How Many Photos Can 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB/256GB Memory Card Hold?

How many pictures can my SD card hold? This is the question I am asked often when readers of my blog try to figure out the size of the SD memory card they need to complement the camera they just purchased.

How Many Photos Can 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB/256GB Memory Card Hold?

In this article,

  • I will give you a quick estimate of how many pictures different SD memory card holds.
  • Plus, I will provide with you a more precise method you can apply to your specific camera and get better estimates.
  • And finally, I will share what is the optimal memory card size today and the size of memory cards I am using in my photography.

But the simplest method to figure out how many images a memory card can hold is to divide the size of the memory card by the average image size your camera produces.

To simplify the process of calculating how many can SD card hold, I precalculated the most common scenarios and give you a clear answer. 

The Way I Calculated How many Photos Each SD Card Can Hold

I used 3 scenarios for calculating how many photos you can store on a SD card.

Scenario #1: You Use a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera

At this point, the two most popular DSLR lines of cameras are the Nikon D3xxx and the Canon Rebel series.

Nikon D3xxx cameras, when shooting in JPEG format, produce file sizes between 10MB and 13MB

Canon Rebel cameras produce JPEG images between 7MB and 11MB.

For my calculations, I used the average file size of 10MB for DSLR and mirrorless cameras when shooting JPEG.

When shooting RAW, depending on ISO settings, Nikon cameras create file sizes between 22MB and 26MB.

Canon Rebel models generate RAW images between 32MB and 38MB.

Scenario 2: You Use the Smartphone.

If you check the JPEG file size produced by various smartphones you can see that size can vary between 4MB and 6MB

Scenario 3: You Use GoPro or Another Action Camera

GoPro cameras, depending on the model, when shooting at full resolution produce JPEG images between 6MB and 10Mb.

To estimate the number of photos you can store on a SD memory card, I divided the size of the card by the average size of the camera images

That simple.

But please remember, it is only an estimation because we deal we averages and the final result of the number of images each card can hold is an approximation only.

How Many Photos Can a 16GB SD Card Hold?

DSLR (JPEG)DSLR (RAW)Smart PhoneGoPro Hero 8-11
1,638468-6823,2762,048

On DSLR and mirrorless cameras the JPEG file size varies from 7MB to 13MB. It means that a 16GB memory card will hold between 2,340 and 1,260 photos, with an average of 1,638 images. When shooting RAW the image size is bigger (between 22MB and 38MB), and the 16GB can store between 468 and 682 photos.

With an approximate image size between 4MB and 6MB on a smartphone, the 16GB SD memory card can hold between 4,096 and 2,730 photos with an average of 3,276 JPEG photos.

On the GoPro action camera, an 16GB memory card will store between 2730 (6MB per photo) and 1638 photos (10MB per photo) with an average of 2048.

Best 16GB SD Memory Cards

No products found.

How Many Photos Can a 32GB SD Card Hold?

DSLR (JPEG)DSLR (RAW)Smart PhoneGoPro Hero 8-11
3,276936-1,3646,5534,096

With the average JPEG image size on DSLR cameras around 10MB, the 32GB memory card will hold about 3,276 photos. When shooting in a RAW format, the file sizes vary from 22MB to 38MB, and a 32GB memory card can store between 936 and 1,364 images.

On a smartphone, the approximate image size is between 4MB and 6MB, and the 32GB SD memory card can hold between 8,192 and 5,460 photos with an average of 6553 JPEG images.

GoPro action cameras, at full resolution, produce JPEG image sizes around 6MB and 10MB. The 32GB memory card will allow you to store roughly between 5,462 (6MB per photo) and 3,276 photos (10MB per photo).

Best 32 GB SD Memory Cards

No products found.

How Many Photos Can a 64GB SD Card Hold?

DSLR (JPEG)DSLR (RAW)Smart PhoneGoPro Hero 8-11
6,5521,872-2,7281,31068,192

The average JPEG image size on most DSLR cameras is around 10 MB. With a 64GB memory card, you’ll be able to hold in the vicinity of 6,552 images. When shooting in RAW format, the file size can range from 22MB to 38MB. With a 64GB memory card, you can store about 1,872 to 2,728 pictures.

Images on a smartphone typically have a size between 4MB and 6MB, and SD cards with 64GB capacity can hold up to between 16384 and 10922 photos, with an average of 13106 JPEG images.

GoPro action cameras, at full resolution, produce JPEG images with file sizes ranging from 6MB to 10MB. The 64GB memory card will allow you to store between 10,922 (6MB per photo) and 6,554 photos (10MB per photo).

Best 64 GB SD Memory Cards

No products found.

How Many Photos Can a 128GB SD Card Hold?

DSLR (JPEG)DSLR (RAW)Smart PhoneGoPro Hero 8-11
1,31073,744-5,45626,21216,384

The average JPEG image size on most DSLR cameras is around 10 MB. With a 128GB memory card, you’ll be able to hold in the vicinity of 13,107 images. When shooting in RAW format, the file size can range from 22MB to 38MB. With a 128GB memory card, you can store about 3,744 to 5,456 pictures.

