Best Nikon D5500 SD Memory Card

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: January 5, 2020
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Nikon SD Memory Cards Compatibility

SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards are meant to work with the Nikon D5500. A card with fast enough write speeds is important for continuous burst shooting and recording HD video.

The overall performance of your Nikon D5500 can be greatly reduced by using a slow SD card.

Want to skip the tech specs? Listed below is my recommendation for the best Nikon D5500 memory card:

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB UHS-I SD Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SD Card

  • Best value for the money.
  • Capacities from 32 GB to 2TB.
  • Transfer speeds up to 170 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I
  • Temperature Proof, Water Proof, Shock Proof, and X-ray Proof.

For other information on the camera, check the Nikon D5500 Resources page.

Best SD Cards

Since the introduction of Nikon D5500, the cost of memory cards has dropped. It is no longer expensive to buy a 32gb, 64gb, 128gb, or larger SD card and they are widely available.

Due to costs being so low, it is not going to be cost-effective to invest in anything besides a new professional-quality SD card. This will also help to future proof the card for use in another camera or other device.

SanDisk Extreme Pro, Lexar Professional, and PNY Elite Performance cards have all worked well for me. I have not had unusable data or a card physically fail with any of those SD cards.

Every one of the complications I have dealt with has been due to cheap unbranded SD memory cards. Trying to save around a dollar isn't worth the cost if your D5500 will not work as it should.

A shrewd way to save money is to get a lower capacity SD memory card from a quality manufacturer. Because of this, you will not have to worry about the shots stored on the SD card.

Recommended D5500 SD Cards

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB UHS-I SD Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SD Card

  • Best value for the money.
  • Capacities from 32 GB to 2TB.
  • Transfer speeds up to 170 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I
  • Temperature Proof, Water Proof, Shock Proof, and X-ray Proof.
PNY Elite Performance SDXC 128GB Memory Card

PNY Elite Performance 128GB SD Card

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

Check price at: Amazon, Adorama, eBay

Lexar Professional 1066X 128GB SD UHS-I Memory Card

Lexar Professional 1066x 128GB SD 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.

Check price at: Amazon, Adorama, eBay

Nikon D5500 SD Card Compatibility

You are limited to using SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards in the Nikon D5500. For best performance, ensure that your camera is using the most up to date firmware.

The newest SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity) memory cards aren't going to be compatible with the D5500.

Four different specifications of Secure Digital (SD) cards that you need to be familiar with. They are divided by storage size.

  • SD (Secure Digital) - 128MB to 2GB.
  • SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) - 4GB to 32GB.
  • SDXC (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity) - 64GB to 2TB.
  • SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity) - 4TB to 128TB.

Memory Card Requirements for Video

Class 6 or faster cards are needed to record HD video. Using slower cards 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. As long as you buy a new memory card for your Nikon D5500 that is at least 32gb, you should not have any issues stemming from the write speed of that card.

Image Capacity

Nikon SD Memory Card Contacts

The following is a fast approximation of the total number of max-quality JPEGs shots you should expect to save on a memory card in the D5500:

  • 16GB - 4,640 images
  • 32GB - 9,280 images
  • 64GB - 18,560
  • 128GB - 37,120

Speed, Class, & UHS Ratings

Card Speed

The speed rating of an SD memory card is classified by the continuous read and write transfer speeds of the card. SD memory card write speed is very important when using a camera for HD video or continuous burst shooting.

A slow card can cause a drop in the number of continuous photos the Nikon D5500 can capture. This is due to the camera's buffer not being able to write to the memory card fast enough.

With video, a slow memory card can cause an abrupt end to recording. The video file might also end up being corrupted. If you are going to capture video, it is important the card you use meets the minimum requirements of the D5500.

Read speed is nice to have for transferring files to a computer. If you have cards that are full, a memory card with a fast transfer speed will cut down on the transfer time.

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.

The continuous write speed of an SD memory card is the factor that determines the Class rating. SD cards that have a minimum write speed of 10MB/s will be rated Class 10.

  • Class 2 - 2MB/s
  • Class 4 - 4MB/s
  • Class 6 - 6MB/s
  • Class 8 - 8MB/s
  • Class 10 - 10MB/s or faster

The best memory cards that you can purchase online will have a Class 10 rating and have speeds much faster than 10MB/s. You can find the class rating of an SD card by looking for a number inside of the 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 bus (UHS) is available in SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC memory cards. The UHS bus allows offers a way to improve camera data transfer rates.

A Nikon D5500 memory card with UHS-II or UHS-III will not provide any benefit. Those cards will just have a higher price.

There are three different specs. The three are UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III. In order to get the most out of these specifications you'll want to make sure your computer has a card reader that is compatible.

You can find out the rating of an SD card by reading the front of the SD memory card. If the SD card has UHS, a Roman numeral I, II, or III will be on the front of the card.

  1. UHS-I - Maximum transfer rate of 104 MB/s
  2. UHS-II - Maximum transfer rate of 312 MB/s
  3. UHS-III - Maximum transfer rate of 624 MB/s

Related Cameras

Taking the specifics into consideration, the 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro is the best memory card for the Nikon D5500. Any future camera you own, you will know what card to get.

Below are more pages on digital cameras related to the D5500:

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