As small as the micro SD card is inside your drone, it actually plays a big part in getting the shot and your overall flying experience.
The Mavic 2 Pro is capable of producing some amazing photos and videos, but if you don’t have the right memory card you could be losing quality or waiting for your memory card to finish writing before flying.
I thought I had good enough memory cars for my Mavic 2 Pro, but every time there was a really epic shot and I was taking lots of photos – I had to wait for my sd card to finish writing before taking another photo or starting a video.
I have tested and compiled a list of the best sd cards on the market for the Mavic 2 Pro. I have two of these drones and literally fly them for a living. Here is what I found on my quest for the best memory for drones.
When you are looking for the best the field quickly narrows down to just a handful of SD cards that are fast enough for your drone.
|SD Card||Type||Write Speed||Read Speed||Price (64GB)||Check Availability|
|SanDisk Extreme Pro||UHS-I, Class 3, V30||90mbps||170mbps||$15.89||Check Prices|
|Kingston Canvas Go||UHS-I, Class 3, V30||90mbps (128GB only)||170mbps||$25.99 (128GB)||Check Prices|
|Lexar 1066x||UHS-I, Class 3, V30||120mbps*||160mbps*||$19.99||Check Prices|
|SanDisk Extreme||UHS-I, Class 3, V30||60mbps||90mbps||$13.99||Check Prices|
What matters most when choosing an SD card for a drone is speed. More specifically you need the fastest possible WRITE SPEED. Most cards put on the label the read speed which is generally faster than write.
However, we are looking for write speed because that is what is going to get that epic drone shot recorded on to the sd card fastest and on to your next shot. For the most part, when it comes to your sd card READ SPEED DOES NOT MATTER!
Testing The best-rated SD Cards for Drones
Memory card manufacturers like to claim the fastest speeds possible, but many times in real life the cards can never reach the specified speeds – so I tested them.
I tested all of these cards using the Black Magic Disk Speed Test which is widely recognized as a quality benchmark when testing disk speed for video editing work.
A few things to note on my tests:
- I tested them on my laptop which has an SD card reader rated for 480mbps, which should be sufficient.
- My laptop only has a full-size SD card reader so I had to use the adapter that was provided with each card. This should not theoretically be an issue, but the drone doesn’t use the adapter so the test isn’t perfect, but should be accurate enough to pick a winner.
Drone SD Card Test Results
SanDisk Extreme Pro Real Life Speeds
- Listed Read Speed: 160mbps vs. Actual Tested Read Speed: 88.4mbps
- Listed Write Speed: 90mbps vs. Actual Tested Write Speed: 80.4mbps
Kingston Canvas Go (128GB) Real Life Speeds
- Listed Read Speed: 170mbps vs. Actual Tested Read Speed: 89.6mbps
- Listed Write Speed: 90mbps vs. Actual Tested Write Speed: 80.5mbps
Lexar 1066x Real Life Speeds
- Listed Read Speed: 160mbps vs. Actual Tested Read Speed: 97.8mbps
- Listed Write Speed: 120mbps vs. Actual Tested Write Speed: 77.8mbps
SanDisk Extreme Real Life Speeds
- Listed Read Speed: 90mbps vs. Actual Tested Read Speed: 88.3mbps
- Listed Write Speed: 60mbps vs. Actual Tested Write Speed: 59.2mbps
Best practices for SD Card Storage with Drones
Change your cards with every flight – In 6 years of flying and thousands of flights, I have only lost 2 drones. I can tell you, as much as it stings to lose a drone – losing footage hurts even worse. Somewhere crashed along HWY 1 in California sits a drone with an sd card full of epic whale footage that I could have safely had in my archives if I would have just changed the memory card between flights.
Get an SD Card Jacket and have a storage system – When I am flying my drones I like to keep it simple. I have an SD card jacket and I start the day with empty cards, those cards go into the jacket the standard way with the side that gets inserted first facing down. After I fill the card I place it in there upside down so I know it has footage on it and I don’t grab it for another flight.
Have as many SD cards as you have drone batteries (or more) – Having an sd card for every battery you have you give yourself then you can easily swap them out between flights. But if you are like me and have a charge for your Mavic 2 pro for the car you may want even more cards.
