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I have an E500 with some 1 GB XD cards. It also takes CompactFlash. I can't find any information about what the max limit on card size is.

I have checked the manual: https://cs.olympus-imaging.jp/en/support/imsg/digicamera/download/manual/esystem/man_e500_en.pdf

I also looked through the entire review here: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/olympuse500

That review does mention using a 4GB card at one point, but nothing says that this is a maximum.

Now, on an Olympus website it says the following:

What size CompactFlash cards can the EVOLT E-500 accept, and does it support the benefits of Write Acceleration cards?

The EVOLT E-500 accepts CompactFlash cards up to 8 GB in capacity and supports Write Acceleration CompactFlash cards. When the camera polls the card at power up, if it detects Write Acceleration technology, it enables its own Write Acceleration firmware.

This initially sounded authoritative... but web searches turn up claims of people using much larger cards, maybe even up to 128 GB (!?)

  • I have used a 16gb card in mine, no problems

  • Any Cf over 8 gig will work however the camere will not recognize the extra storage room. In other words with a 128gig card you will only get the same numbers of photos as you would get with an 8 gig cf

  • With a 16 gig card the camera will only estimate space for the same number of photos on the card.. it will however continue to save shots even after the counter nears zero.

Is there any way to determine this with good confidence? I realize it is an older camera and it sounds like it wasn't designed for modern card sizes (no surprise) but nonetheless they may work.

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2 Answers 2

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In addition to actual hardware (and there are counterfeit cards that are smaller that what the label says), the real limit is how the card id formatted. There are three ways to format cards:

+---------+---------------+--------------+----------+ 
|  Name   | SD Card type  | Max capacity | Max file |
+---------+---------------+--------------+----------+ 
| FAT16   |       SD      | 4GB          | 2GB(1)   |
+---------+---------------+--------------+----------+ 
| FAT32   |      SDHC     | 32GB(2)      | 4GB      |
+---------+---------------+--------------+----------+ 
| exFAT   |      SDXC     | 16EB(3)      | 64ZB(3)  |
+---------+---------------+--------------+----------+ 

(1) 4GB possible but not always supported
(2) 256GB in theory but Windows only supports 32GB
(3) Much bigger than any foreseeable hardware capacity 

Format a card with your camera and determine its filesystem type, this will give you a first idea. Since the E500 appeared in 2005, it predates the exFAT at best it supports FAT32.

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The maximum size a card generation supports tends to be a good guess. However, using significantly larger card sizes than available (and documented) at time of a camera release may lead to its own problems.

A Sony DSC-R1 I have will accept 32GB for MS-PRO media (provided via micro-SDHC in a stack of adapters) but not more. It will support 128GB SDXC cards (largest I tried) in a CF adapter if it formats them itself (ending up as FAT rather than exFAT).

However, when switching the camera on after changing cards, the camera will stay busy with "Access" displayed for excessive amounts of time (10s or so for the MS-PRO case, probably a minute for the large CF).

A Panasonic DMC-FZ50 will accept SDHC cards up to their maximum size of 32GB (and will refuse working with larger SDXC no matter the filesystem). However, deleting a photograph takes about 10s each (including batch deletions).

So there may both be a hard limit of what is supported, and a hit in performance as you go to sizes larger than what was available at the release time of cards.

There are adapters from micro-SD to xD card. They should provide a comparatively cheap way of checking out the maximum size working in this slot. There are also adapters from SD to CF.

Given the current pricing of (micro-)SD cards, I don't think there is much of a point in trying to get "proper" media without adapters.

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