Images on a smartphone typically have a size between 4MB and 6MB, and SD cards with 128GB capacity can hold up to between 32,768 and 21,840 photos, with an average of 26,212 JPEG images.

GoPro action cameras, at full resolution, produce JPEG images with image sizes ranging from 6MB to 10MB. The 128GB memory card will allow you to store between 21,845 (6MB per photo) and 32,76 photos (10MB per photo).

Best 128GB SD Memory Cards

No products found.

How Many Photos Can a 256GB SD Card Hold?

DSLR (JPEG)DSLR (RAW)Smart PhoneGoPro Hero 8-11
26,2148,628-10,56052,42832,768

The average JPEG image size on most DSLR cameras is around 10 MB. With a 256GB memory card, you’ll be able to hold in the vicinity of 26,214 images. When shooting in RAW format, the file size can range from 22MB to 38MB. With a 256GB memory card, you can store about 8,628 to 10,560 pictures.

Images on a smartphone typically have a size between 4MB and 6MB, and SD cards with 256GB capacity can hold up to between 65,536 and 43,690 photos, with an average of 52,428 JPEG images.

GoPro action cameras, at full resolution, produce JPEG images with file sizes ranging from 6MB to 10MB. The 32GB memory card will allow you to store between 43,690 (6MB per photo) and 26,214 photos (10MB per photo).

Best 256GB SD Memory Cards

No products found.

How Many Photos Can a 512GB SD Card Hold?

DSLR (JPEG)DSLR (RAW)Smart PhoneGoPro Hero 8-11
52,42817,256-21,120104,85665,536

The average JPEG image size on most DSLR cameras is around 10 MB. With a 512GB memory card, you’ll be able to hold in the vicinity of 52,428 images. When shooting in RAW format, the file size can range from 22MB to 38MB. With a 512GB memory card, you can store about 17,256 to 21,120 pictures.

Images on a smartphone typically have a size between 4MB and 6MB, and SD cards with 512GB capacity can hold up to between 131,072 and 87,381 photos, with an average of 104,856 JPEG images.

GoPro action cameras, at full resolution, produce JPEG images with image sizes ranging from 6MB to 10MB. The 512GB memory card will allow you to store between 87,381 (6MB per photo) and 51,428 photos (10MB per photo).

Best 512GB SD Memory Cards

No products found.

What Factors Determine Image File Size?

JPEG File Size

The main mistake that photographers make when they try to estimate how many photos can fit on a memory card is when they use the number of megapixels on the camera sensor as a primary factor in their calculations. Although there is a direct correlation between the megapixel count and the size of the photo it produces (the higher the megapixel count, the larger the photo), it is almost impossible to estimate the actual file size.

If you shoot in JPEG format, you can use multiple quality options—like an extra fine, fine and standard—that produce different file sizes.

Plus, different camera settings and shooting conditions affect the size of the JPEG file. For example, high ISO photos often feature a large volume of digital noise, which results in much larger JPEG files. Photos with wide-open skies will have a much smaller file size than an image with a forest that is filled with detail.

This means that, depending on JPEG quality, different camera settings, and various shooting conditions, the file size can vary anywhere from 1MB to 20MB for the same camera model.

RAW File Size

When shooting RAW, the situation becomes even more confusing. RAW files vary in bit depth from 12-bit to 14-bit. The higher the bit depth, the bigger the file size. It is possible to calculate the file size when you know the megapixel count and the bit depth, but only for uncompressed RAW files. However, many manufacturers use RAW compression which varies from lossless to lossy.

Example. A Sony a6000 24-megapixel sensor produces 25MB RAW files. A Fujifilm X-T2 24-megapixel sensor produces 48MB RAW files. Sony’s RAW files are compressed but Fuji’s are uncompressed.

On top of everything, some camera manufacturers have their own smaller versions of RAW files such as sRAW and mRAW.

As I said, it is very complicated and confusing.

So, What is the More Accurate Way to Estimate How Many Photos a Memory Card Can Hold?

Let me show you the easiest way of finding the answer!

Let’s say that I shoot with my Sony a6000 and I want to estimate how many pictures I can store on a 32GB and a 64GB SD card before I decide which to buy.

I dive into my master library directory where I keep all of my unprocessed photos.

In the file browser (Explorer or Finder), I see that all my RAW photos are sized between 24MB and 25MB.

Next, I use the table below to determine that I can store 1,100 RAW files on a 32GB SD memory card and 2,200 RAW files on the 64GB version.

If I check the JPEG version of the images produced by the Sony a6000, I see that the size varies between 5MB and 13MB. I use an average value of 8MB for my calculation. This tells me that I can store 3,432 JPEG images on a 32GB SD card and 6,864 images on the 64GB version.

Memory Card Table Calculator

You can use my method with the memory size calculator table below to estimate how many photos a 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB SD memory card can hold.

