To take full advantage of the power the FujiFilm X-T3 has to offer you'll need SD cards that are fast enough. Here are some practical recommendations.
The FujiFilm X-T3 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, chances are you’ll have to pick them up separately.
But just putting any old SD card in an X-T3 might lead to disappointment if you find you can’t take full advantage of the camera’s powerful features. The X-T3 has very high bitrate video capabilities–up to 400 Mbps–as well as high-speed burst photo modes of up to 30 frames per second. If you don’t use SD cards that are fast enough, you run the risk of not being able to use those features or even losing footage or photos.
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. Which is why I’ve put together this page: to provide some practical recommendations on which SD cards to buy for the X-T3 so that you can get out shooting sooner and use all the capture features the camera has to offer.
If you’d just like to cut to the chase with some quick recommendations, here are some good options:
And don’t forget that the X-T3 has two SD card slots. 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 X-T3’s file storage options, use two cards.
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.
I have to commend FujiFilm for providing guidance in the instruction manual that is actually more specific and practical than some other camera manufacturers provide. It says:
- The camera can be used with SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. Both the UHS-I and UHS-II bus interfaces are supported.
- UHS-II cards are recommended for high-speed burst photography.
- Use cards with a video speed class of V60 or better to record movies at a bit rate of 400 Mbps. To record movies with lower bit rates, use cards with a UHS speed class of 3 or better or a video speed class of V30 or better.
And FujiFilm has gone the extra step of providing a webpage that lists a handful of specific memory card models that are officially supported. But that list is somewhat outdated now for the simple reason that memory card manufacturers tend to release new models fairly often and some have come out since that page was last updated. And it also doesn’t factor in things like availability and value for money–some of the cards on their list are surprisingly hard to find, especially at reasonable prices. And a final issue is that there are very fast cards where the manufacturers haven’t yet gone through the processes of certifying and updating the packaging and marketing materials to add the new V60 or V90 ratings. Cards like the Sony and Lexar cards, for example, are fast enough to meet the demands of the X-T3, but at least at the time I’m writing this they still only carry the U3 speed rating on their packaging rather than V60 or V90.
So what I’m trying to do is take the information provided by FujiFilm and combine it with both my own tests actually shooting with an X-T3 with these cards and also the findings from my own SD card speed tests. 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 X-T3’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 X-T3–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.
Here’s more detailed information on these SD card recommendations for the FujiFilm X-T3.
ProGrade Digital is a new player in memory cards, and the brand isn't as well known as others yet. But this isn't just yet another no-name brand that springs up with re-branded cards--they're an American company founded by a team with incredibly deep experience in the industry. And they're focusing specifically on the high end of the market with an emphasis on cards geared towards the most demanding cameras.
It comes in no-fuss packaging but does include a UHS-II microSD-to-SD cartridge adapter. This card is the one that carries the V90 rating, and it's available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB versions. There's also a V60 version which isn't quite as quick as this one but still has very high performance.
Sony makes some of the best mirrorless cameras available, and they have a small range of top-notch but excellent SD cards to go alongside them. This "G" card is the fastest version; they also have an "M" which isn't quite as quick but still very good. The SF-G comes in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions.
It comes with a link to file recovery software and a 5-year limited warranty. It doesn't come with a card reader.
Of all the brands here, SanDisk is probably the one best known for their memory cards. They have several series that they reuse, with names like Ultra and Extreme. The Extreme Pro line, which is the one this card is in, is their flagship model designed for professional use. I've used many Extreme Pro cards over the years and found them to be consistently reliable performers. SanDisk tends to refresh their model range more frequently than some other brands, so it's not always clear which model is current. If you can't find this specific model available, try to stick to the ones that have at least 300Mb/s printed on the card. You can still find older cards for sale that have either 95Mb/s or even 45Mb/s displayed on them. This latest version comes in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions.
Lexar have been one of the big, established players in memory cards for a long time now, but in the past couple of years they've had some corporate upheaval and a change of ownership. That seemed to disrupt the production and supply of their cards for a while, and they're still not always as easy to find at retailers.
With a UHS-II bus and a speed class of U3, Lexar rates this one for a read speed of up to 300 MB/s (or 2000x) but, as usual, doesn't publish a write speed other than "write speeds slower." But this card boasts impressive sequential write speed as well. It's in the Lexar Professional line and comes in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions.
This one also comes with its own USB thumbdrive card reader, which also happens to be one of the fastest SD readers I've come across yet.
Buy at: Amazon
Toshiba isn't often one of the first brands that come to mind with memory cards, but they're very highly respected with hard drives and SSDs and have a long track record of working with flash memory. Their SD cards are also very good, although they're not always as easy to find as some of the other brands. It comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB versions.
This is another brand that isn't as widely known as some others, but they've actually been around a long time making very good memory cards. This 2000x model is rated for V90 and is available in 64GB and 128GB versions.
You can use slower SD cards in the X-T3. Many of the basic camera functions like standard single-shot stills photography or the 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. 4K at 400 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 or the burst sequence being interrupted.
That’s why I’m focusing here on cards that allow you to use all of the X-T3’s capture modes: because I’m assuming that most people who shoot with an X-T3 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 ones that are UHS-I.
If you want to throw in a single memory card and head out shooting, you can. But the X-T3 has two SD card slots. And there are different ways to configure them.
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.
There are different ways to configure how the camera treats the two slots.
Sequential. This is the default setting. When the card in slot 1 fills up, it automatically rolls over to slot 2 (or the other way around, if you’ve set it that way in the options).
Backup. This creates two copies of each photo. One copy is recorded on each card.
RAW/JPG. This is a special mode that’s available only if you’ve selected one of the RAW+JPG options that saves both a RAW file and a JPG version of the same image. It splits up each file type, recording the RAW version on one card and the JPG on the other.
You find these options under the Settings (wrench icon) > Save Data Setting > Card Slot Setting menu item.
You don’t need to use exactly the same kind of memory card in each slot. They can be different brands, storage capacities, and speed ratings. To avoid complications, it makes sense to have them both fast enough, though.
In short: You can use the same kind of card in both slots, but it’s not a requirement.
The formatting process in the X-T3 is pretty straightforward. There’s no need to decode the differences between “deleting” and “formatting” as there is in some other cameras. On the X-T3 there’s just one process, and it does exactly what you’d expect: format the card to start fresh.
If you haven’t used a camera with two memory card slots before, the only difference in doing it here is that you have to do each card individually.
You find the option under the Settings menu tab (the wrench icon) and then the User Setting item.
The first option is Format.
Then specify which card slot you want to format.
And finally, confirm that you want to erase all the data from the card.
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.
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