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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> 1GB Olympus cratering on anyone else?
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06/07/2006 10:34:59 PM · #1
Anyone else having problems with Olympus 1GB XD cards? I just bought one for my Stylus 500 and got a CARD ERROR on it after about 35 shots. Strangely enough a coworker just got back from vacation where she used her Olympus with a 1GB card and it is having problems.

Here's some details on what's happening. Coworker took some shots on a trip to San Francisco, came home and used XP to MOVE them off the card. Went to Vegas and took some photos, used XP to COPY them from the card but left them on the card itself. She then went on vacation and when she got back the computer said the disk was empty, no shots at all. Knowing I was a gadget junkie she brought the card to me to try in my card reader. Same thing no photos. Luckily I had a copy of Image Rescure on my home machine and it was able to pull ALL her photos (all 3 sets) from the card. Image Rescue also has some diagnostics and they say there is nothing wrong with the card so I gave it back and said reformat in the camera to make sure it knows how to play well with your camera. Not having any trips or vacations planned she will do this sometime in the future.

I've now encountered something similar with my 1GB XD card as I took some shots of a friends new apartment and then a few days later I took some shots for the company for a report we do weekly. I pulled the work shots using XP by cutting them and pasting them in the same manner I've been doing for a year on my older 512MB XD card. Later that evening I tried to pull the shots of my friends apartment on my home computer and when I installed the card in the reader I got a "Disk is empty do you wish to format?" kind of message. Knowing I had shots on the card I again used Image Rescue to pull them. Unfortunately, Image Rescure did not know how to deal with the MOV file so I got most of my shots but not all of them. After putting the card back in the camera I formatted the card to make sure the camera was happy with the card and the camera reported a clean format.

Thinking back on the problems my coworker was having and the similar problem I had just encountered I tried an experiment. I took 4 shots, pulled the card, cut and pasted 2 of them to the computer and put the card back in the camera. Camera automatically drops into CARD SETUP and wants to power down or format card. I choose format card and get a CARD ERROR. Putting the card back in the card reader the computer says a disk scan shows everything is OK. A format of the card using FAT rather than the computers FAT32 to make sure the camera can still read the card works flawlessly. I have slightely over 1 billion bytes of storage on the card but upon inserting the card back in the camera I get the same thing, drops into CARD SETUP and generates a CARD ERROR when I try to format.

I did the same experiment with the 32MB card that came with the camera and a 512MB card. Neither of them encountered any problems, its just the 1GB cards that appear to have an issue.

Anybody bumped into this before? Anyone have a resolution? Anyone heard anything about 1GB XD card issues with cards from Olympus?

Any assistance would be appreciated.
06/07/2006 10:43:41 PM · #2
Firmware up to date on camera?
06/07/2006 10:43:59 PM · #3
I just got one as well, with the same problem. Problem is I bought it off of ebay. My camera takes 2 cards at once, so I have a 1GB XD and a 1GB CF. Is it the M series? I've only encountered the problem once, but I had only taken 3 shots. The 2nd shot is the one it said it had an error on. I've also reformatted in camera and it seems to have cured the problem. I've been leary of using it since then though because I'm worried it will happen again. Let me know if you find anything out.
06/07/2006 10:53:39 PM · #4
Faidoi, Stylus 500 is "archived" already by Olympus so as there's no firmware available for it there probably never will be. Man, they sure cycle the models fast. . .

kdsprog, my card is the H 1GB while my coworker's is the M 1GB. Kind of sucks doesn't it to have a large card and not be able to trust it AND you don't know if there's a problem until AFTER you get home.

06/07/2006 10:59:26 PM · #5
I think the problem may be the card size. I know from getting a card for my sister in law for her fuji 3800 that it specifically said it would only take up to a 512mb XD card. The S9000 takes 1gb xd. The archived specs on the Olympus site for your camera show it only going up to 512mb: Olympus Stylus 500 Digital
06/07/2006 11:01:08 PM · #6
Originally posted by Seeker:

Faidoi, Stylus 500 is "archived" already by Olympus so as there's no firmware available for it there probably never will be. Man, they sure cycle the models fast. . .


