Camera Memory Speed
Memory Card Comparison & Performance Tests for Digital Cameras
Olympus E-M1 II SD card slots with memory cards and door open

Olympus E-M1 II SD Card Comparison

Published: February 17, 2017

The Olympus E-M1 Mark II is the new flagship OM-D mirrorless digital camera. The new E-M1 Mk II receives a 20MP sensor and offers a 50MP resolution mode by combining multiple exposures using sensor shift technology. It offers up to 15fps with the mechanical shutter, 18fps with digital shutter and a 60fps burst mode. The built-in 5-axis image stabilization system improves hand-held shooting while the video specifications have been updated to offer up to 4K at 24p. The E-M1 II has dual SD card slots. Only one slot has the high speed UHS-II interface, but all slots accept UHS-II or UHS-I or standard SD cards. UHS-II cards in the second slot will operate at UHS-I speed.

A total of 102 memory cards were tested in the E-M1 II. The results show a distinct performance advantage wen using UHS-II cards. The tables below show the results in write speed for continuous shooting of RAW images and continuous shooting the number of shots in 30 seconds using in three images modes (RAW+JPEG, RAW and JPEG modes) with each SD card. Information about the results is provided in an analysis. The fastest SD cards for the Olympus E-M1 II are selected based on speed in addition to the best value cards recommended for the camera.

Camera Details and Settings

The test setup consists of the E-M1 Mark II mounted on a tripod with a remote release timer to actuate the shutter and provide 30 second intervals for the continuous shooting test. All manual settings are used and a manual lens is attached to the camera. Manual focus is fixed on the test subject, a detailed scene with controlled lighting. Write speed is calculated using the buffer-full write condition during continuous shooting. The data written to the card divided by the write time gives the write speed in MB/s (1 MB = 1,048,576 bytes). Results for write speed are for RAW images (RAW+JPEG and JPEG modes result in lower write speed).

