Figuring Out SD Cards for Trail Cameras: Full Monty

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Buying new or extra SD cards for Trail Cameras needs careful thinking. The cheapest or most readily available ones might not be right for a given camera. We will show you why the manufacturer’s recommendations are important.

SD cards come in different types and different classes. Read on to get an idea of what these mean.

What Types of SD Memory Cards Are There?

Four basic types of SD cards for Trail Cameras are made using different electronic filing systems. Make sure that you are using the correct one for your make of camera.

  • SDHC CARDS Most Trail Cameras are using SDHC cards, storing between 2GB and 32GB of data. These cards use the FAT32 filing system to format and store information. For example, a 16GB SD card can store more than 10,000 images.
  • SD CARDS These were the first SD cards, and hold only between 128MB and 2GB. Their filing systems are the older FAT12 or FAT16 versions.
  • SDXC CARDS (AND SDUC CARDS) SDXC cards store between 32GB and 2TB (that’s 2 Terabytes) of memory. They use the latest exFAT filing system. May be useful if you wanted to take long video footages. SDUCs store between 2TB and 128TB, far more than a Trail Camera needs. They also use exFAT.

What Are SD Card Classes?

SD card Classes are the minimum speed of writing to the card. SD Classes aren’t always shown clearly or explained well. Why is that something you will want to know?

The minimum speed of sending pictures to the card determines the speed of the camera. The image sensor is the screen the lens projects onto, converting a picture into digital. Then the digital information has to be written into the card and stored.

The Class of card is graded by how fast it can do this. Class 2, 4, 6 and 10 cards are available: the number is megabytes per second. A Class 6 card writes at 6MB per second, Class 10 at 10MB per second.

Performance Is Affected by Class

These speeds are sustainable minimums, sometimes you will get higher speed. While the card is being written to, the Trail Camera can’t take more pictures. With a photo-burst, high Class means more, closer pictures.

The faster the card records images, the quicker the image-sensor can take another photograph. Higher quality images use more data, so take longer to write. Higher Class SD cards are better then, because they won’t slow the camera.

This is crucial to performance: imagine a top-range model with a Class 2 card. The technology for crisp, clear, rapid-succession photos is there, but it’ll be too slow! Like an Indy 500 racer with a 500cc motorbike engine…


To maximize the capabilities of a Trail Camera, use Class 10 SD cards whenever possible. Higher is better. Use the type – SDHC or old SD usually – the camera model is made for.

Both standard size SD cards and MicroSD cards have different Classes. Which size you use depends on the camera. However, with an adapter you can put a MicroSD in a standard slot.

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