Buying a drone is a tricky task, and after determining which model is best for you, you must then select an SD card that will meet all your needs.
You don’t have to break the bank to buy the costliest; instead, use your judgment to get the one that’s right for your drone and your needs.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro requires Micro SD cards. They need to support Level 3 speeds and have enough storage space to hold all the information the drone produces over a full day of recording and image-taking.
To do that, even though we all know that many more batteries are frequently consumed, we will assume that a full working day will require a minimum of three batteries.
In this article, we will teach you how SD cards are categorized by their size, reading speed, and capacity. This way, you will be able to choose the one that is most convenient for your needs.
Furthermore, we will see some examples of storage needs and tell you which SD cards are officially recommended by DJI.
Let us start!
Top 5 SD Cards for DJI Mini 3 Pro
We’ll get straight to it and show you the top SD cards for your drone because we know many of you could be in a hurry.
To be able to make an informed choice regarding which one to purchase, we do, however, strongly advise that you read the entire article.
We have compiled a list of the top 5 Micro SD cards that you can use with your drone, as there are many different types available.
Keep in mind that all of them are officially supported by DJI, therefore, whichever option you select, there won’t be any compatibility issues.
1. SanDisk Extreme Pro
We begin our selection of the best Micro SD cards with a card made for professionals.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro offers superior reading and writing speeds. This card is perfect for you if you are one of those people that constantly transfer data from your drone to your computer.
Besides its dizzying speeds, the SanDisk Extreme Pro withstands high and low temperatures, is waterproof, shock-resistant, etc.
|Reading Speed||170 MB/s|
|Writing speed||90 MB/s|
Depending on your storage needs, we recommend any of these three:
2. SanDisk Extreme
Our second choice is the SanDisk Extreme, an SD card that is quite comparable to the first one but is more reasonably priced.
Reading and writing speeds from the SanDisk Extreme series are a little bit lower than those from the Extreme Pro version. However, their cost makes them affordable for all budgets.
These cards were created to be utilized in any scenario. They are therefore resistant to X-rays, high and low temperatures, water, etc.
Despite not being the quickest, the reading and writing speeds offer excellent value for the money.
|Reading Speed||150 MB/s|
|Writing speed||70 MB/s|
These are our recommendations:
3. Kingston Canvas Go! Plus
Let us continue with more Micro SD cards recommended for your Mini 3. The performance of the Kingston Canvas Go! Plus is comparable to that of the earlier cards.
They deliver the same performance as the SanDisk Extreme Pro.
A nice thing about these cards is that the manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty.
They also can be used in high and low temperatures, so it doesn’t matter if you want to fly in the cold mountains or the hot deserts.
|Reading Speed||170 MB/s|
|Writing speed||90 MB/s|
These are the ones we recommend:
4. Lexar 633x
We prepared our final two suggestions for those of you with a limited budget in mind.
The Lexar 633x has significantly slower reading and writing speeds than the Micro SD cards that we have previously suggested.
However, we understand that not everybody requires a professional-grade SD card (although we do recommend them).
Depending on the model you choose, the reading and writing rates vary slightly, but all Lexar 633x cards meet the requirements for drones that record in 4K resolution.
|Lexar 633x 128 GB||100 MB/s||45 MB/s|
|Lexar 633x 256 GB||100 MB/s||45 MB/s|
|Lexar 633x 512 GB||100 MB/s||70 MB/s|
Here are the Lexar 633x options that we recommend to you:
5. Samsung Evo Plus
Samsung is a well-respected brand worldwide. Their Samsung Evo Plus SD cards are one of the most popular among drone pilots due to their reasonable price and great performance.
The numerous favorable ratings they have on Amazon are convincing evidence that these Micro SD cards are a good investment. But do not expect the fastest speeds.
|Reading Speed||95 MB/s|
|Writing speed||20 MB/s|
These popular SD cards include the adapter. Have a look at our recommendations below:
SD Card Comparative Chart
|SanDisk Extreme Pro 512 GB||170 MB/s||90 MB/s|
|SanDisk Extreme 512 GB||150 MB/s||70 MB/s|
|Kingston Canvas Go Plus 512 GB||170 MB/s||90 MB/s|
|Lexar 633x 512 GB||100 MB/s||70 MB/s|
|Samsung Evo Plus 512 GB||95 MB/s||20 MB/s|
SD Card Categories
SD card technology has been on the market since 1999. We have been using this technology on our phones for more than a decade, so why do we find it so difficult to select one for our drones?
The answer to the question is simple; there are many types of SD cards, so it can be confusing.
We’ll examine the 3 categories for SD cards next. It will be simpler for you to determine which one is best for your drone operations if you are aware of the types.
Soon your DJI Mini 3 Pro will be ready for take-off!
Categorized by their capacity:
SD cards have a storage capacity of 2GB to an amazing 128 TB. The card’s capacity is crucial because if you select a number lower than what you require, you will not be able to store all the information collected during the flights.
- SDSC: These were the first ones to come out and only allow you to store up to 2 GB of data.
- SDHC: From 2 GB up to 32 GB.
- SDXC: These offer a big leap in capacity, from 32 GB up to 2 TB.
- SDUC: The ones that offer the biggest capacity, from 2 TB up to 128 TB.
Categorized by their reading mechanism:
The reading mechanism gives us the reading and writing speeds, a key factor on your SD card if you want to record video at 4K resolution.
- Standard: Reading speeds of up to 12.5 MB/s.
- High-speed: 25 MB/s, double the speed of a standard SD.
- UHS-I: 50 MB/s, once again, double what the previous card offered.
- UHS-II: 156 MB/s, triple the speed of a UHS-I.
