Which cards can you use?

Here are all Nikon D-SLRs launched since 2005 – and the mem­ory card for­mats and types they use

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You can find more in­for­ma­tion about your spe­cific cam­era’s re­quire­ments in your man­ual, but here we’ve listed a rel­a­tively limited num­ber of brands and card sizes as a guide. Don’t worry if you’ve got some­thing dif­fer­ent. There may be rare in­com­pat­i­bil­i­ties, but in gen­eral one brand works just as well as an­other. It’s hard to of­fer con­crete ad­vice about mem­ory card sizes. The man­ual will list sizes avail­able at the time the cam­era was re­leased, but higher-ca­pac­ity cards re­leased later should work too. The man­ual only lists cards which have been tested by Nikon.

Com­pact Flash Type I cards are 3.5mm thick and are still used to­day. Newer cards and cam­eras use the faster UDMA in­ter­face for higher trans­fer speeds. Com­pact Flash cards come in many ca­pac­i­ties – in 2013, SanDisk launched a 256GB card.

Com­pact Flash Type II cards were 5mm thick and are no longer sup­ported by mod­ern Nikon D-SLRs – the last model to sup­port them was the D3x, which was re­leased in 2008. Most Type II CF cards were ‘Mi­croDrives’ – tiny spin­ning hard disk drives in a CF-sized case.

SD cards are the old­est and least pow­er­ful SD card type, with a max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 2Gb. You can still use SD cards in mod­ern dig­i­tal cam­eras, but their low ca­pac­ity lim­its their use­ful­ness. As a re­sult, stan­dard SD cards are rarely seen now – SDHC is the new norm.

SD HC cards are a faster, high­er­ca­pac­ity re­place­ment for the SD for­mat. Card sizes go up to 32Gb, with card speeds up to Class 10 and UHS-I. You can only use SDHC cards in cam­eras that sup­port them – and hap­pily, all Nikon D-SLRs re­leased since 2006 sup­port SDHC.

SDXC cards of­fer higher ca­pac­i­ties even than SDHC, start­ing at 64GB and go­ing up to a the­o­ret­i­cal max­i­mum of 2TB. SDXC cards typ­i­cally come with a UHS-1 speed rat­ing. You can only use SDXC cards in cam­eras that sup­port them. This in­cludes cam­eras from 2010 on.

The new XQD for­mat is de­signed for high ca­pac­i­ties and high data trans­fer speeds. So far, the pro­fes­sion­al­stan­dard D4 and D4s are the only cam­eras to use this new card for­mat. It of­fers ca­pac­i­ties in ex­cess of 2Tb and po­ten­tial trans­fer speeds of 125-500GB per sec­ond.

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