Best Memory Cards for the Nikon Z9

You may not need the most expensive card for your Nikon Z9, or maybe you need more memory than you thought. All the info you need to know is here
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Memory cards can be complicated to get right, how many photos will this SD card write? How much video can I record to the Z9? This article will cut through the fog and show you which are the best memory cards for the work horse Nikon Z9.

If you don’t have time to read the full article to work out your perfect card choice then for general use the best memory card for the Nikon Z9 that Nikon Japan recommend is the Sony Tough G series CFexpress Type B; this card will cover all recording modes available.

Last update on 2022-03-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Memory Card Does the Nikon Z9 Use?

Similar to it’s sister camera, the Nikon Z7 II, the Nikon Z9 has two memory card slots that supports two types of memory card. Both slots supports CFexpress Type B memory cards as well as the slower XQD cards.

XQD cards (~440 Mb/s write speed) are visually identical to CFexpress Type B cards (1 Gb/s write speed) but theoretically have slower write speeds, which could result in dropped frames if you are recording using the higher bit rates.

In my research I have found not a great deal of difference in pricing for XQD and CFExpress Type B cards, so I will be recommending the latter as its the better card, which actually has better availability.

Nikon’s Official Recommended CFexpress Type B Cards

Nikon Japan have usefully recommended these cards to be used with the Nikon Z9. For a further breakdown of record times scroll down further:

Last update on 2022-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2022-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2022-03-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Much 4K Can the Nikon Z9 Record?

Nikon have kindly recommended the best CFExpress Type B cards for video and photo in their online documentation on Nikon Japan. Fortunately I can use Google translate:

Using the info from Nikon these are the approximate record times:

Best for Photo
SONY Cfexpress Tough Memory Card
Best for Video
SONY Cfexpress Tough Memory Card
Compatible Card
SONY Cfexpress Tough Memory Card
SONY Cfexpress Tough Memory Card
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 60p
8 Mins
16 Mins
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 30p
16 Mins
32 Mins
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 24p
20 Mins
40 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 30p
35 Mins
1h 10 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 25p
35 Mins
1h 10 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 24p
35 Mins
1 Hr 10 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 120/100p
1 Hr 14 Mins
2 Hrs 28 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 60/50p
2 Hrs 28 Mins
4 Hr 48 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 30/24p
4 Hrs 52 Mins
9 Hrs 44 Mins
Best for Photo
SONY Cfexpress Tough Memory Card
Compatible Card
SONY Cfexpress Tough Memory Card
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 60p
8 Mins
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 30p
16 Mins
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 24p
20 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 30p
35 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 25p
35 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 24p
35 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 120/100p
1 Hr 14 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 60/50p
2 Hrs 28 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 30/24p
4 Hrs 52 Mins
Best for Video
SONY Cfexpress Tough Memory Card
Compatible Card
SONY Cfexpress Tough Memory Card
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 60p
16 Mins
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 30p
32 Mins
ProRes 442 HQ 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 24p
40 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 30p
1h 10 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 25p
1h 10 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 7680x4320 8K UHD, 24p
1 Hr 10 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 120/100p
2 Hrs 28 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 60/50p
4 Hr 48 Mins
H.265 10-bit (MOV), 3840x2160 4K UHD, 30/24p
9 Hrs 44 Mins

Last update on 2022-03-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How Many Photos Can the Nikon Z9 Shoot?

Again Nikon Japan have kindly provided all the info we need to work out how many photos we can shoot on the Nikon Z9.

As always with reported numbers, these represent approximate record and write times. Real world findings may differ, but should not be too far off.

The Other Best Memory Cards for the Nikon Z9

The SanDisk Extreme Pro range is one of my preferred brands for memory cards and they have yet to fail me in my (just over) 10 years as a professional photographer.

But there are other brands producing CFexpress Type B cards that are just as good, if not better.

Sony for example and the Tough series are cards that should last many years of use.

The build quality is of particular note, built with what seems like one plastic case instead of two. The design looks like it will help it to take a good bit of use.

