Digital cameras come with a small amount of memory standard, but as an avid photographer soon learns, it may not nearly be enough. There are three main factors that go into determining how much memory you need: the size of your camera in megapixels, the number of photos you plan to take at a time and the speed at which you plan to take your photos.
Megapixels are the unit used to measure a camera's resolution. In general, the higher a camera's megapixels, the higher the resolution of individual photographs -- and the more memory it will take to store them. Jeff Keller, who runs the "Digital Camera Resource Page," a photography website, says cameras with higher megapixels don't necessarily produce better pictures, just better enlargements.
Number Of Photos
The ability of a camera (or a memory card) to store pictures is measured in megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB). There are 1,024 megabytes in every gigabyte. Pat McNulty, a professional photographer, breaks down the number of photos an average camera or memory card can hold: 128 MB can store roughly 20-40 pictures; 256 MB can store twice that; 1GB can store four times the photos as a 256 MB camera or card. If you only plan on taking a dozen pictures at a time, they your camera most likely comes with enough memory standard. If you are a professional, or an avid photographer who enjoys taking a large number of pictures at a time, you will need to supplement the standard storage capacity with a memory card.
Speed Of Pictures
The ability of a camera to store your photos can affect its speed. A camera with access to a lot of memory can take photos at a faster rate than a camera that has to search for the available memory.
Choosing A Memory Card
If you plan on taking a lot of high resolution photos -- and want to do it quickly -- then you've probably figured out you'll need a memory card to boost your camera's memory. There are a lot of different options on the market, but not every memory card is compatible with every digital camera. Camera manufacturers often partner with the makers of memory cards, making their cameras compatible with only one type of card. For example, Nikon uses SD memory cards while Sony and Kodak make their own memory cards for use in their cameras.
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