Purchasing a drone can be difficult, and once you have done so, you will need to get an SD card that meets your demands. You don’t have to buy the costliest model on the market; instead, choose one that meets your storage requirements.
Your Mavic Air 2 will need SD cards that are ‘Micro’ in size. They must have a Grade 3 speed (UHS-I) and enough storage capacity to save all the data generated by a full day of recording and shooting, which often requires three full batteries or even many more.
Today, I’ll teach you how to classify SD cards by their size, reading speeds, and capacity so you can get the one that’s ideal for you.
I will also give you my top 3 recommendations. Let’s go!
SD Card classification
SD card technology has been around since 1999, and we have had it on our phones for more than a decade.
So why is it so puzzling? The answer is simple: there are multiple types of SD cards, which makes it easy to become confused when shopping for one.
Let’s have a look at the three ways SD cards can be classified, so you can make an educated decision about which one you should get for your DJI Mavic Air 2.
SD Cards can store from 2 GB to a jaw-dropping 128 TB. Capacity is an important feature to look for when buying one.
- SDSC: The first released SD card. Allows you to store a maximum of 2 GB of data.
- SDHC: The first SD that surpassed the 2 GB capacity, with a maximum of up to 32 GB.
- SDXC: They increased the storage capacity by a huge margin, from 32 GB up to 2 TB.
- SDUC: These SD Cards offer the largest storage, from more than 2 TB up to 128 TB.
2. Read mechanism
It dictates the speed of your card, which is essential to record video at 4K resolution.
- Standard: It can read at a maximum speed of 12.5 MB/s.
- High-speed: 25 MB/s, which is double the speed of the standard version.
- UHS-I: 50 MB/S, again doubling the speed of the previous type.
- UHS-II: 156 MB/s, triple the speed found on UHS-I cards.
- UHS-III: 312 MB/S full-duplex (doubles the UHS-II card), or 624 MB/s half-duplex (four times the speed of the previous SD type).
- Express: The fastest type, reaching reading speeds of up to 985 MB/s full-duplex (more than three times the speed seen in UHS-III cards in full-duplex.
All types are important and you should know the basics, but this is imperative for you to know.
If you make a mistake in this category, the card will not fit in your drone.
- Standard: The SD card was created in this size originally. Some DSLR cameras, for example, still use it. Their measurements are 1.260×0.945×0.083 in (32.0×24.0x2.1 mm).
- Mini: The size used in old mobile phones. They measure 0.846×0.787×0.055 in (21.5×20.0x1.4 mm).
- Micro: This is the size you need for your Mavir Air 2 (or your new smartphone). They measure 0.591×0.4333×0.039 in (15.0×11.0x1.0 mm).
Remember, pilot, there are three things to consider: Capacity, reading speed, and size.
Does the DJI Mavic Air 2 come with an SD card?
The DJI Mavic Air 2 does not include an SD card, as is normal with DJI drones.
But, hey, it is all for the best. MicroSD cards (the ones you need) are quite inexpensive these days, and not having one included in the box allows you to choose one that best suits your needs.
What SD Card do I need for the Mavic Air 2?
Now that you have the basic knowledge about SD cards, it is time to focus on the exact type of card you need for your DJI Mavic Air 2.
Because 4K footage requires fast reading and writing rates, the DJI Mavic Air 2 needs a microSD card with a UHS-I reading mechanism, which implies a grade 3 speed.
You can buy SD cards with faster reading and writing speeds, but never lower than those offered by UHS-I cards.
If the reading speeds are slower than what the drone demands, the video footage will almost certainly be corrupted.
What MicroSD card capacity do you need?
The capacity of the MicroSD card that you need is also an essential feature.
You will need to consider exactly what is it that you are going to do with your drone, and for how long.
For instance, if you need to store data for a whole working day while using 12 to 15 batteries (as an inspections professional would require) you will need a MicroSD that can keep up.
Alternatively, buying two cards could be a good idea.
Let me help you understand this by looking at the following chart:
|Video Duration||4K File Size Using Codec x264|
|60 seconds||720 MB|
|5 min.||3.6 GB|
|10 min.||7.2 GB|
|30 min.||21.6 GB|
A Storage Example for Video
We could come up with some numbers using the data from the chart, which is approximated.
The typical flight time of a Mavic Air 2 battery is around 20 minutes. This implies that 15 batteries would provide approximately 5 hours of flight time.