Olympus E-M1 II SD Card Write Speed

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Memory CardSize
Average Write Speed (MB/s)Price
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 64GB64163.4$91.00
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB32159.2$54.95
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GB32152.6$149.99
Transcend Ultimate UHS-II U3 64GB64150.1$89.99
Transcend Ultimate UHS-II U3 32GB32140.2$45.99
Lexar Professional 1800x microSD UHS-II 32GB32124.7$55.11
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GB3299.6$60.93
SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 275MB/s microSDXC 64GB6493.6$99.99
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 128GB12877.3$69.95
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GB3276.0$24.32
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 64GB6475.6$39.95
Lexar Professional 1000x microSD UHS-II 32GB3246.8$29.97
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GB3244.1$149.00
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB6441.7$107.02
SanDisk Extreme Plus 95/90 MB/s microSD 64GB6441.6$67.66
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 128GB12841.6$63.49
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 128GB12841.6$56.08
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 256GB25641.4$122.95
SanDisk Extreme Plus 90MB/s 64GB6441.4$60.96
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 V30 microSDXC 128GB12841.4$66.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 V30 256GB25641.3$116.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GB3241.1$31.39
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 64GB6440.9$49.79
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDXC 64GB6440.9$51.52
Samsung PRO microSDXC 64GB6440.9$75.50
Samsung PRO Select microSDXC 64GB6440.8$49.99
Samsung PRO Plus 64GB6440.8$39.99
Sony M Series UHS-II 64GB6440.8$52.79
PNY Pro Elite microSDXC 64GB6440.7$49.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s U3 32GB3240.7$9223372036854775808.00
SanDisk Extreme Plus 95/90 MB/s microSD 32GB3240.7$39.66
Samsung PRO Plus microSDXC 64GB6440.7$49.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDHC 32GB3240.7$32.29
Samsung PRO U3 64GB6440.7$62.90
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GB6440.6$34.95
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GB6440.6$28.95
Kingston U3 (90/80) microSD 64GB6440.6$39.95
Patriot EP Series microSDXC 64GB6440.6$29.99
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 128GB12840.6$72.99
Transcend Ultimate 633x microSD 64GB6440.6$59.99
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GB6440.6$48.89
Panasonic Gold 95/90 64GB6440.6$94.99
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 64GB6440.6$145.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 64GB6440.5$30.87
PNY Pro Elite 64GB6440.5$69.99
Transcend 600x 64GB6440.5$29.99
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GB6440.5$15.49
PNY Elite Performance U3 128GB12840.4$69.46
Patriot EP PRO microSDXC 64GB6440.4$37.61
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 32GB3240.4$35.04
PNY Elite Performance U1 64GB6440.4$97.97
SanDisk Extreme Plus 90MB/s 32GB3240.3$28.74
Samsung PRO Plus 32GB3240.3$39.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 256GB25640.3$80.47
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GB3240.2$24.99
Samsung PRO U3 32GB3240.2$14.95
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 32GB3240.0$59.95
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GB3240.0$20.99
PNY Elite-X microSDXC 64GB6439.9$34.99
Samsung EVO Select microSDXC 256GB25639.9$179.99
Transcend 633x microSDHC 32GB3239.9$24.99
Delkin Elite 633x 32GB3239.9$19.95
Kingston U3 (90/80) microSD 32GB3239.9$18.89
Samsung PRO Plus microSDXC 128GB12839.9$89.95
Delkin Black 32GB3239.9$9223372036854775808.00
Samsung PRO Select microSDXC 128GB12839.9$82.13
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 32GB3239.7$20.67
PNY Elite-X microSDHC 32GB3239.6$19.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s microSDHC 32GB3239.6$14.99
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GB3239.6$24.99
Delkin 1900x UHS-II 32GB3239.3$26.95
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GB6439.1$41.95
Kingston Ultimate 32GB3238.9$15.95
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GB3238.9$20.67
PNY Elite Performance U3 256GB25638.7$109.99
Panasonic Gold Series 32GB3238.6$69.99
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GB6432.2$29.99
Patriot EP Pro 128GB12832.0$54.99
Lexar Professional 633x microSDXC 200GB20031.2$89.99
Transcend 600x 32GB3230.7$16.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 32GB3230.2$53.74
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s microSDXC 64GB6428.7$40.93
PNY Elite microSDXC 64GB6428.7$24.99
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 32GB3228.2$13.95
Lexar Professional 633x U1 64GB6425.6$27.06
Lexar Professional 633x microSDXC 64GB6422.8$34.25
Samsung EVO microSD 32GB3221.7$10.99
Lexar Professional 633x U1 128GB12821.5$49.99
Samsung EVO Plus 128GB microSDXC12819.8$47.99
Samsung EVO Select microSDXC 128GB12819.7$102.94
Lexar Professional 633x microSDXC 128GB12819.6$64.95
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 128GB12819.4$41.95
PNY Elite microSDXC 128GB12819.4$47.99
Samsung EVO microSDXC 64GB6419.0$24.99
Samsung EVO Select microSDXC 64GB6418.9$59.30
Lexar Professional 633x U1 32GB3218.3$15.69
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 32GB Card 23217.7$9223372036854775808.00
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 64GB6417.5$21.99
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 32GB3213.9$13.95
SanDisk Ultra 90MB/s microSD 200GB20013.8$77.73
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 64GB6413.8$22.99
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 128GB12811.4$44.90

Olympus E-M1 II Continuous Shooting

The second table shows the number of images that can be taken during 30 seconds of continuous shooting. It does not include the buffer clearing time. The release mode is continuous high and uses the 15fps mechanical shutter setting. Each card is tested in the E-M1 II using RAW+JPEG, RAW and JPEG image modes. The JPEG setting is large, super fine quality. The detailed test scene results in 17.9 MB RAW files and 13.1MB JPEG files.

