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Sony A7R IV: Which High-Speed and High-Capacity SDXC Cards Are Best?

See my Sony wishlist at B&H Photo.

Update August 4: I purchased two Sony 128GB TOUGH cards and have been using them in the Fujifilm GFX100. BTW, they great perorming cards and very well built. From now on ther is no way I’ll buy any SDXC card that has the idiotic write tab or falls short of the TOUGH build quality (I’ve had multiple Lexar card disintegrate). It’s Sony TOUGH for SDXC cards for me from now on.

CLICK TO VIEW: Sony SF-G Tough Series UHS-II SDXC Memory Cards

...

The new Sony A7R IV has dual SDXC UHS-II card slots. The UHS-II designation means that extra pins are on the card to allow extra high speed reading and writing with cameras that support UHS-II. Cameras lacking that support read/write at slower speed.

Sony A7R IV

Terence M writes this just as I was looking into it!

What are your highly recommended SDXC cards for the Sony A7R IV? What about the Sony Tough cards, are they the best?

File size

Shooting 61-megapixel images is going to demand a lot of storage space and fast write and read times, both for writing and image review.

61 vs 42 megapixels means (61/42) * 86 MB/file ~= 125 MB per uncompressed raw file
61 vs 42 megapixels means (61/42) * 43 MB/file ~= 62 MB per compressed raw file
(assuming the same Sony 11+7 lossy compression format)

Sony 16-shot high-res mode will generate up to 16 * 125 = 2 gigabytes per capture uncompressed and still 16 * 62 = a gigabyte per capture compressed. Unless Sony comes up with a lossless compression format, guaranteed full image quality requires uncompressed format. That’s a storage disaster for both mult-shot and the 10 fps mode.

CLICK TO VIEW: Fast SDXC UHS-II camera storage cards

You’ll need a lot of storage on your computer. Consult with Lloyd for how to do that well and how to validate data integrity over time and across backups and originals on any media, Mac or Windows.

CLICK TO VIEW: High Capacity Computer Storage

Write speed bandwidth

Plus, 10 fps means 1250 megabytes per second for uncompressed raw, and still a huge storage challenge at 620 MB/sec for compressed raw. You probably won't be fond of uncompressed raw at 10 fps for that reason! The fastest cards seem to write at 200 to 300 MB/sec.

But here are some links that steer you to what look like solid options. It seems that UHS-II at high speed does not come cheap.

I don’t like to count on “up to” write speed as that can be misleading—I want to see “minimum sustained write speed” quoted—many cards don’t say. For example, the SanDisk 128GB card below claims “up to 260MB/sec” but only guarantees that it won’t drop below 30 MB/sec—8 times slower! Similarly, the ProGrade offering guarantees only 90MB/sec, which is good, but far short of its 200MB/sec max speed. The Lexar 128GB offering guarantees a minimum 90 MB/sec which is quite good.

Then there are the Angelbird offerings which confuse the issue by claiming “sustained write speeds of 260 MB/sec” in conjunction with “minimum write speeds of 90 MB/sec”—confusing, but that’s as good a performance as seems to be available—but Sony Tough series matches it.

Below are some hand-picked candidates. I’m inclined to go with Sony SF-G Tough Series UHS-II SDXC card for several reasons: (1) absence of the annoying write-protect tab, (2) almost certain compatibility, (3) guaranteed minimum 90 MB/sec. I would much prefer a 256GB capacity but with dual card slots, dual 128GB cards is perfectly viable.

Please buy using these links—it matters!

Fast 256GB SDXC UHS-II cards

Fast 128GB SDXC UHS-II cards


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