If you curious about which are the best memory cards to use in the Sony a7S III then this article should help solve that curiosity.
Before we get started it’s important to know that the a7S III features two media card slots and both of these slots are compatible with the new CFexpress Type A cards as well as SDXC/SDHC cards supporting UHS-I and UHS-II speed classes.
Sony a7S III Memory Cards (Contents)
- CFExpress Type-A Memory Cards
- Top 10 UHS-II Memory Cards
- Top 5 UHS-I Memory Cards
- Which Memory Cards are Supported?
- What Size Memory Card Do You Need?
- UHS-II + CFexpress Memory Card Readers
CFExpress Type-A Memory Cards
The Sony a7S III is the first Alpha camera to support the new CFExpress Type-A Memory Cards and currently Sony is the only manufacturer supplying these cards so your choices are rather limited for now I’m afraid.
1. CEA-G CFExpress Type-A (800/700)
The CFexpress Type A cards are ideally suited for high-speed continuous shooting of more than 1,000 uncompressed RAW still images, as well as 4K 120p movie recording at high bit rates with the Slow & Quick Motion function when paired with new Alpha 7S III. These cards can write up to 700MB/s and read up to 800MB/s and currently there are 80GB and 160GB versions available.
Top 10 UHS-II Memory Cards
Here are my top 10 recommendations for UHS-II sd cards for the a7S III:
1. Sony SF-G Tough UHS-II (300/299)
The Sony SF-G Tough cards are rated v90 for video and have a read speed of 300MB/s and a write speed of 299MB/s.
Tough memory cards are 18 times stronger than standard SD cards, bend proof to 180N, drop-proof to 5 meters, waterproof to a depth of 5 meters for up to 72 hours (IPX8 rating) and dustproof with an IP6X rating. The cards feature a one-piece ribless structure and don’t have the common lock switch, they are also X-ray proof, magnet proof, anti-static and temperature proof.
I have several of these cards and they are definitely fast and so far touch wood I haven’t had any issues with them.
2. Lexar Professional 2000X UHS-II (300/260)
The Lexar Professional 2000X cards are rated V90 for video and have a claimed read speed of 300MB/s and a write speed of 260MB/s.
3. ProGrade V90 UHS-II (300/250)
The ProGrade V90 cards are rated V90 for video and have a claimed read speed of 300MB/s and a write speed of 250MB/s.
4. Transcend SD 700S UHS-II (285/180)
The Transcend SD 700S cards are rated V90 for video and have a claimed read speed of 285MB/s and a write speed of 180MB/s.
5. Manfrotto Pro Rugged UHS-II (280/250)
The Manfrotto Pro Rugged cards are rated V90 for video and have a claimed read speed of 280MB/s and a write speed of 250MB/s.
6. Sony SF-M Tough UHS-II (277/150)
Sony’s SF-M Tough Series are similar to the more expensive SF-G version but these are only rated V60 for video and their read time has been cut to 277MB/s and the write time to 150MB/s.
7. Sony SF-M UHS-II (277/150)
Sony’s SF-M Series are identical to the SF-M Tough Series just without the added toughness so they cost a little less. The Sony SF-M cards are rated V60 for video and have a claimed read speed of 277MB/s and a write speed of 150MB/s.
8. ProGrade V60 UHS-II (250/130)
The ProGrade V60 cards are rated V60 for video and have a claimed read speed of 250MB/s and a write speed of 130MB/s.
9. SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II (300/260)
The SanDisk Extreme Pro cards are U3 rated (30MB/s) and SanDisk has not given them a V rating, so I don’t recommend them for 4k or 8k video. They have a claimed read speed of 300MB/s and a write speed of 260MB/s. I have quite a few of these cards because they are less expensive than the Sony Tough cards and still perform very well.
10. Sony SF-G UHS-II (300/299)
The Sony SF-G UHS-II memory cards are just as fast as the above Tough version. They are a little cheaper but only if you can find them, as for some reason Sony decided to obsolete them.
The Sony SF-G cards are rated U3 and have a read speed of 300MB/s and a write speed of 299MB/s.
Top 5 UHS-I Memory Cards
As well as UHS-II SD cards the Sony a7S III also supports the slower UHS-I cards. I’ve not had the chance to test these in the a7S III yet but here are my test results from my a7III tests:
1. SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I (170/90)
The SanDisk Extreme Pro cards are rated V30 for video and have a claimed read speed of 170MB/s and a write speed of 90MB/s.
2. Sony Professional Series UHS-I (95/90)
The Sony Professional Series cards are rated U3 and have a claimed read speed of 95MB/s and a write speed of 90MB/s.
3. SanDisk Extreme UHS-I (150/70)
The SanDisk Extreme cards are rated V30 for video and have a claimed read speed of 150MB/s and a write speed of 70MB/s.
4. Sony Expert Series UHS-I (94/70)
The Sony Expert Series cards are rated U3 for video and have a claimed read speed of 94MB/s and a write speed of 70MB/s.
5. Transcend 500S UHS-I (95/60)
The Transcend 500S cards are rated V30 for video and have a claimed read speed of 95MB/s and a write speed of 60MB/s.
Which Memory Cards are Supported?
The Sony a7S III supports SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II + UHS-I memory cards in both slots and also CFExpress Type-A cards.
What Size Memory Card Do You Need?
For shooting stills I would recommend a minimum memory card size of 64GB.
For each memory card this will give you around 3500 images if you shoot JPEG (Extra Fine) only, 1750 images when shooting RAW & JPEG (Compressed RAW), 2400 RAW only images (Compressed RAW), 1000 RAW & JPEG images (Uncompressed RAW) and 1200 images shooting uncompressed RAW.
If you are shooting a lot of continuous bursts then you might want to use 128GB cards instead.
For shooting video the size of memory card will depend on the format that you are recording in.
Memory Card Readers
Sony MRW-G2 CFExpress Type-A Card Reader
Optimised for the new CFexpress Type A memory cards, the CFexpress Type A/SD card reader (MRW-G2) provides SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 2) transfer speed, via its USB Type-C® connector, allowing creators to establish an efficient workflow when dealing with high-resolution image files, 4K video and other types of high-volume data. When combined with a CFexpress Type A card, it allows users to transfer data approximately 2.8 times faster than with conventional media. The MRW-G2 card reader can be used with CFexpress Type A and SDXC/SDHC (UHS-I and UHS-II) memory cards.
Sony MRW-S1 UHS-II USB Memory Card Reader/Writer
Sony’s MRW-S1 UHS-II USB SD Card Reader/Writer enables the fast transfer of data via a USB 3.1 interface. It can read/write to UHS-II SD Cards and is backward compatible with UHS-I SD cards. The MRW-S1 together with Sony SF-G cards can transfer files to and from your computer at around 2.6x faster than UHS-I cards. It also works perfectly with other UHS-II cards like the SanDisk Extreme.
I don’t plan on buying the a7S III myself as I don’t shoot enough video to justify the cost. However, I will be renting one as soon as they are available so that I can run a series of memory card tests to provide you with the most reliable and comprehensive information on which are the best memory cards for use with the a7S III.