Olympus E-M5 Memory Card Compatibility

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

The Olympus E-M5 has one SD memory card slot that can use UHS-I. It can work with SD cards up to 1TB in storage capacity.

If you want to get the best performance when taking pictures in continuous shooting mode, recording video, or transferring files, it is very important to purchase a card that has UHS-I. All of the fastest SD cards for the Olympus E-M5 will have UHS-I.

This is my recommendation for the best memory card for the Olympus E-M5:

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 release of the Olympus E-M5, memory card prices have decreased and capacities have become substantially larger. The price difference between the fastest card and the average option is astonishingly small. Price is related to storage capacity, with the larger cards having a higher price.

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

I think that the SanDisk Extreme Pro line of SD memory cards are in most cases the best choice for most cameras. They are very fast cards which means they have the best shot of working in future digital cameras or devices that use SD cards.

I have had excellent experiences with Lexar Professional and PNY Elite Performance cards. I have not had files or data become damaged or lost on any of these cards. If a failure did take place, all of them have image recovery software.

When I have encountered troubles it has been with generic SD memory cards. Having a low price or being a bundled item are the main selling points. However, this is also the most common version of SD cards to be misrepresented.

It's very easy to put a Class 10 sticker on an SD card with a Class 4 rating. When the camera image processor starts writing data there is going to be an error message or unreadable photos if the card's write speed doesn't fulfill the camera's requirements.

One of the biggest controls over the price you have is the card capacity. You will be better off by going one step down in capacity to reduce cost rather than picking a cheaper brand. Read and write speeds are important factors that will affect your satisfaction with the Olympus E-M5.

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 can read four memory card formats. These include all memory cards camera manufacturers make use of in all but their latest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN reader connects over USB 3.0. Transfer speeds over USB 3.0 will have faster transfer rates than what the Olympus E-M5 is capable of transferring files with the USB mode.

There are many positive customer reviews for the UGREEN card reader, which I agree with. I would recommend it because it has worked with all the computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) I have tried it with.

The cable keeps memory card slots from interfering with other accessories or devices that are plugged in.

When I looked for a smaller card reader that would be used while traveling, I needed to send a couple of orders back. I encountered the most commonly seen problem mentioned in customer reviews, the readers were not recognized by my computer.

The card reader can be used with the following memory card formats:

  • 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-M5 SD Card Compatibility

The memory cards compatible in the Olympus E-M5 are SDXC, SDHC, and SD. Check to make sure that you have the current firmware installed on your camera for the best results.

The newest SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity) memory cards, cannot be used with the E-M5.

Four separate kinds of Secure Digital (SD) cards that you should know about. SD cards can be told apart from the storage size of the SD card.

  • 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 options on the Olympus E-M5 will affect the number of pictures that can be stored. Higher image quality settings will cause larger image sizes.

If you're going to shoot a large number of RAW files, it can be a good idea to get a larger capacity card.

If you shoot JPEGs, you would likely be better off investing in an additional battery rather than a bigger card. 32GB would be ample capacity to save several days of pictures.

In fact, the controlling factor to how many pictures you can capture will be your camera batteries. Take into account that, any time the camera is on, even if you're just going through menu settings or using the live view, that will reduce the battery life.

For low light situations, like at night or indoors, the flash built-in to the camera can be handy. Without using the flash, shutter speeds won't be fast enough to avoid motion blur. Working with the built-in flash will quickly deplete the camera batteries. These settings are when you need to own at least a couple of Olympus BLN-1 rechargeable batteries.

The following is an estimation of the number of high-quality JPG images you should be able to save on a memory card for the provided storage capacity:

  • 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 speeds. The write speed of an SD memory card is essential for clearing the camera buffer for continuous shooting in addition to recording video.

Slows cards can decrease the number of continuous frames the Olympus E-M5 can capture. This is because the camera's buffer will not be able to write to the card fast enough.

When recording video, a slow SD card can cause a sudden end to the recording. The video file might also be corrupted. If you intend to shoot video, it is important the card you use meets the requirements of the E-M5.

Read speed is nice to have for transferring files to a computer or laptop. If you have cards that are full, a card with a fast transfer speed will reduce the transfer time.

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 derived from its continuous write speed. Cards that have a write speed of 10MB/s are labeled as 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 name-brand card that you can find for sale will have a Class 10 rating. To check the class rating of a card, find a number inside of a C on the front 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 a feature that can be found in SDUC, SDXC, and SDHC cards. The UHS bus allows for increased data transfer rates.

There are three separate specifications. The versions are UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III.

To find the UHS rating of a card, look on the label. If the 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

According to the topics that were covered is why the 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro is the best memory card for the Olympus E-M5. Any future camera you buy, you will know what SD card to use.

Listed here are more pages on digital cameras similar to the E-M5:

2 comments on “Olympus E-M5 Memory Card Compatibility”

  1. SanDisk no longer produce any UHS-1 version of the Extreme Pro shown in this article but a newer version that is UHS-2 with 300 MB/s read and 260 MB/s write speed. Instead, the UHS-1 version of the Extreme Pro with 150 MB/s has now become the Extreme. One can thus simply buy the new Extreme instead of the Extreme Pro.

    BEWARE, when shopping online for the older, UHS-1 version of the Extreme Pro, the likelihood of buying a cheap COUNTERFEIT product is extremely high!!!

    To avoid falling prey to counterfeiters, buy directly from SanDisk. For example, SanDisk are themselves on Amazon marketplace. Make sure it says SanDisk Store.

  2. This is the most informative and clearest article on SD cards I have come across, it's excellent, thank you.

    It would be great if you could show video storage requirements at 1080p and 4K, per minute of video. I am trying to figure out storage requirements for the EM5 video.

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