May I know if a Class 10 SD card can drain a camera battery much faster than a Class 4 SD card? (or is it the other way round?)

Also, will the size of the SD card affect the camera battery? (e.g. A 32 GB SD Card can drain a camera battery much faster than a 8 GB SD Card?)

  • 1
    The capacity of the card does not alter the batteries capacity, although you may use more of the battery because you can capture more images.
    – dpollitt
    Jun 15, 2012 at 14:57

3 Answers 3


e.g. A 32 GB SD Card can drain a camera battery much faster than a 8 GB SD Card?)

No. SD cards use NAND flash memory chips, power consumption when in use is tiny compare to the operational power usage of the camera itself (screen, etc).

You shouldn't see any difference really in battery consumption between using an 8GB mem card and a 32GB one.


I don't know if it caused by the brand, the transfer rate, or the size of the card, but I have noticed an appreciatable difference in the power consumption (battery life) when using different cards in my camera.

I use an old Pentax Optio W20 to shoot video while kayaking and with a fresh battery I can get a full hour of video before the battery dies when using a Class 4 - 4GB SanDisk brand card. I picked an 8GB - Class 6 made by Centon (and spare fully charged batteries) for a trip, but I never get more than 45 minutes of video with the 8GB card installed. There have even been a couple of times where I'd have the 8GB card installed and the battery low indicator came on, but when I switched to the 4GB card it would show 3/4 full again.

It may be the specific card, or have something to do with the brand rather than the size, but I've stuck to 4GB cards since then with no more trouble.


Brand could certainly make a difference, but space and speed should not. SD and CF cards only require power while writing to the card and the amount of space shouldn't vary based on the size. In fact, often, a larger card simply has more of a smaller size storage capacity in it. What does however make a difference is the quality of the storage circuitry used.

All circuits require power to process and to make state changes. The amount of power (which is lost as heat) depends on the quality of the circuit. Better circuits will produce less heat and can thus be smaller and higher quality. A typical trick for making cheaper equipment is to raise the acceptable heat tolerance (and thus the energy loss of the circuit). It lets more be crammed in to a small area, but it also reduces efficiency and possibly longevity.

This is exactly what AMD did to Intel for a very long time. Intel CPUs would be more expensive, but AMD chips would run hotter. If you set an Intel CPU to run as hot as an AMD chip, there wasn't actually a whole lot of difference on price.

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