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Olympus E-M1 Mark II & III and all about SD Cards

My Olympus E-M1 Mark III and which SD Cards,
that was what came to my mind when I received my new Olympus 300mm f4 Pro.
What does that lens have to do with the SD cards in my camera?
well, the first time I noticed that my current SD cards weren’t fast enough was at a flight meeting in 2022.
I had my camera set to its fastest continuous shooting speed of 18fps, and after a series of shots I noticed that the red “save” light in the top left corner of my viewfinder kept blinking.
I’m not entirely sure if the buffer was full at some point,
what I do know is that when I got home I missed certain shots while uploading to PC, I also noticed some series of completely black shots.
My suspicion is that the buffer just got full, and that something went wrong while writing.
The cards I used were Sandisk Extreme UHS I V30 read 150mb/s write 90mb/s 64GB.

With the new lens I want to start photographing birds, and I will probably make regular use of high-speed shooting, as well as the Pro Capture option.
So that’s why the right and fastest cards are important.

As with the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, the SD card holders on the camera are uneven.
The upper card holder is of the UHS II type
The bottom one is UHS I
The Upper card holder is also UHS I compatible, but when you place a UHS II card in the lower holder it works as a UHS I.
So if you want to get the maximum speed out of your camera, you need two different cards.

There is a lot of information on such an SD card,
and preferably written as small as possible.
Sometimes it also happens that SD cards of the same brand look almost exactly the same, but that there are still major differences.
as in the example below of two Sandisk cards.
One has 60mb/s, the other 150mb/s, something you might not immediately notice at first sight, especially if you are going to buy it in the store or on a web shop and only know you want a Sandisk Extreme card of 64GB.
Those stated speeds are also download or read speeds, and that is just not important for your camera, the upload or write speed is, and that happens to be not mentioned.

Types and Prices:
UHS I & UHS II you can usually find that clearly on the cards.
Then pay attention to the following:
V30 – V60 – V90, where the speeds increase with a higher value – V30 the slowest, V90 the fastest, but at the same time also the most expensive, and that makes a big difference.
But, for this camera (which can’t shoot 8k videos) I think V90 is too much and to expensive.
Best choice for slot 1 is a UHS II V60
For slot two it becomes a UHS I V30
But even then there are sometimes differences between types of cards and brands, if possible always check and compare the write speed.

Using dual Card Slots:
Equally important when choosing the SD cards is the way you are going to store on those cards.
It can affect which capacity to choose from, so make sure you have mastered this first.
Full explanation on video by Gavin Hoey who explains it very well : Olympus Learn Center – Using Dual Card Slots
The choice I use is the following:
Menu -> gear icon or custom -> H1 card slot settings -> save settings -> dual independent 1 up

Save slot 1 -> camera (this will be greyed out, but is set in SCP)
Save slot 2 -> video

Then SCP or Super Control Panel – navigate to card -> card 1 set to RAW -> card 2 set to LSF (jpg)

With this setting, the RAWs are written to the UHS II card, and the LSF Jpgs as well as video to the UHS I card.
When 1 card becomes full, the other will still work according to the settings.

To determine the size of the required SD card, you can look at the size of the picture and video folders from recent years and take enough extra space.
If you just got another camera, look at how much one Raw and one Jpg photo is, and multiply that by the maximum number of photos you’ve taken recently, know that 1000mb is about 1GB.
Don’t forget the amount of video you record, if any.
The capacity of SD cards varies quite a bit, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB – so you don’t need very precise figures. If you are close to one of the capacities with your calculation, just take the next one.

My choice:
Due to the choice I made for storage, the choice was also determined for the size of the SD cards.
My maximum number of photos taken in one day was around 2500.
So the choice of card should be equal to or slightly greater.

My Raws are about 20MB, which roughly gives a capacity of 50GB, very precise calculations are unnecessary because the capacity differences are immediately large. 32GB is too small and so the next card is 64GB. which means I can take about 3200 photos, so that’s perfect for the first slot, the UHS II card.
Jpg’s and videos will be on the second card, and I wanted some reserve to have enough space for video, calculated 3200 photos at 10MB for Jpg’s is around 32GB, so that would be half of a 64GB card, but 32GB left for video is not much . So I opted for the next storage capacity of 128GB.

If for some reason I were to take more than 3200 photos, the Raws would stop taking, but the camera would continue on card 2 with Jpg’s and video through the “dual independent 1 up” setting until this card is full.

So why Lexar ?
I am not sponsored by anyone, and therefore also not for these SD cards. The reason for Lexar’s choice in this case is a simple comparison in specifications and price, coincidentally these cards were also discounted and that together determined the choice.
At any other time it might as well have been Sandisk, Sony, Samsung or Kingston.
The most important thing is that you pay close attention to the specifications and do not choose unknown (cheap) brands.

Now on La Gallerie !

Grey Heron in Flight

The photo gallery of Open Source Photography, Olympus micro 4/3 system, Vintage Lens Photograpy, Film Simulation, PictureFX, HDR – Photographer : Marc R.


Published by Bushcrafter

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu" :-) My Photography software : Linux Kubuntu 22.04 LTS, RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. My camera Gear in 2023: Olympus E-M1 Mark III & II with Olympus 300mm Pro and Leica 100-400mm. Olympus E-M5 MK III with Olympus 12-200mm. Olympus 40-150mm Pro, 12-40mm Pro and many other lenses. Development on Dell Inspiron 15-3520 - 12 gen. i7 - 16gb -512gb

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