Amateur Photographer verdict

This high-speed SD card matches its competitors from higher profile brands for speed, in both benchmarked and real-world tests. Yet it’s considerably cheaper, making it excellent value for money.
  • Rapid read and write speeds
  • Excellent value for money
  • High capacities available
  • No case included
  • Not always easy to find on sale

Almost all current cameras use SD cards, but when choosing one to buy, it’s easy to get lost in the confusing alphabet spaghetti of speed ratings and classes. Even when you know exactly what you’re looking for, the PNY EliteX-PRO90 UHS-II SDXC might easily be seen as too good to be true, as it has a super-fast speed rating at a fraction of the price of higher profile brands such as SanDisk or Lexar.

PNY EliteX-PRO90 UHS-II SDXC card at a glance:

  • UHS-II SDXC memory card
  • Up to 300MB/sec read, 280MB/sec write
  • Available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB sizes
  • Approx $60 / £60, $115 / £110 and $220 / £235 respectively

Available in 64GB, 128GB or 256GB sizes, this card declares its credentials up front, with read speeds up to 300MB/sec and write speeds up to 280MB/sec clearly written on the packet. This is essentially as fast as any other SD card, at least on paper. For photographers, this should enable extended high-speed burst shooting, along with shorter write times before the buffer is cleared.

The full product name listed on the firm’s website (PNY EliteX-PRO90 Class 10 U3 V90 UHS-II SDXC Flash Memory Card) also includes three other speed ratings, namely Class 10, U3, and V90, each of which count as the top of their classes.

Of these, the only one you really need to worry about is the last. It indicates that the card complies with the V90 video class, which equates to a sustained write speed of 90MB/sec. In principle, this means it should support 8K recording, or high-bitrate (and therefore high-quality) recording at lower resolutions.

PNY EliteX-PRO90 UHS-II SDXC card key features:

  • UHS-II: This SD card has two rows of contacts, rather than one. There’s little point in buying it if your camera has a UHS-I card slot
  • V90 video class: This video speed class certifies a continuous write speed of 90MB/sec, which in principle supports 8K video recording
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty: PNY promises to refund or replace a faulty card for up to five years from purchase
  • Robust: Like most SD cards, PNY lists this one as temperature, shock, magnet and waterproof

To achieve its rapid speeds, the card employs the UHS-II standard with two rows of contacts rather than one. It can still be used in cameras that have UHS-I slots, but you’re unlikely to see any real-world benefit compared the fastest UHS-I cards, which will be much cheaper. However, it will transfer files more rapidly to your computer when paired with a UHS-II card reader, and that might prove useful.

PNY EliteX-PRO90 UHS-II SDXC card contacts
This is a UHS-II card, with two rows of contacts. Image credit: Andy Westlake /AP

I tested the PNY EliteX-PRO90 card using the CrystalDiskMark benchmarking software, which returned maximum read and write speeds of 266 and 221 MB/sec respectively on my Windows 11 laptop. This is as near as makes no difference to what I measured from other high-speed UHS-II SD cards from the likes of SanDisk, Lexar, and Sony.

Likewise, in continuous shooting tests with various cameras of different speeds and resolutions (including the Fujifilm X-T5, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, and Sony Alpha A7R IV), it was essentially a match for its peers in terms of burst depths and write times.

PNY EliteX-PRO90 UHS-II SDXC card 128GB packaging. Image credit: Andy Westlake / AP

I also used the card for extensive real-world shooting in a couple of demanding cameras – the high-speed Sony Alpha A9 III, and the high-resolution Fujifilm GFX100 II – with no problems at all. This included shooting plenty of long, high-speed bursts in raw, which it handled without any glitches.

Choosing between SD and CFexpress

Some recent cameras have dual card slots, one CFexpress and one SD, leaving owners with the dilemma of which media type to buy. In general, CFexpress is faster and physically more robust, which makes it a better choice for those shooting high-speed bursts or high-quality video. However, SD wins on value – particularly in this case.

PNY EliteX-PRO90 UHS-II SDXC card: Our Verdict

The PNY EliteX-PRO90 UHS-II SDXC card delivers among the highest performance of any SD card I’ve tested, while costing rather less than similarly quick options from other brands. It’s a great companion to the latest cameras and excellent value for money.

Amateur Photographer Testbench Gold

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