Olympus OMD EM5 Memory Card Test

Cards Tested
Sandisk Extreme Pro 16GB 95MB/s  Buffer cleared just under 10 seconds.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 16GB 45MB/s Buffer cleared just under 17 seconds.

Sandisk Extreme 4GB 30MB/s Buffer cleared just under 13 seconds.

Sandisk 8GB Class 4 Buffer cleared just under 56 seconds.

Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB + WiFi Buffer cleared just under 30 seconds.

As you can see a quality card makes a big difference in write speed which translates to less photo opportunities lost and the cost differences are minimal. With the exception of the Eye-Fi card the only card I could suggest is the Sandisk Extreme Pro 16GB 95MB/s. The 45MB/s version is still available but is discontinued and don’t even bother with a Class 4 card.

Of all the card I do have the most fun with the Eye-Fi card. Shooting wirelessly to my iPhone while its in my pocket is great! I’m able to go from the Pen or OMD to the iPhone or iPad for a quick edit then to Instagram to share in no time at all. I’m currently writing an in-depth Eye-Fi wireless workflow which you’ll just love. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss it!

Which cards do you find to be fast and of high quality? Any cards photographers should stay away from? Let us know in the comments.

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About Giulio Sciorio

Since 2009, Hybrid Photography pioneer Giulio Sciorio has been blending still + motion & sound with his photography. Giulio is a Lumix Luminary, commercial photographer and founder of SmallCameraBigPicture.com - the resource for everything Hybrid. A portfolio of Giulio’s hybrid work can be found at GiulioSciorio.com.

22 Responses to Olympus OMD EM5 Memory Card Test

  1. Deryckb April 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm #


    Sandisk Extreme Pro 16GB 45MB/s Buffer cleared just under 17 seconds.

    Sandisk Extreme 4GB 30MB/s Buffer cleared just under 13 seconds.

    is the Extreme Pro really slower than the Extreme?

    • Giulio Sciorio April 27, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

      Correct. The Sandisk Extreme 4GB is slower then the Extreme Pro 16GB only because the card size is smaller. Typically the larger the card size the slower the performance. Think of it as dropping a rock down a well. The deeper the well the longer it takes for the rock to hit bottom.

      I would speculate that the Sandisk Extreme Pro 8GB 95MB/s would be faster then both - http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extreme-UHS-1-Memory-SDSDXPA-008G-A75/dp/B005LFT3GG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1335560186&sr=8-4

      • Sune May 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

        I think this is due to the 45 card actually being slower than the 30. The 45 gets that speed rating only due to being uhs. Though the size might matter too

  2. Thearne3 April 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Nice job, Giulio.   A procedural question:  how did you standardize the number of shots taken?  I’d like to test my Sandisk 30mb 8gb card…

    • Giulio Sciorio April 27, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      Hi there. Good question. I wait until the buffer on the camera is full then I stop shooting. Took me more then a few tries to get it right. Keep in mind that most cameras will allow you to continue to shoot as the cameras buffer dumps to the card but its at a much slower speed.

      In testing try to keep your shutter speed as fast as possible so you can quickly fill the buffer. For the purpose of the video I wanted to be able to see the image on the back of the OMD so I cranked up the ISO which also allowed me to get a fast shutter speed.

  3. Rick Baumhauer April 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    I tested with both a Lexar 16GB 600x UHS-1 card and a Transcend 16GB Class 10 UHS-1, and they seemed very similar in performance (and both should be competitive with the SanDisk 95MB/s card). Both cleared the buffer in under 9 seconds (this was usually 12 shots) when shooting Large Superfine JPEGs. When shooting RAW+JPEG, they both cleared the buffer at about 1 frame/sec – just under 13s for 13 shots, or just under 14s for 14 shots.

    • Giulio Sciorio April 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

      Thanks for posting this Rick. I always had good luck with the Lexar cards in the past and many friends enjoy using the Transcend cards. Good info!

      • Timur Born July 2, 2012 at 11:31 am #

         One vote for the Transcend here. Costs less than the SanDisk and according to various reports (including yours) just as fast when it comes to writing files on the E-M5.

  4. Quatchi_muc May 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Thanks for the comparison! Looking forward to the Eye.Fi workflow post.

    • Giulio Sciorio July 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      Still working on it. It’s become quite a project!

  5. Tobias Lohse May 15, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Please do this Eye-Fi workflow post, I’m really looking forward to it, I use a G1 with an Eye-Fi Pro X2 and an iPad 1 but never got it to work in a fast way, that really satisfied me, so I’m very interested, how you use the eye-fi-card. 

    Love your blog by the way. But hate you for making me need an EM5 ;) 

    • Giulio Sciorio May 15, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      Hi Tobias,

      Working on it. Should be out by months end. The tech isn’t perfect so I’m testing some workarounds but I think I got some good solutions. It’s taking a bit longer to finish up then I expected but I think you’ll love the results.

      Might be a multi-part workflow too. Stay tuned.

      Glad you love the blog! I love sharing what I know on it. Get the E-M5 you’ll love it!

      • Ldguethle May 17, 2012 at 10:37 am #

        Tips on using it with an Android phone would also be appreciated (if there’d be much different than an iPod/iPhone).

      • Bragi July 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

        Am also looking forward to the workflow post. Hope you haven’t given up on it!

  6. Peter Arbib August 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    I have the 95MB/s card… it erases over 350 RAW files in under 5s !!!
    and you can easily shoot at 9fps as short burst, and it is ready fairy fast.

    • Giulio Sciorio August 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

      It’s a great card for sure! I do have six Lexar cards coming today that I’ll be testing. Will post the results up soon!


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