Here are some practical recommendations for SD memory cards that work well in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30 waterproof compact camera.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30 (also sometimes referred to as just the TS30 or, in some parts of the world, the FT30) doesn’t come with a memory card as standard. Some retailers put together special Lumix TS30 bundles with some accessories to make the purchase more attractive. If you’re buying one of those bundles and it includes a memory card, you’re all set. But chances are you’ll need to pick up an SD card separately before you get shooting.
And more than likely you want to spend your time shooting and adventuring rather than researching the ins and outs of which memory card to get. Which is why I’ve put this post together–as some quick, practical recommendations on which memory cards will work well in the TS30 without buying something that’s unnecessarily fancy or expensive.
I’ve taken Panasonic’s official guidance and combined it with my own experience with testing SD cards and shooting with the TS30.
The short version is that you don’t need a fancy SD card for the DMC-TS30. It’s not demanding of memory card speed by today’s standard, so you don’t need the latest and greatest (or the most expensive).
If you’re just wanting the quick version, here are a few good options. I’ve found these to work well, to be readily available at major retailers, and to be cost-effective.
First, the basics. The TS30 takes SD-sized cards. It has a single memory card slot, so it takes one card at a time (although having a spare card on hand is always a good idea in case something goes wrong with a card).
You’ll find a range of different acronyms and codes on SD cards. Here’s a quick overview of which ones to look for.
The TS30 will work with both SDHC and SDXC cards (and, for that matter, just plain SD cards, but they’re harder to find these days). The difference between those two specifications is in the filesystem they’re formatted with–the SDHC specification uses FAT32 formatting, while the SDXC specification uses exFAT–but when it comes to buying memory cards, the practical difference is that cards 32GB and smaller will be labeled SDHC and cards 64GB and larger will be labeled SDXC.
When it comes to what size to get, the instruction manual says that cards from 2G up to 64GB will work. I’ve also used 128GB cards in it without any problems. Which to get, then, pretty much comes down to convenience so you don’t keep running out of space (although the TS30 has an internal memory that can hold another 34 or so photos if you fill the card up). The sweet spot in the combination of how many photos (or video) you can fit and price of the card is probably in the 32GB to 64GB range for this camera, but if you want to use a smaller card like 8GB or 16GB, you can.
Some cameras need a fast SD card. The TS30 doesn’t, so you have plenty of options when it comes to speed. The function where card speed matters most on the TS30 is when shooting video. But the video mode on this camera uses quite low bitrates (i.e. the amount of data that needs to be written per second), so you can get away with slower cards than in some other cameras. If you’re shooting video, you’ll want something that’s rated for at least Class 4. In practice, you really can’t find anything readily available these days less than Class 10, so it’s actually quite rare to come across a card that isn’t fast enough. Don’t go hunting specifically for a Class 4 card–even if you find them, there’s a good chance they’ll be more expensive than a Class 10 card anyway. There are also plenty of cards available now that have faster ratings than Class 10–such as U1 or U3. You can use those cards if you like–they’re backward compatible–but you won’t see any extra performance boost in the camera.1
With that said, here are some more detailed practical recommendations. They’re based on a combination of Panasonic official guidance in the instruction manualand my own testing of SD cards. This is by no means designed to be a comprehensive list of every SD card that will work in the TS30–there are plenty of other SD cards that will also work well–but these are ones that are a combination of reliable, readily available at major retailers, cost-effective, and work well in the TS30 camera without going overboard with fancier-than-necessary specs.
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).
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.
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 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 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 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.
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 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.
If you go hunting in the instruction manual, you’ll find this on page 22:
These are based on the figures Panasonic provides in the manual:
These are again based on Panasonic’s figures. The duration is in the format HH:MM:SS.
All of the ones I’ve listed here on this page are from big, well-respected memory card brands. There are other smaller brands–some might be just fine, but others might not be. I generally try to stick to brands I know and have had good experiences with. And there are some cards from big brands, like Panasonic themselves, that just aren’t easy to find at many retailers.
Believe it or not, counterfeit SD cards are a thing. So it’s best to buy them from a respected retailer. I buy a lot of memory cards, and I buy most of them from B&H Photo and Amazon.
If you format the card before you’ve backed up the photos from it, it might still be possible to recover them. To do that you’ll need to fire up the computer–it’s not something that you can do in the camera. I’ve put together an overview on how to recover deleted photos from an SD card.
You can find the formatting function through the camera’s main menu, under Setup > Format.
You can find more details on page 50 of the manual [PDF].
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.
If you’re looking to kit out your TS30, here are some of the most popular accessories for it.
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