A cautionary tale

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Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

I was just messing around with my Olympus C3030, and thought I'd take some panorama shots. The PC sftware has the ablility to stitch frames together, and the camera will lock exposure and focus across several shots.

When I tried to select the feature in the camera, it shot straight past it onto the next menu item. So I looked in the manual and it said I was doing the right thing, but with the ominous claim that "when using Olympus cards, the camera can be set to...". So I looked in the full manual (the 16Meg PDF) and it said the same. I took the 128M card out and looked at it, no makers name. So I started looking at the other cards I've got, and tried each. I found it worked on the 16M that came with the camera, on one 32M that I got over the counter in a high street shop in the UK, but not on another 32, or a 64, each bought over the web. None of the cards had any maker's name on it. But the camera clearly knew, and would only work on the ones made by/for Olympus.

Beware, all that looks alike is not the same.

buckers
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Joined: Nov 10 2000

Pretty sneaky - that's Olympus off my shopping list for my next camera.

Adam

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Two of the offenders are Fuji, the third is unnamed, bought in Hong Kong, cheap. They all work for everything other than panorama stitching. I've managed to make panoramas by hand using Paint Shop Pro though.

tom hardwick
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Joined: Apr 8 1999

How very interesting. It suggests that Olympus are departing from the Red Book standard in their manufacture of the capture cards sold under their name. I'm surprised this is allowed. Can you see any tiny mechanical differences between cards Alan - like a notch or hole?

tom.

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

I've looked very carefully and can see no mechanical differences at all. It looks as though the cards identify themselves electronically. Reformatting the cards makes no difference.

As far as I've been able to tell, all SmartMedia cards look alike, but they don't perform alike. Curiouser and curioser.

buckers
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Joined: Nov 10 2000

There are two levels of formatting with SM (if I recall correctly ?). A 'soft' format and a 'hard' format.

This is why you can sometimes render an SM card useless for camera after using it in an MP3 player, or whatever.

There was a 'hard' format utility (windows) that came free with the ZIO SM card reader but I never managed to get hold of one. This can sometimes be used to 'revive' cards that fail to work with cameras.

Adam

buckers
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Joined: Nov 10 2000
Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Ye gods, I think I'll leave them alone and accept the limitations