Sony a6400 Memory Card Recommendations

Which SD card should you get for your Sony a6400 mirrorless camera? Here are some straightforward and practical recommendations.

Sony a6400 Memory Cards
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The memory card is one of the essential features of a digital camera. Without it, you’re not going to be able to take many photos. But the Sony Alpha a6400 doesn’t come with one. 1 There are some bundles that retailers put together that might include a memory card, but chances are it’s something you’re going to have to pick up separately.

So which card should you get? What are the best SD memory cards for the a6400?

I’ve put together these practical recommendations in the hope that it makes it a little easier to know which memory cards work well in the Sony a6400 mirrorless camera.

Sony a6400 SD Card Quick Recommendations

If you’d like to get right down to business, here are some quick recommendations for good memory cards for the Sony a6400. You can find more detailed explanations and more options below.

  1. SanDisk Extreme
  2. Lexar Professional 1066x
  3. Kingston Canvas Go Plus
SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I
  • Shot speeds up to 70MB/s, transfer speeds up to 150MB/s requires compatible devices capable of reaching...
  • Perfect for shooting 4K UHD video (1) and sequential burst mode photography. (1)Full HD (1920x1080) and...
Lexar Professional 1066x Silver V30 UHS-I
  • High-speed performance – rated UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30) for your DSLR or...
  • Leverages UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds up to 160MB/s (1066x)
Kingston Canvas Go Plus V30 UHS-I
  • Superior speeds — Transfer and capture content faster with read/write speeds up to 170/90MB/s.
  • Ideal for shooting 4K UHD video and burst mode photography on your DSLR — High-speeds and improved...

Any of these offers a good combination of compatibility with the a6400 and cost-effectiveness, are quite readily available at major retailers, and are produced by reliable manufacturers. Even though they’re not among the fastest SD cards you can buy, they are fast enough for the a6400 without paying the premium prices of the very fastest memory cards. So any of them makes for a good choice.

Why It’s Not as Simple as it Seems

The instruction manuals for cameras tend to be pretty unhelpful when it comes to recommending which memory cards to get for the camera. That’s largely unavoidable, in part because there are new models of memory cards coming out all the time, and by the time the manual is printed, there’s a good chance any specific model recommendations will be out of date.

The Sony a6400 manual is no exception. If you go looking for information on what SD memory cards work best in this camera, this is what you’ll find:

Sony a6400 Official SD Card recommendations from Sony Help Guide

So get an SD card that’s faster than Class 4, correct? These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a card at a retailer that’s not Class 10 or faster. So you’re all set, right?

If you’re only shooting still images, then yes. Any SD card of any size that’s Class 4 or above will work fine. There are advantages to having a faster one if you’re shooting in burst mode or trying to speed up the process of downloading photos from the memory card, but for the most part, the a6400 is not especially picky about memory cards in the photo modes.

But the catch is the a6400’s video modes are more demanding on the SD card. So if you’re shooting video with this camera, you’ll want to pay more attention to the speed of the memory card.

Which Memory Cards Work with XAVC S Video Mode on the Sony a6400?

The catch is if you’re trying to record video footage. If you’ve tried to record video in the high-quality XAVC S mode in 4K or HD, you might have come across this error message:

Cannot record in this recording setting. Either switch to a UHS-I U3 / UHS-II U3 compatible memory card or change the record setting.

Sony a6400 memory card error message

That, frankly, is more helpful and specific than the previous version. The key information is the U3. That’s a rating for recording video streams. So you can get one that’s rated for U3, but you can also use ones with ratings that a V30, V60, or V90, all of which are faster ratings still.

Recommended SD Memory Cards for the Sony a6400

The Sony a6400 is compatible with SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards, so you can use any card with those marks on them. Most of the cards available these days are either SDHC and SDXC. In practice, you’ll find SDHC on cards from 8GB through 32GB and SDXC on cards 64GB and larger.

But if you want to take full advantage of the a6400’s features, here are some cards that work well. My emphasis here is on ones that meet the requirements, are from manufactures of high-quality cards, are readily available at retail, and are cost-effective. There are faster, fancier, and more expensive cards that also work well, but those aren’t the ones I’m focusing on here.

SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I

SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I SD Card
  • Shot speeds up to 70MB/s, transfer speeds up to 150MB/s requires compatible devices capable of reaching...
  • Perfect for shooting 4K UHD video(1) and sequential burst mode photography (1)Full HD (1920x1080) and 4K...

