Camera Memory Speed
Memory Card Comparison & Performance Tests for Digital Cameras
Olympus E-M5 II SD card slot with memory card door open

Olympus E-M5 II SD Card Comparison

Published: March 10, 2015

The Olympus E-M5 Mark II represents several notable advances in the Micro Four Thirds OM-D line. First, it brings a new high resolution option by using the 5-axis image stabilization system to shift the 16 megapixel sensor and combine eight images into one 40 megapixel JPEG or 64 megapixel RAW image. Second, the E-M5 II provides bursts up to 10fps (mechanical shutter) and 11fps (silent electronic shutter) and supports the new high speed UHS-II memory card interface. With its improved processing and UHS-II SD cards the E-M5 II can capture RAW images continuously at 5fps until the card is full.

To test memory card performance in the E-M5 II, 43 SD cards including both UHS-I and UHS-II were used in the camera. The cards are compared in write speed for continuous shooting of RAW images. The results are shown in the first table. The second table shows the number of images captured during continuous shooting for 30 seconds in three different image types: RAW+JPEG, RAW and JPEG modes. An analysis is provided with observations from the tests. Finally, specific SD cards are recommended for the E-M5 II, including fastest card and best value card for this camera.

Camera Details and Settings

Tests are performed with the E-M5 II mounted on a tripod. Manual focus is set with live view at maximum magnification. The test target is a detailed test scene under controlled lighting. A remote shutter release is used for 30 second intervals. Write speed is calculated using the total bytes written to each card divided by the total write time. Write speed is measured in MB/s (1 MB = 1,048,576 bytes). The write speed results are for RAW image format (RAW+JPEG and JPEG modes provide lower write speed).

Olympus E-M5 II SD Card Write Speed

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Memory CardSize
Average Write Speed (MB/s)Price
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB3282.3$86.50
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GB3281.6
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GB3275.6$69.00
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GB3271.9$44.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB6439.8$59.99
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GB3239.6
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 64GB6439.1$29.99
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 64GB6439.0$36.90
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GB6438.9$34.99
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GB6438.9$49.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 64GB6438.8$38.99
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GB6438.8$36.38
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GB6438.8$59.40
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GB3238.6$18.08
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GB3238.5
PNY Elite Performance U1 64GB6438.4$19.99
Lexar Professional 600x 64GB6438.4$14.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 32GB3238.1$19.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s microSD 32GB3238.1
Toshiba Exceria Type 1 32GB3238.1
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 32GB Card 13238.1
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 32GB3238.0$17.84
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GB3237.7$69.95
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GB3237.6$15.99
Toshiba Exceria Type 2 32GB3237.6
Samsung PRO 64GB6437.4$69.50
Sony 94MB/s 32GB3237.1$26.29
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 32GB3236.8$41.00
Samsung PRO 32GB3236.7$69.00
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GB6436.4$29.95
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GB3236.4$31.58
Kingston Ultimate 32GB3236.2
SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s 32GB3234.1$9.50
Lexar Professional 600x 32GB3233.2$42.99
Lexar Professional 400x 32GB3231.6$79.99
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GB6430.8$24.99
Transcend 600x 32GB3229.2$17.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 32GB3228.8
Samsung EVO 32GB3218.2$44.00
SanDisk Ultra microSD 64GB6412.4$24.99
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 64GB6412.3$13.00
SanDisk Ultra microSD 32GB3212.1$13.99
Toshiba FlashAir II 32GB3212.0

Olympus E-M5 II Continuous Shooting

Continuous shooting is a measurement of how many images can be taken in a 30 second interval. Three image modes are used: RAW+JPEG, RAW, and JPEG. JPEG are large, super fine quality. The E-M5 II is set to continuous high release mode 10fps (mechanical shutter). The detailed subject in this test produces 15.1 MB RAW files and 11.1MB JPEG files.

