How Many Pictures Can 32GB Hold? Memory Card Size Calculator for Photographers

How Many Pictures Can 32GB Hold: Memory Card Size Calculator for Photographers

I recently put together and published an in-depth guide on how to select the right SD Memory Card for your camera.

I outlined four key points to make the right selection—the type of card, the speed of the card, its volume capacity, and its reliability.

Best SD Memory Cards for Photography. In-Depth Guide.

I also revealed the memory cards I use in my photography:

SanDisk Extreme Pro
BEST MEMORY CARD

Max Read Speed: 95 MB/s, Max Write Speed: 90 MB/s, Min Write Speed: 30 MB/s
SanDisk Extreme
BEST VALUE

Max Read Speed: 90 MB/s, Max Write Speed: 60 MB/s, Min Write Speed: 30 MB/s

The bulk of the guide is dedicated to the most confusing part of SD card selection—deciphering the cryptic markings on the card that represent the card types and speed.

My explanation for selecting the appropriate card size or volume capacity is simple—it has to be big enough to store thousands of photos. That is why I recommend a card with a volume capacity anywhere between 128GB and 256GB.

The article was well-received and earned positive feedback from the travel photography community. But, almost every photographer who shared his or her opinion followed up with typical questions like:

“ How many pictures can 32GB can hold? ”, “ How many pictures can a 16GB SD card hold? ”, “ How many pictures can a 64GB SD card hold? ” and so on

This is when I realized that the topic requires additional coverage.

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 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 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 the 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.

Like I said, it is very complicated and confusing.

So, how do we determine how many pictures can 32GB 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.

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 almost 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.

Memory Card Calculator Table

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

How Many Pictures Can 32GB Hold? Memory Card Size Calculator for Photographers 1

SD Memory Cards I Use and Recommend

TOP RATED
SanDisk Extreme Pro

BEST MEMORY CARD

Capacity: 64GB/128GB/256GB, Max Read Speed: 95 MB/s, Max Write Speed: 90 MB/s, Class: U3

SanDisk Extreme

BEST VALUE

Capacity: 64GB/128GB/256GB Max Read Speed: 95 MB/s, Max Write Speed: 40 MB/s, Class: U3

Sale
Kingston Digital

Capacity: 64GB/128GB/256GB, Max Read Speed: 100 MB/s, Max Write Speed: 80 MB/s, Class: U3

Let me give a few scenarios of how to use my Memory Card Calculating method.

When I was shooting with Canon, my latest camera 80D model had a 20MP sensor and produced CR2 RAW files at the size of 25MB and JPEG files on average 6MB.

Next, I switched to Sony a6000 and 24MP sensor produced the 24MB compressed ARW RAW files and 8MB JPEG images.  

Now, I am shooting with Fujifilm Xt2. The file size for RAF RAW files is 48MB and JPEG is 7MB.

So, I made some calculations for popular camera models.

How many pictures can ​16gb hold?

RAW
550
500
322
456
640
JPEG
2297
1716
1700
1374
1194
RAW + JPEG
450
438
275
344
414
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
150
144
92
122
138
RAW
550
JPEG
2297
RAW + JPEG
450
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
150
RAW
500
JPEG
1716
RAW + JPEG
438
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
144
RAW
322
JPEG
1700
RAW + JPEG
275
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
92
RAW
456
JPEG
1374
RAW + JPEG
344
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
122
RAW
640
JPEG
1194
RAW + JPEG
414
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
138

How many ​photos can 32gb hold?

RAW
4400
4000
2578
3648
5124
JPEG
18304
13728
13600
10992
9554
RAW + JPEG
3600
3510
2200
2752
3314
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
1200
1152
740
980
1104
RAW
4400
JPEG
18304
RAW + JPEG
3600
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
1200
RAW
4000
JPEG
13728
RAW + JPEG
3510
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
1152
RAW
2578
JPEG
13600
RAW + JPEG
2200
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
740
RAW
3648
JPEG
10992
RAW + JPEG
2752
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
980
RAW
5124
JPEG
9554
RAW + JPEG
3314
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
1104

How many pictures can 64gb hold?

RAW
2200
2000
1289
1824
2562
JPEG
9152
6864
6800
5496
4777
RAW + JPEG
1800
1755
1100
1376
1657
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
600
576
370
490
552
RAW
2200
JPEG
9152
RAW + JPEG
1800
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
600
RAW
2000
JPEG
6864
RAW + JPEG
1755
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
576
RAW
1289
JPEG
6800
RAW + JPEG
1100
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
370
RAW
1824
JPEG
5496
RAW + JPEG
1376
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
490
RAW
2562
JPEG
4777
RAW + JPEG
1657
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
552

How many pictures can 128gb hold?

RAW
4400
4000
2578
3648
5124
JPEG
18304
13728
13600
10992
9554
RAW + JPEG
3600
3510
2200
2752
3314
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
1200
1152
740
980
1104
RAW
4400
JPEG
18304
RAW + JPEG
3600
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
1200
RAW
4000
JPEG
13728
RAW + JPEG
3510
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
1152
RAW
2578
JPEG
13600
RAW + JPEG
2200
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
740
RAW
3648
JPEG
10992
RAW + JPEG
2752
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
980
RAW
5124
JPEG
9554
RAW + JPEG
3314
RAW+JPEG,
3 Brackets
1104

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