Canon T3i Memory Card Advice

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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 T3i. 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.

Compatibility

The Canon T3i takes 3 types of memory cards…

SD Memory - Canon T3i

SD – Up to 4GB worth of images and video.

SDHC Memory - Canon T3i

SDHC – Up to 32GB worth of images and video.

SDXC Memory - Canon T3i

SDXC – Up to 128GB (currently) worth of images and video.

Image Capacity

The information below shows the total number of images that can be recorded (based on memory card size)…

4GB – 570 images (fine) and 150 images (raw)
8GB – 1,140 images (fine) and 300 images (raw)
16GB – 2,280 images (fine) and 600 images (raw)
32GB – 4,560 images (fine) and 1,200 images (raw)
64GB – 9,120 images (fine) and 2,400 images (raw)

HD Video Requirements

In order to record HD video on the T3i, 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.

Video Capacity

No matter how large your memory card is, video clips are limited to 30 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

Canon T3i Memory Card Class RatingsClass 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 rating or higher in order to record and playback HD video with the T3i. I recommend going with a class 10 rating just to be safe.

Speed Ratings

Canon T3i Memory Card Speed RatingsSpeed 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 T3i, then I recommend going with a Lexar Professional (133x or higher) or a SanDisk Extreme (30MB/s or higher).

My Picks

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 T3i (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 T3i…

Transcend 16GB Class 10

8GB (class 10)
16GB (class 10)
32GB (class 10)

SanDisk 16GB Class 10

8GB (class 10)
16GB (class 10)
32GB (class 10)

Lexar 16GB Class 10

8GB (class 10)
16GB (class 10)
32GB (class 10)

Check out the T3i homepage for more tips, advice and recommendations. Happy shooting!

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