While some bigger DJI drones have internal storage of up to 8gb, a lot of DJI’s products don’t have one and will require you to buy an external SD card. Even those that do have internal storage, 8Gb is barely enough to take a few minutes of 4k footage.
You’re then left with the alternative of storing the footage from your drone on your phone but I don’t recommend doing that. The quality’s just trash and instead of storing your drone’s footage you’ll actually be storing your phone’s screen instead.
So what am I getting at? Well, my point is getting an SD card for your DJI drone is a must. And since it’s an integral part of your drone & flight, you should really take your time picking a suitable SD card. Which brings us to the topic of this article, the best DJI SD cards out there and what makes them the best.
If you’re tight on time and would like to get a straight answer from the get-go, my top 3 SD cards for DJI drones are:
If you’re someone who likes to dig further though, stick around. We have much to cover in this article.
That really depends on what you’re using your drone for. A hobbyist will generally need less storage size than a filmmaker for example.
Generally, for beginners a 32gb SD card is enough for the DJI Air 2s. The more advanced users may need 64gb while professional cinematographers will find the 128gb works best for them.
To give you an idea. A 64gb can allow you to shoot a continuous 1h20m 4K video.
DJI drones are always picky when it comes to SD cards. It’s why they have an official SD card list for drone pilots looking to get an SD card.
You’re going to have to be careful about which SD card to get as it might not work. As a rule of thumb, there’ll be two things you’ll be looking for:
These requirements may differ slightly depending on the model of the drones and in which year they came out, so stick around as we cover individual drones.
As I said we’re going to cover a list of what I think are the most popular drones out there. To make it even easier for you this’ll be put in an outline table rather than a wall of text, so as to not confuse you.
|DJI Mavic Air 2S||30MB/s||65 Mb/s||64Gb||SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB U3 MicroSDXC|
|DJI Mini 2||30MB/s||65 Mb/s||64Gb||Toshiba EXCERIA M303 V30 A1|
|DJI Phantom 4 Pro||15MB/s||100 Mb/s||128Gb||SanDisk EXTREME UHS-I|
|DJI Mavic 2||30MB/s||100 Mb/s||128Gb||Samsung Evo Plus 128GB|
|DJI Mavic 3||30 MB/s||100 MB/s||128GB||Lexar 667x 128GB|
|DJI FPV||30 MB/s||100 MB/s||128GB||Lexar Professional UHS-II|
|DJI Osmo||30 MB/S||65MB/s||64GB Max||SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB U3 MicroSDXC|
I’ve actually covered SD cards for the DJI Mavic Air 2s in-depth in my previous article, but if you’d like the condensed version, I believe the SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB U3 MicroSDXC is a really good one for the Air 2s.
The 64GB is more than enough, and if you’re ever in need of more you can always get yourself a higher capacity card. You should also keep in mind that the max storage for a DJI Air 2s SD card is 256Gb. Any more and the card won’t work.
The SanDisk Extreme PRO has a writing speed of 65MB/s, which is adequate even for the 5.4K video quality that the Air 2s provides.
This is also another thing that I’ve covered in-depth in another article. But if you want the short version, get yourself a Toshiba EXCERIA M303 V30 A1.
64GB is enough. To give you an idea, a 64gb can allow you to shoot a continuous 1h20m 4K video. You should also keep in mind that the max storage for a DJI Air 2s SD card is 256Gb. Any more and the card won’t work.
The Toshiba EXCERIA has a writing speed of 65MB/s, which is more than enough for a drone the size of the mini 2. Since you’re probably not going to be doing professional filmmaking with it.
Let’s talk about the revered trademark drone of the filming industry. Surprisingly enough, the minimum writing speed for the Phantom’s SD card is only 15MB/s. But that’s to be expected since it’s a drone dating more than 5 years at this point. The tech world moves fast, after all.
The max capacity of the Phantom 4 Pro is 128GB so I recommend going with the SanDisk EXTREME UHS-I 64GB or 128GB. While this line may not be as advanced as the EXTREME PRP series, it still does the job and you’ll be getting the best value for your money.
As we’re getting ready to wrap up this article, I wanted to get into the symbols of an SD card and how you can read them to know what separates the good ones from the mediocre.
It’ll also be a huge help to you as it’ll prevent you from getting scammed when buying second hand SD cards… most of the time.
Storage capacity is obvious. Select one that has enough storage for your needs. Generally for the Air 2s you won’t need more than 32Gb. 64Gb tops if you really want to push it.
Card type can either be XC or HC, HC stands for high capacity and they come from 4Gb to 32Gb. XC means extra capacity and can go all the way to 4Tb. Remember though, any card above 256Gb in storage won’t work for the DJI Air 2s.
UHS Speed Class, the most important factor after storage when it comes to drones. Any SD card that’s under Class 3 is too slow for the DJI Air 2s and won’t work for it.
The video speed class means the minimum sustained write speed of the video to the card. An indicator that filmmakers are usually the most interested in.
Then lastly we have the application performance class. It’s usually either A1 or A2 (with A2 being the newer and better models) and it indicates the speed at which the SD card can perform random read and write tasks.
More isn’t always better when it comes to SD cards as well as the readers of these SD cards. The max storage for a DJI sd card is usually 256GB but can also be 128GB. In the case of products like the osmo, the max storage is 64GB. Any more and the card won’t work.
Bigger DJI drones usually have an internal storage of up to 8GB, smaller drones either have less storage or none at all, like the DJI mini 2 for example.
Even in the case of drones that have internal storage, 8GB is hardly enough for most people.
Speed is an important factor when looking at which cards to get. Newer DJI drone models require the SD card to have a speed class of U3, meaning a minimum speed of 30MB/s. While some older drones only need 15MB/s.
SD card formatting is basically the way an SD card (or any other storage device) organizes information. The type of formatting DJI drones use is FAT32 (also supports exFAT).
The process is simple, you can either format your SD card through your computer or through your drone’s Fly App. I recommend you do it through the Fly App since the formatting type of computers isn’t the same as that of drones and will give you an error in turn (usually it’ll prompt a “card unavailable” error).
To format your DJI sd card, follow these steps:
Here is how that looks like in the app, it may be different depending on the drone but the process is pretty much the same:
This is an error that comes up for various reasons. The most common cause of it is formatting. Simply open up your Fly App and in the settings scroll to the SD card section then hit “format”. That should format the card and make it work.
Make sure you have a backup before you format your card. Other times this fix might now work, in which case you should make sure the card speed is above 30MB/s (meaning the card is U3). Also make sure that the card isn’t physically damaged before deciding your drone is malfunctioning.
There are also various other problems that may cause an SD card to not be read by your DJI drone, I've covered that topic in-depth in this article.