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Nikon D5600 | Recommended SD Memory Cards | 2021

The Nikon D5600 doesn’t come with a memory card as standard. Some retailers do bundle them with various accessories, sometimes including a memory card, but if you haven’t purchased one of those bundles, chances are you’ll need to pick up an SD card separately. So what I’m trying to do here is provide some practical recommendations for good SD cards to use in the Nikon D5600.

Nikon D5600 Quick Recommendations

If you’d like to get right down to business, here are some quick recommendations for good memory cards for the Nikon D5600. You can find more detailed explanations and more options below.

  • SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I
  • Lexar Professional 1000x U3 UHS-II
  • Delkin Devices Advantage V30 UHS-I

Any of these offers a good combination of compatibility with the D5600 and cost effectiveness, are quite readily available at major retailers, and are produced by reliable manufacturers. So any of these makes for a good choice.

In Detail

If you’ve already looked in the reference manual, you’ll have come across some rather vague advice. It does discuss approved memory cards for the Nikon D5600, but it’s not especially helpful. Buried on page 324 of the manual is this:

That’s not especially helpful if you’re trying to decide which memory card to buy. It’s not really Nikon’s fault-it’s not practical for them to update the manual as memory card manufacturers release new models. But what I’m hoping will be helpful are some real-world, practical recommendations.

The good news is that the D5600 isn’t all that demanding on memory cards, and if you’re upgrading from the D5500, the same SD cards will work just fine in both. It also means that many of the memory cards on the market today will work nicely and you don’t need to go hunting for them. But there are still some things to watch out for, because if you get an SD card that’s too slow, you might run into issues with video recording and burst mode shooting. So ideally you want a card that meets the requirements of the camera so that you can use all of the camera’s features, including video recording and burst mode, without going overboard with cutting-edge speeds and the prices that come with them.

First, here’s the quick version of what specs to look for on the SD card. A little further down the page you’ll find some specific models that will work well in the Nikon D5600.

  • SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards will work. In practice, you’ll be wanting SDHC (8GB – 32GB) or SDXC (64GB and above). Put another way, cards from 2GB to 512GB will work.
  • Cards with the markings for Class 10, U1, U3, V30, and UHS-I, and UHS-II will all work (although you might not get any benefit in using the fancier ones in the camera).

Recommendations for SD cards for the Nikon D5600

What Size Memory Card is Best for the Nikon D5600?

The D5600 is compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards. That means you can use a card with any amount of storage space that’s currently on the market. The most common sizes for now are 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 200GB, 256GB, and 512GB. So if you want to put a 512GB SDXC card in it, knock yourself out (just be sure to keep backups as usual!)

One of the great features of the Nikon D5600, of course, is the resolution of its 24.2MP images. But that also means that the files are quite large, especially if you’re shooting in the 14-bit RAW mode. At that highest setting, the files will come out somewhere in the range of 26 megabytes on average, depending on the compressibility of the individual photos, and you can expect to get roughly 850 photos or so on a 32GB card. If you’re shooting in JPG, the files are smaller, so you’ll fit more of them.

In terms of what size to get, if you’re looking for the sweet spot of practicality and value, 32GB to 128GB is probably it at the moment. Larger memory cards mean you can fit more photos and videos on it, of course, but also means that if something goes wrong with the card there’s potential to lose more (all the more reason to backup your photos, of course).

Here are some rough guidelines on how many photos taken with a D5600 you can expect to fit on a given size of memory card. These are only estimates (based on Nikon’s own guidance), and in practice your results are likely to vary a bit because the compression that the D5600, whether in RAW or JPG modes, varies from photo to photo depending on the information in the image.

Image Quality SettingSize SettingFile Size MB (approx)16GB32GB64GB128GB256GB512GB NEF (RAW), Compressed, 14-bit26.34288561,712 3,424 6,848 13,696 NEF (RAW), Compressed, 12-bit21.35111,022 2,044 4,088 8,176 16,352 JPEG FineLarge13.49291,858 3,716 7,432 14,864 29,728 Medium8.01,500 3,000 6,000 12,000 24,000 48,000 Small4.12,900 5,800 11,600 23,200 46,400 92,800 JPEG NormalLarge6.81,800 3,600 7,200 14,400 28,800 57,600 Medium4.13,000 6,000 12,000 24,000 48,000 96,000 Small2.15,600 11,200 22,400 44,800 89,600 179,200 JPEG BasicLarge2.63,500 7,000 14,000 28,000 56,000 112,000 Medium1.95,700 11,400 22,800 45,600 91,200 182,400 Small1.210,300 20,600 41,200 82,400 164,800 329,600

What Do All Those Codes on SD Memory Cards Mean?

Memory cards have a bunch of codes and acronyms that are used to describe their capabilities. Here are the main ones relevant to memory cards for the Nikon D5600. (I have more details on these ratings and codes on my Fastest SD Cards page.

SD, SDHC, SDXC. Technically, this refers, at least in part, to the filesystem that they’re formatted in—FAT32 or the related exFAT. Most current cameras, including the D5600, can read and write both, so you don’t need to worry about it much. But the distinction between SDHC and SDXC has a practical use-it’s useful for determining what size card you need. SD refers to cards 4 gigabytes and smaller. SDHC refers to cards from 8 to 32GB. And SDXC refers to cards 64GB and larger. In short, you can use any of them in this camera, so you can safely ignore this rating and choose based on the size of card you want. If you want to put in a 32GB, go ahead. If you want to put in a 512GB card, knock yourself out.

Recommendation: Both SDHC and SDXC cards are compatible with the D5600. There’s no functional difference in speed-just storage space.

UHS-I. This refers to something known as Ultra High-Speed Bus, which is the technology behind how the camera interfaces with the card. So far there’s UHS-I (sometimes written, incorrectly, as UHS-1) and UHS-II.

Recommendation: The D5600’s manual says that it’s compatible with UHS-I. There’s no harm in using a card that’s rated with UHS-II, but it won’t give you any extra benefit in this camera. All else being equal, UHS-I works just fine in the D5600.

Class 6. This is the speed class rating. Class 6 is pretty much superseded now, and most of the cards that are readily available are now Class 10 or U1. The faster cards will work fine-they’re designed to be backward compatible. And, frankly, there’s now a much bigger range of options in Class 10 cards and Class 6 ones are becoming harder to find. If you use a card slower than Class 6 you risk the recording stopping randomly if you’re shooting video.

Recommendation: At the moment, cards with a Class 10 or U1 rating are the most common and offer the best combination of speed and price.

Avoiding Fakes

There are a lot of counterfeit memory cards on the market, so it’s always a good idea to purchase from a reputable retailer. I buy most of mine from Amazon and B&H Photo.

Basic Precautions

To minimize the risk of filesystem errors, it’s always a good idea to format the card in the camera, not in your computer, and to format it regularly.

And while memory cards are remarkably resilient, just like any electronic product they can and do fail. So regular backups are very much recommended.

What If I Accidentally Delete the Photos on a Memory Card?

It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t recover them. There are apps available to help you try to recover deleted photos from a memory card. I’ve put together some recommendations for recovering photos from a memory card here.

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2021-09-22 at 11:39. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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