Where on a digital camera are your pictures stored? Generally, most top-rated cameras come with in-built storage which can only save a small number of photos. The number of images you can save depends on the number of megapixels the camera’s internal memory can hold. This means that you’ll need to rely on some form of memory card or other external storage devices.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Photographers store pictures on the cloud, external hard drives, and memory cards like CFexpress, XQD card, microSD, Compact Flash, and CFast cards.
  • When your memory card in your camera is full, transfer the images to your external storage solution to free up space for your next shoot.
  • There are three ways to transfer your photos from your camera to your PC: wirelessly, via USB, and via SD card.

​Locating the Memory Card Slot on Your Camera

On most DSLRs, you will find the memory card slot on the right side of the camera—that is, if you are holding the camera with the lens facing forward, ready to shoot. On some DSLRs, compact cameras, and point-and-shoot cameras, it may also be located on the bottom part of the device. Either way, it’s generally clearly labeled

A few camera models also host the battery and memory card in the same location; most compact lenses, point-and-shoot cameras, and some DSLRs have this configuration, such as the Sony Cybershot DSC-W830 compact camera and Canon EOS 200D DSLR. This makes it important to know what the two most common digital camera file storage formats are.

Types of Photo-Storage Solutions for Cameras

Portable Storage

The best portable storage device for this option is an external hard drive. Instead of filling up your computer storage, an external hard drive will provide you with enough space to save lots of RAW format pictures and videos in high resolutions since capacities reach 5TB.

Advantages

  • High storage capacity of between 80GB to 120 GB.
  • Easy connection to printers for printing and TV sets for playback.
  • Portable; weighs less than 500 gms.
  • Supports digital image and video viewing with audio.

Disadvantages

  • Drives can fail due to exposure to shock and vibration.
  • Slow transfer speeds that can take more than 30 minutes.
  • You can lose all your pictures if the drive fails.

Flash Memory Cards

The most common memory cards include the CFexpress, XQD card, microSD, Compact Flash, and CFast cards. In addition to their varying size, memory cards also differ in read and write speeds. A slow card, for example, will take longer to transfer photos to your computer.

Advantages

  • Light and easy to carry.
  • Affordable.
  • Reusable.

Disadvantages

  • Easy to lose.
  • Easy to overwrite other files.
  • Low capacity since some memory sticks can only support small file size images.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage allows you to manage your creative and professional photos from anywhere. All you need to do is sign into your Google or Apple account, or whatever cloud photo storage service you use. It’s also a great solution to share your images with a client when you are not around your laptop or PC.

Advantages

  • Unlimited photo storage space.
  • Significantly lower costs compared to purchasing an external hard drive.

Disadvantages

  • Uploading and downloading images depends on your internet speed.
  • Possibility of a security breach.

USB Thumb Drives

Although they can start at around $5, thumb drives vary in cost depending on how many GB of storage you need. Some even offer password encryption for added security.

Like external drives, you cannot plug a thumb drive into the camera, but it’s useful if you need to deliver photos to your client in person. If branded, it can also act as a promotional tool for your photography business.

Advantages

  • Your data is safe.
  • Compatible with various devices.
  • Affordable storage solution.
  • Fast file transfer capability.

Disadvantages

  • It can become malware-infected.
  • Risk of losing the thumb drive.
  • Vulnerable to damage.

You may also want to learn what can happen to a digital camera if you overcharge the battery. This will help you with the overall care of the digital camera too.

F.A.Q.

Where can I save my pictures for free forever?

Google Photos can automatically backup your videos and images to your Google account. You can even schedule automatic uploads when you connect your device to a WiFi network. Keep in mind, though, that most free services will have a limited storage capacity.


What are the three main methods of image transfer from a digital camera to a computer?

  • Via USB Cable.
  • Via SD Card.
  • Transfer of photos wirelessly to a computer.

How many GB is 1000 pictures?

While this can vary by file type, an estimate regarding how much memory is needed for pictures that are 2MBs in size would be:

  • 200MB =100 pictures
  • 2GB = 1000 pictures
  • 20GB =10,000 pictures


STAT: According to the 2011 KeyPoint Intelligence research, people took 400 billion digital globally. By 2017, the number shot to 1.2 trillion photos. (source)

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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