The number of photos a memory card holds varies due to several factors, such as the device you use, and the file formats it produces.
You can calculate how many images a memory card can hold by knowing the average image size produced by your device. Luckily, you can do this by working out a very simple calculation, which I will break down for you here.
I will also reveal how many images the most common memory cards on the market can store, so you don’t have to do the math if you don’t want to.
How To Calculate How Many Photos Your Memory Card Can Store
The capacity of a memory card available on the market is measured in gigabytes (GB). However, within a GB are Megabytes (MB) which are the most common size unit used for images.Inside of 1GB is 1000MB, meaning if you had 1000 images at 1MB each, you could store all 1000 images on a 1GB card.
Now to find out how many images a memory card can hold is very easy. You only have to divide the memory card’s storage size by a device’s image size.
Memory card storage size / Size of an image = number of images a memory card can hold.
However, there is something to keep in mind when doing the math. You have to convert the units before dividing. The easiest way to do this is to convert the memory card’s gigabytes (GB) into megabytes (MB).
By using this formula, you can find out, for example, that an 8GB memory card inserted into a device that produces an average of 5MB per image can store 1600 images.
8000MB/5MB = 1600 images
In some cases, however, it may be difficult to perform these calculations because image sizes vary according to device and file format. But I’m here to make your life easier, and I’ve already made some estimates across a wide range of devices you likely use.
I will cover the following devices in this article: Smartphone (I used an iPhone 13 Pro as a reference, but the average file size is similar for any modern smartphone), my Canon DSLR Camera that shoots 30MP images, and a GoPro.
- A smartphone produces images at an average size of 3-6MB.
- A DSLR camera produces images at an average size of 27-35MB if the photo produced is in a RAW format; and 12-15MB, if the image produced is in a JPEG format.
- A GoPro produces images of 7-10MB in size.
Based on the formula and values given above, I will provide you with an approximate number of images the most common memory card capacities can hold.
How Many Photos Can A 8GB Memory Card Hold?
On a smartphone, an 8GB memory card will store between 1,333 images (6MB per image) and 2,666 images (3MB per image).
8000/6 = 1,333
8000/3 = 2,666
On a DSLR, the number of images stored will vary depending on the file format chosen, whether it is RAW vs JPEG.
If the format chosen is RAW, an 8GB memory card will store between 228 (35MB) and 296 (27MB) images.
8000/35 = 228
8000/27 = 296
If the format chosen is JPEG, an 8GB card will store between 666 (12MB per image) and 533 (15MB per image).
8000/15 = 533
8000/12 = 666
On a GoPro, an 8GB memory card holds between 800 (10MB each) and 1,142 photos (7MB each).
8000/10 = 800
8000/7 = 1,142
How Many Photos Can A 16GB Memory Card Hold?
On a smartphone,2,666 (6MB per image) to 5,333 images (3MB per image) will fill a 16GB memory card.
16000/6 = 2,666
16000/3 = 5,333
On a DSLR, A 16GB card can store between 457 (35MB per image) and 592 (27MB per image) images in RAW format.
16000/35 = 457
16000/27 = 592
If the format chosen is JPEG, a 16GB card will hold between 1,066 (15MB) and 1,333 (12MB) images.
16000/15 = 1,066
16000/12 = 1,333
On a GoPro, an 16GB memory card holds between 1,600 photos (10MB each) and 2,285 photos (7MB each).
16000/10 = 1,600
16000/7 = 2,285
How Many Photos Can A 32GB Memory Card Hold?
On a smartphone, a 32GB memory card holds between 5,333 photos (6MB per image) and 10,666 photos (3MB per image).
32000/6 = 5,333
32000/3 = 10,666
On a DSLR, A 32GB memory card can store between 914 (35MB per image) and1,185 (27MB per image) images in RAW format.
16000/35 = 914
32000/27 = 1,185
A 32GB memory card will store between 2,133 (15MB per image) and 2,666 (12MB per image) images in JPEG format.
32000/15 = 2,133
32000/12 = 2,666
On a GoPro, a 32GB memory card holds between 3,200 photos (10MB each) and 4,571 photos (7MB each).
