KYC #7 : How fast can your camera click

The Modern day DSLR come with some astonishing figures in terms of how fast they can click. For those of you who are unaware about your cameras capabilities, here is what you want to look for. There are two concepts that you need to understand  in-order to calculate the speed at which your camera can click. FPS (Frames Per Second) and Burst Rate.

Frames Per Second : 

If you go through the camera specs, you will see that there is an FPS rating of your camera. For e.g. a Nikon D500 says that it has an FPS of 10.

What does this mean?

It means the following

  1. If you use an XQD card
  2. If your card is relatively empty
  3. If your buffer* is empty

Then , your camera can give you 10 images per second at full resolution. 

*Buffer – Buffer can be considered as the internal memory of your camera, one that stores the images before they are sent to the memory cards.

Burst Rate :

Burst rate, is roughly the amount of time for which the camera can keep churning out  10 FPS. So, if you camera has a burst rate of 24, then beyond 2 seconds of continuous high speed shooting, the camera will have to start emptying out its buffer because the buffer memory can hold only those many images and depending on

  1. Speed of writing to the memory card (XQD)
  2. Speed of emptying out the buffer

the camera will slow down the fps. 

The D500 for e.g. says that it has a burst rate of 200 images, so you could potentially keep clicking for around 20 seconds without the camera slowing down. Thats almost like forever.

The 1DXMark2, with the right kind of card (CFast), has a buffer size so large and a transfer algorithm so good that the buffer never gets to be full and the camera speed keeps up at the maximum till the memory card gets filled out. 

Having said that, please ensure that you know your cameras FPS and Burst-Rate + Buffer size before you start going crazy with the continuous clicks. I have seen a lot of people cursing their buffers at crucial moments so watch out and be careful with that trigger button.

Take a look at the image below. The figure shown in the brackets is how many images your buffer can hold currently. The below image shows that the buffer can hold upto 41 images at the current settings. Please note that the image count varies due to a lot of factors, the most important of the lot being the resolution. Higher the resolution lower would be this count.


Take a look at the following image sequence by my friend Saravanan J who likes to capture birds in flight and then combine them to create a sequence depicting the birds movements.

More about the approach to achieve these kind of shots in a blog soon.


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  1. DIPEN Samanta September 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    Good articles , want more and more sir

  2. Gopinath September 6, 2017 at 6:26 pm #

    Very informative as always …

  3. amit January 12, 2018 at 4:13 pm #

    Just want to point out minor typing error on this blog – “Then , your camera can give you 12 images per second at full resolution”

    Sir it should be 10 images per second at full resolution (since you gave example of Nikon D500)

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