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Old Nov 30, 2002, 1:25 PM   #1
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Default WHat is so special about "Olympus brand smart media&quo

This was in the reviews section for the D550.

"Up to 10 frames stitchable automatically with CAMEDIA Master software when using Olympus brand SmartMediaTM"

What is so special about Olympus's smart media ?
I think this is marketing bullshit, and will work with any smartmedia card. Are there any D550 owners out there who wouldn't mind adding some comments ?

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Old Nov 30, 2002, 2:10 PM   #2
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First of all, please don't swear in public forums...there could be kids reading this. As well, some may ignore your message.

Anyway, this is a fact of life for all Oly cameras...it won't go into panoramic or multi-metering modes unless you have an Oly card in it...the formatting that was done to the Oly card has some extra coding to recognise that it's an Oly card and enables those features on the camera.

Now whether it's a marketing scheme forcing people to buy Oly cards, or if this special formmatting is actually needed to perform these operations has yet to be answered.

There is a hack to enable these features on other cards but you need a card reader to do it.

But there's nothing stopping you from using panoramic software to join pictures together...it's just the panoramic feature locks the focus and exposure settings, and puts guidelines on the LCD viewfinder to aid in creating pans.
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Old Nov 30, 2002, 5:27 PM   #3
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BTW, it is not just Olympus cameras. I have an Olympus digital voice recorder that also has features that only work with Olympus SmartMedia cards.
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Old Nov 30, 2002, 7:26 PM   #4
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It is a strange approach from Olympus, that's for sure.

As they say in the imaging-resource.com review of the C-730, it's hard to believe that the extra memory cards sold cover the cost of lost camera sales due to such a restricive feature. They also point out that most users can get by with just reserving the card included with the camera for pano's anyway, and using other cards for 'normal' photos.

As far as I understand from reviews, as I don't own an Oly myself, the advantage of using the in-built pano system over 3rd party imaging software is that it helps you line up the next shot on your screen using the last picture taken.
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Old Nov 30, 2002, 9:39 PM   #5
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Jeez, I just bought an E20 and I didn't even know about the proprietary restrictions on SM cards. I don't know what features (if any) don't work with non-Oly cards. I've got four Oly cards that I bought with the camera (bought it used) but I was going to buy some more, non-Oly cards. Does anybody know what features I could not use on the E20 with non-Oly cards? I'll go study the literature and see what I can find. Stay tuned...
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Old Dec 1, 2002, 4:47 AM   #6
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Only Pano is affected.

There is no mechanical difference between an Oly card and any other: the difference is just a few bytes in the file system header.

As has been mentioned, with a suitable card reader - like a Zio - non-Oly cards can be "fixed" by reformatting them with the required header. A suitable reader generally costs less than the price difference between an Oly card and a generic one. Careful! Not all cards are capable of using the published hack.

For what it's worth, I find the Oly pano function useful for lining up pano sequences, but the stitching software in Camedia Master is pretty crude: Panorama Factory is cheap, quick and elegant and a free trial is available. For real pano nuts, Panotools is probably the software of choice, but it's not for the faint-hearted.

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Old Dec 1, 2002, 1:37 PM   #7
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Ok, thanks. I don't do pano...at least I haven't so far...so it's not a matter of immediate concern, I guess. Plus, I have some Oly cards I can use if I really want to do that.
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