The new DSLRs on the market have impressive video and burst photo capabilities. But making the most of them requires having a memory card that can keep up. If you get one that’s too slow for the camera, you can run into trouble with freezing up and recording stopping unexpectedly.
Nikon D5300 SD Cards 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.
Any of these offers a good combination of compatibility with the D5300 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.
Nikon issues its own guidelines for officially approved memory cards for the Nikon D5300, but it’s pretty hard to make sense of. Buried on page 238 in the technical notes section of the Nikon D5300 reference manual, it looks like this.
I don’t know about you, but 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 D5300 will accept SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. All of those types look exactly the same–the difference is in the amount of memory.1 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 D5300. SDHC refers to cards that are 4GB up through 32GB. SDXC refers to cards that are 64GB or above. With the D5300 taking 24.2 MP photos, a card that’s at least 32GB will give you more room, especially if you’re shooting RAW.
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 your 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.
As far as brands go, I’d generally stick with the big, well-known ones. Sandisk, Lexar, Delkin, Sony, Samsung, Kingston, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Transcend are some of the main brands that make excellent cards, and you’ll be able to find one from those manufacturers that both meets your needs and is very reasonably priced. The most common brands that pros use are Sandisk and Lexar.
So here’s a mix of recommended memory cards that will work well in the Nikon D5300 and that are reasonably priced, readily available, and good value. (Prices were current at time of writing, but they have a habit of changing.) This list isn’t exhaustive, and there are both faster and slower cards that will also work, as well as smaller and larger ones. Because of the similarities between the two cameras, these recommendations are essentially the same as those for the Nikon D300.
Recommended Memory Cards for the Nikon D5300
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 Ultra U1 UHS-I
- Fast for better pictures and Full HD video(2) | (2)Full HD (1920x1080) video support may vary based upon...
- Great choice for compact to mid-range point-and-shoot cameras
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. 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 32GB through 256GB.
Buy at Amazon
Lexar 633x U1 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.
PNY High Performance U1 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 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 16GB to 128GB.
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 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 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.
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 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
- Compliant with UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and UHS Video Speed Class 30 (V30) standards
- Up to 256GB storage capacity
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.
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.
Also, I’d recommend trying to buy from a reputable retailer. 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.
- The difference between SDHC and SDXC is the type of filesystem they use. SDHC cards are formatted with FAT32. SDXC cards are formatted with exFAT. The SD Association established the spec that cards 32GB and smaller use FAT32 and cards 64GB and larger use exFAT. While you can technically format a 32GB or smaller card with exFAT or a card that’s 64GB or larger with FAT32 if you’re doing it in a computer, some camera do a check that the filesystem matches the size and won’t let you get away with it for some operations. So, for the least risk of losing your images or footage, it’s best to stick with the SD Associations specs. ↩
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