If you own an Air 2S, like me, perhaps just simply flying the drone isn’t enough. You might like to capture pictures and videos.
With its 5k video capabilities and 1 inch, Sony image sensor producing excellent quality 20mp photos, both video and photos on the Air 2S are excellent, with many visual professionals using the Air 2S daily.
To handle all of the photos and videos that can be taken with the Air 2S, there is an internal 8GB of storage (for those who might forget their SD Cards at home) and support for Micro SD Cards up to a maximum of 256 GB, according to DJI.
To ensure you can capture the best quality photos and videos on your Air 2S, you will need a Micro SD Card that is Class UHS-I with a U3 rating, with a maximum storage capacity of 256 GB.
We will go through general SD card information, recommendations, and possible issues in this article.
What do the numbers on SD cards mean?
What do the wording and numbers on the cards mean (UHS-I, U3, etc.) and how do they affect video recording performance? We’ll dig into this a little while keeping it as easy to understand as possible.
UHS-I & UHS-II Cards
UHS stands for Ultra High Speed, which is all about how the card handles recording video.
With the onset of 4k, cards needed to have higher minimum sustained writing speeds than was previously available. UHS-I cards are high-speed cards with a single-row interface of embedded pins.
Like UHS-I cards, UHS-II cards are high-speed cards. Unlike the UHS-I cards, however, the UHS-II cards have a double-row interface of embedded pins and are also faster.
What’s worth noting is that, although faster, devices (cameras) would need to have SD Card slots that read the extra row of pins.
The Air 2S can only read one row of pins, thus gaining no speed benefit from UHS-II cards. Because of this, the UHS-I route is the way to go.
U1 & U3
U1 and U3 are the UHS speed class ratings.
UHS Speed Class 1 supports 10MB/write speed as a minimum, with the UHS Speed Class 3 having a minimum of at least a 30MB/write speed.
These numbers are significant as, if you are planning to film in 4k, a U3 card is generally required. The speed class of the card is marked on the actual SD card as a bucket with a 1 or 3 contained in it.
Even if you are not planning on filming 4k+ video, having U3 cards, with a speed advantage over U1 cards, is beneficial at times for taking pictures.
The speed benefit for taking pictures on the Air 2S comes into play when doing 3-5 frame AEB (auto exposure bracketing) and 20 MP burst shooting, as the images in these modes write to the card quickly, eliminating the noticeable pauses in slower U1 cards.
What do these classifications and designations actually mean to those wanting to take pictures and get 4k footage with their Air 2S?
It means that you’ll want a UHS-I U3 card for your Air 2S. Without going into all of the intricate milli-this, second-that information, you’ll want to purchase the fastest, best quality card that is in your budget.
As long as you get the UHS-I U3 card, you’ll be able to capture everything you need on your Air 2S.
You might be tempted to purchase a UHS-II card, but remember, the Air 2S cannot physically benefit from the extra row of pins in the card’s interface, so currently, you’d be spending extra money for an unusable speed gain.
If you are planning on JUST taking pictures and not filming any video, you can get away with a U1 card, but the price between a U3 and U1 card is pretty negligible, so purchasing the faster card will still be the best route to go.
DJI Recommended SD Cards
Being that DJI is the manufacturer of the Air 2S, it makes sense to consider the SD cards they recommend.
Why is this the case? DJI is well aware of the strengths of their hardware and knowing such, they can recommend devices that play to, instead of hampering, those strengths.
Below is a listing (with links and pictures) of DJI’s SD Card recommendations, as well as useful product information.
The SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card is made for conditions we might find our drones in. They are reportedly Temperature proof, Waterproof, and Shockproof.
Like the SanDisk Extreme Pro series, the High Endurance line is likewise Temperature proof, Waterproof, and Shockproof. The cards are designed for worry-free recording for 5,000 hours (for the 64GB version).
Built for tough weather conditions, the Extreme series has read speeds up to 160MB and write speeds up to 60MB, perfect for 4k video recording and burst modes on the Air 2S. These features apply to the 128 & 256 GB versions as well.
Specifically designed for action cameras and drones, this line of cards can store 12 hours of 4k video, 40 hours of 1080p video, and approximately 75,000 photos.
In addition to being waterproof, shockproof, temperature proof, and X-ray proof, the EVO Select and the Evo Plus series are also magnetic proof. Top this with read speeds up to 100MB and write speeds up to 60MB, this card will record 4k UHD videos with ease, while keeping memories safe.
Made for action cameras and drones, the Kingston series has transfer speeds up to 170 MB and supports the A2 App Performance Class. This series of cards is water, x-ray, temperature, shock, and vibration proof.
The Netac line of cards, while being quick, is ideal for drones as they are water, temperature, X-ray, and magnetic proof.
As someone that uses the Air 2S professionally, for both photography and video projects for clients, I have quite a few SD cards on hand, at all times. As such, below are some of my recommendations for SD cards and accessories that might make life a little easier when it comes to footage and photo management.
For all of the years I have been using drones and cameras, I have always used the SanDisk Extreme line of cards as my primary SD cards.
I currently still use the 128GB capacity cards, as those were the ones I started out with years ago when drones had a maximum capacity of 128GB. Because the cards work so well, previously I never saw a need to upgrade.
The Extreme line of cards is quick, durable, high quality, and budget-friendly as well. As I add more cards for the Air 2S in the future, I do plan to get the maximum 256GB capacity, to utilize the Air 2S’ maximum card capacity to the fullest.
For backups, I use a combination of Samsung Evo and SanDisk 64GB cards. All of these smaller capacity cards work well.
SD Card Holder
It is oftentimes suggested by many who take drone photos and videos to have at least a backup SD card or two on hand at all times.
SD cards can get left in computers or fail. The old adage “better safe than sorry” comes into play here. With the cost of SD cards being reasonable these days, having multiple cards is a no-brainer.
To keep backup SD cards organized and not jingling around like spare change in a front pants pocket, there are quite a few types of SD card holders online.
My personal favorite is the one I use below that holds 10 Micro SD cards and one SD card converter or Mini SD card. I use this same setup for all of the drones I own.
This particular card holder I use is about the size of a credit card and fits easily and quickly into any drone case or bag I am using, as well as in a front or back pocket when I’m traveling light. A similar model to the one I use can be found on Amazon.
Reported SD Card Issues
Periodically, you just might encounter an odd error or two with an SD Card used in the Air 2S. Many, if not most of these errors/issues are either related to the physical card or the file system the card is formatted in.
Below are some of the issues one might have with an SD card.
SD Card Full
Some Air 2S users have reported this issue in various forums, although the card is actually empty. This is an error whose origin is difficult to pinpoint, but easy to fix.
To fix the SD FULL issue that may pop up on the Air 2S Remote Controller, it is advised you simply reformat the card.
- In the DJI Fly app, go to the Settings Menu.
- Go into the Camera Tab.
- Scroll down to the Storage Location and select Format.
- Choose the SD Card and then Format.
After the card has been formatted within the DJI Fly app, there should be no more SD Card Full error messages.
Sometimes, even with all of the correct video settings chosen at the time of recording, we might find that our video when played back is jittery or stuttering.
This can be caused by the SD card.
If you have jittery video:
- Ensure you are using a UHS-I U3 card, as these specifically handle 4k (you might be using a slower U1 version card)
- Swap out your current SD card with a backup and see if the problem persists. Although newer SD cards are durable, there can be an issue with that particular card
- Reformat the SD card with the steps listed above