We’d need roughly 216 GB if we were to store data continuously for those 5 hours (I know, it’s not normally like that).
As a result, we would have two options:
- Purchase a 256 GB MicroSD card that may be used for the entire working day.
- Buy two 128 GB MicroSD cards and split your storage requirements between them.
Both options have their pros and cons.
For example, it is easier to just use one MicroSD card, but if you have some problems, you will lose all the data.
On the other hand, having to switch the MicroSD can be annoying, but this way, if something goes wrong, you would lose only half the data.
Additionally, buying two cards is more expensive than buying one.
A Storage Example for AEB Pictures in RAW
Using the AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) mode, which shoots numerous photographs at varied exposures to generate an HDR image, is a terrific technique for taking spectacular pictures.
But here is the thing with this mode: it requires much more data to capture one image, as it is actually made up of at least three images.
Have a look at the following chart:
|Number of 48 MP DNG pictures||DNG File Size in SD Card||JPG File Size in 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|
With the guidance of the chart, we can fairly assume that if you will only be capturing RAW photographs, you will not need an SD card with a capacity greater than 128 GB.
To fully utilize a 128 GB MicroSD card, we would need to take around 1361 RAW images at a resolution of 48 MP.
What SD size does the DJI Mavic Air 2 require?
As we have seen previously, you need a MicroSD card for your DJI Mavic Air 2.
These are the smallest SD cards available on the market, and they are used in all new smartphones, so getting one should be fairly easy.
MicroSD cards normally come with an adaptor that allows you to convert them to SD form, which is essential if your card reader only supports those dimensions.
If you use a laptop computer, this might happen, since the card reader is generally the same size as a conventional SD card.
So what SD card do I need?
At this point, you probably have a clear idea of what type of MicroSD card you need for your drone.
However, we are gonna make it super clear for you.
The best MicroSD cards for your DJI Mavic Air 2 are those that offer a grade 3 speed, with a capacity of 64 to 128 GB.
As previously said, if you deal primarily with video for extended periods, you may wish to get a MicroSD with a capacity of 256 GB, but in most cases, 128 GB should do.
Top 3 SD Cards officially recommended for the Mavic Air 2
Because there are so many MicroSD card options to choose from, we have compiled a list of our top three suggestions.
Keep in mind that they’re all officially supported by DJI, so there’s no need to be concerned about compatibility.
1. Samsung Evo Pro Plus (+ Card Reader)
Samsung is one of the most trusted brands in the world, and their Evo Pro Plus cards are a common choice for drone pilots.
The reason? They have hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon, making them one of the best-reviewed cards.
|Reading speed||95 MB/s|
|Writing speed||20 MB/s|
You can find them in a box that includes the SD adapter. Check them out at the following links:
2. Samsung Pro Endurance
Our second top choice is the Samsung Pro Endurance, a card almost identical to the Evo Pro Plus, but with a few crucial differences.
The Pro Endurance series has been specially designed to operate in scenarios that require persistent reading and writing, such as when you need to record constantly with your drone.
Samsung assures you that it has a life of up to 17.520 hours of continuous usage, and it is also drop, water, wear-out, temperature, magnet, and X-ray proof!
The reading and writing speeds are also different with the Evo Pro Plus. The Pro Endurance has a slightly faster reading speed and doubles the writing speed.
|Reading speed||100 MB/s|
|Writing Speed||40 MB/s|
Here are our recommended links:
3. SanDisk Extreme Pro
Finally, we recommend an SD card that is made for professionals. The SanDisk Extreme Pro offers much higher reading and writing speeds, a must-have for those of you who continuously pass data from the drone to the computer.
Apart from their amazing speed, these SanDisk MicroSD cards are also temperature, water, shock, and x-ray proof.
|Reading speed||170 MB/s|
|Writing Speed||90 MB/s|
Check out our recommendations:
Top 3 MicroSD Card Comparison Chart
|Samsung Evo Plus||Samsung Pro Endurance||SanDisk Extreme Pro|
|Reading speed||95 MB/s||100 MB/s||170 MB/s|
|Writing Speed||20 MB/s||40 MB/s||90 MB/s|
That is all for today, pilot! Have you enjoyed this article? You know where to find more, right? Yeah, here on Droneblog!
Image credit: technodeveloper.com