We’re seeing a war of speed escalation at the moment and the equipment is memory cards, the very unifying blood between photographers. From varying levels of SD, to CF, CFast, CFexpress, XQD there are no shortage of storage mediums and performance but the rate at which they each evolve is playing a role in where the markets move from here. CFast we know has a SATA limitation of 500-600MB/s which makes the departure from the type a certainty eventually.

XQD on the other hand could theoretically be pushed passed 1000MB/s and the proposed CFexpress would have a PCle system of 8 lanes capable of 1GB a lane. That’s a whopping 8GB/s transfer speed. But I digress, as that’s not a certainty and not right now, and SD cards are still by far and away the most common type of card, so it’s interesting to hear that the SD Card Association has announced a SD 6.0 UHS-III standard that would see a doubling of max data rates of current UHS-II cards. That means, a transfer up to 624MB/s on both SD and MicroSD which represents a doubling of the UHS-II limits.

“UHS-III answers the demand for bus speed enhancement for 8K videos and 360-degree/3D cameras/drones, and data- intense high-speed wireless communication such as 5G mobile networks, or IEEE802.11.ax, recorded on higher capacity SD memory cards. UHS-III includes all UHS-II functionalities plus 3.12/6.24Gpbs FD modes and Quick Recovery function. The major modification in UHS-III is the adoption of high-performance PHY. If the host device implements 6.24Gbps UHS-III PHY, UHS-II devices are relatively easy to upgrade to UHS-III” – SD Association

All of this news comes off the heels of a Sony SD card announcement that made waves lately about it being the world’s fastest SD card which would see a 299MB/s transfer. Of course you’d need to be using a UHS-III compatible camera come the time, but at least we know the cards will be backwards compatible.

The CFA’s New Card Depicts The Near Future Of Memory Cards (8GB/s) & CFAST Isn’t In It]


If you were to go to B&H or Amazon and search for fast memory cards your results would be, well, overwhelming. There is an absolute bounty of cards out there and unless you’ve tested them or know precisely what you’re looking for it’s hard to know which are the real performers.  As such, here’s a short list of some of the fastest cards around:

*Note that not all cameras can take these cards and you should verify which your camera is able to use. Also, despite what’s written on the cards for read/write speed, and write in particular, you can expect that to be lower in practice. In fact, many cards will just issue the read speed and not specify the write speed. 


SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II SDXC Memory Card: 32GB-128GB

  • 128GB Storage Capacity
  • UHS-II / U3 / Class 10
  • Max. Read Speed: 300 MB/s
  • Max. Write Speed: 260 MB/s
  • Min Write Speed: 30 MB/s
  • Records Full HD, 3D, and 4K Video
  • Water / Shock / X-Ray Proof
  • Built-in Write-Protect Switch
  • Supports Advanced Shooting Modes
  • Downloadable RescuePRO Recovery Software

Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SDXC Memory Card: 32GB-128GB

  • 128GB Storage Capacity
  • Class 10 / UHS-II
  • UHS Speed Class 3
  • Max. Read Speed: 300 MB/s
  • Max. Write Speed: 260 MB/s
  • Built-In Write-Protect Switch
  • Downloadable Image Rescue Software
  • Includes SD UHS-II Reader

Delkin Devices UHS-II SDHC Memory Card (U3): 32GB-256GB

  • 256GB Storage Capacity
  • Class 10 / UHS-II
  • Max. Read Speed: 285 MB/s
  • Min. Write Speed: 100 MB/s

For those without UHS-II and still want a fast UHS-I SD Card:

SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I SDXC Memory Card (V30): 32GB-256GB

  • 256GB Storage Capacity
  • UHS-I/V30/U3/Class 10
  • Max Read Speed: 95 MB/s
  • Max Write Speed: 90 MB/s
  • Min Write Speed: 30 MB/s
  • Records Full HD, 3D, and 4K Video
  • Water / Shock / X-Ray Proof
  • Temperature Proof
  • Built-In Write-Protect Switch
  • Downloadable Photo Recovery Software


Lexar Professional 1066x CompactFlash Memory Card (UDMA 7) 16GB-256GB

  • 256GB Data Storage Capacity
  • 1066x Speed Rating
  • Max. Read Speed 160 MB/s
  • Max. Write Speed 155 MB/s


SanDisk Extreme PRO CFast 2.0 Memory Card (ARRI and Canon Cameras) 64GB-512GB

  • 512GB Storage Capacity
  • SATA III 6 Gb/s Bus
  • Max Read Speed: 525 MB/s
  • Max Write Speed: 450 MB/s


Sony XQD G Series Memory Card :32GB-256GB

  • 256GB Storage Capacity
  • Max. Read Speed: 440 MB/s
  • Max. Write Speed: 400 MB/s
  • XQD Format Version 2 Compliant