JnR Photography
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Best Memory Card For GoPro Hero 5 Black

Published On:
September 4, 2021
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Released in 2016, the GoPro Hero 5 Black is regarded as the best-selling GoPro of all time. With that being said, it's still a very capable action cam even for 2021 standards.

With the Hero 5 Black releasing nearly 6 years ago - time and technology have progressed substantially. So what's the best memory card for GoPro Hero 5 Black?

We will discuss resolution, frame rates, memory card capacities, and memory card speeds. We will then discuss why all of these aspects matter when purchasing a memory card for your Hero 5 Black.

By the end of this article, you'll not only know what memory card is best - you'll know why it's the best. This ultimately helps you make other memory card purchases in the future.

Let's begin, shall we?

Best Memory Card For The GoPro Hero 5 (Overview)

Here is a list of the best cards that we recommend for the GoPro Hero 5 Black.  We highly recommend that you read the rest of the article so you understand why they're considered the best.

95 MB/s
160/60 (read/write)
100 MB/s
UHS Class
U/V Class
hello world!

The Improvements Of The Hero 5 Black (Compared To The Hero 4)

When you look at the specs below - at first glance, you may think there isn't anything better about the Hero 5 versus the Hero 4.

There is some truth to that. Many of the recording resolutions and frame rates remain the same. Data rates of each resolution/frame rate stay the same time too.

There are a few pretty significant upgrades that aren't very apparent until you use them. Those include:

  • Larger memory card capacity (up to 512 GB)
  • IBIS (in-body image stabilization)
  • Waterproof (up to 33' without separate housing)

Of the three, in-body image stabilization is the most significant. I believe this was the reason Hero 5 became so successful. Not only do you have everything that the Hero 4 offered - now you have awe-inspiring stable footage. You didn't have to purchase a gimbal... it just worked very well right out of the box.

GoPro Hero 5 Black Specs (Overview)

Here is a chart that details the basic specs of the Hero 5 Black.  While there are more specs (and more that go into a GoPro Hero 5), these are the specs that matter the most.

Hero 5 Black
12MP 30FPS Burst
33 Feet
Rear Touchscreen
Wifi, Bluetooth,IBIS
hello world!

Data Rates Of The Hero 5 Black (Bitrate)

Before we dive straight into which memory card is best - I wanted to educate you a little on bitrates - their difference - and its importance. It's pretty simple if this is the first time you're learning this.

This is something you can research on any electronic that writes to a memory card. You can then apply what you're learning here to anything else (allowing you to make the memory card decision on your own).

The Difference Between MB/S And Mb/S

This is something that seems to slip (or go completely over) people's heads from time to time.

There is a huge difference between a MB and a Mb.

  • A MB is a Megabyte
  • A Mb is a Megabit

Megabits are about 8 times smaller than a Megabyte. So a different way to look at it is - for every 8 Megabits - you have 1 Megabyte.

You have to pay attention to the way a manufacturer labels their bitrates - seeing as the only difference is a capitalized B and a lowercase b.

Does this make sense? Good. Take a look at the bitrate of the GoPro Hero 5 black below.

Bitrate Of The GoPro Hero 5 Black

60 Mb/s
60 Mb/s
45 Mb/s
60 Mb/s
45 Mb/s
hello world!

So, with the GoPro Hero 5 capping at 60 Mb/s - that's Megabits (not megabytes).

Let's do the math on that really quick. This is important when purchasing your memory card - seeing as the memory card manufacturers advertise in Megabytes (MB) per second.

So, 60/8 (total Mb/s divided by the total Megabits in a Megabyte) - The total comes out to 7.5 MB/s.

That's your minimum target. While the GoPro Hero 5 records in 4k (and other resolutions and frame-rates) at 60 Mb/s - it's actually recording at 7.5 MB/s. You don't want to have a memory card slow than that number (the higher the better in most cases).

Google hosts their own conversion calculator here

Maximum Memory Card Capacity Of The GoPro Hero 5 Black

I had to do a little digging on this one. Having started with the Hero 6 myself, I knew the GoPro Hero 4 was 128GB - I assumed it was the same...

I'm glad I didn't assume... seeing as the maximum capacity of the Hero 5 is now 512GB.

This is according to GoPro themselves. Check for yourself here - Take note of the 'Hero 7 Black and older' notation.

So, the GoPro Hero 5 Black is compatible with 64/128/256/and 512GB cards.

Supported Memory Card Speeds Of The Hero 5 Black

As of right now - there are two UHS (ultra-high speed) types.

Those are UHS-I and UHS-II. UHS-III is in development right now (not sure when it'll be released and supported)

  • UHS-I have speeds capped at 104 MB/s
  • UHS-II Have speeds capped at 312 MB/s
  • UHS-II is exactly 3x faster than UHS-I

Unfortunately, the GoPro Hero 5 Black only supports 104 MB/s or UHS-I speeds.

But, don't worry - these speeds are more than fast enough for the Hero 5 Black - seeing as its bitrate is only 7.5 MB/s.

Yeah - you're good on that front.

Class 10 cards are also a must - as well as V30 rated (certified 30 MB/s continuous writing speed).

What Capacity Do We Recommend?

Seeing as you'll get roughly 2 hours and 13 minutes of video at 4k on a 64GB card...

