Lack of Speed Kills

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Lack of Speed Kills

Have you ever flown your drone on a picture perfect day, found the perfect shot for 4K video and decided to ignore the ‘Buffering Error’? If you did, you probably had to recreate the conditions because the results were unusable. Replacing the MicroSD card could prevent the ‘Buffering Error”. But what card should you get and what do all the numbers and letters mean? I’ll try and break it down for you and point out the information you really need to know.

Rules to Live By

First of all, stay with a brand you trust. At Flight Pros, we primarily use SanDisk MicroSD cards. We’ve had good luck with the SanDisk brand, so we stay with them. Unless we have trouble, then we’ll burn them all and try another brand.

Secondly, all the numbers and letters. What do they all mean and, most importantly, do they matter!? By themselves they do, but the purpose of this blog is to help simplify your purchase process. For the pertinent information, let’s start with the size (Item 1, graphic below).

Drone Micro SD

Make sure to check the supported max capacity for your drone and stay within that limit. For example: the Phantom 4 Pro has a max capacity of 128GB, but we prefer 32GB. All of our drones have at least two 32GB cards in the case. Every 5 minutes of 4K, 29.97 FPS video is just under 4 GB, so we can film around 40 minutes of video on each card. Big enough to not run out of room on the job and small enough that we have to remove the data afterwards.

Now, the speed (Item 2). As stated earlier, there are a lot of numbers on the MicroSD cards. To eliminate buffering, the most important is the Speed Class. I try to match the speed with the need. The Phantom 4 Pro has a maximum transfer rate of 12.5 MB/s (100 Mb/s) [1 MByte = 8 Mbits].

The chart below shows the minimum transfer rates of the MicroSD cards. So, to match or exceed the Phantom’s maximum transfer rate, I would need to use a UHS Speed Class 3 MicroSD Card (Item 3).


Stay with or find a brand you trust; determine how many GB’s you need; match or exceed the maximum transfer rate with the appropriate Speed Class. Following these simple guidelines will allow you to capture that perfect scene everytime.

Thanks for reading,

Flight Pros

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