Camera Memory Speed
Memory Card Comparison & Performance Tests for Digital Cameras
Olympus PEN-F SD card door open with memory card in slot

Olympus PEN-F SD Card Comparison

Published: August 22, 2016

The Olympus PEN-F is a classically styled, technologically advanced digital camera. This new "premium" PEN features a 20 megapixel sensor, 5-axis sensor-based image stabilization, up to 10fps continuous shooting with mechanical shutter, 50MP high-resolution mode, 2.36 million pixel electronic viewfinder and a 3-inch articulating touchscreen LCD display. In addition, the PEN-F supports new high speed UHS-II memory cards.

The PEN-F was tested with 82 memory cards including UHS-I and UHS-II to compare SD card performance in the camera. The tests include write speed in MB/s during continuous shooting of RAW images, and a comparison of the number of images captured in continuous shooting for 30 seconds using three different image modes: RAW+JPEG, RAW and JPEG. Following the results, an analysis provides additional details observed during the tests. Drawing from the results, the fastest and best SD cards recommended for the PEN-F are presented for this camera.

Camera Details and Settings

The following tests are performed with the Olympus PEN-F secured on a tripod with a manual lens focused on a test scene with controlled lightning. The target subject has a high degree of detail. The focus is set using live view at maximum magnification. A remote is used to control the shutter and provides consistent 30 second intervals for the continuous shooting results.

Write speed is calculated using the total bytes written to each card divided by the total write time. For the write speed test the interval is provided by the buffer full condition when the camera is limited by write speed to the memory card. 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 PEN-F SD Card Write Speed

+ Show more prices
Memory CardSize
Average Write Speed (MB/s)Price
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 64GB6491.6$125.50
Lexar Professional 1800x microSD UHS-II 32GB3290.6$29.95
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB3290.4$86.50
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GB3290.4
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GB3286.9$69.00
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 64GB6473.7$47.40
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GB3273.2$44.99
Transcend Ultimate UHS-II U3 64GB6473.1
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 128GB12871.1$54.95
Transcend Ultimate UHS-II U3 32GB3269.7
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GB3241.9
SanDisk Extreme Plus 95/90 MB/s microSD 64GB6441.2$47.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB6441.2$59.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 128GB12841.2$99.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 128GB12841.1$42.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDXC 64GB6441.1$14.29
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 128GB12841.0$16.99
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 256GB25640.8$159.84
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 64GB6440.4$36.90
Samsung PRO Plus 64GB6440.4$118.00
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 64GB6440.3$29.99
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 64GB6440.3
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GB6440.3$49.99
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 64GB6440.3
SanDisk Extreme Plus 95/90 MB/s microSD 32GB3240.2$13.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 64GB6440.2$38.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDHC 32GB3240.2$15.23
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GB3240.2$18.08
PNY Elite Performance U1 64GB6440.1$19.99
PNY Elite Performance U3 128GB12840.1$39.99
Panasonic Gold 95/90 64GB6440.1
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GB6440.1$29.95
Kingston U3 (90/80) microSD 64GB6440.0$64.66
Transcend 600x 64GB6440.0$31.98
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GB6440.0$59.40
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GB6439.9$36.38
PNY Pro Elite 64GB6439.9
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 32GB3239.9
Samsung PRO Plus 32GB3239.8
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GB6439.8$34.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 64GB6439.8$59.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 128GB12839.7$59.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 32GB3239.6$19.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 32GB3239.6$41.00
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 32GB3239.6
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 32GB3239.6$17.84
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s microSD 32GB3239.5
Delkin Elite 633x 32GB3239.5$19.99
Transcend Ultimate 633x microSD 64GB6439.3$125.99
Delkin Black 32GB3239.3
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GB3239.3$69.95
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GB3239.2$15.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 32GB3239.2$21.19
Transcend 633x microSDHC 32GB3238.9$33.91
Samsung PRO 64GB6438.8$69.50
Delkin 1900x UHS-II 32GB3238.7
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 128GB12838.6$104.31
Sony 94MB/s 32GB3238.6$26.29
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GB3238.5$31.58
Kingston U3 (90/80) microSD 32GB3238.5$187.76
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 64GB6438.3$17.98
Samsung PRO 32GB3238.3$69.00
Kingston Ultimate 32GB3238.0
PNY Turbo Performance U3 microSD 32GB3237.8$17.99
Panasonic Gold Series 32GB3237.0
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GB3235.6
Lexar Professional 633x U3 32GB3234.1$39.99
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GB6431.9$24.99
Patriot EP Pro 128GB12831.7$58.57
Transcend 600x 32GB3230.2$17.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 32GB3229.8
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 32GB3228.0$8.76
Samsung EVO microSD 32GB3221.6$31.70
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 128GB12819.8$19.69
Samsung EVO 64GB6418.9$49.00
Samsung EVO 32GB3218.0$44.00
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 32GB Card 23217.6$8.76
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 64GB6413.7$9.98
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 32GB Card 23213.5$8.49
Toshiba NFC 16GB1613.1
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 32GB3212.9$8.50
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 64GB6412.5$13.00

