A memory card is a repository of your best memories.
Moments you plan to cherish for eternity.
It’s a companion that ensures you never miss a special moment whether it is a cute minute with your better half.
Your child’s first step, or the time-lapse video of a beautiful sunset.
On a vacation, a major worry for most people – ‘what if I run out of space in the SD Card?’
You’re also probably wondering how many photos a memory card can hold.
Or how many photos can you store in 1 GB of memory?
1GB memory drive can hold an estimated 595 photos (with a 5 megapixel camera at standard resolution settings).
That is the short version of the answer.
But today we’ll relieve your worries and answer all your questions.
Factors That Determine the Image Size
The size of the SD Card is just one of the factors that determine how many photos a card can hold.
Since GoPro cameras are preferred by vacationers, novice, and experienced photographers, we’ll begin with the two image formats available in their most popular models.
JPG vs. RAW (.gpr)
JPG or JPEG is the format of choice for many. It has become part of our daily lives because of its versatility.
JPG is widely compatible with almost all types of cameras, doesn’t take up too much space, guarantees excellent image quality, and is easier to share.
All GoPro models and other digital camera brands allow saving photos in JPG format.
JPGs are simple, convenient, and easy to work with online and offline.
Regardless of the still image mode you choose on the GoPro camera – be it Continuous Shooting mode, Burst mode, or LiveBurst – you can produce photos in the JPG format.
An alternate file format that’s also common in most digital cameras is RAW. In GoPro, the default file extension for the raw format is .gpr.
The RAW format occupies more space on the memory card than JPGs as it captures all the information that the camera’s sensor sees.
You get better control over the image and its quality.
That’s because RAW gives more freedom to control the white and color balance, aspect, retrieve details hiding in the shadows, etc.
The three biggest drawbacks of the RAW format are the obvious increase in size due to the presence of multiple files, the need for an image editing software/app to process the images, and the non-availability of this format in all GoPro camera still image modes.
The quality of the photo largely depends on the size and number of pixels in the image.
Hence, the pixel density determines the image resolution. Photos with higher resolution have a larger file size.
The users are permitted to select the number of pixels in some GoPro cameras.
But, that’s not possible in the GoPro Hero (2018). In this variant, the pixel size is fixed at 10MP.
Photos with 10MP image size come with an aspect ratio of 4:3 and a pixel resolution of 3648 by 2736.
Images taken with a resolution of 10MP is enough to share online and making 8 by 10 prints.
In addition to image resolution, the way the JPG photo is compressed also affects the file size.
Photos that are not heavy on detail and with fewer tones are compressed better than detail-rich images with a lot of smooth tones.
Hence, the file size can vary from photo to photo.
Videos Fighting for Space on the SD Card
Although GoPro cameras are great for still photo shots, they are ideally suited for high-quality videos.
Those that have chosen GoPro must have also had videos on their minds. This means video files will be fighting for space on the memory card.
Videos will eat up more space and reduce the number of photos you can store on an SD Card.
Hence, don’t forget to include videos as a factor for determining how many photos you can have on a memory card.
Miscellaneous Files in the SD Card
If you’re having both still photos and videos on the GoPro camera, you will notice additional files such as .THM and .LRV and folders such as MISC, etc.
These files are used by GoPro apps (Android and iOS).
The .THM files are thumbnails for the JPGs and are used for photo previews.
GoPro cameras automatically create preview files for videos under the extension of .LRV (low-resolution video file).
Both these files can be safely deleted and recreated using original images and video files if needed.
Ok, so How Many Photos per GB
The JPG files vary in size because of the various degrees of compression.
The image resolution also depends on the camera you use.
The maximum resolution for digital photos you can choose changes with the GoPro model.
The photo resolution can be anywhere between 5MP (GoPro Hero) to 18MP (GoPro Max).
Check out the chart to know the number of photos that can be stored per GB.
|GoPro Hero 3 / 3+||GoPro Hero 7 White and Silver||GoPro Hero 6 Black / 7 Black / 8 Black||GoPro Max and Fusion|
|Most Common Image Resolution||8MP||10MP||12MP||16.6MP|
|Photos per GB||417||333||277||200|
Planning to buy an SD Card for your GoPro camera? There are a couple of things to watch out for.
We don’t want you purchasing an SD Card and then finding out it’s incompatible with your camera.
The older models of GoPro only accept SDHC-formatted cards. In this case, the highest storage capacity the camera can accommodate is 32GB.
On the other hand, the newer models – from HERO4 Session to HERO9 Black – work with SDXC-formatted cards.
So, you can very well use cards with 64GB capacity or higher (128GB, 256GB, 400GB, and 512GB).
How Many Pictures Can You Fit in 16GB/32GB/64GB/128GB Memory Cards?
When we speak of SD Cards, the first thought that comes to mind is SanDisk.
The SanDisk memory cards come in a wide range of storage capacities, from 16GB to 1TB.
For the sake of this article, we’re capping the memory card size to 256GB.
Also bear in mind, when you use an SD Card in the GoPro or any other camera the real capacity will be somewhat lesser than the advertised size mentioned on the card.
This is because the memory card companies use the SI units system, whereas the file sizes are measured in the Binary units system.
Now, let’s find out approximately how many photos can the SD Cards hold.
How Many Photos Can a 16GB SD Card Hold?
A 16GB memory card can store approximately 4,432 photos.
To arrive at this conclusion, we have taken the liberty of fixing the image resolution at 12MP that produces a compressed JPG file of 3.7MB.
|Image Resolution||File Size||Number of Pictures in 16GB SD Card|
How Many Photos Can a 32GB SD Card Hold?
A 32GB SD Card can store approximately 8864 photos.
If you’re not a big fan of shooting videos, then a 32GB SD Card should be enough to capture the countless moments of your vacation.
Again, we’re assuming that you have a GoPro camera with a 12MP still image setting.
|Image Resolution||File Size||Number of Pictures in 32GB SD Card|
How Many Photos Can a 64GB SD Card Hold?
A 64GB SD Card can store approximately 17728 photos.
Using a 64GB SD Card will ensure you won’t have to buy another memory card during the vacation.
|Image Resolution||File Size||Number of Pictures in 64GB SD Card|
How Many Photos Can a 128GB SD Card Hold?
A 128GB SD Card can store approximately 35456 photos.
Opting for 128GB SD Card will give you the freedom to use as many time-lapse videos as you want.
|Image Resolution||File Size||Number of Pictures in 128GB SD Card|
How Many Photos Can a 256GB SD Card Hold
A 256GB memory card can store approximately 70912 photos.
|Image Resolution||File Size||Number of Pictures in 128GB SD Card|
We hope this guide has answered the question ‘How many pictures can an SD Card hold?’
This will also help you select the right SD Card for your GoPro Camera.
So, next time you go shopping for a memory card, you don’t have to buy the largest capacity card.
Cristian Stanciu is a freelance video editor, owner, and post-production coordinator of Veedyou Media – a company offering video editing services to videographers, marketing agencies, video production studios, or brands all over the globe.