Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lesson #3 ~ Know Your Memory Card

Digital camera memory is an essential piece of digital photography equipment, but it is often overlooked. I know I almost overlooked it - I was not particularly happy my camera didn't come with even a basic one. There are many types of memory and it's a good idea to consider what type of memory a camera uses when you buy one.

It's also important to make sure you have enough memory before you take pictures of on vacation or at an important event. Though memory cards are reusable, their capacity is limited. Have a larger memory card, or extra cards, to make sure you have enough space to take the pictures you need. And always check your camera before you leave to make sure you downloaded everything. I have left the house thinking I had plenty of memory only to determine I was running at about half capacity because I’d taken pictures at an event and hadn’t downloaded them.

The good thing is most digital cameras allow you to adjust the image quality, which can change how many pictures fit one a memory card. You can have a couple-hundred high quality photos on one card and sometimes thousands of low-quality pics on the same card, should you be happy snappy low grade pictures. Also, depending on what kind of light you're in and more factors I can't even imagine, individual photos will have different sizes, so sometimes you can squeak in a few more and sometimes, you end up with less.

Between camera manufacturers, memory card capacity does vary, so make sure to take this into consideration if you're buying a new digital camera. With my Canon XSi, I have two 4-gigabyte cards and they can hold about 350 high quality JPGs or about 110 RAW image files on each of them. I have a capacity for taking about 700 or 220 photos, depending on what file type or image quality I use.

I haven't tried taking pictures with RAW files yet. I wanted to this weekend so I could include one in this lesson, but it's raining in the middle of January in Minnesota, so that was out of the question. But I will be trying it out soon! In the meantime, I think this photo would have been a good one to try in RAW. You can't quite see the ripples in the clouds as well as I saw them when I was taking the photo.

Rippled Clouds


  1. I remember buying my first 1 gig card for nearly $90. Quite a bit cheaper now.

    Sorry, I've Tagged you; check my Monday's post. No need to participate.