Camera Memory Speed
Memory Card Comparison & Performance Tests for Digital Cameras
Nikon D5300 Memory Card Slot

Nikon D5300 SD Memory Cards

The Nikon D5300 DSLR offers enthusiast photographers a well-optioned camera at a mid-level price. It shares many features with the Nikon D7100, including a relatively small buffer which can slow down continuous shooting. This means the D5300 will benefit from using a memory card with a fast write speed. In our tests, the D5300 was able achieve over 50MB/s write speed when using the fast SD cards.

D5300 SD Card Test — Write Speed

To begin fill each SD card with images to write what is essentially random data to the card and approximates actual use. We then format the card in the D5300. The camera is set to Continuous High, image format 14-bit compressed RAW (.NEF) image format and manual mode. We take a burst of 16 images of a static test scene. We measure the write speed by dividing the total bytes written by the elapsed time measured using the card access light. One megabyte is equal to 1,048,576 bytes. The test is then repeated 5 times and the average results appear below.

D5300 Continuous Shooting Test — SD Card Comparison

This test measures how many shots the D5300 can take in 30 seconds. The test is performed using three image settings: RAW+JPEG, RAW, and JPEG. In testing continuous shooting performance camera settings as well as the content of the image affect the number of shots. Our test uses a detailed test scene and camera settings to create relatively large file sizes to reveal the difference between memory cards.

RAW: 14-bit compressed (the highest RAW option on the D5300)
JPEG: Fine, Large, optimal quality

D5300 Continuous Shooting — Analysis

Here we see the D5300 is limited by its buffer. It was able to shoot the first 5 RAW+JPEG shots, 5 or 6 RAW, and at least 12 JPEG before the frame rate slowed down. This number is higher with faster cards. In JPEG mode, the fastest three cards were able to sustain full speed for the entire test. In RAW and RAW+JPEG the slower cards caused the frame rate to drop significantly after the buffer filled.

Recommended Nikon D5300 Memory Cards

The fastest card for the D5300 is the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC. It was the clear winner, averaging 53.7MB/s write speed. Close behind it are the Toshiba Exceria Type 1 and the Samsung PRO which both averaged above 51MB/s write speed. All of these cards allow the D5300 to operate at maximum potential. The Samsung has the best value, but it isn't a card officially approved by Nikon. We had no issues in our testing.

The second tier is comprised of the Toshiba Exceria Type 2, SanDisk Extreme Plus and Sony "94MB/s" (claimed read speed), all of which averaged around 40MB/s write speed. These cards offer about 80% of the speed of the fastest cards at a lower price point.

Choosing any of the slower cards will have an impact on shooting performance. There was a significant drop in the number of frames we could get in a given time, and the camera slowed noticeably after taking 6 RAW images. When trying to capture fast action you have to keep that in mind.