How Long Will A 256GB SD Card Record?

Thomas S. Tucci

Updated on:

Let it be a CCTV camera, a drone, or a high-end DSLR camera- the SD card is the most significant factor after your camera while recording videos. A 256GB SD card is a considerably good one if talking about the storage size. But how long will a 256GB SD card be able to record?

Well, it depends on a few factors, like your camera type, resolution, frame rate, and the settings of the given camera. The calculation may not be exact, but to put a rough estimate- a 256GB SD card can hold approximately 20 hours of 1080p video at 30 frames per second and a bitrate of 30Mbps.

However, we will dig further into this matter and discuss respectively to different circumstances.

How Long Will a 256GB SD Card Record in 1080P?

While talking about video recording, the term 1080P comes up infallibly. It refers to the quality of the video, which means 1920 x 1080 pixels. This term is also referred to as HD or High-Definition for the convenience of the mass audience.

An hour of shooting in 1080p usually should be done within 10 GB of space. As 256 GB is a lot of storage, it naturally allows the user to record for a long time. So, the specific answer to your question- how long a 256GB SD card can surely record in 1080P is- starting from 1 whole day, it can even record videos for about up to 3 days even.

However, it depends on two significant factors regardless of which camera you are using. Those two factors are the ‘frame per second’ and the ‘bit rate.’

The frame per second is often referred to as ‘fps.’ Most cameras have options to allow recording at 60 or 30 fps. Usually, recordings in 60 fps require more storage than 30 fps recordings.

Though a perfectly accurate estimation, in this case, may vary from camera to camera, the result should be within the range and not be a big difference.

The Recording Time Duration of a 256 GB SD Card in 4K

In order to record in 4K, you will need an SD card with massive storage, like 256 GB. You can record somewhere between 1 to 10 hours with an SD card of this capacity. Now let’s discuss briefly how did we determine the number.

To put it simply- 4K is twice in quality of high-definition or 1080p resolution. While 1080p means 1920 x 1080 pixels, 4K means 4096×2160 pixels. So, naturally, it also consumes far more space than the previous one we have discussed.

The factors that determine the size of the recorded files are mainly- bitrate, frame rate, and the compression method. Bitrate and compression methods are co-related. Your chosen compression method will determine the bitrate.

Try to keep the bitrate low if you need to shoot for a more extended period.

Recording with a 256 GB SD Card: Advantages & Disadvantages

No matter how many professional cinematographers you ask about SD cards’ dos and don’ts, ‘ never get out of storage will be a widespread answer.

As we are discussing how long a 256 GB SD card can record, let’s look at its advantages and disadvantages at a glance.


  • There are no interruptions from the card section, meaning no waste of moments.
  • It will save you a lot of money. And you can also choose a card with massive storage rather than multiples.
  • It extends the options list. A 256 GB SD card will allow you to record high-quality videos.


  • The most significant setback is your camera may need to support a 256 GB SD card. Even if it does, make sure the camera can record with such huge SD cards.

Note: When you have one massive SD card, naturally, you will have a lot of important footage stored in one place, which puts your project at risk of being lost or damaged on a larger scale.

In case you need multiple cameras, choosing this SD card can be expensive for any user.

Final Words

Reflecting upon the discussion above, a 256 GB SD card can record for a very long time. Regardless of how higher quality you select, works of long hours should be fine if you have one such storage device.

So, considering all the specs, advantages, and disadvantages, it will be right for you to get one. Make sure it’s not just you, but your camera is well prepared for it.

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