Nikon D3100 Memory Card Compatibility & Recommendations

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: July 26, 2019
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Nikon D3100 Memory Cards

The Nikon D3100 has one card slot that uses SD memory cards. It can use SDXC memory cards that have a maximum capacity of 1TB.

While the Nikon D3100 is not UHS-I compatible, you can still benefit from a fast card. By using the card in a UHS-I compatible card reader, you can reduce your file transfer times.

If you're in a hurry my here's my recommendation:

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB UHS-I SD Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SDXC Memory Card

  • Best value for the money.
  • Capacities from 32 GB to 1TB.
  • Transfer speeds up to 170 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I
  • Temperature Proof, Water Proof, Shock Proof, and X-ray Proof.

Best SD Cards

High quality manufactures of memory cards for the Nikon D3100 include SanDisk, Lexar, and PNY. My favorite brand for SD cards is SanDisk.

I have never had a SanDisk card fail or become corrupted. Lexar Professional and PNY Elite Performance cards have also worked well for me.

The few times I have run into problems with an SD card, was when they were from cheap or generic brands. Trying to save a buck on a cheap card might result in losing all your photos on it in the future. If you want to save money, the best memory card will be a high-quality card, with a smaller capacity.

Recommended SD Cards

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB UHS-I SD Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SDXC Memory Card

  • Best value for the money.
  • Capacities from 32 GB to 1TB.
  • Transfer speeds up to 170 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I.
  • Temperature Proof, Water Proof, Shock Proof, and X-ray Proof.
Lexar Professional 1066X 128GB SD UHS-I Memory Card

Lexar Professional 1066x 128GB SDXC UHS-I Card

  • Lexar Professional Silver Card.
  • Transfer speeds up to 160 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I.
  • Includes Lexar Recovery Tool Software.
  • Designed for durability in harsh conditions.
PNY Elite Performance SDXC 128GB Memory Card

PNY Elite Performance 128GB SDXC Card

  • Lower priced card.
  • Transfer speeds up to 95 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I.
  • Magnet Proof, Shock Proof, Temperature Proof, Waterproof.

Nikon D3100 SD Card Compatibility

The D3100 uses SD memory cards. Secure Digital (SD) cards come in 3 different formats, with each newer format supporting higher storage capacities. They are all forward and backward compatible with each other.

  • Secure Digital (SD) - Up to 2GB cards will work.
  • Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) - Up to 32GB cards will work.
  • Secure Digital eXtended Capacity (SDXC) - 64GB and larger cards.

Memory Card Requirements for Video

A class 6 or faster card is needed to record video. Using a slower card will cause problems, such as the recording suddenly stopping.

Most cards that have been produced in the last several years will be class 10 cards.

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 types of memory cards. These include everything camera manufacturers use in all but their newest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN memory card reader has a USB 3.0 connection. The USB 3.0 transfer speeds will be faster transfer speeds than what the Nikon D3100 can achieve in USB transfer mode.

There are plenty of favorable customer reviews for the UGREEN reader, which I agree with. I think it's a good product because it has been recognized by all the computers I have tried it with.

The cable prevents card slots from being blocked by other devices or accessories that are plugged into another USB or adjacent port.

When I looked for a smaller card reader that would be better for travel, I had to send a couple of orders back. I came across the most commonly seen problem in customer reviews, the card readers would not work with my computer.

The ugreen reader is compatible with 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

Image Capacity

Nikon SD Memory Card Contacts

Below is an approximate estimation of how many large JPEG images you can expect to store on each size of SD card.

  • 8GB - 1,600 images
  • 16GB - 3,200 images
  • 32GB - 6,400 images
  • 64GB - 12,800 images
  • 128GB - 25,600 images

Speed, Class, & UHS Ratings

SD Card Speed

SD card speed is rated by sequential read and/or write speed. Sequential performance is important when large amounts of data needs to be written or read from the card. Cards that are slow will have difficulty handling continuous shooting and recording video.

Speed Class Rating

Example of where to find SD Card Speed Class on a SanDisk Card
10 inside of a C showing that the card is Class 10.

Speed Class ratings of 2, 4, 6, and mean a card is able to sustain a 2MB, 4MB, 6MB, or 8MB sustained write speed. Class 10 is for cards that have a minimum write speed of 10MB/s.

Almost all SD cards that have been made in the last few years will have a class 10 rating. You can tell what class a card is by looking at the number inside a 'C' on the label.

Ultra High Speed (UHS)

Example of an SD memory card with a UHS-I rating.
This card has a UHS-I rating. UHS-II and UHS-III cards will have II or III, respectively.

The Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus is a feature that allows for faster data transfer. There are 3 different standards, UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III, that can be found on some SDHC and SDXC cards.

You can tell the UHS rating of a card by looking for a I, II, or III next to the SD logo. Or there will be a 1, 2, or 3 inside of a U, similar to how the class rating looks.

Maximum transfer rates for the standards are:

  • UHS-I - 104 MB/s
  • UHS-II - 312 MB/s
  • UHS-III - 624 MB/s

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