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What SD Card Do I Need for DJI Inspire 2?

9 mins
Drone Blog
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There’s nothing worse than getting home or back to the office and discovering that the footage you collected is gone or corrupted. Having the proper SD card (SD stands for Secure Digital), is absolutely one of the best ways to avoid this.

SD cards can, by their very nature be difficult to decipher.

Being small and easy to lose, the fine print on them can sometimes be hard to read, and not being familiar with their meaning can easily lead to using the wrong one.

One thing is for sure – not all SD cards are created equal.

Reading that tiny print on a micro-SD card – well I wear glasses and still can’t make it out most of the time.

As far as SD cards go, they could make it easier to be sure you have the right one. The manufacturers could help out as well by making the recommended card information easier to find and understand.

Or, they could just work together so that when the wrong card is put into a device there’s a warning that it won’t work or notification to use a better card. Just an idea, hint, hint.

After all, a 32 gig card is a 32 gig card, right? Ha! If only it were that simple.

No, there a different cards for different purposes. Some are just for photos or documents and others are best for video and music.

Some will write the data faster and some will transfer data faster. It’s that fine print you can’t really read that helps you figure it all out.

Below is my recommended SD card for DJI Inspire 2 or any other DJI drone:

The DJI Inspire 2 and SD cards #

The DJI Inspire 2 is a powerhouse of a drone system, built off the success of the Inspire 1. The Inspire 2 brought us a multiple-camera drone system that was perfect in every way, from speed to stability to super cool elevating arms.

How can you just not adore a transforming drone?

One can only hope that the soon-expected Inspire 3 continues what the DJI Inspire 2 continued from its predecessor.

The DJI Inspire 2 supports MicroSD cards with a capacity of up to 128 GB. That’s a very high capacity and capacity is important. The speed of your card though is just as important as its capacity, if not more so. Probably more so actually.

Here’s what DJI recommends for the Inspire 2’s minimum card speeds:

  • UHS-3 (preferred) or better
  • H.264/H.265: 100Mb/s

UHS or Ultra High Speed. We’ll get to that in just a moment. First, we need to bring up the Standard Classes for SD cards as they lead the way to UHS.

All SD cards will be in one of four classes, Class 2, Class 4, Class 6, and Class 10. These are the speed classes and tell you how fast the cards’ write speeds are.

Standard Classes #

Class 2: This is the slowest SD card speed class. The minimum write speed of this class is 2MB/s. SD cards rated as Class 2 are designed for devices and activities which require lower write speeds like capturing videos on a standard video recorder.

Class 4: The minimum write speed of this class is 4MB/s. This is suitable to record high-definition content and is commonly used on smartphones, tablets, and digital cameras.

Class 6: This speed is pegged at 6MB/s. If you want to record 4K content, class 6 should be the lowest class of SD cards you should consider.

Class 10: The minimum write speed of his class is 10MB/s. It is the fastest SD card Speed class which is suitable for recording Full-HD content.

Now we come to UHS or Ultra High Speed. Here we have two sub-classes: one is UHS-1 and then UHS-3, with their respective write speeds being higher than Standard Class cards.

UHS-1 has a write speed of 10mb/s and the UHS-3 has a write speed of 30mb/s. It is these UHS cards that are designed for professional use with 4K-capable cameras.

Video Speed Class #

If you thought that was all, not just yet. There is also the Video Speed Class we need to consider which is marked on the card by one of the following (see below):

So, a Video Speed Class on the card would look like (V10) and would represent a write speed of 10mb/s. It’s rare these days, but on occasion, you may come across an SD card that has no symbol on it.

In this case, it would be a “Class 0” meaning it was produced before the new Video Speed Class rating system was implemented.

Over the years since drones were introduced, the ability to store that captured footage has had to keep up with those developments and as such, we are now seeing cards designed to handle 6K and 8K recordings.

As the chart above reflects, in order to write to the SD card at 8K, you would need a card that is a V60 or V90. As there are so few consumer camera systems out there that record 8K, the cards that can handle that format are few indeed.

With the DJI Inspire 2, we have a few more options on the cards that can be used.

The DJI Inspire 2 has two camera options – the X5S and the X7. The main difference between the two is the sensor size and price.