That could be the reason. The camera may have came out before the 1gb Xd cards were made available so it wasn't program to use it.

Pentax added firmware upgrade to handle larger then 1gb cards as they became awailable.

My old Sony could only handle cards up to 128mb :(
06/08/2006 01:04:17 AM · #7
banmorn, I thought about that prior to purchasing the XD so I checked the compatibility chart on the Olympus site prior to purchase. According to //www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_xdcompatibility.asp?xdseries=stylus
the 500 is compatible with the 1GB cards.

I've just gotten home and have been running the Image Rescue software against the card and it shows to be bad. It checks out OK up to about 29MB and then nothing but read errors for the rest of the card.

Sigh. . . now where did I leave the receipt for this thing?

Message edited by author 2006-06-08 01:05:00.
06/08/2006 04:11:50 PM · #8
Ok, so here's an update. Took the card back to where I purchased it and got a replacement. Took the new card and inserted it in the camera and took 4 photos, moved card to card reader and pulled two photos from the card using cut from card and paste into directory on hard drive. Put card back into camera and camera drops into CARD SETUP and I have to reformat card. After format I take 3 shots and COPY (no removal of the image) one of photos off the card. Inserting the card back into the camera it drops into CARD setup and I have to reformat. Anybody else interested in trying to duplicate this problem? Olympus is blaming the card reader but the problem does not occur with the Olympus 32MB and 512MB cards I have and they're not interested in helping.
06/08/2006 04:38:44 PM · #9
Originally posted by Seeker:

Ok, so here's an update. Took the card back to where I purchased it and got a replacement. Took the new card and inserted it in the camera and took 4 photos, moved card to card reader and pulled two photos from the card using cut from card and paste into directory on hard drive. Put card back into camera and camera drops into CARD SETUP and I have to reformat card. After format I take 3 shots and COPY (no removal of the image) one of photos off the card. Inserting the card back into the camera it drops into CARD setup and I have to reformat. Anybody else interested in trying to duplicate this problem? Olympus is blaming the card reader but the problem does not occur with the Olympus 32MB and 512MB cards I have and they're not interested in helping.

I'd suggest that you take the second card and your camera back to the store and try a third one while there, if possible. Maybe they will be interested in helping. Your other option is to get more agressive with Olympus. Try going up the chain of command until you get to someone who will do something for you. It's an Oly card that is supposed to work in an Oly camera so they ought to be able to solve the problem, or else refund you some bread. If it's absolutely not compatible maybe they will give you two 512's in exchange for the 1 gb. That's the least they can do.
06/08/2006 07:35:22 PM · #10
Are you able to connect the camera to the PC with a USB cable and do the same test? That would stop Olympus blaming the card reader.

Dunno about your camera specifically but most appear to windows as a drive once plugged in by USB.
06/08/2006 07:40:41 PM · #11
This isn't the first complaint I've had with 1GB XD cards.

I've have 4 customers lose everything on their cards with the Card Error message. I'm not sure what's going on, but it's made me disinclined to ever reccomend Olympus or Fuji cameras.

So far, no love from our Fuji reps on possible reasons for the issue either. :/
06/08/2006 07:53:41 PM · #12
I haven't encountered any problems with my H 1gb xD card... but 90% of the time, I'm connecting the camera to the computer using the USB cord. That was a good suggestion that Leok had-- have you tried that yet? Oh, I'm also on a Mac, using iPhoto...

Message edited by author 2006-06-08 19:54:58.
06/08/2006 10:40:09 PM · #13
Thanks for the responses and suggestions.

Coolhar, I took the memory back but since I bought it at Frys Electronics getting support is about as likely as me getting a photo of aliens. I suggested the "can you give me 2 512s for the 1 Gig" and got the expected "That was a sale item so we can't do that" response. I also thought about getting an Olympus reader but the units they carried only listed being able to handle up to 256MB XD media and 512 Smart Cards and wanted $49.95 for it. I finally just got my money returned.

