There are so many SD card varieties available, which one should you choose? SD, microSD, SDHC, Extreme SD, just to name a few, which one of these is the correct choice for your GoPro Camera. Once you have worked out which type of card to buy, then you need to decide on the size of the SD card. There are so many options.
When it comes to choosing the correct card for your GoPro camera, you only need to keep two key characteristics in mind, speed and storage capacity. The speed of an SD card determines how quickly the camera can record video and photos. The storage capacity determines how many minutes of video or how many photos you can store on your SD card. SD or Secure Digital is the technology used for this style card. SDHC stands for Secure Digital High Capacity, which is the new name for the higher capacity SD cards from 8Gb and above.
An SD card’s speed is measured in (megabytes per second) MB/s. To standardise the multitude of SD cards on the market and to make selection of speed easier, SD cards are given a speed classification. The classifications currently range from Class 2 through to class 10. Class 2 having a minimum write speed of 2MB/s and Class 10 having a minimum write speed of 10MB/s. As you could imagine, the higher the speed classification, the more expensive the SD card.
So what speed SD card do you require? A lot of HD camera manufacturers specify a minimum of a Class 4 SD card. Although this speed card will allow you to record HD video, it is barely fast enough and if some cards tolerances do not quite meet the minimum required write speed of 4MB/s your camera will not be able to record video correctly. I recommend using at least a Class 6 SD card in your GoPro HD HERO camera.
The new GoPro HD HERO2 camera has the same speed requirement as its predecessor, yet the new photo functions of the HD HERO2 require a Class 10 SD Card. The GoPro HD HERO2 can now shoot 11mega pixel photos at a rate of 2 per second in time lapse photo mode and 10 photos per second in burst mode. 11 mega pixel photos are quite large, approximately 5mega bytes, therefore you need at least 10MB/s recording speed for your GoPro to successfully record your images. SD Cards are not yet fast enough for the 10 second burst rate to record directly to the card. The GoPro HD HERO2 gets around this by storing the photos in the cameras memory and finalising the recording of the photos to the SD card after the photo burst has finished being taken.
Next decision is what size SD card should you purchase. This decision is pretty straight forward. All it comes down to is how long do you want to record video for, or how many photos do you want to take. Generally, film is going to determine the card size. With both the GoPro HD HERO and the GoPro HD HERO2, you will store approximately 1 hour of Full HD 1080p video per 8Gb of SD card storage. Action HD (ie: 720p @ 60 frames per second) has the same storage requirements. I normally recommend purchasing 16Gb SD Cards. A 16Gb SD card will allow you to record up to 2 hours of video and for quite a reasonable price. The GoPro will allow you to use a 32Gb SD Card, but this size card is generally triple the price of a 16Gb card. Therefore you are economically better off purchasing 3 x 16Gb SD Cards for the price of a 32Gb card, leaving you with 48Gb of storage in total.
Now the final decision you need to make. What brand? There are many different SD card manufacturers supplying good quality SD cards. There are also plenty of inferior SD cards available too. Generally I recommend steering clear of the cheapest SD cards. Stick to a brand you have heard of, or a brand that your Sports Action Camera shop recommends. Sandisk, Kingston, Sony, Apacer, Team and Transcend, just to name a few are all reputable brands making good quality SD cards. Shop around and choose a card that has been recommended and proven to work in your GoPro HD HERO or HD HERO2 camera.