Ben Wells is a tech enthusiast specializing in cameras and GPS devices. He has a keen interest in reviewing dashcams, navigators, and other useful car...
If you’re wondering about the right Dash Cam SD Card storage size, you’re in the right place. We’ll address your concern, “What Size SD Card Do You Need for Your Dash Cam?”
Dash Cam SD Cards come in various sizes to facilitate lower to higher-resolution footage, and higher resolutions require more storage space to hold the recorded footage. The length of your recordings is managed by loop recording, still, dual dash cams or three-channel dash camera setups need heavy-capacity SD card storage to accommodate combined data.
Selecting a good SD card size is crucial to make the most of your dash cam’s features and preserve vital recorded events as evidence. This guarantees that you retain valuable recordings, offering peace of mind and the ability to use them in a courtroom, resolve disputes on the road, and quickly address insurance claims.
Determining Dash Cam SD Card Size Requirements
Dash cameras utilize micro SD cards as digital repositories for their video footage. These cards serve as secure storage, making it convenient to access and share your recordings. The required storage capacity hinges on factors like video quality, frame rate, compression (bit rate), and recording duration.
Dash Camera Video Recording Bit Rates
HD 720p Resolution
Dash cams recording at 720p resolution usually maintain bit rates between 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps. This resolution offers a compromise between video quality and efficient storage.
FHD 1080p Resolution
The most common resolution for dash cams, 1080p, generally operates at bit rates ranging from 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps. This provides clear video details while managing file sizes effectively.
2K 1440p Resolution
Dash cams equipped with 1440p resolution typically feature higher bit rates, falling in the range of 15 Mbps to 30 Mbps. This higher resolution captures finer details but necessitates more storage space.
Ultra HD 4K Resolution
For ultra-high-definition recordings, 4K dash cams boast bit rates that can span from 20 Mbps to 50 Mbps or even higher. The increased bit rate is necessary to capture the intricate details characteristic of 4K footage.
These bit rate ranges can vary depending on the dash cam model, compression technology used, and video format settings.
Dash Cam SD Card Storage Sizes for Recording Time
Calculating the optimal SD card size begins with understanding your dash cam recording time. We use this simple formula to assist you:
Calculating Storage Formula for SD Card Dash Cam
SD Card Storage Needed (GB) = Dash Cam Recording Time (Hours) x Bitrate (Mbps) / 8
- Editor Note: The value of 8 in the formula signifies the number of bits in a byte; dividing by 8 when converting from Mbps to MB accounts for 8 bits in 1 byte.
We calculate different dash cam resolutions using this formula.
For instance, if you were recording at 720p with a bitrate of 7.5 Mbps for 30 hours, your storage requirement would be:
720p Resolution and Storage Calculation Example
- Recording Time: 30 hours
- Bitrate: 7.5 Mbps
- Storage Needed (GB) = 30 x 7.5 / 8 = 28.125 GB
1080p Resolution Example for SD Capacity
- Recording Time: 20 hours
- Bitrate: 12 Mbps
- Storage Needed (GB) = 20 x 12 / 8 = 30 GB
1440p Resolution and SD Card Storage Calculation Example
- Recording Time: 15 hours
- Bitrate: 24 Mbps
- Storage Needed (GB) = 15 x 24 / 8 = 45 GB
4K Dash Cam Resolution and Storage Calculation Example
- Recording Time: 10 hours
- Bitrate: 53 Mbps
- Storage Needed (GB) = 10 x 53 / 8 = 66.25 GB
You can feel free to utilize this formula and the examples provided for accurate other storage sizes with corresponding bit rates.
To help you visualize this information more clearly, we’ve prepared tables that provide estimated recording times for various SD card storage capacities. These tables will assist you in understanding how different Dash Cam resolutions affect different storage usage for how long recording duration, helping you select the appropriate SD card size for your specific needs.
Choosing the Ideal SD Card Size for Different Dash Cam Resolutions
We’ve conducted a series of tests using various micro SD card sizes to record dash camera footage at different video recording resolutions, including 720p, 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.
The goal is to determine the ideal SD card size for specific dash camera resolutions. This will provide you with insights into the duration a certain SD card size can support for recording different dash cam resolutions.
