The Olympus TG-5 doesn’t come with a memory card as standard. Some retailers sometimes put together bundles that might include one, but chances are you’ll have to pick up a memory card separately. So what’s the best SD card for the Olympus TG-5?
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.
If you want to make sure you get an SD card that can take full advantage of all the Olympus TG-5’s features, the most important criterion to be looking for is a card that’s fast enough.
Specifically, you want one with a sequential write speed that’s fast enough to handle the TG-5’s high-bitrate video recording mode (Super Fine) and its high-speed burst photo modes. If the card isn’t fast enough to keep up with those, you can end up with recordings that stop prematurely, missed photos, and maybe even camera lockups or other errors. So it’s worth getting the right card from the get-go.
Top Picks for the Olympus TG-5
If you just want some quick recommendations, here you go:
- SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I SD Card
- Lexar Professional 1066x Silver V30 UHS-I SD Card
- Kingston Canvas Go Plus V30 UHS-I SD Card
So which SD card should you get for your TG-5? If you go looking for the answer in the manual, you’ll come up pretty empty-handed. On page 5, you’ll find this:
Cards compatible with this camera: SD/SDHC/SDXC/Eye-Fi (with Wireless LAN function) card (commercially available) (for compatibility card details, visit the Olympus website.)
OK, then… If you go to the website, you’ll find a compatibility table that includes some SanDisk and Toshiba cards, but it hasn’t been updated since mid-2017 and doesn’t take into consideration the newer models that are actually available today.
So what I’m aiming to do here is provide some practical recommendations on which SD cards to get for the TG-5 so you can spend less time searching online and more time out shooting. I’m not trying to list every SD card that works in the TG-5—there are others that will work just fine as well. I’m focusing here on ones that offer a good combination of meeting the requirements of all of the TG-5’s features, are readily available at major retailers, are cost-effective, and come from major manufacturers with track records for good-quality cards. And in putting these recommendations together, I’m combining Olympus’s guidance (such as it is), my testing of a large number of SD cards, and my own shooting with my TG-5.
The good news is that SD cards that work well in the TG-5 are readily available and relatively inexpensive. The two functions on the TG-5 that are most demanding of the memory card are the burst photo modes and high-bitrate video recording. And while the TG-5’s Super Fine video mode produces videos with a bitrate of up to 102 Mb/s, which is quite high, it’s nowhere near as demanding as some other cameras like the Panasonic GH5 or Fujifilm X-T3 that shoot up to 400 Mb/s and require the very fastest SD cards available.
So here are some more specific recommendations:
SanDisk Extreme V30 UHS-I
SanDisk's Extreme range are good bets for many cameras, and that's true here too. SanDisk has faster ranges like the Plus and Pro lines, but the Extreme line is both quick enough for most cameras and usually less expensive than those faster lines.
One thing to note with SanDisk cards is that they recycle their model names. So you can find Extreme cards that are older and slower. You'll probably find those older versions work just fine--it really depends how far back you go--but you can tell the latest version because it's labeled with both U3 and V30, both of which are speed ratings specifically related to recording video. These cards are often good value, and you can sometimes find them sold in 2-packs.
Lexar Professional 1066x Silver V30 UHS-I
This card from Lexar, one of the leading makers of memory cards, is a fast, reliable option. It's rated for video recording speed rating of V30. It comes in sizes up to 512GB.
Buy at: Amazon
Kingston Canvas Go Plus V30 UHS-I
- Type: SDXC
- Video Speed Class: V30
- UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-I
- Storage Capacities: 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Kingston is another brand that isn't as well known as some of the others, but they've been making reliable memory cards for a very long time. As a brand, they don't tend to focus on the cutting edge speeds but rather on reliable and good-value memory cards.
This particular card (model SDG3 Canvas Go Plus) isn't the fastest in Kingston's range, but it's fast enough to work well in this camera. It's available in sizes from 16GB through 512GB.
Buy at: Amazon
PNY Elite-X V30 UHS-I
- Class 10 U3 V30 speed rating with read speeds up to 100MB/s
- Class 10 U3 V30 rating delivers speed and performance for burst mode HD photography and 4K Ultra HD...
PNY aren't as well known as some of the other brands, but they've been around for quite some time and make reliable, cost-effective memory cards. It comes in sizes from 64GB up to 512GB.
Buy at Amazon
Delkin Devices Advantage V30 UHS-I
- Type: SDXC / SDHC
- Video Speed Class: V30
- UHS Bus Interface Type: UHS-I
- Storage Capacities: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Delkin Devices have recently come out with a range of new SD cards of varying speeds and specs. This is one of their mid-range cards that is rated for V30 video recording speeds.
What Size SD Card to Use in the Olympus TG-5
The TG-5 is compatible with SDHC and SDXC cards. That means you can use cards from 4GB all the way to the largest cards currently available, which are 256GB or even 512GB cards. The current sweet spot for a combination of convenience, being readily available, and being cost-effective is probably around the 64GB to 128GB cards. But you can use larger or smaller ones if you prefer—it’s mostly a matter of convenience of how much video footage or photo data you can store on the card before it fills up, and you have to download to a computer or some other device.
How to Format Memory Cards in the Olympus TG-5
This is something I’ve covered in detail separately here. The TG-5 has both an “All Erase” and a “Format” function. If you’re completely wiping a memory card for use, you want the “Format” option. The “All Erase” function deletes everything except for photos and video clips that you’ve tagged as protected.
How to Format SD Cards with a Computer
It’s always best practice to format memory cards in the camera you’re planning to use them in, but if that’s not practical or not what you want to do, it is possible to format them with a computer. But 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.
RELATED: If you’re shooting with the newer TG-6, I have another post on Olympus TG-6 SD card recommendations.
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