Leok, I didn't think about using the camera as a USB reader. I've never liked wearing out the USB jack on a camera for downloads so never bothered to keep up with the camera's USB cable. Good idea though, wish I'd thought of it and tried it while I had the memory.

Blemt, Olympus told me that my complaint was the first time they've ever heard of such a thing (yeah. . . right. . .) Weird thing is I've actually gambled on losing a couple of 512MB cards trying to make it happen on one of them and it works just fine on two completely different computers with different models of card readers. The Olympus tech did mention that they were aware that print kiosks were having trouble reading sometimes but attributed the problem to the kiosks needing firmware upgrades to handle the larger cards. Naturally, I went searching for firmware upgrades on readers but didn't find anything for either one of them.

Annasense, how old is your 810? I can't help but wonder if there's a glitch in the firmware on my 500 that makes it not play well with the 1Gig card. According to Steve's Digicams reviews your 810 was just released while my 500 came out back in the beginning of 2005. I've had mine for about 8-9 months.
06/10/2006 09:56:05 PM · #14
sorry, just checked back. my 810 is about 2 months old.
08/23/2006 12:15:00 PM · #15
I have had two issues with my M 1GB xD card. On my honeymoon, we stored up over 400 pictures before taking my Olympus Stylus 800 and the card to a shop to get them burned to a CD. Most of the pictures seemed to vanish, but luckily we were able to restore them at a professional camera place with their software. They explained to me that the "M" cards need the Olympus card reader, and just any other xD card reader will cause problems. So ever since then, I've been really careful to only use the USB connection to my computer, and the card never leaves the camera (this seems to work). However, just two weeks ago, I took some shots at a friend's wedding and we were in a pinch, so I hesitantly gave my card to someone who doesn't have the Olympus card reader. After he successfully loaded the pictures to his laptop, I put the card back in the camera and the strangest thing happened. I go to turn the camera on, and it is suddenly possessed! The lens only comes half-way out and then goes back in, and after pressing the on/off repeatedly, it finally shuts down. Taking the battery out and taking the card out don't seem to help. Needless to say, I am pretty ticked off with my Olympus purchase right now, the camera is completely unusable. Now... was it the "M" card or is it unbelievably coincidental timing that the camera would break down for the first time at that precise moment? I don't know for sure. Please help me out with this one if anybody knows anything.

Message edited by author 2006-08-23 12:16:19.
08/28/2006 11:31:08 AM · #16
I have been having a very similar problem with my SP 320. I bought an H series 1 GB card. It has worked well in the past. I always use the USB cable to copy the pictures off of the card. I always copy all of the photos off, then reformat the partition on the card (because it is 10x faster than deleting the files individually). My fiance took the camera with her for her bridal shower. She came home disappointing that only 3 of her pictures showed up and the camera said that the memory was full.

I noticed that there were pictures on the camera from the first day I used it so I knew what was happening immediately. The camera had stopped using the card and started writing to it's internal 25 MB. I took the card out, put it back in (it seemed to be seated fine) and then it began using the card. All of our photos are on the card and can be viewed on the camera. However, when I hook the camera up to my computer via USB, the card appears empty.

I use both Linux and Windows XP SP2. The problem is identical on both platforms, so the problem almost has to be with the camera or the card.

The interesting thing is that now if I turn the camera on without the memory card in, it refuses to read the internal 25 MB memory. It gives me the option to format the memory or power down the camera. Hooking the camera up to the computer via USB without the memory card in gives the same problem as with the card; no files show up. I'm calling Olympus now.

edit; Here are the details printed on the back of my 1GB xD card:
MXD1GH3 8xAH77CA 610
KOREA BY SAMSUMG

