Sony a7R V Memory Card Recommendations

The Sony a7R V high-end mirrorless camera takes both CFexpress Type A and SD cards. Here’s a rundown of what works and what doesn’t.

Sony a7R V mirrorless camera
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:
Topics: Sony, Sony a7R V

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Sony has a new addition to the a7 range, the Sony a7R V (and in typical Sony style, it also goes by other names: ILCE-7RM5, α7RV, a7R5, and Alpha 7R V).

As you’d expect based on the earlier cameras in the R line, it has some very high-end features. And with a camera focused on high quality and fast performance, all while shooting 61MP images (at up to 8 fps) and 8K video, it’s important that you get memory cards that are up to the task.

The Sony a7R V has two memory card slots. The slots look the same size, and that’s because they are. One of the benefits of the CFexpress A form factor is that it has the same dimensions and connections layout as SD cards. So you can use either CFexpress A or SD cards.

But they’re not the same in performance. When choosing which format to use, the general rule of thumb is: choose CFexpress A cards for better (i.e., faster) performance. Use SD cards for convenience, cost, and larger storage capacities.

Even though the Sony a7R V has some very high-bitrate video recording modes that record at up to 600 Mpbs, for most of them, a V90 UHS-II SDXC card will handle it. There’s really only one combination of settings, and that’s when shooting show-motion recording, that will only work with a CFexpress Type A card. [1]

The Sony a7R V Has Two Memory Card Slots

They’re compatible with:

  • CFexpress Type A

You do not need to have both slots filled for the camera to work. There are, however, advantages to filling both slots. Chiefly, it will make available several options for you to control how those slots are used. That is, you can have images saved to one card and video to another, or a duplicate saved simultaneously to the second card to create a backup, or combine them in sequence for maximum storage space.

If you’re only going to fill one slot, I’m inclined to use a CFexpress Type A card because they’re faster than even the fastest SD card. But in practice, a fast V90 UHS-II SDXC card can handle most of the features of the camera.

And you don’t have to have them both filled with the same type of card. For example, you can have a CFexpress A card for your primary shooting card for video and have a 1TB SDXC card in the second slot for backup or for photos.

Dual CFexpress Type A / SD Memory Card Slots

CFexpress Type A

CFexpress Type A is one of the three current CFexpress form factors released by the CompactFlash Association. You’ll sometimes see it written as CFexpress Type-A or just CFexpress A.

The others are CFexpress Type B and CFexpress Type C. But you must get the correct type, because they’re not interchangeable. For one thing, they have different physical dimensions. For example, a CFexpress B card simply won’t fit in a CFexpress A slot. [2]

But the downside of CFexpress A, at least for now, is that relatively few manufacturers are making them, they’re not widely available, they’re not available in particularly high storage capacities, and they’re not cheap. So the ability to use cheaper and larger-storage SD cards is a significant convenience. But if you’re using features like the 8K video shooting, you’ll want to invest in at least one good-quality CFExpress A card to prevent the risk of unwanted issues such as the recording stopping or dropped frames.

More specifically, you’ll want to make sure that your card is certified for at least VPG200. They’re becoming easier to find, and several of the newer cards at time of writing are rated for even faster VPG400. Basically, this is a rating system that guarantees a minimum sustained write speed. It’s worth noting that many of the cards have a “write speed” marked on them that is usually a maximum write speed, which is a different thing. But to ensure that you don’t get dropped frames or other problems, the far more important measure is the minimum sustained write speak rather than some peak burst speed.

However, frustratingly, and unlike with SD cards, the VPG rating speed system isn’t always printed on the card itself (yet), so it’s not as useful as it could be. But in the cards I’m recommending here, I’ve checked that they are certified for at least VPG200 (also written as VPG-200). What that means is that they’re guaranteed to support sustained video recording at 200MB/s; it’s a minimum sustained write speed.

There aren’t currently many manufacturers making CFexpress A cards—not as many as make CFexpress B—but more have been entering the market of late.

