Olympus E-PM1 Memory Card Compatibility

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

The Olympus E-PM1 has one SD memory card slot that supports UHS-I. It can use SD cards up to 1TB in storage capacity.

In order to get the best performance when shooting in continuous shooting mode, recording video, or transferring files, it is highly recommended to get a memory card that uses UHS-I. All of the fastest SD cards for the Olympus Pen E-PM1 will be UHS-I compatible.

This is my recommendation for the best memory card for the Olympus E-PM1:

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 Pen E-PM1, memory card prices have dropped and storage capacities have gotten massive. The price difference between the fastest card and a mediocre one is surprisingly small. Price is more closely related to storage capacity, with the largest cards being the most expensive.

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 plan to upgrade your camera or use the card in another device.

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

I have also had good experiences with Lexar Professional and PNY Elite Performance cards. I have not had data or files become corrupted or lost on any of these cards. If that's a situation that did occur, all of them have image recovery software available.

Problems I have experienced have been with generic SD memory cards. Being a bundled item or a low price are the main attractions of these cards. Unfortunately, this is also the most common type of card to be misrepresented.

A sticker that says Class 10 is easy to put on a Class 4 card. When the camera image processor starts writing data there is bound to be an error or corrupted images if the cards write speed isn't good enough.

One of the biggest controls over price you have is the storage capacity. You'll be better off by going one capacity down to reduce cost than going with a cheaper brand. Read and write speed are important factors that will impact your satisfaction with using the camera.

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

Olympus E-PM1 SD Card Compatibility

Only SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards can be used by the Olympus E-PM1. For best performance, be sure that your camera has the most recent firmware installed.

The newest cards, SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity), can not be used with the E-PM1.

There are four separate versions of Secure Digital (SD) cards that you should be aware of. They are split up by 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.

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 common types of memory cards. These cover all card types camera manufacturers use in all but the newest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN memory card reader connects over USB 3.0. Transfer speeds over USB 3.0 will have faster transfer rates than what the Olympus E-PM1 can reach in USB transfer mode.

There are lots of favorable customer reviews for the UGREEN 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 plugged into a laptop or desktop.

When I searched for a card reader that would be used for travel, I had to go through the return process with several orders. I encountered the most frequently found problem mentioned in customer reviews, the readers were not recognized by my computer.

The UGREEN card reader supports the memory card formats 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

Image Capacity

Olympus SD Memory Card Contacts

Image quality settings on the Olympus Pen E-PM1 will determine how many images you can store at once. Higher image quality settings will result in larger image sizes.

If you are going to shoot a large number of RAW files, it can make sense to get a larger capacity card. If you shoot JPEGs, you'd likely be better off buying an additional battery. 32GB would be plenty of space to store several days worth of photos.

In fact, the limiting factor to how many photos you can take will likely be your camera batteries. Any time the camera is on, even if you're just going through menu options or using the live view, that will still eat away at battery life.

In low light situations, like indoors or at night, the built-in flash can be helpful. Without using the flash, shutter speeds won't be fast enough to prevent motion blur. These situations are when you want to have at least a couple of rechargeable batteries so you don't have to worry about running out of power.

The following is an estimation of how many high-quality JPEG images you can store for the following storage capacity:

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

Speed, Class, & UHS Ratings

Card Speed

The speed rating of an SD card is classified by the sequential write and read transfer speeds of the card. The write speed of a memory card is critical for clearing the buffer for continuous shooting in addition to recording video.

A slow memory card can cut down the number of continuous images the Olympus E-PM1 can capture. This is because the buffer in the camera is not able to write to the memory card quickly enough.

When shooting video, a slow card can cause recording to end. The video file might also be corrupted. If you intend to capture video, it is crucial the memory card you use meets the requirements of the E-PM1.

Card read speed is important for file transfers to a computer. If you have cards that are full, an SD 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.

The sustained write speed of a card is the criteria for 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 memory card that you can buy will receive a Class 10 rating. To check the class rating of a memory card, search for 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 bus (UHS) is found in SDUC, SDXC, and SDHC cards. UHS memory cards to achieve faster transfer rates.

Three different specifications have been made. They are called UHS-I, UHS-II, and UHS-III.

You can determine the UHS rating of a card by checking the front of the SD card. A Roman numeral I, II, or III on the front of the SD card, that is the UHS rating of your memory 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

Taking the specs into consideration, the 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro is the best memory card for the Olympus E-PM1. The SD card also has excellent compatibility with other cameras.

Below are more pages on cameras with similar specs as the E-PM1:

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