- USH-III: 312 MB/s in full-duplex (double the speed of a UHS-II), 624 MB/s in half-duplex (four times the speed of a UHS-II).
- Express: These are the fastest SD cards by far. They provide reading speeds of 985 MB/s in full-duplex (more than 3 times the speed of a UHS-III card in full-duplex).
Categorized by their size:
You need to take into account every category before you purchase an SD card, but if you make a mistake on this one, the card will not fit in the drone, and you will not be able to use it.
- Standard: The original SD card size. It’s now only used, for example, in DSLR cameras. Measurements: 32.0×24.0x2.1 mm (1.260×0.945×0.083 inches).
- Mini: The most used in the old generation of phones. Measurements: 21.5×20.0x1.4 mm (0.846×0.787×0.055 inches).
- Micro: These are used in the vast majority of drones.Measurements: 15.0×11.0x1.0 mm (0.591×0.4333×0.039 inches).
Does the Mini 3 include an SD card?
As is standard for DJI drones, none of the packages you can purchase for the Mini 3 include an SD card.
But don’t worry, this is more practical for you. Advantageously, the drone manufacturer does not require you to use a certain SD card, as each drone pilot has different requirements.
What SD Card do I need for the Mini 3 Pro?
Now that you know the basics of SD cards, it’s time to focus exactly on which one you need for your Mini 3 Pro.
Because your drone records at a 4K resolution, your SD card needs to be fast enough to be able to store this kind of data.
As a result, the SD card for your Mini 3 needs to support Speed Class 3, which is included in the reading mechanism UHS-I.
You can buy an SD card with higher reading and writing speeds, but never lower than those required by the drone.
If the reading and writing speeds of your SD card are lower than those recommended by the manufacturer, the resulting video files will likely be corrupted.
You must also consider the capacity of the SD card when you buy one. You will need to consider what you are going to do with your drone and how long you are going to use it.
For example, if you needed to store data for a whole workday, which may require 12 to 15 batteries, you would need an SD card with enough storage to keep up with the demand.
As an alternative, you could keep all the information from the whole workday on two or more SD cards.
As we’ve seen, your DJI Mini 3 Pro requires an SD card that is micro in size. These cards are the smallest on the market, the ones used in smartphones, and usually come with an adapter from micro-SD to SD.
Before you purchase one, make sure that it includes the adapter as you never know when you’re going to need it.
For example, many laptops only include an SD card reader, which means that if you don’t have an adapter, your computer will not be able to read your card (unless you have something else to read it with, like a USB stick).
Storage Example for Video
We can determine the video storage requirements for our drone by looking at the chart below, which provides some approximations of the data resulting from the video files.
|Video length||Size at 4K/60 FPS – 150 Mbps|
|60 seconds||1.09 GB|
|5 min.||5.45 GB|
|10 min.||10.9 GB|
|30 min.||32.7 GB|
|1 hour||65.4 GB|
|5 hours||327 GB|
|8 hours||523 GB|
The battery of the Mini 3 Pro usually lasts around 20 minutes. This means that 15 batteries would give us an approximate flight time of around 5 hours.
Therefore, we would need 327 GB of storage if we were to record constantly during those five hours (I know, it usually doesn’t work like that). In this case, we would have two clear options:
- We could buy a 512 GB Micro SDXC card to store all the data.
- We could buy two 256 GB Micro SDXC cards to segment the data.
Both options offer advantages and disadvantages. For instance, having a single SD card makes things simpler, but if something goes wrong with it, we risk losing all the work.
On the other hand, having to switch SD cards in the middle of the day could be problematic, but if we ran into any problems, we wouldn’t lose it all. Additionally, buying two SD cards is more expensive.
The extreme nature of the example is only meant to aid in your comprehension of what you need. A 64 GB SD card should likely be sufficient if you just have three batteries, however, we do advise that you play it safe and purchase one with at least 128 GB.
Storage Example for RAW Images
The auto-exposure bracketing (AEB) mode involves taking multiple photos at various exposures to produce an HDR image. This technique results in great images, but it comes with a toll.
As for every photo we take, the drone will require numerous copies, we’ll need a lot more storage to keep them all. If these photographs are captured in RAW format, the file size will increase even further.
Let’s have a look at the following chart:
|Number of 48 MP (RAW) photos||File size of a RAW image on an SD card||File size of a JPG on an SD card|
|1||94 MB||16 MB|
|5||470 MB||80 MB|
|7||658 MB||112 MB|
|15||1.4 GB||240 MB|
|50||4.7 GB||800 MB|
|100||9.4 GB||1.6 GB|
|500||47 GB||8 GB|
|1000||94 GB||16 GB|
Using the chart as a guide, we can confidently state that you will not require a micro-SD card with a capacity greater than 128 GB if you plan to capture only photos in raw format.
To use that capacity to the fullest, you would need to take 1361 photos in RAW format at a resolution of 48 megapixels (4:3), which is the maximum supported format for the Mini 3.
In other words, a 128 GB Micro SD is more than enough for a full day of work if you only intend to take photos in RAW format and no videos whatsoever.
So, Which SD Card Does the Mini 3 Pro Require?
You most likely already know what kind of micro-SD card you need to get for your Mini 3 Pro by now. But I will tell you straight up, nonetheless.
The ideal micro-SD cards for your DJI Mini 3 Pro have a storage capacity of at least 128 GB, are micro-sized, and deliver Speed Class 3.
As we have previously stated, it is generally advisable to purchase one with a storage capacity of 256 GB if you intend to work with video for extended periods. However, a storage capacity of 128 GB will be more than enough for most users.
Pilot, that is all for today! How did you find this article? If you enjoyed it, keep in mind that there are a ton more available for reading here on Droneblog.