Olympus PEN-F Continuous Shooting

The continuous shooting results show how many images are taken during a 30 second shooting interval. The following image modes are used: RAW+JPEG, RAW, and JPEG. JPEG are large, super fine quality. The PEN-F is set to continuous high release mode 10fps (mechanical shutter). The detailed subject in this test produces 18.1 MB RAW files and 13.8MB JPEG files.

+ Show more prices
Memory CardSize
Continuous Shooting – Images in 30 SecondsLowest
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GB32106169199
Lexar Professional 1800x microSD UHS-II 32GB32105169199$29.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GB32104164200$69.00
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 64GB64103170201$125.50
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GB32103169200$86.50
Transcend Ultimate UHS-II U3 32GB3294137170
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 128GB12894136179$54.95
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 64GB6493145175$47.40
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GB3293144160$44.99
Transcend Ultimate UHS-II U3 64GB6493140162
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GB326494112
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 128GB1286393114$16.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 128GB1286393113$99.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 128GB1286393113$42.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 95/90 MB/s microSD 64GB646393113$47.99
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 256GB2566393113$159.84
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDXC 64GB646392113$14.29
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB646392113$59.99
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 64GB646292113
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 64GB646292112$36.90
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDHC 32GB326292112$15.23
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 64GB646292112
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GB326292111$18.08
Panasonic Gold 95/90 64GB646291112
PNY Elite Performance U1 64GB646291112$19.99
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 32GB326291112
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GB646291112$59.40
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GB646291112$49.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 64GB646291112$29.99
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 32GB326291111$17.84
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GB646291111$34.99
PNY Elite Performance U3 128GB1286291108$39.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 64GB646291105$38.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 64GB646290112$59.99
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 32GB326290110$21.19
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 32GB326290110$41.00
Delkin Elite 633x 32GB326290108$19.99
Delkin Black 32GB326290107
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s microSD 32GB326290105
Kingston U3 (90/80) microSD 32GB326289111$187.76
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 128GB1286287112$104.31
Samsung PRO Plus 64GB646192112$118.00
Transcend 600x 64GB646191112$31.98
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GB646191110$36.38
Kingston U3 (90/80) microSD 64GB646191110$64.66
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 32GB326190112
Transcend Ultimate 633x microSD 64GB646190112$125.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 128GB1286190112$59.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 32GB326190111$19.99
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GB326190111$69.95
Transcend 633x microSDHC 32GB326189110$33.91
SanDisk Extreme 90MB/s U3 64GB646187113$17.98
SanDisk Extreme Plus 95/90 MB/s microSD 32GB326091113$13.99
PNY Pro Elite 64GB646091111
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GB326090111$15.99
Samsung PRO 64GB646089110$69.50
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GB326089109$31.58
Sony 94MB/s 32GB326088110$26.29
Samsung PRO 32GB326088110$69.00
Kingston Ultimate 32GB326088107
PNY Turbo Performance U3 microSD 32GB326087109$17.99
Panasonic Gold Series 32GB326086107
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GB645991112$29.95
Samsung PRO Plus 32GB325990111
Delkin 1900x UHS-II 32GB32598897
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GB325685105
Lexar Professional 633x U3 32GB325681103$39.99
Patriot EP Pro 128GB128557897$58.57
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GB64537896$24.99
Transcend 600x 32GB32537590$17.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 32GB32527589
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 32GB32507289$8.76
Samsung EVO 32GB32425671$44.00
Samsung EVO microSD 32GB32416173$31.70
Samsung EVO 64GB64405769$49.00
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 64GB64394961$9.98
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 64GB64394662$13.00
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s microSD 32GB32384752$8.50
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 128GB128375969$19.69
Toshiba NFC 16GB16374856
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 32GB Card 232344867$8.49
SanDisk Ultra 80MB/s 32GB Card 232315567$8.76

Performance Analysis

The PEN-F is able to take advantage of the UHS-II interface to provide the fastest write speeds. Similar to the E-M5 II, only UHS-II cards are able to provide fast write speeds. In the PEN-F, UHS-I cards topped out around 42MB/s. This is because the camera does not use SDR104 (104MB/s bus speed) when using UHS-I cards. Only UHS-II allow the faster write speeds, and even then it does not take full advantage of the full write speed potential of the cards. UHS-II write speeds measured up to 91.6 MB/s in these tests.