Below is an (automatically updated) list of the bestselling CFexpress Type B cards on Amazon to also consider:

SaleBestseller No. 1
SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO CFexpress Card Type B - SDCFE-128G-GN4NN
  • Read speeds of up to 1700MB/s and 1400MB/s write speeds offer low latency during high-speed recording and enhance workflow efficiency far beyond existing SanDisk cards [512GB only; 128GB-256GB = 1700MB/s read / 1200 MB/s write; 64GB = 1500 MB/s read / 800MB/s write]. Up to 1700MB/s read speed; up to 1400MB/s write speed. Based on internal testing; performance may be lower depending upon host device, usage conditions, and other factors. 1MB=1,000,000 bytes.
  • Enables smooth, RAW 4K video(1). (1) 4K video (4069x2160p) support may vary based on host device, file attributes, usage conditions and other factors.
Bestseller No. 2
Angelbird AV PRO CFexpress SE - CFexpress Type B - 512 GB - for 8K RAW - Photo and Video
  • HIGH SUSTAINED WRITE SPEED - This CFexpress card boasts a min. Sustained Write Speed of 800 MB/s with a Max Read Speed of 1785 MB/s and Max Write speed of 850 MB/s. Supports 8K+ RAW recording, ideal for light production schedules where a single card can get you through the day’s shooting.
  • STABLE STREAM TECHNOLOGY - stable, consistent read/write performance throughout the entire capacity of the card for long-duration recording with smooth, drop-free results
SaleBestseller No. 3
Lexar Professional CFexpress 128GB Type-B Card (LCFX10-128CRBNA)
  • Superior performance –– with transfer speeds of up to 1750MB/s read
  • Sustained write speeds of up to 1000MB/s
Bestseller No. 4
ProGrade Digital Memory Card - CFexpress Type B for Cameras | Optimized for Express Transfer of Files & Large Storage | 256 GB Gold Series
  • LIGHTING FAST WRITE SPEED – Capture 4K, 6K and beyond with our Write Speed of up to 1500MB/s. Great for flawless capture of full-frame burst shooting so that you never miss a shot and your buffer clears in seconds.
  • XQD USERS UPGRADE TO THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY: Backward compatible with XQD devices with firmware update from device manufacturer. Your existing device can be enabled with next-generation performance utilizing PCIe 3.0 and NVMe for accelerated transfer of data.
SaleBestseller No. 5
Delkin Devices 128GB Power CFexpress Type B Memory Card (DCFX1-128)
  • Records 8K, 6K & 4K Video at High Frame Rates & Bitrates
  • RAW Continuous-Burst Ready

Last update on 2022-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Lastly

There shouldn’t a single Z9 owner getting the wrong choice of memory card when all the information is here in this article; by either spending more than is needed on too big a capacity memory card, or just as bad, getting a card that’s too little for your needs.

Making the mistake of getting too small capacity cards means having to make workarounds for the subsequent bottlenecks you will encounter. Conversely too large capacity memory cards for your needs means extra money spent that could be spent on other essential gear you need.

Get the correct memory card the first time.

When you have picked the right card for your needs you will then need an CFexpress Type B card reader to get your data off quickly and efficiently:

Sale
ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B and SD UHS-II Dual-Slot Memory Card Reader | USB 3.2 Gen 2 for Professional Filmmakers, Photographers & Content Creators
  • DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE:​ ​Because the ​ProGrade Digital™​ USB 3.2 Gen 2 ​CFexpress™​ ​Type B and SD​™​ dual-slot memory card reader transfers your data at lightning speed - up to 1.25GB/s (10Gb/s) from both cards simultaneously - you can spend more time creating and less time waiting on downloads.
  • DESIGNED FOR LIFE ON THE ROAD:​ ​Wherever you go, your included adhesive metal plate attaches the magnetic card reader to your laptop to create a compact mobile workstation. Streamline your workflow on a mountaintop, backseat of a ride, or anywhere else your life takes you.

Last update on 2022-01-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re using the Nikon Z9 for your creative business, then you need to check out my ultimate guide on How to Start a Creative Business. All the right info you need to know about starting to build a business is there; with links to even more related articles that go into further detail.

And check me out on YouTube for even more video content.