How many pictures will my memory card hold?

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Mary writes, “I’m going on a two week vacation to Hawaii. My digital camera currently has a 512MB memory card. I’m planning to take lots of photos, but I have no idea if my card will be big enough.”

Whether your camera’s flash memory card will be big enough to hold all of your pictures depends on many factors, starting with how many pictures you define as “lots of photos”. This is further complicated by not knowing which quality setting you’ve chosen in the camera settings. And it’s also important to know how many megapixels images taken by your camera can be.

My recommendation will always be to have a spare card on hand, because you never know when you might want to take more photos. 1GB memory cards are often available for well under $20, making it a modest addition to your vacation budget. It is possible to make a good guess as to how many photos you can fit on a single memory card using the following chart as a guideline. All you need to know is the Megapixels number for your digital camera.

Photo Quality 128MB 256MB 512MB 1GB 2GB 4GB
2 Megapixel 134 268 552 1119 2245 4494
3 Megapixel 120 240 490 996 2000 4000
4 Megapixel 60 119 245 497 999 1998
5 Megapixel 48 95 195 395 800 1595
6 Megapixel 44 88 180 366 735 1471
7 Megapixel 39 78 161 327 657 1314
8 Megapixel 35 69 143 290 582 1164
10 Megapixel 26 53 109 221 444 887
12 Megapixel 20 40 83 169 339 678
  Number of photos per card
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