Continuous Shooting

Sell Your Photos And Videos Online

Learn Digital Photography Now

Get Instant Access

The Canon EOS 40D's pair of Continuous Shooting modes remind me how far digital photography has brought us. The first accessory I purchased when I worked as a sports photographer some years ago was a motor drive for my film SLR. It enabled me to snap off a series of shots in rapid succession, which came in very handy when a fullback broke through the line and headed for the end zone. Even a seasoned action photographer can miss the decisive instant when a crucial block is made, or a baseball superstar's bat shatters and pieces of cork fly out. Continuous shooting simplifies taking a series of pictures, either to ensure that one has more or less the exact moment you want to capture or to capture a sequence that is interesting as a collection of successive images.

The 40D's "motor drive" capabilities are, in many ways, much superior to what you get with a film camera. For one thing, a motor-driven film camera can eat up film at an incredible pace, which is why many of them are used with cassettes that hold hundreds of feet of film stock. At three frames per second (typical of film cameras), a short burst of a few seconds can burn up as much as half of an ordinary 36 exposure roll of film. Digital cameras, in contrast, have reusable "film," so if you waste a few dozen shots on non-decisive moments, you can erase them and shoot more.

The increased capacity of digital film cards gives you a prodigious number of frames to work with. At a baseball game I covered earlier this year, I took more than 1,000 images in a couple hours. Yet, even shooting RAW+JPEG Fine I could fit more than 200 images on a single 4GB Compact Flash card. If I'd switched to JPEG, I could have taken about 900 different images without switching cards. Even at the top speed of 6.5 frames per second that the 40D is capable of, that's a lot of shooting. Given an average burst of about eight frames per sequence (nobody really takes 15-20 shots or more of one play in a baseball game), I was able to capture 32 different sequences before I needed to swap cards.

On the other hand, at a football game I covered later in the same month (there are some weird sports overlaps in early September!), the longer bursts came in handy, because running and passing plays often lasted 5 to 10 seconds, and changed in character as the action switched from the quarterback dropping back to pass or hand off the ball, then the receiver or running back trying to gain as much yardage as possible. Even simple plays, like a punt, seemed more exciting when captured in a sequence of shots, as in Figure 5.16.

Continuous shooting allows you to capture an entire sequence of exciting moments as they unfold.

Continuous shooting allows you to capture an entire sequence of exciting moments as they unfold.

To use the 40D's Continuous Shooting modes, press the AF-Drive button. Spin the Quick Control Dial until either the High-Speed Continuous Shooting (6.5 frames per second) or Low-Speed Continuous Shooting (3 fps) icons appear in the status LCD (see Figure 5.17). When you partially depress the shutter button, the viewfinder will display a number representing the maximum number of shots you can take at the current quality settings. (If your battery is low, this figure will be lower.) The larger buffer in the 40D will generally allow you to take as many as 75 JPEG shots in a single burst, or 17 RAW photos.

Figure 5.17

Press the AF-Drive button and spin the Quick Control Dial until the High-Speed Continuous Shooting or Low-Speed Continuous Shooting icons appear.

Figure 5.17

Press the AF-Drive button and spin the Quick Control Dial until the High-Speed Continuous Shooting or Low-Speed Continuous Shooting icons appear.

To increase this number, reduce the image-quality setting by switching to JPEG only (from JPEG+RAW), to a lower JPEG quality setting, or by reducing the 40D's resolution from L to M or S. The reason the size of your bursts is limited is that continuous images are first shuttled into the 40D's internal memory buffer, then doled out to the Compact Flash card as quickly as they can be written to the card. Technically, the 40D takes the RAW data received from the digital image processor and converts it to the output format you've selected—either .jpg or .cr2 (raw)—and deposits it in the buffer ready to store on the card.

This internal "smart" buffer can suck up photos much more quickly than the CF card and, indeed, some memory cards are significantly faster or slower than others. When the buffer fills, you can't take any more continuous shots (a buSY indicator appears in the viewfinder and LCD status panel) until the 40D has written some of them to the card, making more room in the buffer. (You should keep in mind that faster CF cards write images more quickly, freeing up buffer space faster.)

Was this article helpful?

+1 0
Digital Photography Mastery

Digital Photography Mastery

Insider Secrets Revealed By the Pro Showing You How to Become a Professional Photographer! Discover The Secret Tips & Techniques On How To Be A Professional Photographer, Start Producing High Quality Pictures and Skyrocket Your Photography Business Income Revenue To The Roof TODAY! You're About to Discover the Powerful Strategies and Method to Start Taking Sharp, Clear and High Quality Pictures Like the Professional Photographer Without Paying a Single Penny to the Expert!

Get My Free Ebook


  • Jolly
    How to use rapid shooting on canon 40d?
    2 years ago

Post a comment