In continuous shooting in RAW+JPEG, the PEN-F was able to capture up to 28 shots at full frame rate. UHS-I cards were slighly lower at 26 to 27 shots. After the buffer reached capacity, the frame rate dropped to around 2.9 fps with the fastest UHS-II cards, and 1.3 fps or slower with UHS-I cards (0.4 fps with the slowest card).

In RAW mode, the PEN-F reached up to 43 shots with the fastest UHS-II cards before the frame rate dropped. Using UHS-I cards resulted in 28-32 shots before the frame rate dropped. This is an improvement over the E-M5 II that only captured up to 23 shots using UHS-II cards and 16 with UHS-I cards, showing the PEN-F has a much larger buffer (the image size is larger in the PEN-F as well). Similar to the E-M5 II, the PEN-F was able to sustain 5 fps shooting for the remainder of the continuous shooting test when using the fastest UHS-II cards. Fast UHS-I cards could only sustain about 2.3 fps for the duration (with the buffer full). The slowest SD card could only manage 0.7 fps with the buffer full.

When shooting JPEG, the PEN-F could reach up to 59 shots at full frame rate with the fastest UHS-II card. UHS-I cards reached only up to 40 shots at full frame rate at best and 32 shots with the slowest SD card. The fastest UHS-II card allowed up to 6 fps with the buffer full, while the slowest SD card dropped down to below 0.8 fps. It should be emphasized that these numbers depend on camera settings and the image subject. Less detailed subjects allow more image compression and create smaller JPEG file sizes that clear the buffer faster and allow a higher frame rate after the buffer reaches capacity.

Recommended SD Cards for the Olympus PEN-F

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 fastest SD cards for the PEN-F are UHS-II cards. These cards easily outperform all UHS-I cards in the camera with improved write speed. However, only those needing the absolute fastest and longest continuous shooting will benefit from buying the fastest cards. The PEN-F has a generous buffer size and when shooting below the buffer limit there is little difference between cards. Another consideration is read speed. UHS-II cards have the advantage when used in UHS-II card readers by providing much faster downloads to your computer.

The highest write speed in the PEN-F was reached with the Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 64GB card that recorded up to 91.6 MB/s continuous average write speed. The Toshiba Exceria Pro and SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II cards also had very high write performance in the PEN-F. The Transcend Ultimate UHS-II cards provided inconsistent speed, sometimes nearly as fast as the top UHS-II card and sometimes like slower cards; the speed shown is an average over multiple tests.

The best value SD cards for the PEN-F are the Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II cards. These cards performed significantly better than fast UHS-I cards in the PEN-F at a price lower than the faster UHS-II cards. The Lexar 1000x cards supports up to 150MB/s read speed when used in a UHS-II card reader, compared with the 250MB/s and higher of the expensive cards.

Many of the UHS-I cards are capped in performance in the PEN-F due to the camera's limited write speed in UHS-I mode. The fastest UHS-I cards like the SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I 64GB SDXC Card perform nearly the same as less expensive PNY Elite Performance, Transcend 95/60 MB/s and Toshiba Exceria cards in the camera.

Olympus PEN-F camera with door open and USB cable transfer

Transferring images from the PEN-F: USB cable vs separate card readers

The Olympus USB cable can be connected the PEN-F to download pictures directly from the camera, however the connection only supports USB 2.0. When transferring a 6GB batch of 330 pictures from the camera, MTP transfer mode provided about 28 MB/s and Storage Mode provided about 15 MB/s. A separate USB 3.0 card reader can provide much faster downloads, and reach over 200 MB/s using UHS-II cards. The Card Reader Review speed tests measuring SD cards in several card readers. Note that actual transfer speeds using smaller, separate files will be slightly lower than speed benchmarks using sequential transfers of large files.