SDHC and SDXC Cards Receive New Speed Ratings for 4K Video

By · Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

sdhc-sdxc-uhs-speed-ratingsIn the year 1450, Johannes Gutenberg developed the movable type printing press, which put the power of printing words into the hands of the masses. In the year 1900, Kodak released the Brownie camera, which was the first mass produced camera that was affordable enough for the common man.

A decade ago, it would have been fantastically expensive for a hobbyist to produce a short, independent film. Today, there is a revolution happening in the world of cinematography. A new generation of high definition digital cameras have put the ability to shoot remarkably high quality footage into the hands of the average consumer.

Digital SLR cameras from Canon and Nikon are leading the revolution, while the GoPro brand has single-handedly spawned an entire industry of “action cameras.” The GoPro’s durability and the high-quality sensors and interchangeable lenses of the SLR cameras allow consumers to shoot amazing, professional looking video like never before.

These hotshot cameras are all digital. Instead of using magnetic tape, they record video to SD cards, which use a non-bootable form of NAND Flash memory for storage. As anyone who has used a digital video camera will quickly find out, video consumes a LOT of storage space.

Consumers often look to companies such as SanDisk, Lexar, Transcend, and AmazonBasics for the latest high-capacity cards. But it’s not just about size and price! One must also consider the speed rating of the cards as well.

Speed ratings for SD cards are determined by the SD Association, a group of industry manufacturers that have established a set of standards for SD cards. The current system uses “Classes” with a “Class 2″ card having a slower read/write speed than a “Class 10″ card, which is the best.

Now, the SD Association has announced a completely new speed classification system for SDHC (high capacity) and SDXC (extended capacity) cards. Known as UHS-I and UHS-II, these cards have write speeds of 104 Megabytes per second and 312 Megabytes per second, respectively.

These extremely fast write speeds will allow the cards to keep up when recording 4K video, also known as Ultra HD (2160p). This is the new standard that will eventually replace current High Definition (1080p) video.

The SD Card Association says that the cards with the new speed ratings will be backwards-compatible with older devices as well. There is no word yet on who will be first to market with these new super-fast cards, but I’ll bet at least one manufacturer will have a card on the market before Christmas 2013.

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