Many digital camera buyers consider the outside appearance of a digital camera or perhaps the technical specifications but do not give a lot (or any) thought to the media card needed for photo storage.
While most digital cameras do come with a memory card, the cards that come with the camera typically have very little storage. My last digital camera card sold along with the camera held only 8 photos. So, do plan on buying memory along with a digital camera, or you will not be taking many pictures.
Common Types of Flash Cards or Memory Cards
- Secure Digital (SD)
- Mini SD (often used with cell phones)
- Compact Flash (best for SLR digital cameras)
- Multi Media Cards
- Smart Media
- Memory Sticks
The most common type of memory card is the SD card. Many cameras use this basic type of memory storage, and I have a Canon camera point-and-shoot with SD memory. It’s easy to find the cards, and they are inexpensive.
I also have a mini SD for my cell phone. It fits into an adapter which is the standard SD size. So, using the mini SD is, for all practical purposes, like using SD but is smaller to fit in the slot on the cell phone.
With my SLR camera, I have a Compact Flash card. They are larger and more expensive. The benefits are larger storage space for bigger photos made with the SLR and faster download speed (about twice the speed of SD). On the flip side, Compact Flash cards are much more expensive than SD cards.
How Many Photos Will a Camera Memory Card Hold?
There are different storage capacities on memory devices. The numbers indicate the space. For instance, a 4 gigabit card will hold double the amount of data versus the 2 gigabit.
It is impossible to get an exact amount on the number of photos (or video footage) on any given card, because there are various settings on digital cameras in terms of photo size and quality. Bigger and better quality images will take more storage space than the smaller compressed pictures. Also, photos will vary some in size from shot to shot.
Companies do give typical storage for various cards sizes. Estimates on a 4 gig card range from 1000 photos with a 14 mega pixel camera to 4000 photos with a low 3 mega pixel camera.
While digital storage cards can be cleared and used over and over, they can also serve as back up for images.
I typically keep my photos on the hard drive of my computer (which does take up a lot of space) and back up images on CDs or on travel or thumb drives. I also have an external hard drive and periodically download large number of photos on the drive.
My Mom is, however, more comfortable keeping her pictures on the original SD cards. Since SD cards are inexpensive now, they are a reasonable option for back up. I just buy my Mom more SD cards when she’s taking a lot of photos – like on vacations.
Backing up photos makes sense and is a good practice no matter what type of storage you use for back up. A hard drive crash could wipe out photos or a memory device could fail. Also, a flood or fire could wipe out years of photos, so it’s a good idea to keep back up copies at work or in another location like a relative’s home.