Here is an overview of the cards we're going to cover in this article. We highly recommend reading the rest of the article to understand why they're considered the best.
There are quite a few features about the Hero 7 that remain the same over the Hero 6. The main consistent feature is the frame rates over resolution in the upper end of the action camera.
This would be 4k60/2.7k120/1440p120/1080p240
These resolutions and frame rates were present in the Hero 6 and remain the same in the Hero 7. It's worth noting there are minor changes to resolutions and frame rates in the middle of the resolution range.
Bitrates have remained the same as well. We will get into them in more detail here in a moment - but, bitrates remaining the same isn't a bad thing.
The biggest improvement of the Hero 7 Black over the Hero 6 is the introduction of Hypersmooth. This is a significant improvement in image stabilization over any other model in the past.
This is the very reason I upgraded from the 5 to the 7. The upgrade was justified - the image stabilization is incredibly impressive (especially compared to other action cameras or even a DSLR on a gimbal).
If you're wondering what SD cards are compatible with the GoPro Hero 7 Black - here are some of the key 'features' of an SD card that are required (or at least recommended). These features include:
The maximum card capacity for the GoPro Hero 7 Black is 512GB. This is according to GoPro themselves. Refer to the *Hero 7 black and older* part of the page.
You may know what bitrates are. If you do, great! You can skip ahead a couple of sections. If not - continue reading to learn what it is and why it's so important when recording video.
Bitrate is the data rate at which your device records what it's capturing to your card. This rate is different for every device - so it's important to do your own research on what the bitrate of your device is.
Don't worry - we will go over the bitrate of the GoPro Hero 7 Black here in a second.
But, the reason bitrate is so important is because you have to ensure that your memory card meets or exceeds this rate. If your device's bitrate is 30 MB/s - your card should write at 30 MB/s or more (it's highly recommended to exceed the bitrate of your device).
The reason we recommend exceeding the bitrate of your device (memory card write speeds) is that you won't be stressing the bandwidth of the card as much... effectively extending its lifespan.
This idea is no different than anything else in life. You don't want to work anything too hard (or overwork) - it reduces its lifespan and ultimately becomes unreliable.
Reliability is the ultimate benefit of exceeding the bitrate of your device when purchasing a memory card.
As stated at the beginning of this article, the GoPro Hero 7 Black doesn't change over the Hero 6 in the bitrate department.
At the top end of resolution and frame rates - the bitrate remains 78 Mb/s. The bitrate then drops depending on the combination of frame rates and resolution.
Refer to the chart above for specifics.
This is something that's overlooked by a lot of creatives. When they see mb/s, MB/s, and Mb/s - it's easy to assume they all mean the same thing - Megabytes per second, right?
Well - that couldn't be any more wrong. Those three acronyms are related - but represent completely different sizes in terms of data.
Since we're dealing with Mb/s, we'll focus a bit more on that.
The simple way to explain it - there are 8 Mb to every MB. So in theory, a Mb is 8 times smaller than a MB.
This is so important because all memory card manufacturer displays read/write speeds in MB/s. So when you see the bitrate of the Hero 7 at 78 Mb/s - it's quite easy for someone to assume it's 78 MB/s - when in reality it's much smaller than that.
If you do the math really quick - 78 Mb/s divided by 8 (number of Mb in a single MB) - you get 9.75 - or 9.75 MB/s.
9.75 is much smaller than 78. 9.75 MB/s is the target speed of the memory card you should purchase for this particular device (again, we recommend exceeding this).
Every card on this list far exceeds the 9.75 MB/s bitrates of the GoPro Hero 7 Black.
Going forward - be sure to pay close attention to the acronym and the size of each letter - upper or lower case can make all of the difference.
Seeing as the Hero 7 black accepts cards as large as 512 GB - what do we recommend? The 512 GB, right?
No - we encourage you to steer clear of anything larger than 128GB. Let us explain why.
There is a failure rate for every card on the market. It comes down to luck, honestly. You could go years or decades without a bad or corrupt card - then one random your card could go bad (even right after you purchase a brand new one). There is no real way to know if you're going to draw the straw for a bad card.
With this being said - you wouldn't want all your eggs in the same basket. Meaning you wouldn't want 500+ gigs of footage on the same card - and then the card fails. To put that into perspective - 512GB would be between 15 and 30 hours of footage (depending on resolution). You wouldn't want to lose that.
We recommend 128GB because it's the sweet spot between too much storage/time (about 3 hours at 4k60) and price. This gives you the ability to purchase more cards to break up your footage.
You can't really know when/if your card is going to go bad - but you can mitigate the amount of 'damage' if it does happen by spreading data across multiple cards instead of one.
Now we're moving into the meat and potatoes of the article. This is what you came here for, right?
Before we just tell you - we thought it would be fitting to mention the brands that we recommend and why we recommend them.
