DJI Mavic Air: which SD card is compatible?

I've been using SanDisk cards for years and have never had a breakdown. The Extreme Plus here was already in my Mavic Pro and is still doing its job.

With every new DJI drone, there is a discussion about which SD cards are compatible with the device. So also with the DJI Mavic Airwhich has recently been on the market. There are already numerous threads in drone forums and support threads at the manufacturer. To make things a bit more understandable and clearer and to summarize the whole discussion, I wrote this post here.

If you don't feel like reading a lot and just want to quickly shop for an SD card for the Mavic Air, here are my recommendations for 32, 64 and 128 GB (I'm a friend of 64 GB):

2,24 EUR SanDisk Extreme 32 GB microSDHC memory card + SD adapter up to 100 MB / sec., Class 10, U3, V30, ...
SanDisk Extreme 64 GB microSDXC memory card + SD adapter up to 100 MB / sec., Class 10, U3, V30, ...
SanDisk Extreme 128 GB microSDXC memory card and SD adapter with A1 app performance up to 100 ...

Manufacturer recommendation: That's what DJI says

A good idea for such questions is always to check the manufacturer's data sheet. This shows us the following information at Mavic Air:

What micro SD card can I use with the Mavic Air? That's what DJI says himself ...

What micro SD card can I use with the Mavic Air? That's what DJI says himself ...

According to the data sheet, the list of compatible cards is limited to models from SanDisk and Kingston. Theoretically, however, you can use any micro SD card that is fast enough to save the 100 Mbit stream of 4K videos from the Mavic Air. Good brands that I could recommend from my experience are Samsung, Transcend and Intenso. Most often, however, I use the SanDisk cards, as I've never had a failure with them and the write and read speeds have always been well above the guaranteed limit.

Price tip: The "SanDisk Extreme Plus" and "SanDisk Extreme Pro" are actually overkill. Since the normal "Extreme" models are no longer traded often, you pay more for some wise guys than for the Plus or Pro version. For this reason I have linked you to the cheapest version on Amazon. The much cheaper "Ultra" version is not recommended by DJI, has neither U1 nor U3 and, according to SanDisk, is only suitable for recording FullHD films.

I've been using SanDisk cards for years and have never had a breakdown. The Extreme Plus here was already in my Mavic Pro and is still doing its job.

I've been using SanDisk cards for years and have never had a breakdown. The Extreme Plus here was already in my Mavic Pro and is still doing its job (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

Minimum requirements for the SD card

Laut Wikipedia article and according to the statements of DJI, the card for recording at 4K should meet the following points:

  • Type: micro SD
  • Class 10 (means at least 10 MB / s writing)
  • UHS-1 (also means at least 10 MB / s writing)
  • V30 (means at least 30 MB / s writing)

In this respect, the statement from DJI is a bit inconsistent, because there is also "V10", which also stands for 10 MB / s. In theory, these cards should be sufficient. In order not to take any risks, I kept to the specifications of DJI when choosing and only chose those that have at least UHS 1 or V30.

The table on Wikipedia shows which minimum write rates SD cards with a certain identifier have and for which video resolutions they can be used.

The table on Wikipedia shows which minimum write rates SD cards with a certain identifier have and for which video resolutions they can be used.

To be on the safe side, however, I would follow the guidelines that DJI noted above. Accordingly, I have compiled this shopping list below and only selected cards from Samsung, SanDisk, Intenso and Kingston that meet these requirements:

16 GB cards

The 16 GB size is somehow not very common anymore. For this reason, the selection is a bit small and I also included Kingston and Intenso. But the SanDisk is the fastest card and therefore my recommendation, because it allows you to get the videos onto your computer quickly.

