Once you’ve purchased a DJI Phantom 4 Pro it’s time to ask what is the best memory card for the DJI Phantom 4 Pro? There are so many choices of micro SD cards to use in the Phantom 4 Pro and it is important to use the one which best fits your needs. We’ve tried and tested a variety of SD cards in since we purchased our DJI Phantom and wanted to share which micro SD memory cards we recommend. These are the ones we personally use for our drones and which we have tried and tested in extreme conditions on our travels – these are our picks for the best SD cards for a Phantom 4 Pro!
Phantom 4 Pro and Memory Cards
The Phantom 4 Pro uses micro SD cards to store video footage and images captured on the drone. In case this is your first time using micro SD cards….they look like this:
The Phantom 4 Pro includes a 16gb Lexar micro SD card but, with recording speeds of up to 4k for video, for long term use you’ll need an micro SD card with considerably more space. There are a number of key requirements for a good memory card for the Phantom 4 Pro:
- Cost: The faster your SD cards the better, however the faster the card the most expensive the card. There is a balance to strike between cost and speed. Faster SD cards with large capacities are more expensive so we like to minimise the cost of purchasing multiple micro SD cards.
- Reliable: Reliability reduces the chance of data loss, which is super important with all your data, especially irreplaceable drone footage.
- Size: The 4k output footage from the Phantom 4 Pro takes up a lot of space on your card so it’s super important to have a large memory card capable of recording multiple batteries worth of flights. DJI list the maximum card size for the Phantom 4 Pro as 128gb, however we don’t recommend buying cards that big (see below for the reasons).
- Transfer speed (read and write): as the Phantom 4 Pro records in 4k the micro SD card needs to be fast enough to write the footage to the card. The Phantom 4 Pro writes data at 100mbps, which is broadly 15mb/s so any UHS-3 rated micro SD card will be fast enough. Any micro SD card above 45mb/s is really overkill as you won’t see the benefit for the more expensive card. Equally as important are the read speeds, which determine how long it will take to save your footage to your computer. Slow read times mean you’ll be waiting a while to save footage to your laptop.
The Best Phantom 4 ProMemory Cards
Our memory cards of choice are the Sandisk Extreme 32gb and 64gb micro SDHC memory cards which we use exclusively for our DJI drones. In our experience and opinion they are the best memory cards for the Phantom 4 Pro. We recommend the 32gb and 64gb versions of these cards as they deliver the best balance of Size, Cost and Speed. Although the Phantom Pro 4 supports up to 128gb we recommend 64gb as a maximum as it forces regular back up – in the worst case scenario where a drone is lost this minimises the loss of footage.
Phantom 4 Pro Memory Card tip: We’ve never had any data loss with the SD cards below and they’ve been super reliable despite heavy use and abuse.
Sandisk Extreme Series Cards
Why these are the best memory cards for the Phantom 4 Pro
- Speed: Both are class 3 micro SD cards with up to 90/60 MB/s read/write speeds and can easily handle the 4k video footage of the Phantom 4 Pro with no issues. Downloads from the cards are quick. We have never experienced any choppy footage with these cards. Saving the files to your backup drives is also super quick. A card with 6 to 8gb of random video/image files will save over USB3.0 to a hard drive in under 2 minutes.
- Size: As with any storage, we don’t recommend buying memory cards larger than 64gb. This is for two reasons – it forces you to:
- back up your cards frequently: which avoids any potential data loss that may occur if you have one large card with lots of footage.
- change memory cards on the drone. So if you do crash or lose your Phantom 4 Pro your loss is limited to what’s on that card, while the other footage safely in your bag on other cards.
- Cost: Both of the cards are great value for money considering the read/write speeds. You can buy faster cards (we have some recommendations below) and these will speed up your read times for backing up footage – they won’t improve video or photo recording.
Need faster cards?
If you are recording a lot of video footage on your Phantom 4 Pro a bottleneck you’ll encounter is backing up your footage to your external hard drive. Saving lots of GB’s of footage from these cards can get take time, especially when you have 4-5 to backup. In this case you might want to look at the Sandisk Extreme Pro and Extreme Plus series memory cards.
These cards offer much faster (around 40%) read speeds which will reduce your file transfer time over USB3.0 to your laptop or hard drives. This extra speed will cost more money, but for those who need the speed these are the best memory cards for the job.
Backing up: Saving files from your memory cards
As the Phantom 4 Pro records up to 4k video the size of the video files can get very big. Our files average between 1gb and 4gb each so transferring these files to your laptop/backup hard drives can become a time consuming task if you’re not careful.
For the fastest results you’ll want to use a laptop/computer with USB 3.0 ports for transferring files.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro Card Tip: Not all laptops/computers have USB 3.0 SD card readers installed (check your model) so using the built in sd card slot will be very slow for backing up your footage.
Many laptops have limited USB 3.0 ports so connecting your external hard drive and SD card reader at the same time may not be possible.
Our backup system
To solve this problem we use a simple system with minimal gear:
This is a very compact, versatile solution and should give you a fast reliable transfer method regardless of your computer setup.
Storing your DJI Phantom 4 Pro Footage
When travelling with our Phantom we backup our data to two mirrored external hard drives, which each live in separate bags to reduce the chances of losing our footage. Having duplicate copies an be a lifesaver! The file sizes are too big to keep copies on the SD cards so carrying multiple hard drives is a practical and cost effect solution.
For the best value, we recommend the Seagate Backup slim hard drives. The 2tb version of these drives are great value and are the hard drive we exclusively use. Despite heavy, regular use we’ve never had any issues with these hard drives for the last few years which we’ve used them.
We also use a rugged drive from Transcend while travelling. It’s got built in shock protection so it can definitely take a few bumps and knocks while you’re moving around.
If you’re looking for a more durable backup drive and have the budget the best rugged hard drive is the LaCie Rugged Mini, which comes in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB models. If you are accident prone we’d recommend investing in some of these!
So there you have it, our ultimate guide to the best SD cards for your DJI Phantom 4 Pro. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments