You have taken the picture and the camera has a beautiful image in the viewfinder. That image now has to be stored somewhere. The image sensor can capture pictures but it cannot store them.
The film is the medium to store pictures in conventional photo cameras, but digital cameras do not have film. They need other form of storage. The most simple point and shoot cameras, and mobile phones, have an internal memory – onborad or on board storage. This memory is built into the camera’s circuit board or body. One just takes as many pictures as possible until the memory is full… it is time to delete old pictures then.
One must go and download the pictures to get some free memory in the camera. This way the old pictures are stored somewhere else and the memory in the camera is empty and ready to take in new images. Of course, if you are out and about and busy taking pictures, there is an image absolutely you must capture and not an available computer to download images, you will have to delete one from the memory.
Many times you will need to download images when it is not convenient. Having only internal memory can be a problem. This is not the best system, and it is not the system to choose if you are really keen on photography because you will run in to trouble more often than not.
The option is to buy a camera with some short of removable memory – either a memory stick or a memory card. Memory devices for digital cameras come in many shapes and prices – storage capacity may vary from a few MB to many GB – but not so expensive that you cannot buy a spare. Having a memory card inside and an empty spare one at hand means that when the card inside the camera is full, you just remove it and replace it with the empty one. You can do this in under a minute and there will be no need to interrupt your photo session at any point.
There is a second advantage: a removable storage system will allow for upgrades. You can always buy one with more GB and take many more pictures in one card. Besides, this removable storage systems are tough and you can rely on them to keep your pictures safe for long periods – you could even keep millions of pictures over many years.
If you take hundreds, and hundreds, of pictures in a week, or do not want to waste time organizing and labelling CDs, your best option for permanent storage is some kind of external device – and external hard drive or rent some sort of web space, it will depend of the size and number of photos to keep.
• USB come with 2-16GB and they are very portable. Use your USB flash memory to transfer photos from one drive to other.
• Portable hard drive – about 40-6GB.
• Large external hard drive – these devices range in the low hundred GB; lots of space, less portability.
• NAS (network attached storage) – large storage capacity, access from any point in the network but you need a home network.
Using special software for back ups may be worth investigating as you will be able to set and forget but your photos will be copied and preserved.
• Rented web space – need to choose a reliable supplier. Reliability includes not only easy access privacy protection and being sure no one else has access to your photos. You can access photos from any point with Internet access but it may be a pricey option.
CD or DVDs are an option for permanent storage, but far from perfect as they can hold only so many photos and can be damaged and degrade over time – they can be a costly option due to their limited storage capability. USB flash memory sticks or cards only hold a few GB. Both storage options need careful labelling.