Sandisk plus USBI’m often asked by people: What size memory card should I buy? The majority of the time, I advise them that memory cards are cheap, so they should buy the biggest they can afford, but when budget is tight or when you may not be taking very many photos it becomes a bit confusing as to what size to go for.

Here’s a rough guide to let you know how many photos you’ll fit on a memory card. This chart assumes you will be using the highest image size / quality setting on your camera. If you need help deciding what kind of memory card to buy, have a look at our guide to digital camera memory cards.

of Card
Size (MP = Megapixels)
2-4mp (1mb) 5-6mp (2mb) 7-8mp (3mb) 9mp+
16mb 15 7 3 3
32mb 31 15 10 7
64mb 62 31 21 15
128mb 125 62 42 31
256mb 250 125 85 62
512mb 512 250 170 125
1gb (1024mb) 1024 512 341 250
2gb (2048mb) 2048 1024 682 512
4gb (4096mb) 4096 2048 1365 1024
8gb (8192mb) 8192 4096 2730 2048
16gb 16384 8192 5461 4096

Further information: Read our guide to memory cards for more information on all types of memory cards. For information on XD memory cards click here. You can get the best price memory cards at Amazon. Updated: June 2008

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5 Responses to What size memory card should I buy?

  1. madeleine says:

    hi joshua, many thanks for your hard work.yesterday a guy in the shop told me i won’t be needing a high speed card (SD) for my powershot S2 IS. he said the speed only makes a difference for DSLR. do you agree or disagree?thanks for yor help.take caremadeleine

  2. Joshua says:

    Hi Madeleine, thanks for the question. You may need a high speed SD card for the highest quality video settings on some cameras, however for most photography a high speed memory card shouldn’t be needed (unless you take a lot of continuous shots). Hope this helps, Josh

  3. Boniface says:

    Hi,I have this cam ‘Mercury Cyberpix S-330’ its a good cam but the flash is too weak is there any way how I can get the flash going for a longer time course when ever I switch on the flash it drains the battery completely.ThanksBonie

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi Joshua,Now that 16gb memory cards are becoming more available (and coming down in price to the £50 mark), how can I find out which cameras are compatible with these larger memory cards ?Manufacturer’s specifications (and all the reviews that I’ve read) seem to be silent on this issue.Or is it just that, for example, if a camera takes a CF card it can take ANY size of CF card ?Mike

  5. Sandra Starks says:

    I have put a new memory card in the Panasonic DMC-LZ3 Lumix 5 Megapixel camera, but it still gives a reading “memory card error-please check the card”. I cannot take any pictures except without the card and they are going to the camera. Do you have any suggestions?

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