32000/10 = 3,200
32000/7 = 4,571
How Many Photos Can A 64GB Memory Card Hold?
On a smartphone, 10,666 (6MB) to 21,333 (3MB) images will fill a 64 GB memory card.
64000/6 = 10,666
64000/3 = 21,333
A 64 GB card will store between 1,828 (35MB) and 2,370 (27MB) images in RAW format.
64000/35 = 1,828
64000/27 = 2,370
A 64GB card can hold between 4,266 (15MB) and 5,333 (12MB) images in JPEG format.
64000/15 = 4,266
64000/12 = 5,333
On a GoPro, a 64GB memory card holds between 6,400 photos (10MB each) and 9,142 photos (7MB each).
64000/10 = 6,400
64000/7 = 9,142
How Many Photos Can A 128GB Memory Card Hold?
On a smartphone, a 128GB memory card holds between 21,333 photos (6MB per image) and 42,666 photos (3MB per image).
128000/6 = 21,333
128000/3 = 42,666
On a DSLR, A 128GB card can store between 3,657 (35MB per image) and 4,740 (27MB per image) images in RAW format.
128000/35 = 3,657
128000/27 = 4,740
A 128GB card inserted in a DSLR camera can store between 8,533 (15MB) and 10,666 (12MB) images in JPEG format.
128000/15 = 8,533
128000/12 = 10,666
On a GoPro, a 128GB memory card holds between 12,800 photos (10MB each) and 18,285 photos (7MB each).
128000/10 = 12,800
128000/7 = 18,285
How Many Photos Can A 256GB Memory Card Hold?
On a smartphone, a 256GB memory card holds between 42,666 photos (6MB per image) and 85,333 photos (3MB per image).
256000/6 = 42,666
256000/3 = 85,333
On a DSLR, a 256GB card can store between 7,314 (35MB per image) and 9,481 (27MB per image) images in RAW format.
256000/35 = 7,314
256000/27 = 9,481
A 256GB card inserted in a DSLR camera can store between 17,066 (15MB) and 21,333 (12MB) images in JPEG format.
256000/15 = 17,066
256000/12 = 21,333
On a GoPro, a 256GB memory card holds between 25,600 photos (10MB each) and 36,571 photos (7MB each).
256000/10 = 25,600
256000/7 = 36,571
How Many Photos Can A 512GB Memory Card Hold?
On a smartphone, a 512GB memory card holds between 85,333 photos (6MB per image) and 170,666 photos (3MB per image).
512000/6 = 85,333
512000/3 = 170,666
On a DSLR, A 512GB card can store between 14,628 (35MB per image) and 18,962 (27MB per image) images in RAW format.
512000/35 = 14,628
512000/27 = 18,962
A 512GB card inserted in a DSLR camera can store between 34,133 (15MB) and 42,666 (12MB) images in JPEG format.
512000/15 = 34,133
512000/12 = 42,666
On a GoPro, a 512GB memory card holds between 51,200 photos (10MB each) and 73,142 photos (7MB each).
512000/10 = 51,200
512000/7 = 73,142
Memory Card Table
The table below summarizes all the data given so far. In the first column, you can find the storage capacity of memory cards in GB. In the other columns, you can see the approximate number of images produced by memory cards for each of the listed devices. As you can see, the number of images varies with the file format.
|Memory Card Size||Smartphone @ 6MB||Smartphone @ 3MB||DSLR RAW @ 35MB||DSLR RAW @ 27MB||DSLR JPEG @ 15MB||DSLR JPEG @ 12MB||GoPro @ 10MB||GoPro @ 7MB|
How Large Of A Memory Card Should You Choose?
At the end of the day, choosing the right memory card comes down to getting one that meets your needs.
For example, if you only work with JPEG images, you can get away with a memory card that’s 32GB-64GB. If you go to 128GB while dealing with smaller file sizes, it will just take much longer to fill up the card which isn’t always a bad thing.
But If you work with raw files, you need a memory card with a storage capacity between 64GB-128GB, which will give you plenty of space to store images for a shoot or two.
On the other hand, if you capture videos, you should opt for an SD card larger than 128GB. Otherwise, you will quickly run out of space when recording long video clips.
