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Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings

Our review E-M5 beats Olympus' specifications rating for frames per second

Olympus has never had a really fast-shooting digital system camera. There was the E-100 RS back in 2000, but that was a bridge camera and although it could shoot at up to 15 frames per second, maximum resolution was just 1.4 megapixels. Until the E-M5 came out the fastest you could get with an Olympus Four Thirds camera was 5 frames per second with the E-3 and, later, the E-5. The Pen E-PL3 and E-PM1 can shoot at just under 5 fps. On paper, the E-M5 is a much more exciting 9 fps. Our timings indicate the E-M5 is more like a 10 fps shooter.

Our E-M5 was set to record Super Fine Large JPEGs and RAW files simultaneously and Image stabilisation was set to Mode 1. We used four different types of card; a Lexar Pro 600X UHS-1, Kingston Ultimate XX 233X UHS-1, Panasonic Gold Class 10, and a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 (45MB/sec rated - 300x approx, not the 95MB top-spec version of this card), and measured the frame rate and recovery times for each using High Speed shooting mode. Focus was set to manual although single shot AF should deliver similar results.

All four cards produced bursts of 11 or 12 frames at a rate of approximately 10fps, roughly 1.2 seconds of full-speed continuous shooting. This is interesting because Olympus' official specifications only claim 11 frames at 9fps shooting RAW. Olympus also told us that IS would slow the shooting rate down, which it clearly didn't. Curiously, two of the higher-specification cards, the Lexar Pro and Kingston XX Ultimate, although they shot 12 frames in the sequence, the last frame took twice as long to register as the previous one, so we excluded it, only counting the 11.

After the buffer stalls the screen freezes for a few seconds - 6-7 seconds depending on the card. The Lexar Pro emptied the buffer in 20 seconds while all the other cards took much longer - between 30 and 34 seconds. Although three if the cards we tested were UHS-1 types, only the Lexar Pro seemed to offer any benefit in the camera, although UHS-1 does offer higher speeds in compatible card readers.

So the conclusion is, if you can afford the extra cost of a Lexar Pro 600X card for you E-M5, you will wait significantly less time for the camera buffer to be cleared and your camera will become responsive again much sooner.

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Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings

Four Thirds User editorial team Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
Does the Olympus OM-D E-M5 live up to its billing as a fast 9fps shooter. It certainly does - in fac... (more)

hschnee Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
Thank you for the test report. It seems that Olympus have been a little conservative with their spee... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
In the article I did include results from a SanDisk Extreme Pro, which is a UHS-1 card. The Panasoni... (more)

hschnee Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
I must have missed the Sandisk in the article. I guess I expected that a Sandisk would be at least a... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
Olympus used a Toshiba UHS-1 card, but I have no idea if it's a top-performance card. The UHS-1 spe... (more)

Robert Watcher Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
o does the buffer fill at the rate of 11 or 12 frames when shooting JPEG as well? Or were you shooti... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
Hehe - you guys really should read the article :D I did the testing while shooting RAW+JPEG simulta... (more)

hschnee Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
I was just checking the specs of available UHS-1 memory cards, and it seems that both Lexar and Sand... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
Yes, you may have missed my update earlier in the thread. I have a 45MB/sec SanDisk Extreme Pro. ... (more)

Robert Watcher Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
h I read the article and saw that you were shooting in RAW+JPEG. That's why I was asking if Jpeg onl... (more)

dbateman Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
What was the size of the cards in your test. I have read that 8GB cards have performed better than ... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
32GB Lexar, 16GB Kingston, 8GB SanDisk, 8GB Panasonic. Ian PS I contacted SanDisk's PR team yeste... (more)

dbateman Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 high speed burst mode shooting timings
Thank you, glad to here it was the 32GB lexar 600x that tested the best. As of today it running aro... (more)

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