Whether you just got your first memory card or just upgraded, you’re probably excited to take pictures. You may be wondering, how many pictures can 128GB hold?
The answer isn’t as easy as it seems. Keep reading to learn what goes into photo storage and how to make the most of the storage space.
JPEG, Raw and DNG Files
When determining how many pictures can 128 gig SD card hold, you have to consider the file type. JPEG files are very popular, and they’re easy to open on any device. Your camera also has a brand-specific RAW file that you can view on your camera but not a different device.
DNG is another file type, which is Adobe’s file type for photos. You can use it on any device with compatible software, so you won’t always need to convert it.
However, all of these differences can affect the file size and the number of photos you can keep on a 128GB SD card or hard drive.
JPEG Quality Settings and File Size
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. However, a 24MP camera will only be able to fit 2,600 photos in that same space.
RAW File Size
RAW files on your camera are typically much larger than JPEG files. Because of this, you won’t be able to store as many pictures on a 128GB hard drive. The average uncompressed RAW file is about 30 MB, which is about the size of a high-quality JPEG.
You can fit about 4,300 pictures in 128GB of storage. So you can keep the photos on your SD card or move them to a computer or external hard drive to free up space.
DNG File Size
DNG files are usually the same size as RAW files. The biggest difference is that you can open DNG files on your computer using Adobe programs. If you need to open RAW files, you can convert them to DNG without affecting the space.
You also have to consider your camera and its resolution when determining how many photos 128GB of memory can hold. Some lower-quality cameras result in small file sizes for the pictures.
Depending on your camera, you may be able to hold way more photos in the same amount of storage space. But being able to store more photos does mean you have to give up image quality.
Other Factors Affecting Photo Size
Camera resolution is a big factor that can affect photo size and storage capacity. But it’s not the only thing to consider. Here are a couple of other things that may affect your storage space.
If you also have videos on the same memory card, those will take up some of the 128GB of space. The amount of space can depend on the length of the videos, how many there are and their quality.
Other Files on the Card
If you use your memory card for things other than photos and videos, that can also lower the number of pictures the card can hold. Any other files can take up space and reduce the capacity you have for photos.
Calculating Your Camera’s File Size
To determine how many photos your memory card can hold, you should know your camera’s file size. That way, you don’t have to worry about filling your memory cards too fast.
First, you’ll need to figure out the number of horizontal and vertical pixels your camera detects. You can ask the manufacturer to be sure, then multiply those numbers to get the total number of pixels.
Next, you’ll need to know how many bits your camera uses. That way, you can multiply the total number of pixels by the bit depth, such as 16 bit or 8 bit. Then, you can divide that number by 8 to get the amount in bytes. Dividing that number by 1,024 will give you the number in kilobytes, and again will give you the number in megabytes.
Memory Card Calculator
If you don’t want to do the math yourself or don’t know how many pixels your camera has, you can use a memory card calculator. As long as you know the camera model and perhaps the basic specs, you can calculate how many pictures your memory cards can hold.
You should also consider what type of memory card you have. Here are two common options and that can affect how you store photos on your memory card.
A CF card is a memory card you can use with a modern camera. They’re fast, durable and small, so you can take them anywhere. The biggest reason to use CF cards is that they’re bigger than SD cards, but CF cards are more expensive for the same amount of storage.
SD (Secure Digital)
SD cards are popular among photographers and amateurs. The cards are affordable and easy to use. But they’re also pretty small, and it can be easy to damage them. So while you can save money, you run the risk of losing everything on the card.
MicroSD cards are very similar to regular SD cards. They can store the same amount of information, but they’re even smaller than an SD card. However, you would need an adapter if you plan to connect a microSD card to a device that uses a regular SD card.
Ideal Memory Card Size for You
When choosing how to store your photos, you should consider the best memory card size for your needs. You should think about how much storage space you need for photos, videos and other files.
That way, you can choose a memory card with enough space.
Regardless of the file types you use, you need to have enough storage space. The maximum capacity for a CF card is 512GB, but SD and microSD cards max out at 1TB, which is double that of a CF card.
If you don’t want a limit on your storage, you may want to get a large SD or microSD card. Then, you can fit even more photos on it.
While storing a lot of pictures may be important, you should also consider how fast your card can read and write files. CF cards can read and write about 155MB per second, but SD cards are almost twice as fast at 300MB per second.
However, a microSD card can only read and write at 100MB per second. So the smaller size does have some limitations.
Ways to Use Your Photo Capacity
If you don’t have a ton of photos yet, you can fill your storage space in a few ways. Here are a few things you can do to get creative with your photography.
Extended Time Lapse
You can venture into the world of video by taking a time-lapse. The time-lapse can be of you doing something, or you can film an area with a lot of foot traffic. Then, you can speed up the video and watch it back.
You can also experiment with light using incremental shooting techniques. By changing the ISO speed on your camera, you can affect how much light gets in when you shoot your camera.
If you have a long trip soon, you can fill your large memory cards with pictures from the experience. Then, you can save your memories for later.
Lastly, if you want to start taking videos, you can do that. You don’t usually need a separate camera or SD card.
Knowing how many pictures can 128GB hold can be difficult. You have to consider your camera resolution, the file type and other files you have on the memory card. However, you can store a lot of photos when you have 128GB of space.