Camera Memory Speed
Memory Card Comparison & Performance Tests for Digital Cameras
Sony Alpha A7R II SD card slot with door open

Fastest SD cards for Sony Alpha A7R II

The Sony A7R II is an update to the A7R mirrorless full-frame camera. The A7R II uses a new 42.4 megapixel sensor with backside illumination, and boosts extended ISO up to 102,400. The BIONZ X processor provides increased throughput over the previous model. Auto focus performance has also been improved and now has 399 phase detect points on the sensor that cover 45 percent of the frame. The A7R II is capable of 5fps continuous shooting with auto focus. It also incorporates 5-axis sensor-based stabilization.

The A7R II has a single memory card slot that accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC cards and supports UHS-I. To compare performance of memory cards, a total of 76 SD cards were tested in the camera. Write speed was calculated for continuous shooting of RAW images. Additional results include the number of images taken in 30 seconds of continuous shooting in RAW+JPEG, RAW and JPEG image modes. An analysis has further details about the results. Fastest and recommended SD cards for the A7R II are provided using the results from these tests.

Sony A7R II Camera Details & Settings

Tests are performed with the A7R II mounted on a tripod. A manual lens is used. A remote release with timer function is used to provide 30 second intervals. The subject is a detailed test scene with controlled lighting. Manual focus is set using live view at maximum magnification.

Write speed is the total amount of data written to the card divided by the write time. Write time can be estimated by using the card access light alone, but applying a correction factor provides improves accuracy. Write speed calculations using continuous shooting shot intervals of several different SD cards showed slightly higher write speeds compared with using the card access light to determine write speed. This is because the light is on longer than data is actually written to the card; the light turns on before the first file is actually written to the card. The difference can be accounted for by using a correction factor, which for these tests was estimated at 0.81 seconds. Although it made no difference in comparing cards (the relative performance remained the same) it provides greater accuracy when comparing card performance with other cameras.

For the write speed test, each card was tested at least 3 times and the results were averaged. Write speed is provided in megabytes per second, where 1 MB = 1,048,576 bytes. The write speed results are for RAW image format. RAW+JPEG and JPEG modes have lower write speed.

Sony A7R II SD Card Write Speed

+ Show more prices
Memory CardSize
(GB)
Average Write Speed (MB/s)Price
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GB3236.6$21.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDHC 32GB3236.6$32.95
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB3236.6$54.95
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 64GB6436.4$91.82
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 32GB3236.2$29.99
Samsung PRO Plus 32GB3236.2$24.99
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 256GB25636.2$141.58
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 128GB12836.2$63.49
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 128GB12836.1$39.95
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 128GB12836.1$69.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDXC 64GB6436.1$52.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 32GB3236.1$19.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s microSD 32GB3236.1$24.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB6436.1$34.95
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GB3236.0$20.99
SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s 32GB3236.0$16.95
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GB3235.9$113.18
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GB6435.8$29.79
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 32GB3235.8$34.95
Samsung PRO Plus 64GB6435.8$44.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GB3235.8$57.69
Toshiba Exceria Type 1 32GB3235.8$137.68
Toshiba Exceria Type 2 32GB3235.7$68.07
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 32GB3235.7$15.95
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 64GB6435.6$64.95
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 64GB6435.6$52.49
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GB3235.5$19.95
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 64GB6435.4$38.99
Transcend 633x microSDHC 32GB3235.3$24.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 64GB6435.3$27.58
Samsung PRO 32GB3235.3$29.99
Panasonic Gold 95/90 64GB6435.2$94.99
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GB3235.2$22.99
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 32GB3235.1$59.95
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GB6435.1$27.90
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 32GB3235.0$24.95
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 64GB6435.0$145.99
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 128GB12835.0$59.00
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 64GB6434.9$34.52
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GB6434.9$48.85
Samsung PRO 64GB6434.9$53.31
PNY Elite Performance 64GB6434.9$34.95
Lexar Professional 633x U3 64GB6434.7$44.95
Lexar Professional 633x U3 128GB12834.7$52.01
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GB6434.7$29.95
Lexar Professional 600x 64GB6434.7$55.14
Transcend 600x 64GB6434.5$28.99
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 64GB6434.5$29.95
Delkin Black 32GB3234.5$9223372036854775808.00
Delkin Elite 633x 32GB3234.4$18.95
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GB3234.2$24.99
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GB6434.2$41.95
Sony 94MB/s 32GB3234.1$26.29
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GB3234.1$39.79
Panasonic Gold Series 32GB3234.1$34.95
Kingston Ultimate 32GB3234.1$14.32
PNY Turbo Performance U3 microSD 32GB3233.7$19.99
PNY Elite Performance U3 128GB12833.6$44.99
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 128GB12833.4$56.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 32GB3231.8$29.99
Lexar Professional 600x 32GB3231.5$37.49
Lexar Professional 400x 32GB3229.9$13.95
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GB3228.6$189.99
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GB6428.4$27.99
Patriot EP Pro 128GB12828.4$49.99
Transcend 600x 32GB3227.2$14.95
PNY Elite Performance 90MB/s 32GB3226.9$19.95
Samsung EVO 64GB6421.3$17.95
Samsung EVO microSD 32GB3221.3$9.99
Samsung EVO 32GB3217.4$9.99
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 32GB Card 23217.3$13.25
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 32GB3213.8$11.85
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 64GB6413.7$24.29
SanDisk Ultra microSD 64GB6413.4$24.95
SanDisk Ultra microSD 32GB3213.3$13.95
Toshiba NFC 16GB1611.7$11.70

