Best Memory Cards for the Nikon D3300

Looking for SD cards that work well in the Nikon D3300? Here are some practical recommendations.

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.

Buy at Amazon or B&H Photo.

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 V30 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.

Buy at Amazon or B&H Photo.

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.

Buy at Amazon or B&H Photo.

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.

Buy at Amazon or B&H Photo.

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 Brands

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 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.

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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View Comments

  • I know the Nikon d3300 is limited to 20 minutes of recording time. Is that per card? So if I put in a new card after recording 20 minutes of footage, I’ll have 20 more with a new card? (Sorry newbie here!)

    • No, it's not by card. It's by single recording. As in, you can press record and do a clip up to 20 minutes. After it stops, you can start another one immediately. You don't need to switch out the memory card so long as there's enough space on it.

  • Hi there, wondered if you know whether it's possible to take photos on the D3300 without a memory card? i.e. is there any internal memory in the camera? I have looked right through its menus, but there is no obvious mode that I can switch it to enabling me to do that... Can't find anything in the manual either.

    • No, it doesn't. It has a small buffer that it can use to hold a small queue of images as they're waiting to be written to the memory card, but you can't access that space directly or save images there longer-term.

  • I bought a 64GB as card and formatted it when I put in camera. But camera won’t take pics, reads “memory card full” although it hasn’t been used yet

  • With new storage technology I contacted Nikon about limitations on SD cards and my 3300. They were pretty useless showing their tests that max out with one manufacturer and 128 gb storage. I now see a 2 TB micro sd card with adaptor available. I picked up a 512GB micro card w/ adaptor for $8 on ebay. It's a generic brand but I am currently using a 256GB micro card w/ adaptor in my camera. It has worked so far. Can you touch on any thoughts when it comes to a higher storage card and if you know of any limitations on the camera that would only recognize a certain amount of the memory. Nikon is absolutely useless to help me determine this question. I was hoping some common sense answers were out there:)

    • In my experience, at least, I've not been running into any maximum ceilings with newer cameras. I've generally found that once a newer camera supports the SDXC spec, any of the SDXC cards I've tried, regardless of size, have worked. That hasn't always been true--some older cameras have had ceilings, but I don't know specifically which camera models that might apply to. I suspect, though, that if you're already using a 256GB card, then you should probably be fine using larger ones so long as they properly conform to the SDXC spec. But I'm not in a position to say that for sure. And manufacturers usually won't promise that their cameras work with cards that they haven't specifically tested. I know that's not particularly helpful, but unfortunately it mostly leaves trial and error.

  • Dear Friend,

    kindly tell me if i can use Samsung EVO Plus 32GB MicroSDHC Class 10 (95MB/s) Memory Card(With Adapter) in nikon D3300 i am getting that online today in 759 rupees.

  • How about a Sandisk Ultra Plus 32GB memory card for the Nikon D3300? I happened to buy this, but can find no reference to its compatibility anywhere.

    • Yes, they'll work fine. The Ultra Plus is a newer addition to the Sandisk lineup, released well after the D3300 came out.

    • I'm not familiar with that brand, but in broad terms a microSD in an SD cartridge adapter should work just fine. The the combination of the card and adapter is slow you might run into some issues with recording video, but that shouldn't be too much of an issue with the D3300.

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