Take a look at my notes which attempt to answer all of the questions and concerns faced when purchasing a memory card for the Canon 60D. I'll shed some light on compatible memory cards, specific requirements for HD recording, the number of images you can expect to take, estimated movie recording times and other important info.
The Canon 60D takes 3 types of memory cards…
SD – Up to 4GB worth of images and video.
SDHC – Up to 32GB worth of images and video.
SDXC – Up to 128GB (currently) worth of images and video.
The information below shows the total number of images that can be recorded with the 60D (based on memory card size)…
4GB – 490 images (fine) and 130 images (raw)
8GB – 980 images (fine) and 260 images (raw)
16GB – 1,960 images (fine) and 520 images (raw)
32GB – 3,920 images (fine) and 1,040 images (raw)
64GB – 7,840 images (fine) and 2,080 images (raw)
In order to record HD video on the 60D, your memory card will need to have a Class 6 rating or higher. If it doesn’t meet this requirement, video recording may stop unexpectedly.
No matter how large your memory card is, video clips are limited to 12 minute segments. The information below shows the overall recording time based on the highest quality movie frame size (1920×1080):
4GB – 11min (.mov)
8GB – 22min (.mov)
16GB – 44min (.mov)
32GB – 88min (.mov)
64GB – 176min (.mov)
Speeds & Ratings
Class ratings represent the minimum write speed for a memory card. So a memory card with a Class 6 rating will have a minimum write speed of 6 megabytes per second. As mentioned above, Canon requires a Class 6 card or higher in order to record and playback HD video with the 60D. I recommend going with a class 10 rating just to be safe.
Speed ratings represent the maximum read/write speeds. If you plan on recording HD video, shooting long bursts of images (10+) in continuous mode or capturing RAW images with your 60D, then I recommend going with a Lexar Professional (133x or higher) or a SanDisk Extreme (30MB/s or higher).
Lexar and SanDisk memory cards are the safest bets when it comes to reliability and performance. I’ve used them for years and trust them with all of my pro work. Recently, I’ve been using Transcend cards for personal use and have been pleasantly surprised. Again, if you plan on utilizing some of the more advanced features on the 60D (video, RAW, burst) then go with a Lexar Professional (133x or higher) or a SanDisk Extreme (30MB/s or higher). If you just need something for everyday (personal) use, Transcend (class 10) cards are an excellent value.
Here are my memory card picks for the Canon 60D…
Check out the 60D homepage for more tips, advice and recommendations. Happy shooting!