SD card types and video quality


Active Member
I am just about to get my first camcorder to use SD cards, rather than miniDV tape which I find a superb medium.

Will probably end up with a Panasonic HD model, so wondered if there is any real difference between SD, HC, XC types.. either by way of recording quality or potential probs with editing AVCHD on PC.
Any experiences welcome. :lease:

PS.. any comparison between cards and tape also welcome.
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Distinguished Member
SD, SDHC and SDXC are mainly different due to maximum card sizes and speeds. I believe SDHC can only go up to 32GB.

With SDHC, it is important to look at the class ratings. These are 2, 4, 6 and so on. The higher the number, the higher the read/write speed. AVCHD Lite requires class 6 but I have had success with 1080p30 on a £17 Sandisk class 2 (recommended at the time when purchasing Kodak Zi8). If I was paying £300+ for a camcorder then £30 for a class 6 is not OTT.

When it comes to editing, it is easier to copy the recordings off the SD card. It will then be down to the pc spec whether the recording plays ok or not.


Active Member
You should also consider which size is best for you. 8, 16 and 32 gig are readily available, although, IMHO 32 is overpriced.

I settled for 2 16 gig cards but I think many people find that having more smaller cards is better for them.


Active Member
For HD video, you should opt for at least class 4 SDHC cards. You may be able to use a class 2 for the lower resolutions but since there is very little price difference, go for class 4 or even class 6. There is no difference in quality in the diferent type of cards, just the capacity as pointed out in earlier post. The SD card goes up to 4GB, the SDHC up to 32GB and the SDXC card starts from 32GB upwards. Only the new range of camcorders can take the SDXC card so check your camcorder before buying one. Many people prefer using several smaller capacity cards (8 or 16GB) rather than a bigger capacity, like not putting all your eggs in one basket, in case of problem with the card; not likely if you stay with established brands. Unless you want the convenience of a big capacity card so the choice is yours!

The main advantage of card over tape is accessibility and the convenience of handling, backup and editing.


Active Member
I record 1080p at 25fps onto a class 2 card that cost 17quid for 16gb and I've never had any stutters.

As far as card vs tape. I'll never go back to tape. being able to grab any clip at any time without rewinding or fast forwarding is too much to give up.


Well-known Member
One of the most confusing - and annoying - things about SD card specs is how the 'class' speed is derived.

A class 2 card will write data at up to 2MB/sec
A class 4 card will write data at up to 4MB/sec
A class 6 card will write data at up to 6MB/sec

and so on.

The camcorder manufacturers, however, specify their date rates in Mb, not MB

Now a MegaByte is 8 times larger than a Megabit, so a class 2 card will deal with video data rates up to 16Mb/sec, and a class 4 card up to 32Mb/sec, etc.

For most (if not all) current consumer HD camcorders, a class 4 card is adequate.

More details here: Secure Digital - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Lewis

Active Member
On the market now are SDXC cards 64gb they use exFAt but be sure your new cam will accept them


Active Member
You might want to check that your favourite video editing software is ok with editing AVCHD. Also, I don't know if you've dealt with editing HD video on your PC before, but it'll need more umph than editing standard definition video.


Active Member
Thanks again,
I have Pinnacle 14 and Corel X3 with Sony Vegas waiting in the wings, but as to which will turn out to be the best for AVCHD remains to be seen
I have a Q4 PC with 3 gig so that should do, using both XP and Win 7.

I'm still not convinced by the tests which still say tape is still best overall.. bit like the CD and vinyl arguments. I would still prefer a tape HD cam but they are around £2000 + whilst the Sony 1000E is nice but a bit large... so it looks like a SD cam for starters.

Will update when I get the cam :smashin:

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