Memory cards have been used by all kinds of digital cameras, drones, and smartphones. The most common types of SD cards that are used today are micro SD cards, SD cards, and CF cards. And sometimes, buying an SD card can be a little tricky because there is a lot of choice out there, all with different capacity, type, size, and speeds!

So in this article we are going to focus on the capacity part, by essentially explaining how many pictures (and videos) an SD card of ANY given capacity can hold. This will give you a better idea when you have to choose the capacity of your memory card before buying it.

But without further ado, let’s get started!


How Many Pictures Can a SD Card Hold?

To answer this question, we should first take a look at some shooting settings and how they exactly affect the file size of a picture.

JPEG Photos

JPEG is a type of image format that compresses the pixels of a picture. It only keeps important parts of the picture that the camera identifies as important. This type of photo setting is great if you are going to use the image on social media sites and for personal use.

However, if you are to apply post-processing on this kind of picture the quality may not be great as a lot of detail on the picture is already compressed. JPEG photos are normally smaller in file size compared to RAW images which we will discuss more below.

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RAW Images

From the name itself, RAW images contain raw or unprocessed data from the camera. This means that you would have an image with a full dynamic range and a wider color band for every single pixel on the image.

You may want to use RAW file type if you plan on applying post-process editing on your shots. Keep in mind that RAW images are larger in file size compared to JPEG photos.

Now that you have an idea of these two shooting modes, it is time for you to identify which shooting mode are you going to use the most. Let’s now take a look at some numbers on how many photos you can actually fit on memory cards with different storage capacities.

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Amount of JPEG Pictures That a SD Card Hold

16 GB800
32 GB1,600
64 GB3,200
128 GB6,400
256 GB12,800
512 GB25,600
1 TB50,000

As you can see from the table, you can store a lot of photos if you use the JPEG format on your images. The calculation above is based on a 20 MB file size for each photo. In this case, even the 16 GB memory card manages can fit at least 3,200 photos which are more than enough for a normal day to day use.

But, if capacity is really important for you and you want to keep as many photos (and videos) as you want without having to delete them then you can go and buy the 128 GB or higher memory card which can fit 6,400 photos or even higher depend on the storage capacity that you would get.

Number of RAW Images That You Can Store on a Memory Card

16 GB320
32 GB640
64 GB1,280
128 GB2,560
256 GB5,120
512 GB10,240
1 TB20,000

Now, we can see on the table that the number of photos you can fit on a memory card obviously decreased when we changed the format to RAW. These calculations are based on a photo that has a file size of 50 MB. In this case, if you are planning on using the RAW photo setting on your camera then it is advisable to get at least the 128 GB storage variant of a memory card so that you can have a decent amount of pictures stored on your SD card.

Now let us take a look at some numbers on how many videos you can store on a SD memory card.

How Many Videos Can You Store on a Memory Card?

Well, to give you an idea, here are the numbers on how many videos you can store on your memory card:

1 Minute 1080P Video

  • 8 GB –  53 Videos
  • 16 GB –  106 Videos
  • 32 GB –  213 Videos
  • 64 GB –  426 Videos
  • 128 GB –  853 Videos
  • 512 GB –  3, 413 Videos

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This sums up this article on determining the number of photos that you can hold on given memory card size. Keep in mind that these are just approximate calculations and the numbers may vary depending on the camera that you use.

If this article helped you we would highly appreciate it if you share it with your friends and colleagues 🙂

Thanks for the read!


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