What difference between Ultra and Extreme SD cards? Which one should I get?

The existing of Ultra and Extreme SD cards has been confusing a lot of GoPro users recently. However, if you look over the marketing and look closer to their spec, ones can differentiate them apart. Follow this quick guide to learn more about them.

Sandisk has been a favorite brand of SD cards and micro SD cards to us for years. Their flagship products which are the Ultra and Extreme cards advertised as one of the fastest cards on earth. Here’s how to quickly understand them, and get the right one for your job.

Summary

Memory CardRead Speed (MB/s)Write Speed (MB/s)Price
Sandisk Ultra8010*$
Sandisk Extreme10030**$$
Sandisk Extreme Pro275100$$$

*GoPro 1080/60 needs 10MB/s write speed.

*GoPro 4k60 needs 30MB/s write speed.

*100MB/s is overkill. You don’t NEED it.

Ultra SD Cards

Ultra SD cards and micro SD cards is designed for a 1080p video recording. As known as it Full HD resolution. It also records photo taken by digital cameras whatever it been JPG or RAW format. It’s cheaper, and slower than it’s cousin, the Extreme.

Full HD is the highest settings you can go with Ultra SD cards. If you use it to record even higher resolution: 4K, or 2.7K with maximum frame rates, it may freeze your GoPro, or reporting memory error.

32GB Ultra

  • Can store still 12MP photos for 4600 – 5000 photos
  • Can record 1080p/60 for up to 2 hours
  • Is perfect for 2-3 days trip

64GB Ultra

  • Can store still 12MP photos for 9,600 – 10,000 photos
  • Can record 1080p/60 for up to 4 hours
  • Is perfect for 5-7 days trip

Extreme SD Cards

Extreme SD cards and micro SD cards is designed to serve 4K videos with high frame rates. This is (almost) top of the line card from Sandisk that has the fastest read and write speed. Of course, the price is also the highest in their product line.

While their spec is higher than what average photographers need, certain photographers benefit from this Extreme cards. For examples: action and sports photographers. If you are in a situation that you need to burst your shutter for 20 RAW photos or more at once, the Extreme will help you do that easily.

32GB Extreme

  • Can store still 12MP photos for 4,600 – 5,000 photos
  • Can record 4k/60 for up to 1 hour
  • Is perfect for 1 day trip

64GB Extreme

  • Can store still 12MP photos for 9,600 – 10,000 photos
  • Can record 4k/60 for up to 2 hours
  • Is perfect for 2-3 days trip

128GB Extreme

  • Can store still 12MP photos for 19,600 – 20,000 photos
  • Can record 4k/60 for up to 4 hours
  • Is perfect for 5-7 days trip

Extreme Pro Cards

Here comes the true top of the line SD cards from Sandisk, the Extreme pro. Ok, Sandisk won’t like this but the Extreme Pro is the slightly upgraded Extreme, only on the file transfer speed. You will gain around 20% faster file transfer from SD card to somewhere else (Ex; Computers) with the Extreme Pro.

Many camera retailers will recommend you the Extreme pro because if it is the most expensive one on the shelf, not because it is best for your use. I personally don’t buy extreme pro since the faster file transfer speed only give me no more than a few seconds anyway. It is you who decide if this is worth or not.

32GB Extreme Pro

  • Can store still 12MP photos for 4,600 – 5,000 photos
  • Can record 4k/60 for up to 1 hour
  • Is perfect for 1 day trip

64GB Extreme Pro

  • Can store still 12MP photos for 9,600 – 10,000 photos
  • Can record 4k/60 for up to 2 hours
  • Is perfect for 2-3 days trip

128GB Extreme Pro

  • Can store still 12MP photos for 19,600 – 20,000 photos
  • Can record 4k/60 for up to 4 hours
  • Is perfect for 5-7 days trip

TL, DR:

If you shot 4K videos, go for Extreme, otherwise the Ultra has enough spec to serve your needs, and save you some bucks.

Sandisk is not the only brand that makes good SD and micro SD cards. Read our guide on the best SD cards for GoPro cameras for more information.

About Kain Harvey

I'm a photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. My background is engineering, so I'm good with numbers and settings. I try to focus on my strong point and give it my all. I hope you will find the benefits of my skill.

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