What is Continuous Burst Mode using your Digital Camera?

If you haven't used continuous shooting mode

Sometimes called continuous shooting mode. with your digital camera you're missing out. Most cameras today have it and if you make a habit of regularly using it your resulting images can be quite fabulous. The photo sequence below was shot using a Nikon D50 DSLR camera which can shoot as many as 2.5 frames each second (although this may sound like a lot, however in the DSLR world its on the short side. For instance a Canon 20D can shoot 5 frames each second). This means if you activate this mode and hold the shutter button down you can capture five shots similar the above in only two seconds. In actuality these images were acquired using a longer time period (slightly less than a minute) however it exemplifies the effectiveness of quickly shooting many shots as it’s most likely to create a series of beautiful images that would look magnificent framed together like they are or even upon the same page together within a photo album. Read, "Take Your Best Shot: Essential Tips & Tricks for Shooting Amazing Photos"

Continuous shooting Mode is not a feature only DSLRs have. The majority of point & shoot cameras also feature continuous shooting as an option. On the whole it’s a useful mode for capturing images anytime there's any movement. Obviously taking pictures of children is such a time however there are many other situations including sports, animals, even portrait photography.

When doing a portrait I often use the continuous shooting function purely because the subjects typically relax and look their most natural after acquiring the initial image that you shoot and after that they lose their ‘posed’ face. Naturally the attraction to shooting with digital is even if your second, the third or fourth frames aren't as great as the first, then just delete them later with no cost consequences.

continous shooting

Continuous Burst Mode

You should remember a few things when using burst mode:

    Quickly shooting so many images means your camera is not going to have the time to save your images direct to the memory card. Instead the majority of cameras have a buffer which stores your shots until you are through shooting. Then it sends them on to the memory card. The more images you shoot the longer it's going to take after you finish your shooting sequence before you can begin shooting all over again as this process typically requires your camera to do a fair amount of processing.

    Most cameras limit the amount of images you can shoot using this mode. For instance the Nikon D50 allows you to shoot as many as 137 images (which is dependent upon the image size you’re using to shoot in) – this is substantially more than the majority of point & shoots although less than many DSLRs. The total amount of shots that are allowed depends upon many factors which includes the format you are using to shoot in (RAW files are larger and you won't be able capture as many images in a sequence and also the image sizes you’re taking also make a difference;. A few cameras have a set amount of shots that you take using ‘burst mode’. It may only take a 5 image sequence instead of just holding the shutter down until you release it.

    Naturally the more images you shoot the faster you will go through batteries and the quicker you will fill up your memory card. Therefore shooting all day long in continuous burst mode means you'll need a backup plan.

    When capturing moving images you should be thinking about a focusing strategy. Some DSLRs might have a continuous burst focusing aspect to help you out in this area, however with a simpler camera you might discover the focusing just isn't able to keep up. It can take quite some amount of practice when using continuous burst shooting in order to acquire the correct number of images. Some cameras are considerably more sensitive than are others as it comes down to their shutter button and with some cameras, it's difficult to capture just one shot.

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New Article Feb 21, 2012

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