When you invest in a larger, more robust product with 256GB, you might wonder how many photos can the memory card hold? In this article, we examine how many photos the different card sizes can hold, the differences between JPEG and RAW files, the different types of memory cards, and the various situations in which you will need photo capacity.

So, How Many Pictures Can 256GB Hold?

Many of the smartphones or DSLRs can convert photos into JPEG or JPG file format. If you use a digital camera, it can capture photos as a RAW file. RAW files will be larger sized files, while JPEG files will not use up as much space. Depending on the type of mobile phone or camera you have, there are many different qualities and sizes of pictures that can be stored.

Before giving you the specific details on how many photos 256GB memory can hold, it is important to note that the data below represents an educated estimate. 256GB memory cards will hold slightly less or more depending on a variety of external factors you may not be able to control.

What Number of JPEG Compressed Photos will 256GB Hold?

Below is a quick breakdown of how many photos 256GB memory can hold, depending on megapixel and file size:

  • 4 MP (1.2 MB File Size): 183100 photos
  • 5 MP (1.5 MB File Size): 146482 photos
  • 6 MP (1.8 MB File Size): 122000 photos
  • 7 MP (2.1 MB File Size): 104000 photos
  • 8 MP (2.4 MB File Size): 91500 photos
  • 10 MP (3.0 MB File Size): 73200 photos
  • 12 MP (3.6 MB File Size): 61000 photos
  • 14 MP (4.2 MB File Size): 52000 photos
  • 16 MP (4.8 MB File Size): 45000 photos
  • 22 MP (6.6 MB File Size): 33000 photos

What Number of RAW Uncompressed Photos will 256GB Hold?

Because RAW files represent uncompressed data, it will take up much more space than compressed photos. You see this because RAW files are larger and contain much more intricate colors and other details. Here is a similar breakdown of how many photos 256GB memory can hold:

  • 4 MP (12.0 MB File Size): 18310 photos
  • 5 MP (15.0 MB File Size): 14648 photos
  • 6 MP (18.0 MB File Size): 12200 photos
  • 7 MP (21.0 MB File Size): 10400 photos
  • 8 MP (24.0 MB File Size): 9150 photos
  • 10 MP (30.0 MB File Size): 7320 photos
  • 12 MP (36.0 MB File Size): 6100 photos
  • 14 MP (42.0 MB File Size): 5200 photos
  • 16 MP (48.0 MB File Size): 4500 photos
  • 22 MP (66.0 MB File Size): 3300 photos
memory cards

Other Memory Card Photo Capacities

So, how many pictures can a 32GB hold? Depending on the type of camera you use, here is a quick breakdown for a 32 gig SD card:

  • GoPro Hero 8 (12 MP / 3.6 MB Resolution): 8889 photos
  • GoPro Max (16.6 MP / 5 MB Resolution): 6400 photos
  • Canon 80D (24.2 MP / 49 MB Resolution): 653 photos

You might also wonder how many pictures can 16GB hold?

  • GoPro Hero 8 (12 MP / 3.6 MB Resolution): 4444 photos
  • GoPro Max (16.6 MP / 5 MB Resolution): 3200 photos
  • Canon 80D (24.2 MP / 49 MB Resolution): 326 photos

What if you are looking for a bigger camera, but do not want to make the jump to 256 GB? Here is a quick summary of the number of photos for 128GB memory:

  • GoPro Hero 8 (12 MP / 3.6 MB Resolution): 35556 photos
  • GoPro Max (16.6 MP / 5 MB Resolution): 25600 photos
  • Canon 80D (24.2 MP / 49 MB Resolution): 2612 photos

JPEG vs. Brand-Specific Raw vs. DNG

A memory card is a critical component of your photo storage. SD, CF, and MicroSD are the most common SD cards among the mirrorless, DSLR, and various cameras. Before we answer how many photos can fit on a memory card, it is essential to compare JPEG, brand-specific RAW, and DNG.

JPEG compression is utilized in a variety of photo file formats. It is the most popular image format option for digital cameras and other devices. When many photos are processed, they are compressed and only retain data that the camera determines as worthy. These types of images are ideal for social media or other situations that do not require post-processing.

A RAW file contains an image that was not processed. With RAW files, the initial raw file’s size could be anywhere between four to six times larger in megabytes than a JPEG. RAW image files retain much more information, but it will take up five to six times as much file space on your memory SD card.

DNG, or digital negative, is a raw format that is not associated with any brands. It is identical to a regular RAW file, and it was created by Adobe to standardize the various RAW formats. Many camera developers utilize DNGs as their standard RAW formats, such as Ricoh, Pentax, Hasselblad, and Leica. The most significant benefit of DNGs is that they are not exclusive to any specialized software.

Factors that Affect Photo Size and Storage Space

So, what will impact the size of each of your pictures? Four factors determine the size of the photo and the total amount you can store on your device.

The first factor is image resolution, which is the largest difference-maker when evaluating your memory card capacity. The larger the resolution of the photo, the more pixels it will contain. When your photo has more pixels, it will be a bigger image size. Therefore, it will take up more space on your device.

Image compression is another factor in the amount you can store on your device. When you shoot compressed pictures in JPG, it will raise your card capacity much more than uncompressed images like RAW.

Although this article focuses on the number of pictures 256GB can hold, the number of videos you own will play a factor. Video size can add up quickly and decrease space available for photos. Besides videos and pictures, some devices prepare additional files like THM and LRV files on the GoPro. These types of files will also take up extra space on your device.

Different Types of Memory Cards

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Photo by Pexels licensed under Pixabay

As you decide on the right type of memory card for your situation, it will depend on your current camera. You have flexibility over the size, speed, and brand of your memory card.

The larger the card size, the more photos you can capture. Although it allows you to store more photos, it also makes you vulnerable to damaging or losing them all too. Speed will determine how effectively the memory card can handle the data. A faster memory card will cost more, but it will enable you to utilize burst or continuous modes.

The first type of memory card is the CompactFlash (CF). CF is one of the top two most popular memory cards for digital cameras. They are the largest in terms of physical size and will complement various digital SLRs and bigger-sized digital cameras.

The second type of memory card is Secure Digital (SD). Because of their small size, they are becoming more common among compact digital cameras and laptops. They contain a tab on the side of the card, which serves as protection for your depressing pictures.

Lastly, MicroSD cards are even more compact than Secure Digital memory cards. They are perfect for smaller devices like drones, GoPros, and cell phones. Although these cards have a higher probability of getting lost, they will work effectively as an SD card when paired with an adapter.

How to Utilize Your Photo Capacity

If you are storing a massive number of photos, there are three different ways to use your photo capacity creatively. First, you can use extended time-lapse, which is perfect for long time lapses like watching water like tides rising and falling. If you take an image shot every 5 seconds over 8 hours, it will create 5750 images.

You can also implement incremental shooting, which shoots a single photo over a set number of seconds. TimeWarp is another valuable tool to simulate this same effect. If you are taking an extended vacation or trip, you will most likely be shooting over 25,000 photos. When you combine time-lapse videos with standard photos, this will undoubtedly be the case.

Is 256GB A Lot?

Before you ask if 256GB is a lot, you should consider your intended use. For people who do not want an excessive amount of stored photos, music, video, or video games, 256B will be enough. You can also look at the amount of storage you are currently using on your laptop, which will give you a good idea.

Should I get 256GB or 512GB?

For the average person, 256GB should provide plenty of storage. But if you anticipate storing a large number of games, music, and local movies, then it may be worth it to jump to 512GB. If memories are important to you and you want to keep as many photos as possible, you never want to short yourself. You cannot go wrong with either but think carefully about the level of your intended use.