Recording media is one of the most important parts of your kit, and more often than not its skimped upon by shooters, who’d rather invest in shinier piece of metal to put their camera on, or an overpriced zoom lens. Recording media, and SD cards in particular is not something I personally think twice about. Depending on what I need, I would usually go with the fastest and most reliable option in my mind that I can afford. At the moment all my SD cards I use on the GH4 regardless of what format I am shooting is the Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB 95MB/s cards.
I like to use them as they are fast, even for the raw on my BMPCC. I have a bunch of older Sandisk Extreme PLUS cards but I only used them for audio in my Tascam. Probably an overkill, but they’ve never failed me, so I keep on using them. Recently I got a couple of Panasonic 64GB (supposedly 4K approved) and three new Transcend UHS-3’s that I need to test further.
I constantly see people using really cheap and (crap) cards in their GH4’s and 6D’s. I never understood it – why take the risk? If you’re shooting for fun, then yeah, I guess its no worth it to go with a really fast card, but for paid gigs, why would anyone skimp on SSD’s or SD cards, is beyond me. It’s just not worth the risk. Maybe I am being an idiot and subscribing too much to overpriced marketing hype from manufacturers telling me I need to buy the “fastest” cards in order not to have any problems, so I came across this SD card test for 4K video capture by LinusTechTips I found quite interesting.
They tested a bunch of SD cards varying in brands from Kingston, ADATA, Sony and Sandisk, some UHS-1, some class 10 it’s a mixed bag. They tested the cards on the GH4 in 4K and 1080p in 200Mb/s mode, and the results turned out a bit more surprising than I thought. Click the screen shot below for full size (easier to read)
Although I am not surprised the Sandisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s came on top, I am a bit disappointed with the performance of the Sony card in their test. Surely, I would have thought it would do better than ADATA, but hey – the proof is in the pudding or so they say. I think the best thing one can do is really test cards for yourself. Your particular shooting scenario may be quite different, and although I’d be hard pressed to see very different results, card batches can yield duds, and what is being shot in the frame matters to a degree especially for the ALL-I codec option in the Panasonic GH4.
So what do you guys think of this benchmark? Would love to hear what’s in your SD card holder.