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Old May 5, 2008, 9:56 PM   #1
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Hi gang: I've just made a puzzling discovery. I have Oly cameras that have both Compact Flash and xD card slots. I always use the CF, and only use the xD cards for overflow and backup.I also have severalOlys that only use the xD card. I use card readers or the camera to download to my computers, and the CF is always so much faster to download than the xD.

However, my current laptop is a Toshiba running Vista Premium. It has a card reader slot built into the front for both SD and xD cards that I had not used until tonight. I had a xD card with a few new shotsto download, and decided to try out the laptop's built-in Toshiba reader.Now this xD card has about 300 shots, and I sat back and prepared for a long wait for the images to load into the viewer. What a surprise when they loaded right away!!!

The computer read and loaded the images as fast as my high speed Compact Flash. Somebody explain this to me. The xD is much slower than the CF when using the camera or a card reader. We all know that it's reputation is slow, so how does inserting the card directly into the laptop make it somuch faster?? It became as fast or faster than high speedCF being read by the camera or an external card reader.

I'm confused. :??
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Old May 6, 2008, 4:35 PM   #2
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Hi Steven,

I wish I understood the correlation between XD cards and download times in a lap topvs CF card and download times directly to a laptop. Unfortunately I don't.

I'm wondering if your question wouldn't be better posted in the forum dealing with card readers, micro drives, and memory cards


It certainlywould be seen by a lot more users and you may get a quicker response.

Just a thought.



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Old May 7, 2008, 7:42 PM   #3
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You're probably just seeing a difference in card readers (with the external readers being limited by the speed of the USB interface or your specific reader). Or, your "High Speed" CompactFlash card may not be as fast as you think, as there can be a huge difference between cards.

Some of the newer 266x and 300x UDMA CompactFlash cards are capable of around 40MB/Second now (given a UDMA reader that's fast enough to support them), and tend to test around 6 times as fast for read speeds compared to the fastest xD Picture Cards from most tests I've seen (with writes speeds of around 10 times as fast in some cases).

But, you may have an older CompactFlash card that's much slower. You can find some speed tests here:


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Old May 21, 2008, 12:18 AM   #4
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Just curious if anyone knows the details as to why the panorama mode is only unlocked when inserting an Olypus XD card on the E510.

My buddy also reports the unlocking of options by using one in his girlfriend's new P&S.

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Old May 21, 2008, 9:20 AM   #5
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Olympus started that practice with Smartmedia some years back.

There are some "hacks" around the net to modify the header on non-Olympus Smartmedia cards cards to allow Panorama mode. Basically, it's just a code they put on the card to keep other brands from working with that mode (nothing to do with electronic differences, just a way for them to force users to buy their brand if the want that mode). IOW, it's a technique designed for vendor lockin.

Here's a page with more information on the Smartmedia hack.


I don't recall seeing anyone with a hack for Xd Picturecard (although they may have some hacks around somewhere that I'm not familiar with. Some of our Olympus shooters may know more.

But, you really don't need that mode to take Panoramas anyway. There are a number of ways to approach it, with lots of good software for stitching photos together (and some of them are even free). The hardest part is going to be the photography technique involved (shooting in a way that minimizes distortion, keeping exposure and white balance locked between frames, making sure you've got enough overlap between frames for the stitching software to work well.

We have a forum dedicated to this type of shooting. See our Panorama / Stitching Forum

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