Digital cameras continue to produce images that take up more space on a memory card. Memory cards keep growing in capacity to keep up with the ever larger file sizes. With RAW format images now capturing a large portion of the photography market, the calculation of images to storage card is even more complex. If you’re a photographer, what you really want to know is how many photos will my memory card hold.
Most JPG or JPEG images from digital cameras that are 20MP or more fall in the 7MB per image range. RAW images range in size from about 35MB-80MB across the various formats from Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Nikon, and the rest of the camera manufacturers.
Given that 1GB = 1024MB and 1TB = 1024GB, you can estimate the number of pictures per memory card based on the following common memory card sizes below:
Those 1TB memory cards really start to pay off when you start shooting extremely high resolution RAW images. CR2, CR3, NEF, and ARW files all take up significantly more space thanks to their uncompressed nature. They also give you the flexibility of editing things like white balance in post, so the trade off is worth it.
Be sure to order a few extra cards from Amazon before your next shoot so you don’t need to worry about space.
This article was originally written when memory cards came in much smaller sizes. You can read the older post below to see how far digital cameras and memory cards have come.
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 the maximum number of megapixels for each photo your camera takes.
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.
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