32GB SD Card Size Test
|33GB Card Recording Time (Hours)
64GB SD Card Size Test
|Recording Time (Hours)
128GB SD Card Size Test
|Recording Time (Hours)
256GB SD Card Size Test
|Recording Time (Hours)
512GB SD Card Size Test
|Recording Time (Hours)
How We Calculate the Recording Time for Different Dash Cam Resolutions
The above calculations offer valuable insights into how different dash cam resolutions and varying SD card sizes interact to influence your dash camera recording capacity. By selecting the appropriate combination, tailored to your intended recording duration and video quality, you can ensure a seamless journey of capturing and preserving every road moment.
Bit Rates for Dash Cam Resolutions
|Dash Cam Bit Rates (Mbps)
This table highlights the bit rates used for our calculations that we used for different dash cam resolutions and SD card size measurements.
Factors to Consider for Dash Cam SD Card Size
When selecting the appropriate SD card for your dash cam, consider your dash cam’s recording resolution to determine the ideal size SD card. These factors can provide you with a better understanding:
- Resolution: Higher resolutions demand more storage space.
- Frame Rate: Higher frame rates lead to larger file sizes.
- Compression: Effective compression preserves quality while optimizing storage.
- Recording Time: Longer recording durations necessitate greater storage capacity.
By weighing these factors, you can confidently choose the right SD card size that aligns with your dash cam’s specifications and your recording requirements.
Recommended Dash Cam SD Card Sizes by Resolution
Each resolution demands a specific SD card size for optimal storage. Here’s a quick overview:
|Ideal SD Card Size
|Recommended SD Card Size
This table offers a quick reference for selecting the suitable SD card size based on your chosen DVR resolution. It ensures you have the right storage capacity to capture and retain your recordings seamlessly.
Ensure Quality SD Card Beyond Storage Capacity
Besides capacity, focus on quality. Opt for endurance-rated SD cards designed to endure continuous use and varying temperatures. This safeguards your valuable recordings.
Helping Tips to Avoid Dash Cam SD Card Errors
Choose Quality Cards
Opt for high-quality class 10 endurance rating and reputable brand micro SD cards. Cheap or unbranded cards are more prone to errors and data corruption with a low lifespan.
Keep a Backup SD Card
It’s wise to have an extra SD card in your vehicle – this can be a lifesaver during unforeseen events. You can use it as a backup storage solution or keep multiple copies, which might become necessary for sharing with law enforcement or other authorities if the situation demands.
Ensure your SD card is compatible with your dash cam. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for supported card types and max capacities.
Regularly format the SD card using the dash cam’s built-in formatting option. This helps prevent file system errors and ensures optimal performance in the long run.
Avoid Full Storage
Don’t fill the microSD card to its maximum capacity. Leave some space to avoid potential issues when writing new data.
Power Off Safely
Always turn off your dash cam before removing the SD card. Abruptly removing the card can lead to data corruption. You can better use the eject key before removing it.
Handle with Care
Treat your SD card gently. Avoid dropping it or exposing it to extreme temperatures, moisture, or physical stress.
Keep your dash cam’s firmware up to date. Manufacturers often release updates that address compatibility and performance issues.
Check for Errors
Periodically review footage on your PC to check for any recording errors or anomalies. This helps you catch problems early.
Use Loop Recording Wisely
Adjust loop recording settings to medium length for a balanced approach. Setting intervals too short might lead to excessive writing cycles on the SD card.
Avoid exposing your dash cam to direct sunlight or extreme heat. High temperatures can damage both the device and the SD card.
Regularly transfer important footage to your phone or computer for backups. This reduces the risk of losing crucial data due to Dash Cam SD Card errors.
Replace Aging Cards
Over a year-long period, SD cards can degrade. If you notice increasing errors or corrupted files, consider replacing the card for good.
If you consistently experience SD card errors with multiple cards, contact the dash cam manufacturer’s customer support for guidance. There might be a dash cam defect that requires a fix.
By following these practical tips, you can significantly reduce the chances of encountering SD card errors with your smallest dash cam and ensure reliable recording and storage of footage.
What is the Dash Cam SD Card Lifespan?
Based on several years of my experience, I can confidently state that the lifespan of an SD Card for dash cameras typically remains functional for about a year, with approximately 10,000 hours of usage involving both reading and writing new data, specifically in the context of continuous video surveillance.
This estimate is based on the endurance-rated class 10 card lifespan. Additionally, it’s important to note that avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures can significantly contribute to prolonging the longevity of these cards.
With this helpful knowledge, you can confidently choose the right Dash Cam SD Card size. It’s a small investment for the peace of mind that comes with capturing every journey and ensuring you have a reliable eyewitness on the road.