SanDisk's Extreme range are good bets for many cameras, and that's true here too. SanDisk has faster ranges like the Plus and Pro lines, but the Extreme line is both quick enough for most cameras and usually less expensive than those faster lines.

One thing to note with SanDisk cards is that they recycle their model names. So you can find Extreme cards that are older and slower. You'll probably find those older versions work just fine--it really depends how far back you go--but you can tell the latest version because it's labeled with both U3 and V30, both of which are speed ratings specifically related to recording video. These cards are often good value, and you can sometimes find them sold in 2-packs.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Lexar Professional 1066x V30 UHS-I

Lexar Professional 1066x V30 UHS-I SD Card
  • High-speed performance – rated UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and Video Speed Class 30 (V30) for your DSLR or...
  • Leverages UHS-I technology to deliver read speeds up to 160MB/s (1066x)

This card from Lexar, one of the leading makers of memory cards, is a fast, reliable option. It's rated for video recording speed rating of V30. It comes in sizes up to 512GB.

Buy at: Amazon

Canvas Go Plus V30 UHS-I

Canvas Go Plus V30 UHS-I SD Card
  • Superior speeds — Transfer and capture content faster with read/write speeds up to 170/90MB/s.
  • Ideal for shooting 4K UHD video and burst mode photography on your DSLR — High-speeds and improved...

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 SDG3 Canvas Go 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 512GB.

Buy at: Amazon

PNY Elite Performance U3 UHS-I

PNY Elite Performance U3 UHS-I SD Card
  • Sequential read speed of up to 95MB/s
  • Class 10, U3 rating delivers speed and performance for burst mode HD photography and 4K Ultra HD...

PNY aren't as well known as some of the other brands, but they've been around for quite some time and make reliable, cost-effective memory cards. The packaging on this card hasn't been refreshed to include the newer V30/V60/V90 video speed rating system, but the real-world performance of the card is very good. It comes in sizes from 32GB up to 512GB.

Buy at: Amazon

Delkin Devices Advantage V30 UHS-I

Delkin Devices Advantage V30 UHS-I SD Card
  • Supports 4K & Full HD 1080p Video Recording at High Frame Rates
  • RAW Continuous-Shooting Approved

Delkin Devices have recently come out with a range of new SD cards of varying speeds and specs. This is one of their mid-range cards that is rated for V30 video recording speeds.

Find them at Amazon and B&H Photo


  • Waterproof (IPX8)/ Dustproof (ipx6)4
  • Up to 277MB/s read speed and 150MB/s write speed

These Sony cards are quick, reliable, and fairly widely available. Sony also has another, faster model, the SF-G that works well but is a bit overkill for this use.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Sony Memory Stick

Sony has its own memory card format known as Memory Stick. It’s the same size and shape as SD cards and broadly compatible with the SD format, with only minor differences.

Sony 32 GB Memory Stick PRO-HG HX Duo Flash Memory Card MSHX32G (Black)
  • 32GB Memory Stick PRO-HG HX Duo media
  • Capture approximately 9 hours of HD recording

In short, there are no Sony memory stick cards available that are fully compatible with every shooting mode on the a6400. The closest it comes is the Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo, which works with most of the video modes but won’t work with the 4K and the highest-bitrate (100 Mb/s) option of the HD video mode.

But there’s a catch. Way back when SD cards were a new thing, there were practical benefits to the Memory Stick specification. But that’s no longer true. As SD cards have improved in speed and capacity, the case for Memory Sticks became hard to make, and the Memory Stick system never really took off. That means that they’re often hard to find. That’s especially true of the larger capacities such as 64GB and above. Just as with the SD cards, if you use a 32GB card or smaller you won’t have full compatibility with all of the camera’s video modes.

A further complication is that when you do find them, there seems to be an unusual number of counterfeit cards. So I’d recommend caution when buying them such as sticking to reputable retailers, buying only Sony originals, and steering clear of knockoffs from brands like “Sonyy” or brands you’ve never heard of.

Overall, I’d generally recommend using an SDXC card in the Sony a6400 rather than going to extra effort to hunt down a Sony Memory Stick.

Video Bitrates of the Sony a6400

The Sony a6400 records video with a variable bitrate. What that means is that it tries to adjust the amount of data being used to the image in the frame. A moving, detailed scene will use a higher bitrate than a still scene with little detail and few color tones.

