This article is part of a series of tutorials we are developing for professional drone pilots

Which SD card should I get for my drone?

SD cards are constantly improving. How do you know which you should buy for your drone? What do all the letters on the card itself mean? What will work in my drone?

Check your drone

Certain drones only support certain SD cards. The Phantom 3 I used previously could only supported an 8gb SD card. The Phantom 4 Pro supports up to 128GB. Make sure to check what your drone can support before buying something too large or too slow.

Speed is king

When buying an SD card you are going to want the card with the fastest write speed possible. However, the packaging can be misleading. It will often display the read speed instead of write. Sometimes you have to read the letters and numbers on the SD card to know it's true write speed.

Unfortunately not all SD cards will have the same way to identify their write speed on the front. However, most commonly you will see a U on them with a number inside of it. This "UHS Speed Class" rating will give you a general idea of write speed. If it has a U with a 1 in it then it will write at least 10MB per second. If it has a U with a 3 then it's 30MB per second. Unfortunately that is where the U rating stops. U-3 doesn't mean it can ONLY write 30MB, some very fast cards have a U-3 rating so you may need to dig deeper depending on your usage. Newer cards you will sometimes see a V with numbers after it such as V60. That translates to 60MB/s.

How fast do I need? Which should I get?

Do you plan on shooting bracketed raw photos? Do you plan on taking 4k video? Generally speaking anything with a U3 will do ok. However, faster is better up to a certain price point. We like cards that are around 60mb/s write speed. SanDisk is the big name in the industry. We are big fans of the SanDisk Extreme Pro and highly recommend it. If you get a SD card that is too slow your video recording will suffer and you may have errors or video that looks 'jerky'. If you have SD cards you prefer feel free to comment below!

This article is part of a series of tutorials we are developing to help drone pilots servicing the real estate industry. If you like what you've read consider joining our Drone Pilot Network

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