The new Nikon D3300 has some pretty impressive video and photo capabilities in a relatively inexpensive package. But if you use a memory card that isn’t fast enough, you’ll find your videos stop recording part way.
Nikon issues its own guidelines for officially approved memory cards for the Nikon D3300, but it’s pretty hard to make sense of. They’re buried on page 310 in the technical notes section of the Nikon D3300 instruction manual. They look like this.
I don’t find that especially helpful. So I’ve taken those official recommendations from Nikon and translated them into practical recommendations below that cut through all the confusing jargon that memory card manufacturers use in their marketing.
In general, the Nikon D3300 will accept SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. All of those types look exactly the same–the difference is in the amount of memory. SD refers to cards up to 2GB in size. Now that memory card prices have come down and you can buy very good 32GB cards for $15, there’s no good reason to be buying a 2GB card if you camera supports larger ones. So I’d recommend sticking with SDHC or SDXC for the Nikon D3300. SDHC refers to cards that are 4GB up through 32GB. SDXC refers to cards that are 64GB or above. And with the D3300 shooting photos at over 24 MP, you’ll probably find a card that’s at least 32 GB will give you more flexibility.
If you’re doing video recording, you’ll need a card that’s designated as class 6 or higher. The reason is that when recording video the camera needs to write a lot of data to the card quickly. If you’re card isn’t able to write data fast enough, the video recording will stop. The current crop of memory cards are all class 10, so you’re better off going with one of them than searching around for an old class 6 card.
So here’s a mix of recommended memory cards that will work well in the Nikon D3300 and that are reasonably priced, readily available, and good value. This list isn’t exhaustive, and there are both faster and slower SD cards that will also work, as well as smaller and larger ones. Because of the similarities between the two cameras, these are essentially the same memory card recommendations for the Nikon D5300 as well.
Recommended Memory Cards for the Nikon D3300
These aren't necessarily the fastest SD cards on the market, but they're fast enough for this camera. It's also not designed to be a comprehensive list of every SD card that will work.
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; and 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 Extreme U3 UHS-I
The SanDisk Extreme line is a good option when the emphasis is on video recording. They have faster write speeds than SanDisk's Ultra line but still make for good value without getting in the faster (and more expensive) Extreme Plus and Extreme Pro models.
SanDisk recycles its model names. This latest version of the Extreme card is rated for V30/U3 for video recording and uses a UHS-I interface. It's faster than this camera technically needs, but because the Extreme line is so popular, they're generally easy to find and competitively priced.
It comes in sizes ranging from 16GB through 256GB.
Lexar 633x U1 UHS-I
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 16GB up through a whopping 512GB.
Buy at Amazon.
PNY Elite Performance U3 UHS-I
PNY as a brand 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 32GB through 512GB.
Delkin Devices Advantage V30 UHS-I
Delkin Devices have been around for a long time but have been relatively quiet in recent years. But they're freshed their entire lineup of cards recently to simplify the range and bring the cards up to current specs.
The Advantage card is rated to V30 and has a UHS-I interface. It currently comes in sizes up to 512GB.
Transcend V30 UHS-I
Transcend isn't as well known as SanDisk or Lexar, but they've been making solid, reliable memory cards for a long while now and their SD cards are often competitively priced.
This particular card is faster than this camera needs, but it is still a good option. It's available in sizes from 64GB up through 256GB.
Buy at Amazon.
Sony U3 UHS-I
Though not always as readily available as some other brands, Sony memory cards are very good, which won't come as much of a surprise.
This particular card is available in sizes from 16GB through 256GB.
Kingston U1 UHS-I
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.
This particular card (model SDS2 Canvas Select) 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.
Buy at Amazon.
Other BrandsThere 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 CardsIf 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.
Avoiding Counterfeit Memory Cards
It’s worth buying from a reputable manufacturer. There are counterfeit cards on the market that often pop up on from shady dealers. It’s also not a bad idea to have a spare on hand. Memory cards are remarkably resilient things but like any electronic device they do fail from time to time.
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