Image Size
(MB)
SD Card
16GB
SD Card
32GB
SD Card
64GB
SD Card
128GB
SD Card
256GB
SD Card
512GB
1.0 MB 16,384 32,768 65,536 131,072 262,144 524,288
2.0 MB 8,192 16,384 32,768 65,536 131,072 262,144
3.0 MB 5,461 10,922 21,845 43,690 87,381 174,762
4.0 MB 4,096 8,192 16,384 32,768 65,536 131,072
5.0 MB 3,276 6,553 13,107 26,214 52,428 104,857
6.0 MB 2,730 5,461 10,922 21,845 43,690 87,381
7.0 MB 2,340 4,681 9,362 18,724 37,449 74,898
8.0 MB 2,048 4,096 8,192 16,384 32,768 65,536
9.0 MB 1,820 3,640 7,281 14,563 29,127 58,254
10.0 MB 1,638 3,276 6,553 13,107 26,214 52,428
11.0 MB 1,489 2,978 5,957 11,915 23,831 47,662
12.0 MB 1,365 2,730 5,461 10,922 21,845 43,690
13.0 MB 1,260 2,520 5,041 10,082 20,164 40,329
15.0 MB 1,092 2,184 4,369 8,738 17,476 34,952
16.0 MB 1,024 2,048 4,096 8,192 16,384 32,768
17.0 MB 963 1,927 3,855 7,710 15,420 30,840
18.0 MB 910 1,820 3,640 7,281 14,563 29,127
19.0 MB 862 1,724 3,449 6,898 13,797 27,594
20.0 MB 819 1,638 3,276 6,553 13,107 26,214
21.0 MB 780 1,560 3,120 6,241 12,483 24,966
22.0 MB 744 1,489 2,978 5,957 11,915 23,831
23.0 MB 712 1,424 2,849 5,698 11,397 22,795
24.0 MB 682 1,365 2,730 5,461 10,922 21,845
25.0 MB 655 1,310 2,621 5,242 10,485 20,971
26.0 MB 630 1,260 2,520 5,041 10,082 20,164
27.0 MB 606 1,213 2,427 4,854 9,709 19,418
28.0 MB 585 1,170 2,340 4,681 9,362 18,724
29.0 MB 564 1,129 2,259 4,519 9,039 18,078
30.0 MB 546 1,092 2,184 4,369 8,738 17,476
35.0 MB 468 936 1,872 3,744 7,489 14,979
40.0 MB 409 819 1,638 3,276 6,553 13,107
45.0 MB 364 728 1,456 2,912 5,825 11,650
50.0 MB 327 655 1,310 2,621 5,242 10,485
55.0 MB 297 595 1,191 2,383 4,766 9,532
60.0 MB 273 546 1,092 2,184 4,369 8,738
65.0 MB 252 504 1,008 2,016 4,032 8,065
70.0 MB 234 468 936 1,872 3,744 7,489
75.0 MB 218 436 873 1,747 3,495 6,990
80.0 MB 204 409 819 1,638 3,276 6,553
85.0 MB 192 385 771 1,542 3,084 6,168
90.0 MB 182 364 728 1,456 2,912 5,825
95.0 MB 172 344 689 1,379 2,759 5,518
100.0 MB 163 327 655 1,310 2,621 5,242

What is Optimal SD Memory Card Size?

People often ask me why we need memory cards bigger than 32GB if we can store thousands of high-resolution files.

Let me explain.

I often shoot in RAW+JPEG so that I can grab the JPEG version with my phone or tablet for fast editing on the road. This increases the file size for every shot to 33MB (25MB+8MB).

Next, I almost always bracket my shots, taking at least three consecutive versions of each shot at different exposure values. This increases the file size for each shot to nearly 100MB.

This means that I can only store 276 bracketed shots on a 32GB SD card. That is simply not enough room for my standard shooting style.

For the last two years, I mostly used SD memory cards with a capacity of 128GB but am now gradually upgrading them to the 256GB versions.

Crucial Memory Card Specifications Beyond Storage Capacity

When considering a memory card, don’t just focus on storage size. There are key aspects related to reliability and speed that deserve attention.

Reliability: Avoid unknown Chinese brands as they may lack the reliability needed to protect your data. This could lead to data corruption and the loss of your photos. Opt for trusted brands like SanDisk.

At the same time, exercise caution even within well-known brands to avoid counterfeit cards. When purchasing from Amazon, select reputable resellers such as Amazon itself, B&H, or Adorama.

Card Speed: Card speed is a crucial factor affecting how quickly your camera can write data, including photos and videos, to the card.

Slow cards can be frustrating when shooting in the field. Steer clear of the SanDisk Ultra for optimal performance, as it may limit your camera’s capabilities. Consider investing a bit more in models like SanDisk Extreme or SanDisk Extreme Pro for faster data transfer. This reduces the time your camera spends clearing its buffer, crucial for avoiding missed photo opportunities and maintaining a smooth photography workflow.

Conclusion: How Many Pictures Can My SD Card Hold?

Choosing the right memory card involves more than just size. Consider your photography needs, prioritize reliability and speed, and buy from reputable sellers. Whether you’re a frequent or occasional photographer, understanding these details ensures a smooth and secure experience.

When picking a memory card, focus on what truly matters for your photography, allowing you to capture moments without worries about memory card limitations.

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by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

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