Olympus E-M1 Memory Card Compatibility

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: October 28, 2019
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Olympus SD Memory Card Compatibility

The Olympus E-M1 has only one SD card slot that is compatible with UHS-I. It can take cards up to 1TB in size.

If you want to get the best performance when shooting in continuous shooting mode, recording video, or transferring files, it is very important to purchase a memory card that uses UHS-I. All of the fastest SD cards for the Olympus E-M1 will work with UHS-I.

This is my recommendation for the best SD card for the Olympus E-M1:

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB UHS-I SD Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SD Card

  • The best performance at a reasonable price.
  • Capacities from 32 GB to 2TB.
  • Transfer speeds up to 170 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I
  • Temperature Proof, Water Proof, Shock Proof, and X-ray Proof.

Best SD Cards

Since the Olympus E-M1 was released, memory card prices have gone down and capacities have become substantially larger. The difference in price between the fastest card and a cheap option is surprisingly small. Price is more closely related to storage capacity, with the largest cards costing more.

Investing in the cards with the largest capacity is a good idea if you are going to shoot a large amount of RAW files for wildlife, sports, events, or action photography. Another reason could be if you intend to upgrade your camera or use the card in other devices.

The SanDisk Extreme Pro line of cards are frequently the best option for most conditions. They are extremely fast cards which gives them the best shot of working in future digital cameras or devices that also use SD cards.

PNY Elite Performance And Lexar Professional are other cards that I also have had positive exeriences with. I have not had pictures or files become damaged or lost on any of these cards. If that situation did occur, all of the manufacturers provide image recovery software.

Problems I have experienced have been with generic SD cards. Being a bundled accessory or a low price are the selling points of these cards. However, this is also the most common version of SD card to be misrepresented.

It's effortless to put a Class 10 sticker on a Class 4 SD card. When the camera image processor starts writing data there is destined to be an error or corrupted photos if the card's write speed doesn't satisfy the requirements.

One of the biggest controls over the price you have is the storage capacity. You will be better off by purchasing a card with a smaller capacity to lower cost instead of going with a generic brand. Read and write speeds are important factors that will affect your enjoyment of the Olympus E-M1.

Recommended SD Cards

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB UHS-I SD Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SD Card

  • The best performance at a reasonable price.
  • Capacities from 32 GB to 2TB.
  • Transfer speeds up to 170 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I.
  • Temperature Proof, Water Proof, Shock Proof, and X-ray Proof.
Lexar Professional 1066X 128GB SD UHS-I Memory Card

Lexar Professional 1066x 128GB SD Card

  • Lexar Professional Silver Card.
  • Transfer speeds up to 160 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I.
  • Includes Lexar Recovery Tool Software.
  • Designed for durability in harsh conditions.

Check price at: Amazon, Adorama, eBay

PNY Elite Performance SDXC 128GB Memory Card

PNY Elite Performance 128GB SD Card

  • Lower priced card.
  • Transfer speeds up to 95 MB/s.
  • Class 10 & UHS-I.
  • Magnet, Shock, Temperature, and Waterproof.

Check price at: Amazon, Adorama, eBay

Memory Card Reader

UGreen 4-in-1 Card Reader
There's a bright blue LED that bothered me. It is now covered in gaff tape.

The UGreen 4-in-1 memory card reader supports four types of memory cards. These cover everything camera manufacturers make use of in all but their newest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN reader has a USB 3.0 connection. The card reader's USB 3.0 transfer speeds will be faster transfer rates than what the Olympus E-M1 is capable of transferring files with the USB mode.

There are lots of favorable customer reviews for the card reader, which I agree with. I think it's a good product because the reader has been recognized by all the computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) I have used with it.

The cable keeps memory card slots from interfering with other accessories or devices that are being used in another USB or adjacent port.

When I looked for a smaller card reader that would be used for travel, I had to return a couple of orders. I came across the most frequently found problem mentioned in customer reviews, the card readers did not work with my computer.

