Olympus E-PL1 Memory Card Compatibility

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: October 24, 2019
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Olympus SD Memory Card Compatibility

The Olympus E-PL1 has a single SD card slot that can use cards with up to 32GB in capacity. 64GB or larger SD cards will not work in the camera.

If you want to get the best performance when taking pictures in continuous shooting mode, recording video, or transferring files, it is recommended to purchase a card that is compatible with UHS-I. All of the fastest memory cards for the Olympus Pen E-PL1 will have UHS-I.

This is my recommendation for the best memory card for the Olympus E-PL1:

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC

  • Best value for the money.
  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s; write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.
  • UHS speed Class 3 (U3) and UHS video speed Class 30 (V30).

64GB or larger cards are not compatible with the camera.

Best SD Cards

Since the Olympus E-PL1 was introduced, memory card prices have decreased and capacities have become larger. The price difference between the fastest SD card and a mediocre one is surprisingly small. Price is more closely related to storage capacity, with the bigger cards being the most expensive.

Paying for the cards with the largest capacity makes sense if you are going to shoot a large amount of RAW files for action, events, wildlife, or sports photography. Another reason could be if you are going to replace your camera or use the memory card in a different device.

In my opinion, the SanDisk Extreme Pro line of memory cards are often the best option for most circumstances. They have fast read and write speeds, which gives them the best prospect of being compatible with future digital cameras or devices that use SD memory cards.

I have had positive experiences with Lexar Professional and PNY Elite Performance cards. I have not had files or images become damaged or unrecoverable on these brands. If a failure did occur, all of them have image recovery software.

When I have encountered problems it has been with generic SD cards. Having a low price or being a bundled accessory are the main selling points. Unfortunately, this is also the most common version of SD card to be wrongfully advertised.

It is really easy to put a Class 10 sticker on a Class 4 SD card. When the camera image processor starts writing data there is going to be an error message or corrupted photos if the card's write speed isn't good enough.

Storage capacity controls a big portion of the price. You'll be better off by purchasing a card with a smaller storage capacity to reduce cost instead of using a generic brand. Read and write speeds are important as they will impact your satisfaction with the Olympus Pen E-PL1.

Recommended SD Cards

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC UHS-I

  • Best value for the money.
  • Read speeds of up to 95MB/s; write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
  • Shock-proof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.
  • UHS speed Class 3 (U3) and UHS video speed Class 30 (V30).
SanDisk Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

SanDisk Ultra 32GB SDHC UHS-I

  • Quick transfer read speeds up to 90MB/s.
  • Write speeds are not capable of recording 4k video.
  • Class 10 rating for Full HD video (1080p).
  • Waterproof, temperature proof, X-ray Proof, magnet-Proof, and shockproof.
Lexar 633x 23GB UHS-I SDHC Memory Card

Lexar Professional 633X 32GB SDHC UHS-I

  • High-speed, Class 10 performance.
  • UHS-I technology for a read transfer speed up to 633x (95MB/s).
  • High-speed file transfer from card to computer to dramatically accelerate workflow.

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 handle four memory card formats. These cover all memory cards camera manufacturers use in all but the most recent professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN reader connects over USB 3.0. Transfer speeds over USB 3.0 will have faster transfer speeds than what the Olympus E-PL1 is capable of transferring files with the USB mode.

There are plenty of favorable customer reviews for the UGREEN card reader, which I agree with. It is a good product because the reader has worked with all the computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) I have plugged it into.

The cable prevents memory card slots from being blocked by other accessories or devices that are plugged in.

When I looked for a more compact card reader that would be used while traveling, I had to go through the return process with several orders. I experienced the most common problem in customer reviews, the readers were not recognized by my computer.

The card reader supports 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-PL1 SD Card Compatibility

Only SD and SDHC memory cards can be used by the Olympus E-PL1. For best performance, make sure that your camera has the most recent firmware installed.

SDXC or SDUC cards are not able to be used with the E-PL1.

You should understand the four different kinds of Secure Digital (SD) memory cards that can be bought. They can be told apart based on the memory card's storage size.

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

Image Capacity

Olympus SD Memory Card Contacts

Image quality options on the Olympus E-PL1 will control the number of images that can be stored at once. Higher image quality options will create bigger image sizes.

The limiting factor to how many photos you can take will be your camera batteries. Keep in mind that, any time the Olympus Pen E-PL1 is turned on, even if you are just navigating through menu settings or using the live view, that will lower the battery life.

For low light settings, like indoors or at night, the flash built-in to the camera can be helpful. Without using the flash, shutter speeds won't be fast enough to eliminate motion blur. Working with the flash is going to fairly quickly deplete the camera batteries. These situations are when it's good to have at the very least a couple of Olympus BLS-1 rechargeable batteries for the Olympus E-PL1.

The following is an approximation of the quantity of high-quality JPG images you should be able to save on a SD card for the provided capacity:

  • 4GB - 1920 images
  • 8GB - 3840 images
  • 16GB - 7680 images
  • 32GB - 15360 images

Speed, Class, & UHS Ratings

Card Speed

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

A slow card can cause a reduction in the number of continuous frames the Olympus E-PL1 can capture. This is due to the camera's buffer not being able to write to the card fast enough.

When shooting video, a slow memory card can cause a sudden end to the recording. The video file may also be corrupted. If you are going to shoot video, it is important the SD card you use meets the requirements of the camera.

Card read speed is nice to have for transferring files to a computer or laptop. If you are filling up cards with images or video, a card with a fast read 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.

The Class rating of a card is related to the sustained write speed. Memory cards that have a minimum write speed of at least 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 name-brand card that you can get online will have a Class 10 rating. You can check the class rating of a card by looking for a number inside of a 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 (UHS) bus is found in SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC cards. The UHS bus cards to have increased transfer rates.

Three different specs exist. They are UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III.

You can figure out the UHS rating of a memory card by reading the label. If the card has UHS, a Roman numeral I, II, or III will be on the memory card label.

  • 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 had to choose one, SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro is the best Olympus E-PL1 memory card. Any future camera you own, you will know what sd memory card to buy.

Here are more posts on Olympus cameras related to the E-PL1:

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