The Sony A500 has two card slots, each using a different card format. One memory card slot is able to use SDHC and SD memory cards. The other memory card slot uses Sony PRO Duo and PRO-HG Duo memory cards.
SDHC memory cards can be used, which means the biggest SD memory card that works is 32GB. The PRO Duo and PRO-HG Duo slot supports 16GB and lower capacity memory cards.
Only one card slot can be used at a time. A switch inside the card door allows you to decide on which card slot to save images to.
PRO Duo cards are a proprietary format held by Sony. Because of that, SD cards are more cost-effective and can provide considerably better performance than PRO Duo memory cards.
In a hurry? My recommendation is to use this SD card with the A500:
64GB or larger cards are not compatible with the camera.
Want a new lens for your camera? Check out the 6 Best Sony A500 Lenses.
Best SD Cards
SanDisk, Lexar, and PNY are manufacturers that make the best Memory cards. The best SD cards I have used have been the SanDisk Extreme Pro cards.
That does not mean you need to purchase a card from SanDisk for your Sony A500. Look for cards with cool-sounding names. That will ensure you get fast transfer speeds, water resistance, and other professional features.
I have not run into errors with PNY Elite Performance or Lexar Professional cards.
The problems I have had with SD cards has been when low priced generic brands were used. Not having a brand name increases the possibility of data corruption or card failure.
If you would like to spend less, don't buy a cheap card. You will be better off purchasing a high-quality memory card with a smaller capacity.
Recommended SD Cards
- Best value for the money.
- Capacities from 16 GB to 128 GB.
- Transfer speeds up to 80 MB/s.
- Class 10.
- High speed card.
- Capacities from 16 GB to 1 TB.
- Transfer speeds up to 95 MB/s.
- Class 10.
- High quality card.
- Transfer speeds up to 95 MB/s.
- Class 10.
Sony A500 SD Card Compatibility
SDHC and SD cards are usable in the Sony A500. If you'd like the best performance, use an SD card.
The brand new SDXC and SDUC cards are not compatible with the A500.
There are four different specifications of Secure Digital (SD) memory cards. Newer memory specifications increase features that provide for increased storage capacity as well as improved data transfer speeds.
- Secure Digital (SD) - 128MB to 2GB.
- Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) - 4GB to 32GB.
- Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) - 64GB to 2TB.
- Secure Digital Ultra Capacity (SDUC) - 4TB to 128TB.
SD Card Speed
Speed ratings of an SD card is based on the sequential write and read speeds. Card speed is very important for clearing the camera buffer for continuous shooting in addition to recording video.
Slows memory cards can reduce the number of continuous frames the Sony A500 can capture. This is because the buffer in the camera is not able to write to the card fast enough.
With video, a slow memory card can cause a sudden end to the recording. The video file could also be corrupted. If you intend to capture video, it is crucial the card you use meets the required minimum continuous write speed for video.
Card read speed is important for transferring files to a computer. If you are filling up cards with images or video, a card with a fast read speed will save you time.
Speed Class Rating
A memory card is given a Class rating based on the continuous write speed of the memory card. Class 10 is the highest rating, even though cards exist that are a whole lot faster.
Here you can see a list of Classes and the corresponding minimum read/write speeds:
- Class 2 - 2MB/s
- Class 4 - 4MB/s
- Class 6 - 6MB/s
- Class 8 - 8MB/s
- Class 10 - 10MB/s or faster
Virtually any SD card worth deciding to buy for the Sony A500 will be a Class 10 SD card. In the time period since the camera was introduced, SD cards have gotten much faster.
Ultra High Speed (UHS)
The Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus comes in SDUC, SDXC, and SDHC cards. The UHS bus makes it possible for increased data transfer rates.
Three different specs exist. They are UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III.
To know what the rating of a card, look on the front of the card. If the memory card has UHS, a Roman numeral I, II, or III will be on the label.
- UHS-I - Maximum transfer rate of 104 MB/s
- UHS-II - Maximum transfer rate of 312 MB/s
- UHS-III - Maximum transfer rate of 624 MB/s
Sony A500 PRO Duo Card Compatibility
One card slot will accept PRO Duo and PRO-HG Duo memory cards. PRO-HG shows the card can have read transfer rates up to 50MB/s plus a 15MB/s minimum write speed.
Only PRO Duo memory cards that are 16GB or smaller will be usable in the A500.
PRO Duo cards are generally cost two times as much as an SD card. Because of the extra cost, I do not recommend finding a PRO Duo card for your A500.
Do Both Memory Cards Slots Need to Be Used in the A500?
No, the Sony A500 will not be able to use the two card slots simultaneously.
Other manufacturers have cameras that can use both memory card slots at the same time. That unlocks added features such as overflow protection, mirroring the memory cards, and splitting up RAW files and JPEGs.
Being unable to use both card slots for extended features, means that you shouldn't waste the extra money on a PRO Duo card.
Below is an approximate estimation of how many large JPEG images you can expect to store on each size of SD card.
- 4GB - 1,160 images
- 8GB - 2,320 images
- 16GB - 4,640 images
- 32GB - 9,280 images
Check the specs of an SD and PRO Duo memory card before you make the purchase. The SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB is the best Sony A500 memory card.
Here are a few cameras with dual card slots: