How much memory do you carry?

Jun 19, 2005
New Mexico
All right so I recently got a new digital camera as a few of you may have all ready heard. Anyhow, I was wondering for vacations and stuff how much memory/pictures to you keep around for those trips? I'm about to go on a camping trip and have a have enough memory for about 180 pics for nikon's raw format. I'm debating on taking my laptop just in case I run out. So by the end of it I'm sure I'll figure out how much is enough. Besides memory any tricks you have to not run out of memory/pics?
I think Nikon has a chart showing how many pictures each size of CF card will hold. If you have insufficient funds, then just keep a laptop handy, and download them there, and then start fresh with a clean empty memory card and then just empty them there each time. I personally have a 2.0 GB card and it will hold a lot for me. And I shoot RAW always.
I use a 1GB SanDisk Extreme CF card... I'm looking to pick up another 1GB card this spring... I would go for a 2gb, but I'm worried that I'd lose a lot of pics if the card goes out. This isn't a huge deal since I move the pics onto my laptop quite frequently, but I'd hate to lose 2GB worth of pics should I stumble into a fantastic supercell day this spring where I actually take 2gb worth of pics... I'd rather lose half the pics than all the pics, though the probability of this happening is very small.
I would definitely pack the laptop. I know I always shoot more than I expect especially when I go somwhere new. You also get the added bonus of being able to play around with the images in your down time. You may also consider shooting high-res JPEGs instead but that is a matter of personal preference.

I also like to carry several small cards (Lexar 40x 256's) instead of one large one. That way if one dies you can still shoot. Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of nowhere and staring at a blank screen or error message.
Before CF cards got so cheap, I purchased a Flashtrax unit to offload pics to so I wouldn't have to lug around a big laptop. This unit has a 20G hard drive and you can view your pics (even in RAW) after uploading them to the unit. It's small enough to carry in my camera bag. So I was able to get by with only a couple 512MB cards. Other units like this exist, but I liked this one because after you uploaded the pics from the CF card, you could view them to make sure they transferred successfully. Just a nice warm and fuzzy before you format the card and start shooting again.

It can also be an extra 20GB hard drive if you need one. They have newer units, but here's the one I have:
I keep 2 512 MB and 2 256 MB CF cards with me (I also have a couple of 64 MB CF Cards). I haven't filled them yet except when shooting football.

I also shoot in High Resolution JPEG. I've done the RAW/TIF thing and find that it doesn't make that much difference when shooting weather. I also use as much Manual Settings as I can and will barcket my shot where I can. So far, the only time the White Balance gives me issues is shooting people in evening sunlight. But then that's more portrait shooting and not chase or landscape shooting. I DO shoot RAW for portraits and correct where needed.
I think RAW is very affective when shooting dark scenes, especially lightning. RAW can save your over/under exposed shot, and salvage it into an ordinary great shot.
I have several memory cards ranging from 64mb to 256mb; this makes it so I don't have all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. I can also then use that card to upload pics to my computer or store pics I want to print, etc, without having to search a 1gb card for 20 pictures. And they're cheaper, too!
I use a 512mb memory card. I need to download the pictures every two or three chases but I prefer it this way. It gives me an oppurtunity to look at the pictures in full reoslution (it's a 7.2mp) and take mental notes on what can be improved. Also, it helps if your computer has a slot for SD cards like my new Dell does. I'd just use the memory card unless you plan on taking video (if you can) with it.
I usually rely on my 1gig but have two 128mb, a 64 and a 32mb (think the latter two came with my cameras) standing by. I usually take two cameras out, the second being a lower end digital, just in case the worse happens and I lose the function on my main. Luckily for me, both take CF.
I'm a 2 gig kinda fella too ... I have a single 1 gig card, plus a 512 and 2, 256 cards ... yeah ... a lot of cards. The 1 gig generally gets me by for just about everything, though ... the others are just for backup.
I used to carry a 512MB CF card. They usually get me around 60 shots in RAW mode on the Canon Digital Rebel. I learned the hard way in 2004 that even if you have something to dump pictures into (laptop or whatever), it could still happen at a bad time and cost you your best shots. So the trick is to make sure you never have to worry about the swap time. I now carry 2 512MB cards and a laptop, so I never have to stop shooting.

With the mass storage of a laptop, you never have to worry about shooting too many pictures. Just make sure you have two cards so there's no down time.
Since I upgraded my camera gear after destorying a bunch of it in Hurricane Rita in Key West, I have a D70s with 5 Gigs Of Memory. I also use a 30 gig mini USB2 drive as an externial drive with my laptop so that I can back up stuff on the fly in the field if I need to.

For the long haul chases, I use a USB2 300 Gig Drive with the P4 Laptop. But thats more for the video editing on the road.
There is also an accessory so you can upload cards to your iPod if you've got that... I don't know anyone who has filled up their 30 Gig's with just sonds yet...