Sony A7R II Continuous Shooting

Continuous shooting results show the number of pictures taken in 30 seconds. The A7R II is set to continuous high drive mode with a remote release timer set to 30 seconds. The interval does not include buffer clearing time. Three image modes are used: RAW+JPEG, RAW, and JPEG. The JPEG setting large (42M) and fine quality. The detailed test scene produces 42.3MB RAW and 14.8MB JPEG average file sizes.

+ Show more prices
Memory CardSize
(GB)
Continuous Shooting – Images in 30 SecondsLowest
Price
RAW+JPEGRAWJPEG
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB32394662$54.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GB32394662$21.95
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 32GB32384662$19.99
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 32GB32384662$29.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 128GB128384662$63.49
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDHC 32GB32384662$32.95
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 64GB64384662$91.82
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 256GB256384662$141.58
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GB32384662$20.99
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 128GB128384662$69.95
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 32GB32384662$34.95
Samsung PRO Plus 32GB32384562$24.99
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 64GB64384562$52.49
Lexar Professional 633x U3 128GB128384562$52.01
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s microSD 32GB32384562$24.95
Transcend 633x microSDHC 32GB32384562$24.99
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 128GB128384562$56.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 32GB32384562$15.95
SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s 32GB32384562$16.95
PNY Elite Performance U3 128GB128384562$44.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDXC 64GB64384562$52.99
Toshiba Exceria Type 1 32GB32384562$137.68
Toshiba Exceria Type 2 32GB32384562$68.07
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 128GB128384562$39.95
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 64GB64384562$27.58
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GB32384562$113.18
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 128GB128384562$59.00
Samsung PRO 64GB64384562$53.31
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 64GB64384562$34.52
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GB64384562$29.79
Samsung PRO 32GB32384562$29.99
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GB32384562$19.95
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GB64384562$48.85
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GB32384562$57.69
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GB32384562$22.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB64384562$34.95
Panasonic Gold 95/90 64GB64384562$94.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 64GB64384562$64.95
Samsung PRO Plus 64GB64384562$44.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 64GB64384562$38.99
Kingston Ultimate 32GB32384462$14.32
Delkin Black 32GB32384462$9223372036854775808.00
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GB32384460$39.79
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 32GB32374562$24.95
PNY Elite Performance 64GB64374562$34.95
Lexar Professional 633x U3 64GB64374562$44.95
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GB64374562$29.95
Transcend 600x 64GB64374562$28.99
Lexar Professional 600x 64GB64374562$55.14
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GB64374562$27.90
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 64GB64374562$145.99
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 32GB32374562$59.95
Sony 94MB/s 32GB32374462$26.29
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GB64374462$41.95
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GB32374462$24.99
PNY Turbo Performance U3 microSD 32GB32374462$19.99
Panasonic Gold Series 32GB32374462$34.95
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 64GB64374462$29.95
Delkin Elite 633x 32GB32374461$18.95
Lexar Professional 600x 32GB32364262$37.49
Lexar Professional 400x 32GB32354162$13.95
Lexar Professional 633x U3 32GB32344262$29.99
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GB32344062$189.99
Patriot EP Pro 128GB128344062$49.99
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GB64344062$27.99
Transcend 600x 32GB32343962$14.95
PNY Elite Performance 90MB/s 32GB32333962$19.95
Samsung EVO 64GB64333656$17.95
Samsung EVO microSD 32GB32333559$9.99
Samsung EVO 32GB32293254$9.99
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 32GB Card 232293253$13.25
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 32GB32293147$11.85
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 64GB64283147$24.29
SanDisk Ultra microSD 32GB32283147$13.95
SanDisk Ultra microSD 64GB64283046$24.95
Toshiba NFC 16GB16262944$11.70

Analysis

The A7R II is limited in write speed. The write speed is similar to the Sony A6000 that was tested previously. The highest write speed average during continuous shooting was 36.6MB/s (averaged over at least 3 tests using each card). The speed is consistent with the lower speed UHS-I bus modes (up to 50MB/s). The A7R II does not appear to support the highest speed UHS-I mode (SDR104) that can provide up to 104MB/s. As a result, many of the faster cards perform similarly because they are limited by the camera.