With that said, I feel it’s important to warn you against the setbacks of choosing a very small or very large memory card.
A very small card is not a good option in most cases because you’ll likely end up needing multiple cards.
However, the problem with too large of a memory card is that if something happens to it, you have more files at risk. I personally opt to use 64GB cards for my photos and switch memory cards occasionally over a multi-day shoot. That way I don’t risk losing all my files if one card bites the dust.
Ultimately, the best solution is to always back up your files on a computer as soon as you can. That way you can rest easy your files are double safe, regardless of your memory card size. Some of my favorite memory cards are from Sandisk, and I share my favorite memory cards to choose from that brand here.
How many photos can a 512GB SD card hold? ›
A 512GB storage can hold up to 426666 images and as few as 7757 images. The average range of JPEGs you can expect it to store is between 77570 to 426660 images. For RAW files, it can hold between 7757 to 42666 images.How many pictures can a 256GB SD card hold? ›
How many photos can a 256GB SD card hold? A 256GB SD card is more than most people will ever require. On your phone, it should be able to capture about 50,400 images. And on a GoPro shooting at 12MP, it will theoretically be able to take 60,960 images.How many photos can a 128GB SD card hold? ›
A 128GB card or drive can hold about 35,500 photos. The number can vary depending on the picture quality, so that number assumes a lower-quality image. If your camera has more megapixels, each picture will take up more space. A 12MP camera can fill 128 gigs with about 35,500 photos.How many photos can be stored on a 16GB memory card? ›
Depending on those factors, you'll be able to fit somewhere between 200 and 12,000 images onto a 16GB memory card. Typically, a 16GB sd card can hold around 2861 JPEG photos in 16 megapixels. On the contrary, a 16GB sd card can only hold 533 JPEG photos with 24 megapixels.Is 512GB enough for photography? ›
A 512GB SSD is good enough for gaming and most performance tasks. Despite games progressively becoming larger, a 512GB SSD will be able to hold most of your favourite games at once.Is 512GB a lot of storage? ›
If you mainly store text files and photos, 512GB of storage space is enough. Do you want to save movies, games, and other large files on your PC? Choose at least 1TB of storage space. That way, you can last some time without the risk of your laptop filling up.Is there a big difference between 128GB and 256GB? ›
What is the difference between 128GB and 256GB? The 256gb version comes with double the internal storage and an additional 2 gigs of ram.Is 256 GB a lot of storage? ›
For most people, 256GB of storage space is enough for them to do what they need to do. This includes word processing, PDF programs, and basic computer functions. Gamers need more storage, as do people who regularly download large files or whose profession involves graphic arts or video editing.Is 128GB a lot for pictures? ›
128GB is enough for storing photos for most photographers. It contains more than 100 thousand MB. Thus, it can store more than a hundred thousand images assuming 1MB per photo. This storage offers ample space for storing many years worth of pictures.What size SD card holds the most pictures? ›
A 32GB card can hold 1066 pictures. A 64GB card can hold 2132 pictures. A 128gb card can hold 4264 pictures. A 256gb card can hold 8528 pictures.
Is 128GB a lot of storage? ›
128GB: enough for the average user
An iPhone with 128GB storage capacity is suitable for the average user. With the new iPhone 12 models, this is the minimum storage capacity. With 128GB, you have enough space to store some photos, music, and videos locally.
Key Takeaways. SD cards are designed to last for 10 years or more. Frequent users should replace their SD cards every few years.How much storage is 512GB SD card? ›
How much space is on a 512GB micro SD card? A massive memory of 512GB is enough for 24 hours of 4K UHD video, 78 hours of Full HD video or 150,300 photos.How much useable space does the 512GB micro SD card have? ›
With a massive memory of 512GB, this card is capable of saving up to 110,000 photos, 66 hours of full HD video, 24 hours of 4K UHD video, or up to 45,000 songs – allowing you to savour all of what life has to offer and let you keep it all too.Is a 512 SD card good? ›
The SanDisk Ultra 512GB is just a version of our pick for Switch gaming with more storage, since the read and write speeds are perfectly fine for gaming. It also has plenty of storage to work with a 4k drone or a home security camera, where you'll have a good deal of footage to manage.