Best Nikon D3 Memory Cards

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: October 9, 2019
Outside the Shot participates in affiliate advertising programs. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through links on this site. I may also earn commissions from links to other online retailers. You can see the full disclosure here.
Best Nikon D3 Memory Cards

The Nikon D3 has two CompactFlash memory card slots that can use CF cards up to 64GB in capacity. The camera can be used with only one Compact Flash card. When two memory cards are used, more memory management configurations become available.

In order to use cards as large as 64GB, you will need to have the latest firmware installed in the Nikon D3. Attempting to use a Compact Flash card larger than 64GB can cause errors due to the fact the card is not compatible.

The D3 will format cards using the FAT32 filesystem to store files.

My recommendation for the best Compact Flash memory card to use in the Nikon D3 is:

SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash Card 32GB

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB CF Card

  • Read speeds up to 160MB/s.
  • Write speeds up to 150MB/s.
  • Water, x-ray, & shock proof.
Best Nikon Compact Flash Memory Card

The best value card will be 32GB. 64GB cards are only compatible if you have the most recent firmware. Cards smaller than 32GB are the same price.

A high-speed, quality card doesn't add a noticeable amount to the cost. Having a high-speed card will remove the need to replace the card with a future camera upgrade.

Recommended CF Cards

Lexar Professional CompactFlash Card 1066X 32GB

Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB CompactFlash Card

  • Transfer speeds up to 160MB/s.
  • Video Performance Guarantee sepc VPG 65.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.
SanDisk Extreme CompactFlash card 32gb

SanDisk Extreme 32GB Compact Flash Card

  • Read speeds up to 120MB/s.
  • Write speeds up to 85MB/s.
  • Sustained data recording of 20MB/s.
  • Water, x-ray, & shockproof.
SanDisk Ultra CompactFlash Card 16gb

SanDisk Ultra 16GB CompactFlash Card

  • Speeds up to 50MB/s.
  • Excellent reliability and value.
  • Ideal for mid-range DSLRs.

Memory Card Reader

UGreen 4-in-1 Card Reader
There's a bright blue LED that bothered me. It is now covered in gaff tape.

The UGreen 4-in-1 memory card reader supports four common types of memory cards. These include all memory cards camera manufacturers make use of in all but their latest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN memory card reader connects over USB 3.0. The USB 3.0 transfer speeds will be faster transfer speeds than what the Nikon D3 can achieve transferring files with the USB mode.

There are plenty of positive customer reviews for the reader, which I agree with. I would recommend it because the reader has been recognized by all the computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) I have used with it.

The cable prevents memory card slots from being blocked by other accessories or devices that are being used in an neighboring port.

When I searched for a card reader that would be used for travel, I had to return a couple of orders. I experienced the most commonly seen problem mentioned in customer reviews, the readers were not recognized by my computer.

The card reader can use the following memory card formats:

  • CompactFlash Cards
  • SD, SDHC, & SDXC Cards (UHS-I supported)
  • Memory Stick (MS), MS Pro, MS PRO-HG, & MS XC DUO
  • MicroSD, Micro SDHC, & Micro SDXC Cards

Compact Flash Card Types

There are two separate Compact Flash card types. A card is either Type I or Type II.

Both types of memory cards will fit in the Nikon D3.

The only difference between the types is how thick the cards are. The width and length of the CF cards are the same.

  • Type I - 3.3mm thick
  • Type II - 5mm thick

The Type II standard allowed for the use of Microdrives in the D3. A Microdrive was a tiny mechanical harddrive.

When Compact Flash cards were initially released they were expensive and had limited storage capacities. Microdrives were a solution that allowed for considerably more storage.

Microdrives have been discontinued for many years. Part of the reason the drives are no longer used is the high failure rate they had.

Another use of the Type II slot is for Compact Flash card adapters. The adapters allow you to use MicroSD or SD cards in a Compact Flash card slot.

Avoiding Card Read Errors

Nikon CF Memory Card Pins

The most prevalent CF memory card error is due to bent pins in the camera's CF card slot. When a memory card can't be read in the Nikon D3, a CHA error code will be shown on the LCD screen.

Due to the LCD screen, the error can also look like CHR.

Be mindful when putting a Compact Flash card into the camera's card slot. Do not force a CF card into the card slot.

If the CF card does not slide in correctly, remove it. Check the positioning of the card and then attempt to insert the card again.

If that fails, try a different memory card.

Do Both Memory Cards Slots Need to Be Used in the D3?

No, the Nikon D3 can be used with a card in only one memory card slot.

Using two cards will allow the use of additional settings to control the cards.

You'll be able to set the following options:

  • Mirror. Both memory cards will be exact copies of each other.
  • Overflow. Once one memory card is full, files will be written to the second card.
  • RAW+JPEG. RAW files will be written on one card and Jpeg copies of the images will be written to the other SD or CF memory card.

Do Dual Memory Cards Need to be the Same?

No, the cards do not need to be the same in the D3. You can use Compact Flash memory cards that have different storage capacities.

Having both CF cards be identical helps to avoid compatibility concerns. As an example, one slow Compact Flash can slow down the camera's memory buffer.

Related Cameras

That's all you need to know about Compact Flash card technical specifications, which is why the SanDisk Extreme 32GB CF Card is the best Nikon D3 memory card.

Here are cameras with similar memory card requirements:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright ©2020 Midwest Redistributors LLC