SanDisk Mobile Extreme microSDHC 16GB UHS-I Class 10 memory card + SD adapter + Rescue Pro Deluxe ...
0,80 EUR Intenso microSDHC 16GB Class 10 memory card incl. SD adapter, black
19,50 EUR Kingston SDC10G2 / 16GB microSD Class 10 up to 45MB / s memory card (with SD adapter)

32 GB cards

3,20 EUR SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32 GB microSDHC memory card + SD adapter up to 100 MB / sec, gold / red, class ...
Samsung MB-MC32GA / EU EVO Plus 32 GB microSDHC UHS-I U1 memory card incl. SD adapter red / white
Kingston SDC10G2 / 32GB microSD Class 10 up to 45MB / s memory card (with SD adapter)

64 GB cards

SanDisk Extreme PLUS 64 GB microSDXC memory card + SD adapter up to 100 MB / sec, gold / red, class ...
Samsung EVO Plus Micro SDXC 64GB up to 100MB / s, memory card (incl. SD adapter) [Amazon Frustration-Free ...
Kingston SDC10G2 / 64GB microSD Class 10 up to 45MB / s memory card (with SD adapter)

128 GB cards

SanDisk Extreme 128 GB microSDXC memory card and SD adapter with A1 app performance up to 100 ...
Samsung EVO Plus Micro SDXC 128GB up to 100MB / s, Class 10 U3 memory card (including SD adapter) ...
Kingston SDC10G2 / 128GB microSD 12 Class 10 up to 45MB / s memory card (with SD adapter)

16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB - how big should the card be?

The question of size is always a hot topic of discussion. In principle this is a matter of taste, but the following "facts" may help you choose the right size for you:

  • A 64 GB card is sometimes cheaper than two 32 GB cards - with the same storage space. Sometimes not. Compare the prices!
  • If you change the SD card frequently, only a fraction of the recordings are gone if the drone is lost or the card has a read / write problem, as the recordings have probably been spread over several cards.
  • SD cards have a limited lifespan due to the number of write cycles. If you use the same card more often, the probability of this card failing is higher.
  • As an emergency card, you can stick a small micro SD card to the remote control or always leave it in the transport bag. So you always have one with you in case you forget the "right" home in the SD card reader. Although: The internal 8 GB memory of the Mavic Air partially solves this problem.

I hope that with this information you have found the right card for you. In any case, I just ordered my new one for the Mavic Air and one of those practical SD card box shopped because I'm slowly losing track of all the cards. ;-)

SD card is not recognized / ExFAT file system

I just got an email from a reader who ordered the 128 GB SanDisk A1 V30 card. Unfortunately it is not recognized in his Mavic Air. We have now puzzled over what could be the cause and I have sent him these tips:

It's strange. Is it right there? And if so, can you connect the Mavic Air to the computer using a USB-C cable? If it appears, we already know that the SD card reader in the Mavic correctly passes it to the computer. Otherwise maybe see if the PC or Mac recognizes the card.

I just got my SD card out of the Mavic Air. It is formatted in ExFAT format. Maybe you can bring them to this format on your computer?

The reader has written to me in the meantime. The problem seems to be with the SD card slot. If he inserts the card, it will still be recognized, but as soon as he closes the cover, the message "No SD card present" appears.

Error: Slow SD card

If you get the message "Slow SD Card" in the display of the DJI Go app, then the data rate of your current SD card is not sufficient to save the 4K video with 30 fps sufficiently quickly. The result is dropouts of individual frames and choppy recordings - you don't want to have both in video recordings. The card should work without problems for photo recordings, but if you want to film in 4K resolution, I would strongly advise you to switch to one of the cards mentioned above.

 

Sources:

  1. https://forum.dji.com/thread-132638-1-1.html
  2. https://mavicpilots.com/threads/what-sd-card-for-mavic-air.33527/
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3 comments

  1. Klaus says:

    can you also use the Samsung EVO Plus with 256 GB, or is 128 GB the end?

    • sir appleot says:

      Hello Klaus! You can of course also use them. It's not in the DJI compatibility list, because it stops at 128 GB, but I've read in forums from people who fly with a 512 GB SD card in the Mavic Air and have no problems whatsoever. So I think you won't have any problems. I always had larger cards inside all my DJI drones than recommended and I never even had the case that the card was not recognized. VG! Jens

  2. Andi says:

    Thanks for the very helpful report.

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