How plenty of pictures can your SD card hold? understanding the answer to this question could be the difference between having the capacity to shoot all you need and having come make hard choices around which photos space worth keeping.

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The five typical camera memory card capacities on offer are 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. In this article, we’re going to cover just how much room each that these options offers in comparison to one an additional so the you can make an educated decision around which size suits your demands best.

But, before we do so, it’s an essential to know the different determinants which determine exactly how much space any given photo will take up.


What factors determine image record size?

Several determinants determine how huge a picture will be. Many notably, there’s the image resolution (pixels), compression settings, and also even the shooting conditions.


The picture resolution describes how numerous pixels right in each customs horizontally and also vertically on her screen. The an ext pixels there are in an image, the higher quality it becomes – but this also method it will certainly take up much more space.

Quality settings

Most digital cameras have various shooting modes that friend can choose between. For example, in experienced photography you’ll nearly always it is in shooting in RAW. Pictures stored in the RAW format will take it up significantly an ext space together this style saves as much data together possible.

JPEG is the most typical image file format. These images are compressed, meaning the file size is smaller, however the photo quality is reduced.

It’s additionally worth noting the DSLRs additionally offer lot of quality alternatives under JPEG, favor an extra-fine, fine, and standard, based on which file size will vary. Select cameras can also shoot in sRAW and mRAW which are a middle-point in between RAW files and JPEGs.

Shooting conditions

Settings like the ISO and shutter speed have the right to also influence the size of one image. Pictures with a higher ISO generally take up much more space.

Similarly, acquisition a JPEG picture of a white wall will an outcome in a smaller document size than, say, a step in a busy city. That comes down to the way the JPEG compression algorithm works by identifying comparable areas in the picture.

How did we calculate how countless photos each SD card can hold?

As you can see, it deserve to be quite complex to tell exactly how countless images one SD card deserve to save because of how plenty of factors space involved. No to forget, the maker you’re shooting on will also play a part.

To simplify things, we thought about the 3 most common devices that you’re most likely to use a memory map to save photos in – a smartphone, DSLR, and a GoPro. Now, every of these tools has a multitude that variants v each giving a plethora of setups that you have the right to change.


So, for smartphones, we provided the most typical image resolution, i beg your pardon is 12MP. Because that the DSLR, we taken into consideration pictures taken with a Nikon D7200 and also averaged out the size of multiple photos (in both JPEG and also RAW record formats). And also finally, for the GoPro camera, we provided the GoPro Hero 9 Black, but collection on 12MP, i m sorry is the most generally used resolution.

Note that these results apply to all types of memory cards, be it SD, Micro SD, CompactFlash etc.

How plenty of photos can a 16GB SD card hold?

DSLR (Standard)DSLR (RAW)SmartphoneGoPro Hero 9

While shooting through the smartphone, we found that the typical JPEG photo size works out come anywhere between 3.5MB to 7MB, depending on the lighting and also what’s in the shot. For the services of convenience, let’s take it the middle suggest of 5.2MB. So, top top a 16GB SD card that results in roughly 3,150 photos.

Similarly, ~ above a GoPro, the picture sizes varied between 3.4MB and also 5.2MB; the median of which is 4.3MB, result in around 3,810 photos.

Both the aforementioned examples were through 12MP resolution. If it to be to go as much as 16MP, the cards would be able to hold only about 2641 JPEG photos.

On the D7200 shoot in Standard, the typical JPEG photo size to be 10MB, definition a 16GB SD card would be able to store around 1,638 photos. However, if you think about RAW images, which vary between 20MB and 40MB, you’ll be able to shoot only approximately 400 to 810 images, depending on paper size.

How many photos deserve to a 32GB SD map hold?

DSLR (Standard)DSLR (RAW)SmartphoneGoPro Hero 9
32GB3276819 – 163863007620

Considering the same parameters together before, a 32GB SD card should have the ability to hold about 6,300 images shot on a smartphone through a 12MP camera. Similarly, top top the GoPro, a 32GB SD card will certainly be an excellent for around 7,620 images.

With a DSLR, like the Nikon D7200, a 32GB SD map will hold 3,277 images in JPEG, considering their typical size is 10MB. In the case of life files, this number can variety from between 819 come 1638 images.

How countless photos deserve to a 64GB SD map hold?

DSLR (Standard)DSLR (RAW)SmartphoneGoPro Hero 9
64GB65521638 – 32771260015240

The typical size that smartphone photos shot in 12MP resolution works out to about 5.2MB. Using that figure, a 64GB SD card will be able to hold around 12,600 JPEG images. On a GoPro, which has actually an average paper size the 4.3MB while shoot in 12MP, that number will certainly be about 15,240 images. That’s a lot!

