Articles: Memory

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Olympus E-1

This is the only camera today that complies with the open standard “Four Thirds” proposed by Olympus, Kodak and others. This is the first camera of that class in Olympus’ series – until now this manufacturer didn’t produce digital reflex models with interchangeable lenses. Although developed from scratch, the camera is reported to be a success. Its resolution of 5 megapixel and a 18x13.5mm sensor are enough for getting high-quality images, and the Zuiko Digital series has lenses for any even in your life and is being constantly expanded.

This camera is equipped with a 128MB buffer that stores up to 12 frames and allows for a serial shooting up to 12 frames at a speed of three frames per second. Although this is rather an average speed, the camera can be considered as a universal product that can be used for reportage (sport) shooting, too.

My tests proved that this camera writes the image to the memory card very quickly. The Olympus E-1 reveals all the advantages of fast cards compared to slow ones. Just take a look at the following diagram:

The RAW+JPEG writing mode – when two files are written to the memory card (an original image and a compressed version) – is the most convenient and universal mode for a number of applications and it loads the “camera – memory card” interface very hard. The total size of a series of 12 frames was about 160MB. It is here that the controller and chips of a fast flash card can show their best. There’s a triple difference between the best (48s) and worst (143s) runners in this test! That’s a nice bonus, really.

However, this speed gap is somewhat diminished at ordinary photographing, which doesn’t require a high fps rate. That’s because of the frame buffer – the camera is nearly always ready to take a shot, quickly throwing the contents of the buffer out to the flash card when preparing for the next shot. Thus, you don’t feel any difference in the camera’s responsiveness using a fast or a slow memory card.

So, again, fast media only make sense if you often use serial shooting. If you need to make many frames in a short time interval, you should definitely invest into a fast flash card. As for everyday shooting, there’s practically no difference between memory cards – the camera’s large frame buffer negates any.

Note also that the tested cards occupied slightly different positions in the results table for this test than in the test with the Canon EOS 10D. It means that every digital camera may have its own “favorites” among flash cards, which are not the same for all cameras.

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