Both would require the same SD card.

Card Capacity #

The Inspire 2 is compatible with an SD card with a capacity of 128 GB. That’s massive! Here is a good case of just because you can maybe you shouldn’t.

With that amount of storage and keeping everything in that location, you risk losing more than just the day’s data if something does go wrong.

A 128 GB card will hold 35,500 jpegs or 3.84 hours of video. That’s a whole lot of flying!

Now, granted it’s not like SD cards fail every day. It’s when they do though that it usually matters the most. By using a smaller capacity card, you don’t risk as much if there is a failure.

Another reason for using a smaller capacity card is that every time you delete files or write files, that data area is gradually fragmented and will eventually influence the write speed.

In high-capacity cards such as the 128 GB monsters, this write/rewrite can and does get to the point where it may lead to a failure of the Speed Class controls and data loss.

Basically, if you record and delete a bunch without reformatting the card, the stored data (pictures/Video) may become unreadable due to fragmentation of the card’s memory. This is an issue with every SD card, and the problem is that the larger capacity cards seem to be more prone to this issue.

I always recommend the middle ground of a 64 GB card.

The 64 GB cards cover just about anything you may need and at their lower price point, you can have more of them.

My recommendation #

If you’re totally confused by all that mumbo-jumbo, or simply want to know which SD card to buy, here’s my recommendation of a card that will work well with the Inspire 2.

Recommended Number of SD Cards #

When it comes to SD cards, having at least a minimum of two is recommended.

Then you can have one in use and one as a backup. This way if for some reason you get an SD card error on one, you can just switch out the cards and proceed.

In reality, you’re going to want to have as many cards as you can safely store and keep track of. Keeping track of those little buggers, now there’s a challenge.

I have a tendency to do multiple flights for different clients in a day. Each client has a card since it helps in keeping their jobs separated and helps with organizing.

Having a case or other storage for your SD cards is highly recommended.

You need to have a minimum of two though for sure, in case one fails in the field and a re-format doesn’t fix it.

Our Pick

Possible SD Card Issues #

SD cards are amazing, with their ability to store that much data on something so small, smaller than a stamp.

Coming from a time when we used a floppy disc of very limited storage capacity, I really appreciate the advancements we’ve made in data storage and data transfer.

Are SD cards perfect? Nothing is, and they can and do fail on occasion.

  1. First and foremost are lost cards. The micro-SD card is tiny and very easy to drop. If out in the field, say tall grass, or over an overburdened forest floor. Dropping your card here could very well lead to a non-recovery.Heck just putting it in the wrong place on your desk can inadvertently lead to knocking or flipping it somewhere and a fun-filled afternoon of crawling around looking for it. Have I done that? Yeah!Also, you’re going to have more than one card – you’ll probably have a little army of the things, all of them looking for that little hidey-hole to fall into. Have a way of storing your cards.
  1. Connection Issues. Here’s one you’ll likely come across if you’ve been using your card for a while.The way SD cards communicate is through the copper pads you see on them. Over time they can become worn or dirty and cause connection issues.If experiencing this, try using some rubbing alcohol on the copper pads. However, if the problem is worn-out connectors, retiring the card may be the best.
  1. Mechanical Damage. Although SD cards are small and plastic, they can put up with a surprising amount of wear and tear. They are not impervious to damage though.Some people have had issues with dropping their cards onto a hard surface and then not being able to read them any longer or reading but with file loss even though the card looks fine physically.Companies like Sandisk, Samsung, Sony, PNY, and Manfrotto sell waterproof SD cards. Most standard cards, however, are not protected as such and will lose data if immersed in water.
  1. Logical Corruption. This issue is more prominent in higher capacity cards as mentioned above. The way we live is to blame for this one really.Because we access the data stored on a card from multiple devices and different operating systems, logical corruption of individual files or even the entire file system is a fairly common occurrence.When this happens, it can sometimes be resolved by using specialized software.

So, when looking for the SD card for the DJI Inspire 2, remember the minimal requirements: UHS-3 (preferred) or better and H.264/H.265: 100Mb/s. If you get a card higher than this, you should minimize any possible issues and have great footage to show the world.

Fly Safe. Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!


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