Memory Card Size Calculator for Photographers

How Many Pictures Can 32Gb Hold? - The Calculator

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.

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

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 64GB and 128GB.

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 a 32GB SD card 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.

More...

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 a 32GB or a 64GB SD 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.

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 64GB but am now gradually upgrading them to the 128GB versions.

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

File Size (MB)

8GB

16GB

32GB

64GB

128GB

256GB

1.0 MB

6866

13732

27464

54928

109856

219712

2.0 MB

3432

6864

13728

27456

54912

109824

3.0 MB

2288

4576

9152

18304

36608

73216

4.0 MB

1716

3432

6864

13728

27456

54912

5.0 MB

1373

2746

5492

10984

21968

43936

6.0 MB

1144

2288

4576

9152

18304

36608

7.0 MB

981

1962

3924

7848

15696

31392

8.0 MB

858

1716

3432

6864

13728

27456

9.0 MB

763

1526

3052

6104

12208

24416

10.0 MB

687

1374

2748

5496

10992

21984

11.0 MB

625

1250

2500

5000

10000

20000

12.0 MB

572

1144

2288

4576

9152

18304

13.0 MB

528

1056

2112

4224

8448

16896

14.0 MB

490

980

1960

3920

7840

15680

15.0 MB

457

914

1828

3656

7312

14624

16.0 MB

428

856

1712

3424

6848

13696

17.0 MB

403

806

1612

3224

6448

12896

18.0 MB

381

762

1524

3048

6096

12192

19.0 MB

361

722

1444

2888

5776

11552

20.0 MB

344

688

1376

2752

5504

11008

25.0 MB

275

550

1100

2200

4400

8800

30.0 MB

228

456

912

1824

3648

7296

35.0 MB

195

390

780

1560

3120

6240

40.0 MB

172

344

688

1376

2752

5504

45.0 MB

168

336

672

1344

2688

5376

50.0 MB

153

306

612

1224

2448

4896

55.0 MB

141

282

564

1128

2256

4512

60.0 MB

129

258

516

1032

2064

4128

65.0 MB

119

238

476

952

1904

3808

70.0 MB

98

196

392

784

1568

3136

75.0 MB

91

182

364

728

1456

2912

80.0 MB

86

172

344

688

1376

2752

85.0 MB

81

162

324

648

1296

2592

90.0 MB

76

152

304

608

1216

2432

95.0 MB

72

144

288

576

1152

2304

100.0 MB

69

138

276

552

1104

2208

The List of the Best Selling SD Cards from Amazon:

SaleBestseller No. 1
Honsky Aluminum UHS-I SD Micro SD SDHC SDXC TF SecureDigital Memory Card Carrying Case Holder Organizer Box Keeper for Computer Camera Media Storage Organization, Black
75 Reviews
Honsky Aluminum UHS-I SD Micro SD SDHC SDXC TF SecureDigital Memory Card Carrying Case Holder Organizer Box Keeper for Computer Camera Media Storage Organization, Black
  • 1 Pack of Honsky SD Card Case: Tough Aluminum Alloy; Product Size 4.4 x 2.9 x 0.7 inch; Color: Black
  • Lightweight, compact and sturdy design
  • Shock-proof hard protective metal clam shell for most safety in carrying and storage of your memory cards
  • Very durable hinge mechanism for longer life span
  • 16 compartments in total, 8 x SD cards, 8 x microSD cards, suitable for SD / Micro SD / SDHC / SDXC /TF
SaleBestseller No. 2
Honsky 2 Set Aluminum Water Resistant UHS-I SD Micro SD SDHC SDXC SecureDigital Memory Card Carrying Case Holder Organizer Box Keeper Computer Camera Media Storage Organization, Silver
61 Reviews
Honsky 2 Set Aluminum Water Resistant UHS-I SD Micro SD SDHC SDXC SecureDigital Memory Card Carrying Case Holder Organizer Box Keeper Computer Camera Media Storage Organization, Silver
  • 2 Pack of Honsky SD Card Case: Tough Aluminum Alloy; Product Size 4.4 x 2.9 x 0.7 inch; Color: Silver
  • Lightweight, compact and sturdy design
  • Water resistant seal and shock-proof hard protective metal clam shell for most safety in carrying and storage of your memory cards
  • Very durable hinge mechanism for longer life span
  • 16 compartments in total, 8 x SD cards, 8 x microSD cards, suitable for SD / Micro SD / SDHC / SDXC /TF
Bestseller No. 3
Tomee 1MB Memory Card for PS1
584 Reviews
Tomee 1MB Memory Card for PS1
  • 1MB memory block
  • compatible with PSone/PS
  • Work with PS2 for PS1 games
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