On a DSLR, you’ll have the ability to get away through storing about 6,552 JPEG images and between 1,638 and 3,277 raw photos.

As you have the right to see, a 64GB SD card have the right to store a many pictures, regardless of whether of what machine and settings you’re shooting with. For a work shoot, most world will uncover that a 64GB map is more than enough.

How countless photos deserve to a 128GB SD card hold?

DSLR (Standard)DSLR (RAW)SmartphoneGoPro Hero 9
128GB131043277 – 65532520030480

On a smartphone, a 128GB SD card may even be overkill if you’re going to be using it just for pictures. That should be able to hold 25,200 JPEG images and that’s more than what some human being will shoot in your lifetime.

Using this card on a GoPro will acquire you even much more images – around 30,480 images, and it can be fairly cumbersome to have so many pictures on just one card.

A 128GB SD map in a DSLR like the Nikon D7200 will have the ability to store around 13,104 JPEG photos in Standard high quality – the number will certainly drop or increase depending on whether you change quality. It can additionally store a fair amount that RAW photos – between 3,277 and also 6,553, depending upon how huge the record is.

Most professional photographers have a 128GB SD map in their gear bag. It’s perfect for lengthy days the shooting, favor a wedding or advertorial shoot, and will additionally last you an ext than a few days if you’re no clicking a many pictures.

How plenty of photos deserve to a 256GB SD card hold?

DSLR (Standard)DSLR (RAW)SmartphoneGoPro Hero 9
256GB262086554 – 131075040060960

A 256GB SD card is an ext than most human being will ever before require. On your phone, it should be able to capture about 50,400 images. And also on a GoPro shooting in ~ 12MP, it will certainly theoretically have the ability to take 60,960 images. Ns wouldn’t recommend investing in a 265GB SD card for either of these tools if all you’re walking to be doing is taking pictures.

A 265GB SD map may also be too lot for a top-end DSLR. You deserve to shoot around 26,208 JPEG images and anywhere in between 6,554 and also 13,107 RAW photos with it, i beg your pardon is more than enough for many shoots.

Results review Table

DSLR (Standard)DSLR (RAW)SmartphoneGoPro Hero 9
16GB1638400 – 81031503810
32GB3276819 – 163863007620
64GB65521638 – 32771260015240
128GB131043277 – 65532520030480
256GB262086554 – 131075040060960

Calculating a number for your own camera

I expect the above information helps you decision which size of SD map is ideal for you. If you want to carry out the calculation yourself for your device, you can take a few pictures and see how huge they are, and use the number to figure how many images you’ll be able to store every GB (Remember, 1GB = 1,024MB).

A storage card frequently stores much more than just photos

Also save in mind that with most devices, you’re going to finish up storing much more than just pictures.

For instance, if it’s a micro SD map for your phone, you could save apps and also app data top top them. ~ above a GoPro, you’d obviously use the mass of your memory card for video files. There can be additional files come think around – for example, the GoPro immediately generates THM and also LRV papers that companion every MPEG-4 video file.

It’s harder to estimate exactly how much space such documents will consume and also how lot actual usable space you’re left with, so you should err top top the side of caution and opt because that a bigger memory map size.

So, what is the best memory map size?

Obviously, if cost is no an issue, the largest capacity map which offers you the many storage space is the best.

However, for many of united state price does matter, so you require to have actually a rough idea of your photographing needs.

Do you go on much longer trips or do experienced wedding photography whereby you can’t afford to recorded without any remaining storage?

Or execute you only take a couple of photos a day and often offload pictures to your computer or cloud storage?

Do you only store uncompressed life photos, JPEG photos, or a mix of both?

Each situation calls for various storage volume needs.

Remember, it’s always far better to have a little extra room than uncover yourself having actually to go through and also find picture you have the right to safely delete!

Memory card considerations beyond storage capacity

While it could seem that an ext storage = better, there’s in reality a bit an ext to choosing a storage card.

Whether you’re talking about SD memory card, micro SD map or CF card, they all have different specifications as soon as it concerns read speed and minimum create speed. A higher spec card speeds up data transfers and also is crucial if you desire to document 4k video.

For example, the most popular flash memory brand SanDisk supplies SD cards in Ultra, Extreme and also Extreme pro versions which all have various performance specs.

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For this reason, money might be far better spent top top a smaller capacity memory card that uses superior performance, fairly than just going because that the map that have the right to store the many photos.