How Many Pictures Can 16 GB Hold?


So you are planning on going on a trip and want to take pictures. You decide to buy a good quality DSLR camera, and you buy a 16 GB memory card with the rig. At that very moment you asked yourself the question “how many pictures can 16 GB hold?”

While Storage devices have come a long way from their invention, the sizes of various files have increased almost equally. The size of photos, videos, and other files depend a lot on the quality of those files. The more information in them, or the bigger the resolution, the bigger the file size will be.

So how many pictures can 16 GB exactly hold? Answering this question is not as easy as it sounds. In order to answer the question correctly, we have to know how picture formats and file sizes work in cameras. 

So if you want the question “how many pictures can 16 GB hold?” answered, stick with us till the end of this article. So without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Explaining Picture Formats 

In DSLR cameras there are mainly two types of picture formats: JPEG and RAW. These two are widely used formats which vary a lot in size. RAW files are usually exponentially bigger than JPEG files.

This is mainly due to the amount of information and detail captures in a RAW file is much greater than that of JPEGs. RAW files are able to retain more exposure, depth of field, clarity and detail. This is why most professional photographers take pictures in RAW. 

But the downside to this file format is the enormous file size. While the JPEG files do not appear as detailed as RAW ones, their file size is significantly smaller. Hence most people who don’t take photos professionally like taking pictures in JPEG as it saves them space.

Picture Size and Resolutions

If you are familiar with photography you know most cameras have a resolution of certain megapixels. Most professional cameras come with either 12 megapixels, 16 megapixels, 22 megapixels or 24 megapixels. 

The higher the resolution of the picture, the bigger its file size would be. This is because, high resolution pictures retain more detail and information of the subject than low resolution ones. 

However, the resolution alone does not play the role in determining the file size of a photo. It also depends on the file format, as we explained above. The file sizes of JPEG photos of 12/16/22/24 megapixel cameras will be less than that of the file sizes of RAW photos of the same resolution.

To give you a better idea of what the file size would be for certain resolutions in both JPEG and RAW formats, we have prepared two tables. These two tables should clearly distinguish the file size difference between JPEG and RAW photos of the same resolution.

File Size for JPEG Files

Megapixels File Size 
4 MP 1.2 MB
5 MP 1.5 MB
6 MP 1.8 MB
7 MP 2.1 MB
8 MP 2.4 MB
10 MP 3.0 MB
12 MP 3.6 MB
14 MP 4.2 MB
16 MP 4.8 MB
22 MP 6.6 MB

File Size for RAW Files

Megapixels File Size 
4MP 12.0 MB
5MP 15.0 MB
6MP 18.0 MB
7MP 21.0 MB
8MP 24.0 MB
10MP 30.0 MB
12MP 36.0 MB
14MP 42.0 MB
16MP 48.0 MB
22MP 66.0 MB

How Many Pictures Can 16 GB Hold?

Now that we have necessary information to figure this out, let’s move on to answering your question. We must mention, the number of photos you will be able to store in a 16 GB memory card will depend on your camera’s resolution and the file format you choose the take photos in.

If you just want to take photos for keeping memories of whatever you are doing, then you would want to opt for JPEG format. This will allow you to take more photos and capture more moments. 

So if you have a 12MP camera, you can take 3814 photos in total. But if you have a camera with a higher resolution, for example, 16 MP or 22 MP, then you will be able to store 2861 or 2080 photos in your 16 GB memory card. 

On the other hand, if you want to take professional photos that require you to capture the intricate details of your subjects, you need to take photos in RAW. 

If you are taking photos in RAW, for a 12 megapixel camera, the number of photos you will be able to store in your memory card is only 381 photos. For 16 MP, you can store 286 photos, and for 22 MP, you can store 208 photos. 

Is a 16 GB Memory Card Enough?

In our opinion, 16 GB is not enough space for long trips or events, and certainly not enough for professional photographers. Big professional photographers such as Peter McKinnon, Benjamin Jaworskyj and others use larger memory cards with at least a storage space of 64 GBs. 

Even if you want to take photos in JPEG for fun, 16 GB does not sound like much of a capacity and can be easily filled up. But if that’s what you have, you can work with it. It’s not much but it isn’t too low either. 

The only thing you will have to maintain is that you might have to take low resolution photos due to the storage shortage, to make the most out of it. 

Bottom Line

We hope we were able to answer your question of how many pictures 16 GB can hold. The information we have provided should be able to help you analyze exactly how many photos you can store in a 16 GB memory card.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it informative. Have a nice day!

1 thought on “How Many Pictures Can 16 GB Hold?”

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