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Memory CardSize
Continuous Shooting – Images in 30 SecondsLowest
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB32107176213$86.50
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GB32106175214
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GB32104163212$69.00
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GB3289151183$44.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB645992115$59.99
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GB325992114
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 64GB645891113$29.99
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 64GB645890114$36.90
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 64GB645890113$38.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 64GB645890112$19.99
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GB645790113$59.40
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GB325790113$18.08
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GB645790113$49.99
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GB325789113
Toshiba Exceria Type 1 32GB325789113
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 32GB Card 1325789112
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 32GB325789112$17.84
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 32GB325789112$19.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s microSD 32GB325789112
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GB645690113$34.99
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GB325688112$15.99
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GB325688112$69.95
Samsung PRO 64GB645687111$69.50
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GB645590113$36.38
Lexar Professional 600x 64GB645589113$14.99
Toshiba Exceria Type 2 32GB325588111
Sony 94MB/s 32GB325587109$26.29
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 32GB325586112$41.00
Samsung PRO 32GB325586110$69.00
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GB645586110$29.95
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GB325586109$31.58
Kingston Ultimate 32GB325586109
SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s 32GB325282102$9.50
Lexar Professional 600x 32GB325179104$42.99
Lexar Professional 400x 32GB324976100$79.99
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GB64477599$24.99
Transcend 600x 32GB32457195$17.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 32GB32457094
Samsung EVO 32GB32384963$44.00
SanDisk Ultra microSD 64GB64283850$24.99
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 64GB64283652$13.00
Toshiba FlashAir II 32GB32273750
SanDisk Ultra microSD 32GB32263749$13.99

Performance Analysis

The E-M5 II shows a significant increase in write speed compared with the original E-M5. The highest write speed in the Mark II was 82.3MB/s, while the fastest speed measured in the E-M5 was 28.6MB/s (E-M5 SD card comparison). To get the highest write speed, UHS-II cards must be used. All UHS-I cards tested were limited to below 40MB/s write speed. It would seem the E-M5 II card controller does not support SDR104, the fastest bus speed mode provided by UHS-I (104MB/s).

In continuous shooting in RAW+JPEG, the E-M5 II was able to capture 14 to 15 shots at full frame rate. The UHS-II cards were fast enough to allow a one shot advantage. After the buffer reached capacity, the frame rate dropped to around 3fps with the fastest UHS-II cards, around 1.6 fps with the faster UHS-I cards, and as low as 0.45 fps with the slowest card.

In RAW mode, the E-M5 II reached 14-16 shots with UHS-I cards, and up to 23 shots with the fastest UHS-II cards before the frame rate dropped. True to Olumpus' marketing claim that the E-M5 II can support unlimited 5fps shooting, with the buffer full it continued to shoot at 5.6 fps for the duration of the 30 second test when using the fastest UHS-II card. The Lexar 1000x UHS-II card reached 4.7 fps, while fast UHS-I cards could only sustain 2.7 fps for the duration (with the buffer full). The slowest card could only manage 0.8 fps with the buffer full.

When shooting JPEG, the E-M5 II could reach up to 30 shots at full frame rate. The UHS-II cards provided 28-30 shots, while UHS-I cards varied from 19-24 shots. The fastest UHS-II card allowed 6.9 fps with the buffer full, the slowest card just over 1 fps. It should be emphasized that these numbers depend on camera settings and the image subject. A less detailed subject will create smaller image files and clear the buffer faster thereby allowing a higher continuous frame rate after the buffer has reached capacity.

Recommended SD Cards for the Olympus E-M5 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

Those who desire the highest performance for the E-M5 II should consider UHS-II memory cards. Actual write speeds of UHS-II cards measured twice as fast as the fastest UHS-I cards. The fastest card was the Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II that reached 82.3 MB/s continuous write speed in the E-M5 II. It also allowed the most shots at full frame rate and sustained the highest frame rate with the buffer full. The Toshiba Exceria Pro and SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II cards also provide very high performance. An added benefit of UHS-II cards is their read speed for downloading images that can reach above 200MB/s in a UHS-II card reader.

The best value SD card for the E-M5 II is the Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II. It performed significantly better than fast UHS-I cards, without the high price. The Lexar 1000x also supports up to 150MB/s read speed when used in a UHS-II card reader.

A majority of the UHS-I cards tested performed similarly due to the E-M5 II's limited write speed in UHS-I mode. While the SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I 64GB SDXC Card is a very fast card, it is not worth the premium price when the Extreme 60MB/s card provided practically the same performance in the E-M5 II at a fraction of the cost.

Olympus E-M5 II camera USB port with cable and door open

Transferring images from the E-M5 Mk II

The E-M5 II provides a USB port to transfer images from the camera using USB 2.0. To test download speed, over 4GB of RAW files were copied from the camera to a computer equipped with a SSD drive. The fastest transfers measured 27MB/s (2.6 minutes) with the camera in MTP mode and 14MB/s (6 minutes) in Storage mode.

When speed matters, a USB 3.0 card reader can provide much faster downloads. The Lexar 2000x UHS-II card transferred the the same files at 180MB/s in 23 seconds. (Transferring separate, smaller files results in lower average transfer speeds compared with benchmarks.) Check out the Card Reader Reviews for additional tests and information.