GoPro cameras like the Hero 10, Hero 9, Hero 8, and earlier models are primarily designed to be used with SD cards for storage. So the quick answer is yes, GoPro Hero cameras need an SD card to save photos and videos.
What Type of SD Card Does GoPro Need?
While GoPro Hero cameras do need an SD card, not all SD cards will work properly. GoPro cameras require microSD cards, which are smaller than regular SD cards. The specific microSD cards you need depends on your specific GoPro model.
GoPro Hero 10 & Hero 9 MicroSD Card Recommendations
The GoPro Hero 10 and Hero 9 cameras support up to 512GB capacity microSD cards. They also support the fast UHS-I and V30 speed ratings. Here are some recommended microSD cards for the Hero 10 and Hero 9:
- SanDisk Extreme microSD – Up to 512GB capacity, UHS-I & V30 rated
- Lexar Professional 1000x – Up to 512GB, UHS-I & V30
- Samsung EVO Select – Up to 512GB, UHS-I and V30
GoPro Hero 8 MicroSD Card Recommendations
The GoPro Hero 8 also supports up to 512GB capacity cards with UHS-I and V30 speed ratings. Recommended microSD cards include:
- SanDisk Extreme – Up to 512GB, UHS-I and V30
- Lexar Professional 1667x – Up to 512GB, UHS-II and V90
- Samsung EVO Plus – Up to 256GB, UHS-I and V30
GoPro Hero 7 and Earlier MicroSD Recommendations
Older GoPro Hero models like the Hero 7 and earlier support up to 256GB capacity microSD cards and UHS-I speed rating. Some good options include:
- SanDisk Extreme – Up to 256GB, UHS-I rated
- Lexar Professional 1000x – Up to 256GB, UHS-I
- PNY Pro Elite – Up to 256GB, UHS-I
Why GoPro Needs a MicroSD Card
There are a few key reasons why a microSD card is essential for GoPro Hero cameras:
Storage for Photos and Videos
GoPros need a memory card for storage space to record photos and videos. Without a microSD card inserted, you won’t be able to take any photos or videos.
High Resolution Requires More Space
GoPros are known for shooting very high resolution and bitrate 4K, 2.7K and 1080p video along with 12MP and higher resolution photos. This requires a lot of storage space that only a microSD card can adequately provide.
Allows Transfer of Files to Computer
Having photos and videos saved on a memory card allows you to remove the card from the camera and plug it into a card reader on your computer for file transfer and editing.
Stores System Software & Settings
A microSD card enables you to store firmware updates and provides space to save camera modes and settings that you customize in the GoPro.
How Much Storage Do You Need?
How big of a microSD card you need depends on a few factors:
Video Resolution & Frame Rates
Higher video resolutions and high frame rates consume more storage space. Shooting max 5K30, 4K60 or 4K120 video will use more card capacity compared to 1080p60, for example.
Higher resolution photo modes like 12MP will take up more space per photo compared to lower res modes like 5MP.
Higher capacity cards allow you to store more data. A 256GB card holds twice as much as 128GB. So get the largest capacity your camera supports.
Shoot Time Needed
The more time you want to shoot video and photos before offloading, the higher capacity card you’ll need.
If you only casually shoot occasionally, you may be able to get by with 64GB. For heavy use shooting 4K or high frame rate 1080p video, 128GB+ is better.
How to Insert MicroSD Card into GoPro
Inserting the microSD card properly into your GoPro Hero camera is important for it to function. Here are the steps to insert a microSD card:
- Locate the microSD card slot on your GoPro, usually in the battery compartment.
- Open the slot door to access the card slot.
- Hold your microSD card with the label facing the GoPro lens and the contacts facing the slot.
- Carefully slide the microSD card into the slot until it clicks into place and is seated firmly.
- Close the memory card slot door.
Formatting a New Card
It’s recommended to format new memory cards to optimize them to work properly in your GoPro. Just insert the new card, access the “Format” option in your GoPro’s settings, and select “Yes” to format the card.
Tips for Using MicroSD Cards in GoPro
Here are some useful tips for working with microSD cards in your GoPro camera:
- Test your memory card’s speed before using it to ensure it meets your GoPro’s requirements.
- Format the memory card in the camera before first use for stability.
- Offload files regularly to your computer to free up card storage space.
- Use brand name memory cards from reputable companies for reliability.
- Avoid removing the card during activity as this can corrupt files.
- Be gentle when inserting and removing the small microSD card.
- Store memory cards properly in a case when not in use.
Troubleshooting GoPro Memory Card Issues
Sometimes issues can arise when using memory cards in your GoPro Hero camera models. Here are some troubleshooting tips:
“No SD” Error Message
If you see a “No SD” error on your GoPro, first ensure the microSD card is inserted properly in the slot. If it is, try removing and reinserting the card. If that continues, try formatting the card in the camera. The card may have become corrupted.
Card Not Recognized by Computer
If your computer won’t recognize the GoPro memory card when connected through a card reader, try connecting it to a different USB port. Rebooting your computer may help as well. The card itself may also be damaged and need replacing.
Short Recording Time
If your GoPro recordings are stopping way earlier than expected, your microSD card may be faulty or slow. Test the card’s speed, reformat it in the camera, and try a different high-speed card rated for your GoPro model.
Corrupted Video Files
Corrupted video files that won’t play back properly could indicate a problem with the memory card. Try formatting the card in the camera, recording new test clips, and play them back. If issues persist, replace the card.
In conclusion, GoPro Hero action cameras require a microSD card to function properly. Be sure to use a fast, high-capacity card rated for your specific model. Refer to the user manual for your GoPro’s microSD card requirements. When inserted and formatted properly, the microSD card will provide reliable performance for photo and video storage.