We don't recommend anything above 128GB.

Nothing is keeping you from purchasing a larger (or smaller) card. The reason we recommend 128GB is that it allows for just over 4 hours of record time. 4 hours is about 3 full batteries at 4k.

From our experience, 3 batteries is about the max use of a GoPro on most day trips.

By that time, you're able to dump all of the data off the card and start fresh the next day.

If you find yourself shooting for more - do yourself a favor and buy more cards. We don't recommend recording everything on the same card. If the card corrupts - that means that everything on that card is gone (most likely).

It's better to have multiple cards recording at different times. This is just in case something fails and corrupts - not everything is lost. You'll still have something on other cards (have had this happen with cheap cards).

128GB is perfect for the average user. Great capacity and price point.

Best Memory Card For The GoPro Hero 5 Black

Now that we know the capacity, data rates, and the importance of each - we can now dive into the cards themselves.

Let's start with the best on the market today.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 128GB Micro SD

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In the last 7 years of photography and videography - I have never had a Sandisk card corrupt (knock on wood, right?). Yeah, there is a bit of luck involved - But we're talking about hundreds of hours of video and hundreds of thousands of photos (about 60k photos a year).

This is why I always recommend SanDisk - and, without a doubt, the reason they're regarded as the best SD card manufacturer on the market today.

  • The SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card ranges in capacity from 64GB up to 1TB (the GoPro Hero 5 only supports up to 512GB, remember that).
  • Speeds cap at about 95 MB/s (greatly exceeding the 7.5MB/s of the Hero 5 Black)
  • Class 10, U3, and V30 certified.

All of this comes in at less than $30. You can't beat that.

Oh, and if you refer back to the capacity compatibility chart on the GoPro website - they list SanDisk (and their models) as supported cards. That's another plus.

SanDisk cards are:

  • Heat Resistant
  • Water-Resistant
  • Shock Proof
  • X-ray Proof

Lexar 128GB Micro SD

[lasso rel="lexar-professional-1066x-128gb-microsdxc-uhs-i-card-w-sd-adapter-silver-series-up-to-160mb-s-read-for-action-cameras-drones-high-end-smartphones-and-tablets-lms1066128g-bnanu" id="2138"]

Lexar cards are also supported and tested by GoPro.

This is another brand of card that I use exclusively in my drones. The reason for this is only timing. Lexar is equally as reliable as SanDisk - but at the time the cards I have were cheaper than the SanDisk version.

Lexar discloses and claims to have 160MB/s read and 60 MB/s write speeds. Far exceeding the requirements of the Hero 5.

It's also U3, Class 10, and V30 certified.

I haven't had a single issue out of Lexar cards that I have. They just work - even when recording inside of my drones in the winter months - about 200 ft in the air (or more).

You can expect the same performance on your Hero 5 Black - submerged in cold water too (similar to the temps in winter months at higher altitudes).

Lexar cards are:

  • Heat Resistant
  • Water Resistant
  • Shock Proof
  • X-ray Proof

Samsung 128GB EVO Select

[lasso rel="samsung-mb-me128ga-am-128gb-100mb-s-u3-microsdxc-evo-select-memory-card-with-full-size-adapter" id="2139"]

I thought I would give you a third option - and for those who're Samsung fans.

All of my non-SD cards (drives) are Samsungs. We're talking external mechanical, SSDs, internal mechanical, internal SSDs, and NVME's.

I've had great luck with Samsung since I purchased my first EVO SSD in 2012. I have been purchasing EVO's exclusively ever since.

It's also worth noting that this SD card is the highest (and most) rated SD card on Amazon. With 147,000+ reviews totaling 4.5 stars... that has to speak for itself.

I can only assume their reliability and performance only matches their hard drives.

These are a little bit pricier than SanDisk and Lexar - but you're getting EVO performance - something that's highly respected.

U3, Class 10, and V30 certified.

All Samsung SD cards are:

  • Shock Proof
  • Water-Resistant
  • X-ray proof
  • Heat Resistant

Stop Using SD Card Adapters!

SD card adapters are the small plastic adapters that your micro SD card slides into, making it a normal-sized SD card.

I never recommend them. You wouldn't recommend them either if you've had them break or get stuck in your equipment.

They have a tendency to split down the center seam - causing the slightest shift in size. This will lead to it getting stuck in a camera or reader (if the card is pushed all the way inside of a device).

They also break in a camera bag from time to time. If you rely on this to offload to your computer - you would be out of luck. Relying on this adapter isn't good practice.

Purchase a real card reader that reads the micro SD in its true non-adapted form. This will lead to more reliable transfer speeds and you won't have to worry about an adapter at all.

They run about $25. Do yourself a favor and purchase one if you already don't have one.

That About Does It!

I think we covered everything on this one.

You know the improvements over the Hero 4, the Hero 5's data rates (and the difference between MB and Mb), its storage capacity, and how all of this matters when purchasing a memory card.

We then gave our recommendations for memory cards for the GoPro Hero 5 Black.

You now have the knowledge and confidence to make an educated purchase for your Hero 5 Black and for other electronics in the future!

Here are a couple of related articles you may be interested in regards to shooting videos.

If there is anything I missed or you need more clarification on, please feel free to reach out and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!

Until next time, be safe out there and keep learning and creating!

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