How to choose memory card to save your photos and videos


A large number of electronic devices use memory cards to store data. Mobile phones, cameras, computers, GPS navigators and many more. When we are going to buy one of these cards we must be very clear about what we need. Some sellers will try to make us always buy the largest, and we may decide on the most expensive for the "just in case."

Not all devices are the same or have the same memory needs. A camera stores images, which are very large files. In this case, we may need one of the cards with the highest capacity. However, a music player or phone also records much smaller files, which can easily fit on a cheaper card. Next we are going to take a look at the files generated by different teams to find the most suitable card.

microSD card

Photo cameras

The first thing we have to find out is what type of files our camera generates . Most compact cameras generate JPEG files . This image format is more or less light, since the raw image generated by the sensor has gone through a processor in the camera that has processed and compressed it.

However, DSLRs and some advanced compacts produce RAW files . This format is actually the image as it comes out of the processor, untreated or compressed. It is a very useful format if we are going to retouch the image later, since we have not lost any information. The problem is that it is much larger than a JPEG image , and therefore requires more space on the memory card.

The exact size of the image on the card depends on the number of megapixels in the camera. Megapixels do not indicate the quality of a camera, but only the number of pixels that the image will have, that is, its size. There are very good cameras with sensors with few megapixels, and vice versa.

In an SLR or advanced camera that generates RAW files , we have to look for a large size card. If we don't, in the end we will find ourselves every so often emptying the memory card. If our camera generates a 20 MB RAW file , we could barely store 130 photos on a 4 GB card. In this table we can see the number of photos that we can store on different types of cards, depending on the size of the RAW .

RAW File size64GB **32GB16 GB8GB4GB
24MB *2,0801,040520260130

In the case that we have a compact camera, the sizes of the images will not be so high . Thus, a smaller card may be more convenient for us, in which we can store many photos. In this other table, we can see the image sizes that are usually generated in JPEG and the number of photos that can fit on each of the cards. In addition, the minutes of video that could be stored are also indicated.

JPEG / video32GB16 GB8GB4GB
Images + video1,200 + 5.6hrs600 + 2.8hrs440 + 1.4hrs220 + 50mins

And for the mobile?

Many smartphones also allow you to expand their memory through cards . In this case, the vast majority of the time it is microSD cards. It is the same storage system as that of an SD card, but much smaller.

To calculate the card size we need for the mobile we must ask ourselves the same question: What are our needs? If what we want is to store many photos that we take with the mobile camera, we must think of something similar to what we are looking for in compact cameras.

But there is more to mobile storage than just storing photos. One of the fundamental needs is usually to save more applications . The memory of phones is usually a bit limited, so having extra storage helps us to give up deleting apps to make room for others.

micro SD

In this case, we must bear in mind that there are many types of applications with very different sizes. A simple app, such as a battery widget (indicator), a flashlight, can only take 2 or 3 MB. However, some of the more popular apps get quite a bit heavier. The Google Chrome browser, in its version for Android, weighs 68 MB.

However, it is difficult to fill a 4 or 8 GB card based on applications . It is much easier to do it with photographs. If we intend to take a lot of photos and also store enough applications on the mobile, we could use a medium-sized card, around 16 GB, to ensure that we are not going to run out of space in a short time.

To transfer files from a microSD card to your computer , most manufacturers include an adapter that converts it to an SD card . This format appears in practically all card readers on computers today.