Olympus E-PL3 Memory Card Compatibility

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

The Olympus E-PL3 has an SD card slot that does not support UHS-I. The camera can use memory cards up to 1TB in storage capacity.

In order to get the best performance when using the camera in continuous shooting mode or recording video, you want to have a Class 10 card. For transferring files, a UHS-I compatible SD card will be faster in a memory card reader than transferring files directly from the Olympus Pen E-PL3.

This is my recommendation for the best memory card for the Olympus E-PL3:

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-PL3 was launched, memory card prices have gone down and storage capacities have become massive. The difference in price between the fastest SD card and an average option is unexpectedly small. Price is related to storage size, with the larger cards costing more.

Buying the highest capacity cards only makes sense if you are going to shoot a huge amount of RAW files for sports, action, event, or wildlife photography. Another reason could be if you are going to replace your camera or use the card in other devices.

In my opinion, the SanDisk Extreme Pro line of SD memory cards are generally the best option for most cameras. They have extremely fast transfer speeds, which means they have the best prospect of working in future digital cameras or devices that also use SD cards.

PNY Elite Performance And Lexar Professional are other cards that I have had excellent experiences with. I have not had data or files become corrupted or unrecoverable on these brands. If a failure did happen, all of the manufacturers have image recovery software.

Problems I have experienced have been with generic SD cards. Having a low price or being a bundled accessory are the main attractions of these cards. However, this is also the most commonly encountered kind of card to have the wrong product description.

A sticker that promises Class 10 speed is effortless to put on a Class 4 card. When the camera image processor starts writing data there is bound to be an error message or unreadable photos if the card's write speed does not satisfy the requirements.

Storage size controls a big part of the cost. You will be better off by going one step down in capacity to reduce cost as an alternative to going with a relabeled brand. Read and write speeds are important as they will affect your satisfaction with the Olympus Pen E-PL3.

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 cover all memory cart formats camera manufacturers use in all but the most recent professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN reader connects over USB 3.0. The card reader's USB 3.0 transfer speeds will be faster transfer speeds than what the Olympus E-PL3 can achieve using the USB transfer mode.

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

The cable stops card slots from interfering with other devices or accessories that are plugged into a laptop or desktop.

When I searched for a smaller card reader that would be used for travel, I had to send a couple of orders back. I encountered the most frequently found problem mentioned in customer reviews, the card readers would not work with my computer.

The card reader can be used with the card types 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-PL3 SD Card Compatibility

Only use SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards with the Olympus E-PL3. Check to be sure that your camera is using the latest firmware installed.

The newest cards, SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity), are not going to be able to be used in the E-PL3.

You should be aware of the four different types of Secure Digital (SD) cards that there are. They are divided by their 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 options on the Olympus E-PL3 will determine the number of pictures you can store. Higher image quality options will result in larger image sizes.

If you're going to shoot hundreds of RAW files, it can make sense to get a larger capacity card.

If you shoot JPEGs, you would likely be better off getting another camera battery rather than a larger card. A card that has 32GB of space should have enough room for days worth of photographs that would need the batteries to be recharged multiple times.

The controlling part to how many images you can take will likely be your camera batteries. Keep in mind that, any time the camera is turned on, even if you are just navigating through menu settings or using the live view, that will eat away at battery life.

For low light situations, like at night or indoors, the flash built-in to the camera can be handy. Shutter speeds will not be fast enough without the flash to avoid motion blur. Using the built-in flash is going to quickly drain the camera batteries. These conditions are when it is good to have at least a couple of Olympus BLS-5 rechargeable batteries.

The following is an approximation of how many high-quality JPEG images you can save on a SD card for the given 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 classified by the continuous read and write speeds of the card. Card write speed is critical for continuous shooting as well as video.

Slows memory cards can cause a decrease in the number of continuous photos the Olympus E-PL3 can capture. This is because the camera's buffer will not be able to write to the SD card fast enough.

When shooting video, a slow SD card can cause a sudden end to shooting. The video file might also end up being corrupted. If you intend to capture video, it is important the memory card you use meets the requirements of the E-PL3.

Read speed is important for transferring files to a computer or laptop. If you are filling up cards with images or video, an SD card with a fast transfer speed will cut down on 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 continuous write speed of an SD memory card is represented by the Class rating. SD cards that have a minimum write speed of 10MB/s are rated 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 brand of card that you can buy will be Class 10. To determine the class rating of an SD card, find a number inside of the C on the sticker.

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 built into SDHC, SDXC, and SDUC cards. UHS cards to have increased write speeds.

Three different versions have been created. They are UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III.

Look at the front of the card to determine the rating of a card. If the memory card has UHS, a Roman numeral I, II, or III can be seen on the SD 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 found you had to choose one, the 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro is the best memory card for the Olympus E-PL3. You're now also prepared for any future camera you own.

Listed here are more posts on Olympus cameras similar to the E-PL3:

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