How to Format Memory Cards on the Olympus OM-1

Whether you need to free up space on your SD cards or prepare a new card, here’s how to format SD cards on the Olympus OM-1 mirrorless camera.

Olympus OM-1 SD Cards
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It’s always best practice to format memory cards in the camera that you’ll be using them in. That sets the card up with the filesystem, folder hierarchy, and, in some cameras, a database file, so that the card is just how the camera expects. And it greatly reduces the risk of unexpected errors and unpleasant surprises.

Olympus is now OM System

In 2020-21, the photography business of iconic camera brand Olympus was spun off and sold. The core remaining Olympus brand is focusing on medical and scientific products. The camera and photography side was then rebranded as OM System, with the first cameras and lenses under that brand coming out at the end of 2021.

On the Olympus OM-1, you can find the memory card format function under:

Menu > Wrench/Spanner Icon > 1. Card/Folder/File > Card Formatting

If you have two SD cards in, you’ll get a screen to select which card to format.

You’ll then run into the first of two confirmation screens (they seem to want to make extra sure that you’re not going to delete something unknowingly.

And just in case you weren’t sure there, it becomes even more explicit.

And, finally, once you select that, you’ll get the progress bar as the format process performs.

Things Worth Knowing

The format function on the OM-1 is only a high-level format, which means it’s only wiping the file allocation table and referencing data, not the actual data itself. That makes it easier to recover photos and videos from the SD card if you need to, but it also means that the data is still there.

Much of the time, that’s all you need. But if you’re shooting sensitive material, you might want to take the SD card/s out of the camera and submit them to low-level formatting on your computer to fully wipe the data.

SD Cards for the Olympus OM-1

I’ve put together a much more detailed post on recommendations for SD cards for the Olympus for the OM-1 separately. But here’s the short version.

The OM-1 has two SD card slots. It’s not required to fill both slots—the camera will work just fine with only one memory card—but there are advantages to doing so.

You can use SDHC or SDXC. As a practical matter, SDXC cards are probably the more logical choice simply because that designation applies to SD cards with storage capacities of 64GB and up.

Both SD card slots in the OM-1 are UHS-II slots. So to take full advantage of the camera’s capabilities, it makes sense to use UHS-II SD cards in this camera.

  1. SanDisk Extreme Pro
  2. Lexar Professional 1667x Silver V60 UHS-II
  3. Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II
  4. Kingston Canvas React Plus
  5. Sony TOUGH-G
SanDisk Extreme PRO V90 UHS-II
  • Tap into pro performance designed for professional and advanced photographers and videographers.
  • Super-fast write speeds of up to 260MB/s help rapidly clear buffer time to support continuous burst mode...
Lexar Professional 1667x Silver V60 UHS-II
  • Get high-speed performance with UHS-II technology (U3) for a read transfer speed up to 250MB/s (1667x)
  • Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080P full-HD, 3D, and 4K video with a DSLR...
Delkin Devices Power V90 UHS-II
  • Uninterrupted 8K, 4K, 3D, HDR, 360º & high-speed recording
  • Specialized for Simultaneous Recording
Kingston Canvas React Plus V90 UHS-II
  • Ultimate speeds to support professional camera use — Transfer speeds up to 300MB/s and recording speeds...
  • UHS-II standard for reliable high-resolution photography and video recording — Capture 4K and 8K...
  • Tough specs: world's first one-piece molded construction with high hardness materials have resulted in...
  • Ribless, no write protection switch design: world's first ribless, no write protection switch design6...

How to Format SD Cards with a Computer

Having said that, it is still possible to format memory cards using a card reader and computer. You get a lot more flexibility that way, but also some extra risk if things aren’t set up just how the camera wants them. It’s also sometimes a good troubleshooting step if you’re having issues with a memory card.

There are some things to watch out for, particularly when it comes to choosing which filesystem to use. So I’ve put together guides on how to format SD cards on Mac and how to use the free SD Card Formatter app for Windows or Mac.

Olympus OM-1 Accessories

These are the model numbers for the official accessories for the Olympus OM-1.

  • Battery: BLX-1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery
  • External Charger: BCX-1 (or SBCX-1, which includes a spare battery)
  • USB-AC Adapter: F-7AC AC wall adapter
  • Grip/Extended Battery Holder: HLD-10 grip
  • Remote: RM-WR1 wireless remote control
  • Eyecup: EP-18
  • Flash:
    • FL-LM3 electronic flash (the smallest of the flash units)
    • FL-900R electronic flash unit
    • FL-700WR electronic flash unit
    • STF-8 macro flash
    • FC-WR wireless commander
    • FR-WR wireless receiver


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David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »

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