Sony a7III Memory Card Recommendations

What is the best type of SD card to get for your Sony a7 III? Here are some practical recommendations.

Sony Alpha a7iii Mirrorless Camera
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Sony a7III Memory Card – Quick Recommendations

If you just want some quick recommendations on good SD cards to get for your Sony a7III, here you go.

NOTE: The a7III has two SD card slots. I don’t normally recommend two different cards, but I’m doing that here because of the subtle but important difference between the two SD slots on the a7III. One slot can take advantage of UHS-II, while the other is UHS-I.

UHS-II SD cards for slot 1:

  1. Sony TOUGH-G
  2. SanDisk Extreme Pro
  3. Lexar Professional 1667x
  4. Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II
  5. Kingston Canvas React Plus
Sony TOUGH-G V90 UHS-II
  • Tough specs: world's first one-piece molded construction with high hardness materials have resulted in...
  • Ribless, no write protection switch design: world's first ribless, no write protection switch design6...
SanDisk Extreme PRO V90 UHS-II
  • Tap into pro performance designed for professional and advanced photographers and videographers.
  • Super-fast write speeds of up to 260MB/s help rapidly clear buffer time to support continuous burst mode...
Lexar Professional 1667x V60 UHS-II
  • Get high-speed performance with UHS-II technology (U3) for a read transfer speed up to 250MB/s (1667x)
  • Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080P full-HD, 3D, and 4K video with a DSLR...
Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II
  • Uninterrupted 8K, 4K, 3D, HDR, 360º & high-speed recording
  • Specialized for Simultaneous Recording
Kingston Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II
  • Ultimate speeds to support professional camera use — Transfer speeds up to 300MB/s and recording speeds...
  • UHS-II standard for reliable high-resolution photography and video recording — Capture 4K and 8K...

UHS-I SD cards for slot 2:

  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...

These SD cards will work well in the Sony a7III. They meet the needs of the a7III’s features–even the most demanding video and burst photo shooting modes–have a strong track record of reliability, are readily available, and can usually be found fairly easily at major camera and electronics retailers at reasonable prices.

If you’re after more detail, you can find it below.

It’s also worth noting that while the a7III has two SD card slots, it’s not a requirement that both have a memory card in them (but there are advantages to filling both).

Sony a7III Memory Card – In Detail

A memory card is an essential accessory for the Sony a7III. Without it, you’re not going to be able to take many photos or shoot much video. But the a7III doesn’t come with SD cards by default.

There are some bundles that retailers put together that might include a memory card (or two), but chances are it’s something you’re going to have to pick up separately. Or maybe you want something bigger with a larger storage capacity—the cards that are included in bundles are often on the small side and might fill up quickly, especially if you’re on a trip. So which card should you get?

That’s where this post comes in—hopefully, to help you get out shooting sooner and take full advantage of all the features of your new camera rather than spending your time searching the web and trying to make sense of cryptic technical codes. I’ve been buying and testing numerous SD cards for several years and have put many of the most popular SD cards on the market through their paces. You can find my main SD card tests here.

Sony a7III Memory Card Requirements

The Sony a7III is a full-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera with a 24MP sensor. And it’s competitively priced while offering great features and image quality. There’s a lot about it to like, and you can see some of the photos I’ve taken with it on my Sony a7III sample images page.

It shoots 4K video with a maximum video bitrate of 100Mbps. That’s high, but it’s not as high as some of the video-specialist mirrorless cameras that can shoot at 400Mbps or above.

The a7III has two SD card slots. It’s not a requirement that you fill both slots–the camera will work just fine with only one–but there are advantages to filling both slots. The most obvious advantage is that it will give you more storage space to save photos and videos, but you can also adjust how the cards are treated. For example, you can use them in sequence, rolling over from one to the other when the first fills up. You can record to them simultaneously for a mirror backup. You can split up one filetype to go to one card with another filetype to the other. Or you can copy from one to the other for a simple yet useful way to create a quick backup copy on location.

Sony Alpha a7iii Mirrorless Camera SD Card Slots
The two memory card slots of the Sony a7III.

Both SD slots will take SDXC and SDHC, but there is an important difference. And that is that one slot has a UHS-II interface, while the other has a UHS-I. I have more detail on what that means below, but the gist is that you can use one of the fastest SD cards in Slot 1 to take advantage of the extra speeds that UHS-II offers when saving high-bitrate video and rapid photo bursts.

Sony a7III Memory Card Options

So what are the best SD cards to get for your Sony a7III?

The a7III’s instruction manual is pretty unhelpful on the topic of which SD card to get. There’s some information in the manual, but it doesn’t do a lot to clarify. It also mentions SD card specs and Memory Stick cards that will only work with some settings on the a7III.1 Which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me–if you have a great camera like the a7III, you want to be able to use all of its features.