When you’re using the highest quality codec, the XAVC S mode, the video is recorded with a target bitrate of 100 Mb/s, which is substantially higher than when using the more basic and lower-quality AVCHD, which maxes out at 60 Mb/s. Sometimes it’s a little more and sometimes a little less–that’s the variable bitrate coming into play–but it averages out around 100 Mb/s regardless of which frame rate setting you’re using.

What Size Memory Card to use in the Sony a6400?

As a technical matter, you can use a card with any storage capacity.

That means you can use an 8GB card if you want, or one of the brand-new 1TB cards. But as a practical matter, when considering price and convenience, the sweet spot in terms of the cards currently on the market is probably in the 64GB to 256GB range.

Here’s an idea of how much video recording you can fit on cards of various sizes. These are with the Proxy Recording turned off; turning it on will use more storage space, so you’ll fit less footage on the card. These figures are taken directly from Sony’s estimates.

CodecResolution/FPS/Bitrate32 GB64 GB256 GB
AVCHD60i 24M(FX) /50i 24M(FX)2 h 55 min6 h24 h 15 min
 60i 17M(FH) /50i 17M(FH)4 h 5 min8 h 15 min33 h 15 min
XAVC S4K 30p 100M/25p 100M35 min1 h 15 min5 h 15 min
 4K 30p 60M/25p 60M1 h2 h 5 min8 h 35 min
 4K 24p 100M35 min1 h 15 min5 h 15 min
 4K 24p 60M1 h2 h 5 min8 h 35 min
 HD 120p 100M/100p 100M35 min1 h 15 min5 h 15 min
 HD 120p 60M/100p 60M1 h2 h 5 min8 h 35 min
 HD 60p 50M /50p 50M1 h 15 min2 h 35 min10 h 25 min
 HD 60p 25M /50p 25M2 h 25 min5 h20 h 10 min
 HD 30p 50M /25p 50M1 h 15 min2 h 35 min10 h 25 min
 HD 30p 16M /25p 16M3 h 50 min7 h 45 min31 h 30 min
 HD 24p 50M1 h 15 min2 h 35 min10 h 25 min

It’s also worth noting that these are not the same limits as continuous recording limits. The Sony a6400 is limited to approximately 30 minutes of continuous recording at a stretch with the default settings in HD and 4K modes. In this case, it’s related to power and heat rather than the old EU camera classifications. You can find more information on it here.

And if you’re shooting in the AVCHD mode, the camera uses chaptering. What that means is that the footage is broken up into chunks, each a separate file of 2GB or less. You can join the files back together seamlessly in post-production, and you shouldn’t lose any frames in the process.

And here are estimates on how many photos you can fit on cards of various sizes. Again, these numbers are taken directly from the ones Sony provides.

JPEG Quality/ File Format32 GB64 GB128 GB256 GB
Extra fine16003250650013000
RAW & JPEG (Fine)880175035007000

These are approximations. Because of the way image compression works, not every image file comes out to precisely the same file size. So you can expect some wiggle room with these. But they’re still useful for ballpark numbers.

The Sony a6400 Memory Card Slot

The Sony a6400 has a single memory card slot. This means it takes one memory card at a time (that’s worth mentioning, because some other higher-end models have dual SD card slots).

One thing I don’t like with the a6400 is where the SD card slot is. It goes in easily enough, but because it’s so close to the compartment door, it’s finicky to take it out again. I even learned recently that they make such a thing as a little plastic tab that you can attach to your SD card specifically because of the way that the SD card jams in next to the battery in some of the Sony Alpha cameras (and no, I haven’t tried them, but if you want to, you can find them here).

If you’re not removing your memory card often and are using the wireless connection or connecting a cable directly to the camera to download images, it’s not something you’ll run into often. But if, like me, you prefer to put the memory card into a memory card reader to download the images and footage, then it’s an annoyance–a minor one, admittedly, but one nonetheless. All that said, there’s not much you can do about it–I just wish the camera’s designers had done things a little differently.

Sony a6400 Memory Cards

Formatting the Memory Card

It’s always a good idea to format the memory card in the camera rather than doing it with a computer. That reduces the risk of something going wrong, and some cameras, such as the a6400, add extra things like image databases that can’t be done on a computer.

But if that’s not possible or not what you want to do, you can also format cards using a computer. There are some things to know, though, 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.