Sony and Lexar are leading the way. Delkin Devices have now joined. Nextorage and ExAscend aren’t as well known here yet, but they’ve also entered the Cfexpress A game. And as more cameras start using CFexpress A, it’s likely that there’ll be even more choices in cards and manufacturers.


SD cards are widely available, cost-effective, and you can get some very large storage capacities; the current range goes up to at least 1TB.

But there are some downsides to SD when you have the option of using CFexpress Type A. The crucial one is that even the fastest SD cards aren’t as fast as CFexpress A (nor, crucially, are the interfaces for the cards in the camera). For example, the current range of CFexpress A cards are rated for 800 MB/s plus. By contrast, the fastest SD cards are rated around the 300 MB/s mark.

You can also use SD cards in the a7R V. The most practical version will be SDXC, because that label is applied to cards that are 64GB and above, and with the large images and high-bitrate video of the a7R V, you’ll appreciate having plenty of storage space. [3]

Tip: Don’t get an SD Express or SDUC card. Both are emerging standards, and this camera isn’t compatible with those types of cards. [4]

For SDXC cards, the safest bet in the a7R V is to stick with cards that are rated for V90. That will mean a UHS-II card.

Those will allow you to use all (or nearly all) of the camera’s features. You can technically get away with slower cards for many features, but that limits the features that are available to you, and that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. To my mind, if you’ve got a high-end camera like the a7R V, you want to be able to use all of its features and not be hobbled by being stingy on memory cards.

I have much more detail on the fastest SD cards here, but here are some good choices for this camera.

ProGrade Digital V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Lexar Professional 2000x V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
SanDisk Extreme Pro V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II SD Card
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC / SDHC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Angelbird AV PRO SD MK2 V90 UHS-II
  • Type: SDXC
  • Video Speed Class: V90
  • UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-II
  • Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB

CFexpress A Memory Card Readers

While the physical size is the same, if this is your first time using CFexpress A, you can’t just assume that your existing SD memory card reader will read CFexpress A. The hardware also needs to be compatible.

But there are some cross-compatible memory card readers available that will read both formats.

Sony makes a single-slot CFexpress A/SDXC UHS-II reader; you can find it here.

Sony MRWG2 CFexpress Card Reader
  • Compatible with CFexpress Type A and SDXC/SDHC (UHS-I and UHS-II) memory cards
  • SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 2) transfer speed via USB Type-C connector

Prograde Digital makes a dual-slot CFexpress A/SDXC UHS-II card reader; you can find it here.

CFexpress Type A and SDXC/SDHC UHS-II Card Reader with Two Slots | USB 3.2...
  • Do more what you love: Because the ProGrade Digital (TM) USB 3.2 Gen 2 dual-slot memory card reader...
  • DESIGNED FOR LIFE ON THE ROAD: Anywhere you go, the magnetic card reader attaches to your laptop with...
  1. That combination of settings is when shooting slow-motion. Specifically: “When [Rec Frame Rate] is set to [30p]/[25p]/[24p] and [Frame Rate] is set to [60fps]/[50fps] for slow-motion recording.”[]
  2. CFexpress Type B cards have the same physical dimensions as XQD cards. So, in some XQD slots, such as with some of Nikon’s higher-end cameras, you can use either CFexpress B or XQD cards.[]
  3. Technically, the SDXC/SDHC distinction refers to the type of filesystem that the cards are formatted with. SDXC cards are formatted with exFAT. SDHC cards are formatted with FAT32. But the SD Association spec designates cards from 4GB to 32GB to be SDHC and cards 64GB and larger to be SDXC.[]
  4. As a technical matter, SD Express cards are designed to be backward compatible and will function in this camera, but the camera won’t be able to use any extra speed benefit, and it may in fact perform slower than a non-SD Express card. SDUC cards require a different interface and will not function in this camera.[]

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David Coleman

I'm a professional photographer based in Washington, DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and many places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications, from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.

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