Nikon D5000 Memory Card Compatibility & Recommendations

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: August 5, 2019
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Nikon SD Memory Cards Compatibility

This page will explain which SD cards are compatible with the Nikon D5000.

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

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC Memory Card

The absolute best card you can buy for the camera.

64GB cards or larger are not compatible with the camera.

For more information on the camera, check the Nikon D5000 Resources page.

Best D5000 SD Cards

High quality manufactures of memory cards for the Nikon D5000 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, buy a high-quality card, with a smaller capacity. That way you won't have to worry about losing photos taken with your D5000.

Recommended SD Cards

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC Memory Card

  • Best value for the money.
  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s; write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.

SanDisk Ultra 32GB SDHC Memory Card

  • Quick transfer speeds up to 80MB/s.
  • Class 10 rating for Full HD video (1080p).
  • Waterproof, temperature proof, X-ray Proof, magnet-Proof, and shockproof.

Lexar Professional 633X 32GB SDHC UHS-I Memory Card

  • High-speed, Class 10 performance.
  • UHS-I technology for a read transfer speeds up to 633x (95MB/s).
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow.

Nikon D5000 SD Card Compatibility

The D5000 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) - The D5000 cannot use these cards as they are 64GB or larger.

Nikon D5000 Memory Card Full

Using a memory card that is larger than 32GB will cause the Nikon D5000 to say that the card is full.

In order to fix that problem, you need to use an SD card with a smaller capacity.

If you are having issues with a card that is 32GB or smaller, try formatting the card in the D5000.

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.

  • 4GB - 1,160 images
  • 8GB - 2,320 images
  • 16GB - 4,640 images
  • 32GB - 9,280 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
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

2 comments on “Nikon D5000 Memory Card Compatibility & Recommendations”

  1. To start recording video in live view you need to press the 'ok' button. However, I think you might be running into compatibility issues with the SDXC card you are trying to use.

    Check to see if you have the latest firmware installed.

    Another option is that you may have gotten a counterfeit SD card. Check to see if you can completely fill the card up with files. If you can't, the card could be a fake.

  2. Hello,
    I would like to ask you if you had ever have problem with the compatibility of the sd card with the Nikon.
    You said: the D5000 cannot use SDXC as they are 64GB or larger. And here I am with this SDXC card Lexar Proffesional 64 GB and it works perfect for the photos BUT the problem begins when I want to record a video (that is why I bought this card) and in live mode there is no option of recording. Do you know why it happens? With other card 4GB it works..

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