The UGREEN card reader supports the memory cards below:

  • CompactFlash Cards
  • SD, SDHC, & SDXC Cards (UHS-I supported)
  • Memory Stick (MS), MS Pro, MS PRO-HG, & MS XC DUO
  • MicroSD, Micro SDHC, & Micro SDXC Cards

Olympus E-M1 SD Card Compatibility

Only SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards can be used by the Olympus E-M1. For best performance, be certain that your camera is using the most up to date firmware installed.

The newest SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity) memory cards are not able to be used in the E-M1.

Four separate kinds of Secure Digital (SD) cards that you should take into consideration. They are divided by their storage size.

  • SD (Secure Digital) - 128MB to 2GB.
  • SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) - 4GB to 32GB.
  • SDXC (Secure Digital eXtended Capacity) - 64GB to 2TB.
  • SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity) - 4TB to 128TB.

Image Capacity

Olympus SD Memory Card Contacts

Image quality settings on the Olympus E-M1 will control how many image files can be stored at once. Higher image quality settings will give you bigger image sizes.

If you are looking to shoot lots of RAW files, it can be worth the money to get a larger capacity card.

If you shoot JPEGs, you'd likely be much better off investing in an extra camera battery in place of a larger card. An SD memory card that has 32GB of capacity will have ample room for days worth of images that would require batteries to be recharged multiple times.

The limiting factor to the number of images you can capture will be your camera batteries. Take into account that, any time the camera is turned on, even if you are just scrolling through menu settings or using the live view, that will still reduce the battery life.

In low light environments, like at night or indoors, the built-in flash can be helpful. Without using the flash, shutter speeds will not be fast enough to eliminate motion blur. Using the flash is going to fairly quickly deplete the camera batteries. These situations are when it's good to have at least two BATMODEL rechargeable batteries for the camera.

The following is an estimation of how many high-quality JPEG images you can save on a memory card for the listed storage size:

  • 32GB - 9,280
  • 64GB - 18,560
  • 128GB - 37,120
  • 256GB - 74,240

Speed, Class, & UHS Ratings

Card Speed

Speed ratings of an SD memory card is dependant on the sequential read and write transfer speeds. Memory card continuous write speed is essential for clearing the camera buffer for continuous shooting as well as recording video.

Slows memory cards can cut down the number of continuous photos the Olympus E-M1 can take. This is due to the camera's buffer not being able to write to the card quickly enough.

With video, a slow memory card can cause an abrupt end to shooting. The video file may also end up being corrupted. If you are going to record video, it is critical the SD card you use meets the required minimum continuous write speed for video.

Read speed is important for transferring files to a computer or laptop. If you have cards that are full, an SD card with a fast transfer speed will reduce the amount of time it takes the transfer to complete.

Speed Class Rating

Example of where to find SD Card Speed Class
The 10 inside of the C means the card is Class 10.

An SD memory card receives a Class rating depending on its continuous write speed. Memory cards that have a minimum write speed of 10MB/s will be labeled Class 10.

  • Class 2 - 2MB/s
  • Class 4 - 4MB/s
  • Class 6 - 6MB/s
  • Class 8 - 8MB/s
  • Class 10 - 10MB/s or faster

Every brand-name memory card that you can purchase online will receive a Class 10 rating. To discover the class rating of a card, find a number inside of the C on the label.

Ultra High Speed (UHS)

Example of an SD memory card with a UHS-I rating.
The UHS rating of a card can be determined by a Roman numeral I, II, or III on the label of the card.

The Ultra High Speed bus (UHS) is found in SDUC, SDXC, and SDHC cards. The UHS bus makes it possible to offer a way to increase data transfer rates.

Three separate versions have been specified. They are called UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III.

To find the UHS rating of an SD memory card, look at the label. If the memory card has UHS, a Roman numeral I, II, or III can be seen on the front of the SD card.

  • UHS-I - Maximum transfer rate of 104 MB/s
  • UHS-II - Maximum transfer rate of 312 MB/s
  • UHS-III - Maximum transfer rate of 624 MB/s

Related Cameras

If you found you had to choose one, the 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro is the best memory card for the Olympus E-M1. The SD card also has excellent compatibility with other cameras.

Listed here are more posts on digital cameras with similar specifications as the E-M1:

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