So what I’m aiming to do here is provide some practical recommendations on which SD cards to get for the Sony a7III so you can spend less time searching online and more time out shooting. I’m not trying to list every SD card that works in the a7III–there are others that will work just fine as well. I’m focusing here on ones that offer a good combination of meeting the requirements of all of the a7III’s features, are readily available at major retailers, are cost-effective, and come from major manufacturers with track records for good-quality cards. I’m also basing this on my own SD speed tests as well as my own experience in shooting with the a7III.

UHS-II SD Cards for Slot 1:

Sony TOUGH-G V90 UHS-II

Sony TOUGH-G V90 UHS-II SD Card
  • Tough specs: world's first one-piece molded construction with high hardness materials have resulted in...
  • Ribless, no write protection switch design: world's first ribless, no write protection switch design6...

These Sony cards are quick, reliable, and fairly widely available. Sony also has SF-E and SF-M models. The SF-G is the fastest (it has a red "G" on the card next to the storage capacity).

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II

Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II SD Card
  • Ultimate speeds to support professional camera use — Transfer speeds up to 300MB/s and recording speeds...
  • UHS-II standard for reliable high-resolution photography and video recording — Capture 4K and 8K...

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.

But this card is an exception to that. It's Kingston's fastest model in their SD card lineup, and it's very quick indeed. It's available in sizes from 16GB through 512GB.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II

Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II SD Card
  • Uninterrupted 8K, 4K, 3D, HDR, 360º & high-speed recording
  • Specialized for Simultaneous Recording

Delkin Devices have actually been around for years, but not too long ago they refreshed their SD card lineup to make it both clearer and more competitive. The Power range is their fastest line. This card is rated at V90 with UHS-II.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

Lexar Professional 1667x V60 UHS-II

Lexar Professional 1667x V60 UHS-II SD Card
  • Get high-speed performance with UHS-II technology (U3) for a read transfer speed up to 250MB/s (1667x)
  • Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080P full-HD, 3D, and 4K video with a DSLR...

Like the SanDisk Extreme Pro, this one actually has UHS-II, which you don't need with this camera, but it's still a very good, reliable option. It's rated for video recording speed rating of V60. It comes in sizes up to 256GB.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II

SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II SD Card
  • Tap into pro performance designed for professional and advanced photographers and videographers.
  • Super-fast write speeds of up to 260MB/s help rapidly clear buffer time to support continuous burst mode...

SanDisk's Extreme Pro range is their top model.

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. And, confusingly, you can also find another version of this card widely available. The one I'm listing here is the one that's rated for 300 MB/s and V90--it's a UHS-II card. You can also come across a UHS-I one that's rated for 170 MB/s.

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 V90 and UHS-II.

Buy at: Amazon or B&H Photo

UHS-I SD Cards for Slot 2:

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

Sony TOUGH SF-M V60 UHS-II

Sony TOUGH SF-M V60 UHS-II SD Card
  • 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

Making Sense of SD Card Specifications

There are several types of SD cards, and you’ll find a range of different acronyms and codes on them. Here’s a quick overview of what to look for.

SDHC vs. SDXC Memory Cards

Most of the cards you’ll see available now have either SDHC or SDXC printed on them. The Sony a7III will work with both SDHC and SDXC cards (and, for that matter, just plain SD cards, but they’re hard to find these days and have impractically small storage capacities).

These aren’t performance categories, as such. An SDXC card isn’t necessarily any faster than an SDHC card, and vice versa. But they’re important for compatibility with the camera and also in terms of storage capacity.

They’re categories assigned by the SD Association, which is the organization that oversees and develops the standards for SD and microSD cards. 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.

UHS-I vs. UHS-II SD Cards

The current generations of SD cards also have UHS-I or UHS-II on them (or often just an I or II). This refers to the type of interface that’s used to connect to the cards. It stands for ultra-high-speed bus.

Aside from whatever is printed on the card or packaging, you can tell UHS-I and UHS-II cards apart just by looking at them. UHS-I cards have a single row of contacts on the back. UHS-II cards have a second row of contacts.

UHS-I is the older, simpler bus interface. UHS-II is newer and potentially faster. The catch is that you only get the extra benefit of UHS-II if the device is also UHS-II. But the spec is designed to be backward compatible, so you can use UHS-II cards in UHS-I devices, but you will only get the speed of UHS-I.

The Sony a7III has one UHS-II slot and one UHS-I slot. You can use either UHS-II or UHS-I cards in either slot–they’re designed to be backward compatible–but if you want to take advantage of the extra speed potential of UHS-II, both the memory card and the host device need to be UHS-II.

Put another way, the ideal combination for this camera is a UHS-II card in slot 1 and a UHS-I card in slot 2. But the camera will still work well–just not at its full potential–if you use two UHS-I cards.