Format your SD Cards – When you first use the card and periodically (or every time if you are really OCD about it) using the DJI GO4 app. The best way to format your cards to ensure compatibility and speed is to format them with the same app you fly with. See directly below on how to format your memory cards.
How to format the SD card on the DJI Mavic 2 Pro:
- Startup and connect your drone and start the DJI Go4 App
- Enter the camera view or normal flight mode
- Press the icon with the three sliders located immediately under the shutter/record button on the right-hand center of the screen.
- Click the settings gear ⚙ that appears on the menu pop-out
- Scroll down until you see “Format SD Card”
- Following these sets ensures you have a card that is properly formatted for your drone and the SD Card will have the optimal performance.
Mavic 2 Pro SD Card FAQ:
Q: Does the Mavic 2 Pro use UHS-II SD Cards?
A: No, the Mavic 2 does not support UHS-II Cards. Spending the extra money on these micro SD Cards will not help speed when inserted in the Mavic 2. UHS-II protocol uses two sets of contacts which this drone doesn’t. The extra speed in the UHS-II comes from having a second “bus” which your drone doesn’t so it will just communicate over the single bus giving you UHS-I speeds, so save your money.
Q: How big of a memory card do I need for my Mavic 2 Pro?
A: 64GB or 32GB. I have primarily used 32GB cards and on a single flight I have NEVER filled one up while shooting the highest settings RAW photos and 4k. However, after researching, testing, and upgrading all of my drone memory cards I now have all 64GB SD Cards – but that’s only because they are like $1-2 more than the 32GB cards. There is no need for 128GB or more – change your cards out between flights, I can say it enough. Plus in many cases, two 64GB cards are just as cheap as one 128GB.
Q: What is the largest memory card the Mavic 2 Pro can take?
A: The Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom, according to DJI Specs can supports up to 128GB SD Cards, must be UHS-I, Speed Class 3.
Q: Does the Mavic 2 Pro have internal Storage?
A: Yes, the Mavic 2 Pro has 8GB of internal storage. The internal storage is capable of the highest recording settings available on the drone. However, 8GB is not enough for even a single flight for most users, it is intended to be used with an SD Card. On the positive side, it is a great fail-safe if your SD card is full mid-flight or you forgot to install one before the flight (it happens to the best of us) you can still get the shot. Just know that the footage then lives only on the internal storage until you download it.
Q: Does Mavic 2 Pro come with an SD card?
A: No, you must purchase SD cards separately for your drone.
Q: Is SanDisk Ultra or Extreme or Extreme Pro better?
A: SanDisk Extreme Pro is the best and the memory card we recommend for the Mavic 2. Extreme Pro is better than the Extreme and Ultra is the slowest. Both SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro SD Cards will work well with the Mavic 2, however, the Extreme Pro will spend less time waiting for the buffer to clear and more recording time per flight. A SanDisk Ultra card will not support the highest recordings on the Mavic 2, the drone will give you a warning if you try to use this type of card.
Q: Where does the SD card go on Mavic Pro 2?
A: The memory card is inserted into the Mavic 2 on the bottom of the drone on what is the right side when looking at the drone laying on its back. The SD slot is located under a weather-resistant rubber flap. The card is inserted with the printed face up when the drone is lying on its back.
How do I put an SD card in my Mavic Pro 2?
- The Memory card can be inserted and changed with the drone powered on, however, it is better practice to turn off the drone before inserting a memory card.
- Turn the drone on its back with the battery facing down on a flat surface.
- Open the rubber flap on the right side of the drone while it’s set on its back.
- Insert the SD card into the drone with the printed side of the sd card up and metallic contacts facing down – push in until it clicks in.
- The card can only be installed one way, if it doesn’t go all the way in, turn it over and reinsert it.
- Replace the rubber flap and get ready to fly.
- Before taking off be sure to check the DJI GO app to ensure the drone properly recognizes the sd card before taking off.
When you have good light and amazing things happening, or the battery clock is ticking – there is no time to wait for slow memory cards.
If you aren’t pushing your drone to the limits of image quality you might not even know you have the wrong SD card, but since you found this article you probably want to get the best shots possible out of your Mavic. I hope you found this helpful if you did share it with your drone friends!
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