We currently work with and recommend 4 SD card brands. 3 of them sell micro SD and 1 only manufactures standard SD cards. The brands are:
These are the 4 most successful and reliable SD card brands in the world today. We work with each card on a weekly basis - and have not had a single card corrupt or go bad in the last 7 years (knocking on wood right now!)
Although I have been unfortunate enough to have PNY and Transcend cards corrupt on me. It happens from time to time and it didn't surprise me - they were very inexpensive cards from brands with average to below-average reputations. It was expected, really.
Let's move on to the memory card we recommend for you GoPro Hero 7 Black.
I have been using this card in my Hero 7 Black since I purchased it.
I also use Sandisk cards in all of my cameras on a daily basis.
SanDisk has always exceeded my expectations - seeing as I have put their cards through extremes (cold, heat, and sand) - and I haven't yet had an issue. Honestly, if I had a card go bad at this point, I wouldn't even be upset... it's almost as if I feel I'm due a bad card or one to corrupt with the conditions I've put some of their cards through.
Your speeds greatly exceed the 9.75 MB/s - with the Extreme Pro coming in at 95 MB/s.
It also passes all of the video recording recommendations:
All Sandisk cards are also:
If you refer back to the SD card capacity/compatibility chart released by GoPro themselves - they list SanDisk as a tested and supported brand. With this model being included in their supported tests... only securing this as one of the best SD cards for the GoPro Hero 7 Black.
There isn't much of a better option than SanDisk - but keep reading to learn of a couple more that perform just as good (but aren't SanDisk of course).
I currently use Lexar in all of my drones.
This is through winter months at higher altitudes (200ft+)
I haven't had a single issue with a Lexar card after purchasing one.
Again, if you refer back to the card compatibility chart by GoPro - they list Lexar as a tested and supported brand.
They pass all of the video certifications and classes:
Lexar also boasts the speed of their cards at 160 MB/s reads and 60 MB/s write. This far exceeds the 9.75 MB/s bitrate of the GoPro Hero 7 black.
To top all of that off - their cards (on average) come in at about 15% less than a SanDisk equivalent.
The only 'downside' to Lexar is that they don't pack the reputation of a SanDisk card. This is all completely subjective and only affects those who're diehard SanDisk fans.
You can't go wrong with a Lexar card.
Samsung seems to make something for everything. From televisions, monitors, and refrigerators, to hard drives and memory cards - they seem to have their hand in everything electronic.
Their micro SD cards don't fail in this aspect either.
Coming in with speeds of 100MB/s it passes all of the certifications and class recommendations made earlier:
I've been using Samsung exclusively for computer storage since I picked up their EVO SSD back in 2013.
The reputation of this SD card is apparent in the Amazon market. With the most reviews out of any SD card on the market (147,000+) - with an average rating of 4.5 stars... that pretty much speaks for itself.
I currently have this Micro SD card(s) on backup. Not because it's worse than either of the ones mentioned previously... but because the other cards stay in my devices. I just know if I needed them - this Samsung card would perform just as well as the other cards I have.
It's worth stating that a Samsung EVO micro SD card is about 30% more expensive than a SanDisk. This may turn some of you off of the idea of purchasing one - which I can understand. But, if you're a diehard Samsung fan or want one of the single most highly regarded SD cards on the planet - the EVO select may be for you!
There isn't a worse situation than either losing your data or not being able to transfer data from your card to your computer.
Well, adapters can do those things - and at times both of them (including damaging equipment).
Micro SD card adapters are the plastic pieces that look like standard SD cards where you micro card slides into. Thus, turning your micro card into a standard one.
This is great in theory - but in practice, it can be a nightmare.
Adapters have a tendency to break inside camera bags. I mean, they're cheap pieces of plastic and not rigid since they're missing much of the internals that makes a real standard card rigid.
They also have the tendency to split. There isn't much keeping the adapter together - and it's put together like a sandwich. Well this sandwich can split - leaving you with a useless adapter.
To top it all off - if the adapter twists but doesn't break - its shape is now altered. Even the slightest shift from 'completely flat' can lead to the card snagging inside of a reader or camera. This results in the adapter getting stuck in whatever you have it in. You have to try to get it out yourself (with a possibility of damaging whatever it's in and the card itself) or have it professionally removed.
Do yourself a favor and purchase a dedicated micro sd card reader. They're very inexpensive (less than $20) - and will result in more reliable and faster transfers.
Also, if you're using micro SD cards in a device that requires a standard SD card (with an adapter) - pleeeease purchase a standard card as soon as you can. I won't even get into the horror stories I have witnessed because someone wanted to save a few dollars.
There you have it folks!
Not only do you know what the best sd card for GoPro Hero 7 Black is, you also know its maximum card capacity, the importance of bitrate and how important it is when determining the best card.
The best part, you can use this same idea to make a memory card purchase for any electronic device in the future. Remember, pay close attention to the acronym the manufacturer uses and compare that to the card you're considering!
Be sure to check out our other articles related to video:
If there was anything you needed from me (or anything I missed) be sure to drop me a line and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!
Until next time, take care of yourself and keep learning and creating!