Message edited by author 2006-08-28 11:39:04.
08/28/2006 12:06:40 PM · #17
I just got off the phone with Olympus technical support. The agent told me that he has seen similar problems, especially with the 1 GB cards. He said that there does seem to be some bugs with the 1 GB cards but no one can tell for sure whether it is with the cards or with the firmware. My problem seems to be that something happened to cause the card to shake lose or lose power and the header for the photo being taken was written to the card and the rest of the picture was written to the internal memory. I am going to use Photorescue to retrieve the photos. It has shown me the photos but my batteries are low and I don't want to risk losing power during the copy, possibly causing more problems. I will post again whether I get the photos off the card when I get home where I have fresh batteries.
08/28/2006 12:28:15 PM · #18
An update from me on the card...
I continue having problems with it. At least 1 photo is corrupted every time I use the card. Usually it happens somewhere towards the beginning (around maybe image 30 or so) but not in the same place every time. But, if I use the USB direct to the camera, it will upload every picture EXCEPT the corrupt one. If I try to use the built in card reader in the computer, I can only upload until I hit the corrupt file. So, my work around is between images 25 to 35 I try to take the picture twice. At least that way I should not "lose" a shot. It really, really sucks! I only use it when I fill up my CF card first though.
08/29/2006 12:39:11 PM · #19
I got the pictures off of the camera. I saw the files, upward of 4 MB, and the preview showed that all of the photos I was looking for were there. I reformatted the card and and now I just realized that all of the picture dimensions are 160x120! As I mentioned, the file sizes are over 4 MB. It seems like just the image header was written incorrectly (they should be 3072x2304. Does anyone know how I can read the data out of the files and write a proper header?
08/29/2006 04:28:01 PM · #20
I opened one of the images in a hex editor and modified the header manually. My viewer programs recognize the changes in the dimensions, but they still only show the 160x120 data (except now it is all pushed into the top 7 lines. I fear my photos are lost.
08/29/2006 05:26:04 PM · #21
I have a 1GB olympus XD, had it for 6 motnhs or so now, works fine, I use olymups master to get the files off the card but dump them in a common folder so I dont have to search thousands of folders, format on the camera itself and the use PS to edit. I also use usb to connect the camera to the computer, I don't have a card reader and I don't take that many photos.

Message edited by author 2006-08-29 17:27:09.
08/29/2006 05:51:10 PM · #22
Sounds like some of you are having the exact or very similar problems.

I've got an idea. You guys should conference call. Then call Olympus. When they say "well we've heard no other problems like this" voice that you now have two, and are unrelated except for the fact that you both are on the same photo site.

And if they say anything simply tell them "well, there are a few more on the site with similar problems" and ask them "would you like to bring them onto this conversation as well"

I imagine the intimidation of facing 4-6 users all unrelated all with similar problems will move itself up the chain of command. And I'm pretty sure their play books (the little pre-speak books) don't account for such a situation which means you'll put the ball into their court.

(And that's the main thing you have to do with phone support. They are instructed to always use an excuse. If you have any problem with your internet service the problem is of course your router...please ignore the electrical box on the telephone pole that has burst into smoldering flames. That cannot be the problem cause we don't have problems....it's likely your router. We do not support third party equipment. Thank you have a nice day!)
08/29/2006 07:10:04 PM · #23
Having an Evil(Evolt)500, I use a 2gig CF as my primary, but have a 512meg XD as my back-up. After reading this, I took the 1gig Olympus XD card from my wifes SD-350 and put it into my Evil. I took photos until the card was full and had no problems with it at all. Could be a bad batch of DX cards floating around.
08/29/2006 08:17:55 PM · #24
I, too have an Olympus Evolt 500.

I use a CF Extreme III 2Gb card for my primary and then use an Olympus 1GB XD (H series) card in the event I fill the CF.

Since I do not have a reader for the XD, I depend on the camera's cable to download photos off the XD (slooowww).

I download into Adobe (not the Olympus software) and I have never had a problem.

I sure am concerned, now, though.
08/30/2006 07:50:11 AM · #25
Originally posted by theSaj:

(And that's the main thing you have to do with phone support. They are instructed to always use an excuse. If you have any problem with your internet service the problem is of course your router...please ignore the electrical box on the telephone pole that has burst into smoldering flames. That cannot be the problem cause we don't have problems....it's likely your router. We do not support third party equipment. Thank you have a nice day!)


I work in customer service for mobile phones, landlines and internet here in Australia and I assure you my company does not have any such script and our focus is first call resolution of any issue. There are times when this is not possible but it's never for lack of interest!
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