When I helped my mother-in-law buy her first digital camera last Christmas, I also got her the de-rigueur 2GB memory card. "How many pictures can I take," she wondered. 1,500.
Her camera, a Canon SD100, also supports SDHC (secure digital high capacity) cards, which can now be purchased in 8GB capacities locally for just over $100.
One of those 8GB cards would hold six thousand photographs. With the large LCD screen, I suddenly realized that her greatest worry (how to get the photos from the camera onto the computer) was rendered moot. She didn't need to deal with her computer and its mysterious ways.
The computer is no longer required:
-- keep all photos you've ever taken on the camera's memory card(s).
-- print direct from the camera to a 4"x6" printer, which are now under $100.
-- backup the photos by getting a dedicated device that combines a portable hard drive with a card reader.
Now I read that Samsung has shipped a CompactFlash memory card that holds 40GB. That's 30,000 photographs. Or twenty hours of high-definition video.
How much does that represent? I've been taking digital pictures since the summer of 1999. I now have 60,000 photographs taking up 56GB of disk space. But then I typically take 100 photos on days when I am active in picture taking, like on vacation. My mother-in-law tends to take a few photos at a time.
Sony now has a camera with 4GB memory built in. Maybe 40GB will be the future.