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Memory CardSize
Continuous Shooting – Images in 30 SecondsLowest
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 64GB64132319323$91.00
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB32129311323$54.95
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GB32126300322$149.99
Transcend Ultimate UHS-II U3 64GB64123294319$89.99
Transcend Ultimate UHS-II U3 32GB32121280316$45.99
Lexar Professional 1800x microSD UHS-II 32GB32116255308$55.11
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GB32109216271$60.93
SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II 275MB/s microSDXC 64GB64107205268$99.99
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 128GB12898178218$69.95
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 64GB6498176216$39.95
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GB3298176216$24.32
Lexar Professional 1000x microSD UHS-II 32GB3284128155$29.97
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GB3283123149$149.00
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDXC 64GB6482120146$51.52
SanDisk Extreme Plus 95/90 MB/s microSD 64GB6482120146$67.66
SanDisk Extreme Plus 90MB/s 64GB6482120146$60.96
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 128GB12882120146$56.08
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 256GB25682120146$122.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 128GB12882120146$63.49
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB6482120146$107.02
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s U3 32GB3282118145$9223372036854775808.00
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 V30 microSDXC 128GB12881120146$66.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 V30 256GB25681120146$116.95
Samsung PRO microSDXC 64GB6481120145$75.50
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 64GB6481119146$49.79
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GB3281119146$31.39
Samsung PRO Select microSDXC 64GB6481119145$49.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDHC 32GB3281118145$32.29
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GB6481118145$28.95
Samsung PRO Plus microSDXC 64GB6481118145$49.95
SanDisk Extreme Plus 95/90 MB/s microSD 32GB3281118145$39.66
Samsung PRO U3 64GB6481118145$62.90
Samsung PRO Plus 64GB6481118145$39.99
Transcend Ultimate 633x microSD 64GB6481118145$59.99
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GB6481118145$34.95
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 64GB6481118144$30.87
Transcend 600x 64GB6481118144$29.99
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 64GB6481118144$145.99
Samsung PRO Plus 32GB3281118144$39.99
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 32GB3281118144$35.04
PNY Elite Performance U1 64GB6481118143$97.97
SanDisk Extreme Plus 90MB/s 32GB3281118143$28.74
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 128GB12881118143$72.99
PNY Elite Performance U3 128GB12881118140$69.46
Samsung PRO U3 32GB3281117144$14.95
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GB3281117143$20.99
Samsung PRO Plus microSDXC 128GB12881117143$89.95
Kingston U3 (90/80) microSD 32GB3281117143$18.89
Transcend 633x microSDHC 32GB3281117143$24.99
Samsung PRO Select microSDXC 128GB12881117142$82.13
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GB3281115145$24.99
PNY Pro Elite microSDXC 64GB6480119145$49.99
Patriot EP Series microSDXC 64GB6480118145$29.99
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GB6480118145$48.89
Kingston U3 (90/80) microSD 64GB6480118145$39.95
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GB6480118145$15.49
Panasonic Gold 95/90 64GB6480118144$94.99
PNY Pro Elite 64GB6480118144$69.99
Patriot EP PRO microSDXC 64GB6480118144$37.61
PNY Elite-X microSDXC 64GB6480117144$34.99
Delkin Elite 633x 32GB3280117143$19.95
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 32GB3280117143$59.95
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 32GB3280117142$20.67
PNY Elite-X microSDHC 32GB3280117142$19.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s microSDHC 32GB3280117142$14.99
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GB3280117142$24.99
Delkin Black 32GB3280117142$9223372036854775808.00
Samsung EVO Select microSDXC 256GB25680117100$179.99
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GB6480116143$41.95
Delkin 1900x UHS-II 32GB3280116141$26.95
Kingston Ultimate 32GB3280116141$15.95
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GB3280115140$20.67
Panasonic Gold Series 32GB3280115139$69.99
Sony M Series UHS-II 64GB6479119145$52.79
PNY Elite Performance U3 256GB25679115139$109.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 256GB25676117144$80.47
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GB6476104126$29.99
Patriot EP Pro 128GB12876104124$54.99
Lexar Professional 633x microSDXC 200GB20073103126$89.99
Transcend 600x 32GB3273102115$16.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 32GB3273101121$53.74
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 32GB327398116$13.95
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s microSDXC 64GB647299115$40.93
PNY Elite microSDXC 64GB647099118$24.99
Samsung EVO microSDXC 64GB64708390$24.99
Lexar Professional 633x microSDXC 64GB646989111$34.25
Lexar Professional 633x U1 64GB646884112$27.06
PNY Elite microSDXC 128GB1286883102$47.99
Samsung EVO Select microSDXC 64GB64688296$59.30
Lexar Professional 633x U1 128GB1286787101$49.99
Samsung EVO microSD 32GB326787100$10.99
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 128GB128678395$41.95
Samsung EVO Plus 128GB microSDXC128668498$47.99
Lexar Professional 633x U1 32GB32668197$15.69
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 32GB Card 232668194$9223372036854775808.00
Samsung EVO Select microSDXC 128GB128658498$102.94
Lexar Professional 633x microSDXC 128GB128658496$64.95
SanDisk Ultra 90MB/s microSD 200GB200637487$77.73
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 64GB64637486$22.99
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 32GB32637485$13.95
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 64GB64618195$21.99
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 128GB128597283$44.90

Performance Analysis

The E-M1 Mark II card write speed increased significantly compared with the original E-M1. Whereas the E-M1 was limited to 32.5MB/s average write speed, the Mark II averaged 163.4MB/s with the fastest a UHS-II card and 41.7MB/s with the fastest UHS-I card. The UHS-II performance improved since the E-M5 II and PEN-F which failed to average faster than 92MB/s write speed with UHS-II cards. Similar to the E-M5 II and PEN-F, the E-M1 Mark II does not support SDR104 mode (104MB/s bus speed) with UHS-I cards, so its performance using UHS-I cards is limited.

