrate video modes or the very high-speed burst photo modes, then you can get away with slower cards and cards that are UHS-I.

Using Two SD Card Slots on the Nikon Zf

If you want to throw in a single memory card and head out shooting, you can. You don’t have to fill both SD card slots. But there are advantages to doing so.

My rule of thumb is that if a camera has two memory card slots, then I want to fill both of them. It’s not because the camera won’t work with only one slot filled—it will—but there are advantages to using two slots. They include having more raw storage space, being able to create backups on separate cards, and being able to separate different types of files (e.g. RAW and JPG or photos and video) onto separate cards as a way to streamline the rest of the workflow.

With both slots filled in the Nikon Zf, there are different ways to configure how they’re used. For instance, you can choose which of the cards to use for:

  • overflow storage when the first card fills up
  • backup storage as an in-the-field safety precaution
  • separate storage of NEF (RAW) and JPEG or HEIF images
  • separate storage of duplicate JPEG or HEIF pictures generated at different sizes and image qualities
  • and you can copy the images between the cards

You can adjust these settings under:

Menu > Photo shooting menu (the camera icon

How to Format the Memory Cards in the Nikon Zf

If you haven’t used a camera with two memory card slots before, the only difference is that you have to do each card individually.

On the Zf it’s quick and easy (it doesn’t have the choice of what types of format to do that some other cameras have).

You find the option under:

SETUP MENU (Wrench Icon) > Format Memory Card

Then specify which card slot you want to format. And finally, confirm that you want to erase all the data from the card. It then performs a quick format (or high-level format). If you need to do a low-level format, you’ll need to use a computer to do that; there’s no function to that in the camera.

How to Format SD Cards on a Computer

It’s always best practice to format memory cards in the camera you’re going to use them in, but if that’s not possible or not what you want to do, you can also format cards using a computer. But there are some things to know when formatting SD cards to minimize the risks of your camera having problems with them. 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.

Does the Nikon Zf come with a memory card?

No, the Nikon Zf doesn’t come with memory cards as standard. Some retailers might put together a special deal bundle kit that includes some accessories such as memory cards, but in general, you’ll have to buy the SD cards separately.

What type of memory card does the Nikon Zf use?

The Nikon Zf has two memory card slots. One takes full-size SD cards (SDXC/SDHC – compatible with UHS-II). The other takes microSD cards (microSDXC/microSDHC – compatible with UHS-I). It’s not required that you fill both slots, but there are advantages to doing so.

Is the Nikon Zf compatible with UHS-II SD Cards?

The full-size SD card slot on the Nikon Zf has a UHS-II interface. The microSD card slot has a UHS-I interface.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2024-02-27 at 15:48. 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.

Profile photo of David Coleman | Have Camera Will Travel | Washington DC-based Professional Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a professional photographer based in Washington, DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and many places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications, from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.

Leave a Comment