Although the A7R II does not excel in write speed, it does have a generous buffer capacity. In continuous shooting, it captured 21-22 images in RAW+JPEG mode and 22-24 RAW mode at the high frame rate before shooting was delayed because the buffer was at capacity. Changing image subjects had minimal effect in the RAW buffer capacity. Faster cards provide a one to two shot advantage in buffer capacity over the slowest cards. JPEG mode buffer capacity is shots in greatly affected by the image subject. Detailed subjects such as the test scene for these tests create large JPEG files compared with images with less detail that can be compressed more. The detailed test scene provided 27-28 shot buffer capacity with card speed only accounting for a one shot difference. Less detailed subjects provided up to 47 shot buffer capacity (using the fastest cards).

After the buffer is full, the greatest difference between fast and slow cards is experienced. With the buffer full the fastest cards provide 0.7 fps in RAW+JPEG mode, 0.9 fps in RAW and 1.4 fps JPEG. Using the slower SD cards, but still Class 10, can see these numbers drop as low as 0.3 fps for RAW and RAW+JPEG, while JPEG is about 0.8 fps. Note that the image subject affects file size of JPEG images. Less detailed subjects will allow slightly higher frame rate with the buffer full (less data per shot means more shots at the same write speed).

Fastest SD Cards for the Sony A7R II

Fastest UHS-I:
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SD Card
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SD Card
Fastest UHS-II:
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II Card
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II

The fastest cards in the A7R II are the SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I and Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II cards. Their write speed was slightly above the rest, but in actual use such as continuous shooting there is little difference when using any of the faster cards. In general, if a card supports 60MB/s write speed in benchmark tests it was fast enough for this camera. If you intend to shoot 4K video at the highest bitrate you should consider a 64GB or larger SDXC U3 card.

Recommended SD cards of the cards that provided good performance in these tests, cost less than the fastest cards and meet all 4K video requirements in the A7R II:

Choosing an SD card for 4K Video in the A7R II

One important consideration when choosing a memory card for the A7R II is whether the card will support 4K video. For the highest quality 4K video (XAVC S 4L) at 100mbps, the A7R II requires an SDXC U3 memory card. The lower bitrate 4K video (XAVC S HD) 60mbps requires at least an SDXC Class 10 card. Although the highest quality 100mbps bitrate is only 12.5MB/s, the card must be able to sustain the high speed continuously and the only SD card speed rating that supports above 10MB/s is U3, which provides at least 30MB/s continuous write speed.

The A7R II's SDXC requirement actually means the card needs to be formatted with the exFAT file system. By definition SDXC cards are larger than 32GB (typically 64GB and larger) and have exFAT format. It is possible to format a 32GB or smaller SDHC card to exFAT format in a computer and it will satisfy the A7R II's SDXC requirement as long as the card also meets the other requirement (U3 or Class 10 depending on bitrate). Formatting SDHC cards in camera will change the format back to FAT32.

Of the cards tested, some cards marked U1 on the label were able to record 4K (XAVC S 4L) at the highest 100mbps bitrate: Lexar 600x U1 64GB, PNY Elite Performance U1 64GB and Transcend 600x U1 64GB. This does not mean all examples of these cards will work; it is possible these particular cards are U3 but the labels did not reflect it. (The UHS Speed Class is reported by the SD card in the in SD Status Register as UHS_SPEED_GRADE. The A7R II apparently relies on this to determine if the card is U3.) The Samsung PRO Plus U3 64GB SDXC card was not recognized as a U3 card and the camera would not allow recording 4K 100mbps bitrate video, but it would do 60mbps which only requires an SDXC Class 10 card.

UHS-I vs UHS-II cards in the A7R II

Although UHS-II cards can be used in the A7R II, the camera only supports UHS-I mode. UHS-II cards have two sets of contacts and are backwards compatible. The A7R II does not have the extra pins necessary to take advantage of the faster UHS-II interface, so these cards act like UHS-I cards and are limited to UHS-I bus speeds. UHS-II cards offer no speed benefit in the A7R II, but they can provide faster downloads in a UHS-II card reader. UHS-II cards are capable of up to 300MB/s read speed. The fastest UHS-I cards top out around 99MB/s read speed.

Sony A7R II USB cable to download from camera

Downloading images from the Sony A7R II

The A7R II has a USB 2.0 port that can be used to transfer images from the camera to a computer. The average transfer speed when downloading directly was 18.7 MB/s in MTP Mode and 23.7 MB/s in Mass Storage mode. These speeds were measured by downloading 90 RAW files (3.7GB) from a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I card in the camera to a computer with an SSD drive.

A separate card reader can be used to download images fater. A USB 3.0 card reader can provide over 90MB/s transfer speed with fast UHS-I cards, while a UHS-II reader with a fast UHS-II card can transfer over 250MB/s. See the Card Reader Reviews for tests comparing card reader speed with different memory cards.