Olympus equipped the E-M1 Mark II with a generous buffer and the ability to capture near twice as many shots as even the recent PEN-F before the buffer limited shooting. It should be noted that buffer capacity depends on camera settings, picture subject and memory card write speed. More detail creates larger file sizes and decrease the apparent capacity in terms of shots. Using a faster card can increase the buffer capacity when shooting continuously because the card clears the buffer during shooting.

During continuous shooting in RAW+JPEG mode the E-M1 II was able to capture up to 60 shots at full frame rate (15fps) with UHS-II cards, up to 54 shots with UHS-I cards and 51 shots with the slowest card. After the buffer reached capacity the frame rate dropped to around 2.7fps with the fastest UHS-II cards, around 1 fps with the fastest UHS-I card, and as low as 0.2 fps with the slowest SD card. Indeed, the generous buffer makes up for card speed when shooting less than 50 frames (or about 3 seconds) continuously.

When shooting RAW, the E-M1 II could reach up to 119 shots at full frame rate with the fastest UHS-II card. Using a UHS-I card dropped this number to 54-60 shots. With the buffer full, the fastest UHS-II card continued to shoot over 9fps with the buffer full, UHS-I cards limited to 2.5 fps the slowest card at 0.6 fps.

In JPEG shooting, the E-M1 II reached 125 shots continuously at full frame rate (15fps) with the fastest UHS-II card before the frame rate dropped, after which it continued to shoot at over 9 fps for the duration of the 30 second test. UHS-I cards managed 66 shots at best before the buffer limited the frame rate, then dropped to 3 fps with faster cards down to 1 fps with the slowest card with the buffer full.

Using Two Card Slots

The E-M1 Mark II has two SD card slots which can be used to write different image formats separately to each card or write the same images to both cards. Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II cards were placed in both slots. Because the second slot does not support UHS-II the card in slot 2 operates in UHS-I mode and was limited to around 41MB/s average write speed.

When writing RAW to slot 1 and JPEG to slot 2, the camera captured 106 shots in 30 seconds. This is less than the 132 RAW+JPEG written to the same card in slot 1 alone in the same time period.

Writing the same images to both cards (backup mode) resulted in essentially the same number of shots as could be captured with the fastest UHS-I card, however RAW+JPEG captured slightly more than expected shots, reaching 90 RAW+JPEG (compared with 82 for the fastest UHS-I card alone), 119 RAW and 145 JPEG. The number of shots was limited by slot 2 which supports only UHS-I write speed at best. When using both slots in backup mode there is no benefit to using a fast UHS-II card in either slot.

Issue with some UHS-II cards in Slot 1

Using the Delkin 1900x UHS-II 32GB or Sony M Series UHS-II 64GB cards in slot 1 of the Olympus E-M1 II caused a card error message to appear on the screen. The cards could not be formatted and the camera would not operate with these cards in slot 1. These cards operate without issue in Slot 2, however they are limited to UHS-I speed in the second slot. As previously mentioned, the E-M1 Mark II does not support SDR104 which limits UHS-I performance.

Recommended SD Cards for the Olympus E-M1 Mark II

Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SD Card
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SD Card
Best Value:
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II SD Card
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II SD Card

The E-M1 II benefits from UHS-II cards and the fastest card in the camera was the Lexar 2000x UHS-II 64GB. The 163.4 MB/s write speed average was nearly four times the fastest UHS-I card. The top Toshiba and Transcend UHS-II cards also provide excellent performance in the camera. An added benefit of UHS-II cards is their read speeds up to 300MB/s in UHS-II card readers.

While UHS-II cards usually cost significantly more than UHS-I cards, the Lexar 1000x UHS-II cards are an exception. While these cards are limited in write speed (76-77.3 MB/s average in the camera), they perform better than UHS-I cards in the E-M1 II because the camera does not support the fastest UHS-I mode. This gives the Lexar 1000x cards a distinct advantage over the fastest UHS-I cards in the camera and makes them the best value choice. The Lexar 1000x cards also support up to 150MB/s read speed in UHS-II card readers.