Video Speed Classes

The SD Association has come out with various rating systems over the years to help buyers choose a card that’s suitable for use in cameras. Because recording high-resolution video (or, more specifically, high-bitrate video) is often the most demanding operation in terms of a camera and its memory card, it’s known as a video speed class rating system.

As a technical matter, the first system was known Speed Classes (these were Class 2, 4, 6, and 10). The second system was known as UHS Speed Classes (U1 and U3). The third system is known as Video Speed Classes (V6, V10, V30, V60, and V90).

Most cards available now have a mix of old and new speed class codes printed on them. And while it’s helpful, it’s still an imperfect system for judging the speed of an SD card.

As a practical matter in the Sony a7III, cards that have any of these on them should be fast enough:

  • U3
  • V30
  • V60
  • V90

There’s a separate rating system that you might also see on some cards. They might have an A1 or A2 on them. You can ignore that when choosing an SD card for a camera. It’s designed for the kinds of operations that gaming devices and smartphones do.

What Size SD Card to Use in the Sony a7III

The a7III is compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards. That means you can use cards from 4GB all the way to the largest cards currently available, which are 512GB and 1TB cards.

There’s really no right answer when it comes to what size, or storage capacity, to get–it’s mostly a matter of convenience so that you don’t keep running out of space. As is probably obvious, you can fit twice as many photos on a 64GB card as on a 32GB card. And with a 128GB card, you can fit four times as many photos as on a 32GB. And so on. And that’s especially handy when you’re traveling; even more so if you’re shooting any video. The most logical sizes for this camera in terms of convenience and price are probably the 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB sizes. But if you want to use a larger or smaller one, say 64GB or even 1TB, go right ahead–they’ll work just fine because of the way that the SDXC spec is designed.

Sony has put together some estimates in the manual for how many images you can fit on various sizes of SD cards. The numbers are approximations, and they vary based on the quality, size, and format settings you’re shooting with.

Sony a7III Memory Card Capacity - Images Chart

You can find the equivalent table for video footage here.

So Why Get a Good Memory Card?

A better memory card is not going to help you take better photos or improve image quality. But it can let you take advantage of all of the camera’s features. A card that’s not fast enough to keep up with the camera can cause issues like locking up, dropped frames, and overheating.

There’s also the issue of reliability. There are plenty of junk memory cards on the market. Not only do they have flaky performance, but they’re also more likely to fail. And that means the risk of losing your photos and videos.

At the same time, you don’t want to pay extra for a high-performance SD card that’s overkill for the camera.

How to Format SD Cards

When you buy a new SD card, you should format it before use and then regularly after that. If you’re formatting a card that you’ve already been using, make sure that you’ve downloaded any photos and videos you want to keep, because formatting deletes everything on the card.

Here’s some information on how to format the memory card.

How to Format SD Cards in the Sony a7III

It is best practice to always format memory cards in the camera that you’ll be using them in. That sets the card up with the filesystem, folder hierarchy, and, in some cameras, a database file, so that the card is just how the camera expects. That greatly reduces the risk of unexpected errors and unpleasant surprises.

Always be sure you’ve backed up everything you want from the card, because formatting it will wipe everything. (If you’ve formatted accidentally, it still might be possible to recover data from the memory card, but it’s not always guaranteed, and it can incur the expense of buying recovery software; more on that below.)

On the Sony a7III, you can find the format function under:

MENU > Setup > Format

Once there, you can choose which memory card slot to format.

How to Format SD Cards with a Computer

Having said that, it is still possible to format memory cards using a card reader and computer. You get a lot more flexibility that way, but also some extra risk if things aren’t set up just how the camera wants them. It’s also sometimes a good troubleshooting step if you’re having issues with a memory card.

There are some things to watch out for, particularly when it comes to choosing which filesystem to use. 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.

Backing Up Images & Videos

While memory cards are remarkably resilient, just like any electronic product, they can and do fail. So regular backups are highly recommended. Ideally, that should include a mix of local backups and off-site or cloud backups.

FAQs

What type of memory card does the Sony a7III take?

The Sony a7III mirrorless camera takes SDXC and SDHC memory cards. It has two SD card slots. One SD card slot is compatible with UHS-II. The other is compatible with UHS-I.

Is the Sony a7III compatible with UHS-II SD cards?

The Sony a7III has two SD card slots. One slot is UHS-II compatible. The other is UHS-I.

Do you need to fill both SD card slots on the Sony a7III?

The Sony a7III has two SD card slots. It is not required that you fill both slots–the camera will work just fine with only one SD card. But there are benefits to filling both, such extra storage space and the ability to control how the two slots are used (eg. for real-time backups or for saving one filetype to one card and another filetype to the other).

  1. Memory Stick is a type of Sony-specific memory card. They’re no longer under active development, they’re too slow for the high-end features of the a7III, and they’re not widely available at retailers. So I’m ignoring them here because they aren’t a logical choice in this case.[]

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2022-09-20 at 12:40. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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 »

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