Things Worth Knowing

Here are some things worth knowing when choosing which SD card to buy for the Sony a6400.

UHS-I SD Cards vs UHS-II SD Cards

Most of the cards available today are either UHS-I or UHS-II. Sometimes it shows on the packaging as just a I or II. That refers to something known as ultra-high-speed bus, which is the interface between the SD card and the camera. UHS-II technology is potentially faster than UHS-I, but it’s not that simple. It is one factor in high-speed performance of memory cards, but not the only one. And, crucially, both the device and the card have to be UHS-II for to have the full speed potential available. In other words, if you put a UHS-II SD card into a camera that only has a UHS-I interface, your maximum potential will be UHS-I.

The Sony a6400 camera has a UHS-I interface. The way that the system is designed, that means you can use a UHS-II in it if you want to, but you’re not going to get any benefit from that–the camera is still going to continue using UHS-I.

And while I’ve seen some recommendations elsewhere to use SanDisk Extreme Pro or Canvas React Plus or other UHS-II cards in the a6400, they’re overkill. And you pay more for those faster, higher-end cards. UHS-I cards are both less expensive (usually) and more widely available.

The better course is to get a card that’s a more suitable fit for the a6400 and put any money leftover towards building up your lens collection (or a tripod, or filters, or anything else that actually helps you get better photos in more situations).

If you’re interested in the fastest SD cards anyway, you can find my detailed tests here.

U1, U3, V30, V60, V90? Video Write Speeds Explained

Most SD cards on the market today come with one of these ratings on them. These refer to a video recording speed rating system. They are designed to indicate that the card can sustain a minimum write speed at a certain level to support various resolutions (or, more accurately, bitrates) of video recording such as full HD video or 4K or even 8K video.

For the a6400, cards with U3 or V30 make the most logical sense. You can certainly use cards that are rated for V60 or V90, but those are overkill for shooting with the a6400.

SD Card Read Speeds

Much of the packaging and marketing around SD cards features read speeds more prominently than write speeds. That’s because they’re usually higher and sound more impressive. But they’re also much less relevant to shooting.

Read speed refers to the speed at which data can be pulled off the memory card. What’s far more important in a camera is how fast you can write data to the memory card.

So when buying a memory card for the Sony a6400, or any other camera, for that matter, take more notice of the write speed. In general, you want one that’s fast enough for the camera but still cost-effective.

Are SD Cards X-Ray Proof?

This is a question that comes up mostly in relation to airport security scanners. No one wants to come home from the trip of a lifetime to find all of their photos missing. That used to happen a lot back in the film days, when airport x-ray machines could easily fog the film and make the images unsalvageable.

The good news is that yes, SD cards are resilient against airport scanners. I have more detail on this here.

They also happen to be quite water resistant and temperature proof (within reason). They’re also strong. In short, they’re resilient little things.


Can the Sony a6400 use microSD cards?

It is possible to use a microSD card in a Sony a6400, but you’ll need an adapter cartridge (also known as a microSD adapter). These cartridges are cheap and easy to use. They’re shaped exactly like a regular SD card. The microSD card slots into the cartridge, which then slots into the a6400’s memory card slot.

Where does the memory card go in a Sony a6400?

The memory card slot in a Sony a6400 is next to the battery, in the compartment on the bottom panel of the camera. You can see this in detail in one of the photos further up this page.

Does the Sony a6400 have internal memory?

The Sony a6400 does not have internal memory storage that is accessible to the user.

Some other cameras do have internal memory that is available to use and store photos and video. The a6400 does not.

How do I access the internal memory on my Sony a6400 camera?

The Sony a6400 does not have internal memory storage that is accessible to the user.

Some other cameras do have internal memory that is available to use and store photos and video. The a6400 does not.

Can the Sony a6400 camera use UHS-II?

You can use a UHS-II SD card in the Sony a6400. But because the camera’s memory card slot has a UHS-I interface, you won’t get any extra benefit from using a UHS-II card rather than a UHS-I card.

The SD Association has designed the UHS system so that compatibility between UHS-I and UHS-II is maintained, but to get the speed benefits of UHS-II, both the SD card and the host device need to have UHS-II interfaces.

  1. The a6400 is also known as the α6400, ILCE-6400 (which is body only), ILCE-6400L (which is body + 16-50mm zoom lens kit), and ILCE-6400M (which is the body + 18-135m zoom lens kit). This post applied to all of those.[]

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David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »