Shooting modes

Burst mode

Written by Gail Bjork

Continuous shooting mode, also known as burst mode, allows you to shoot images continuously in rapid succession.

burstmodeMost compact digital cameras have a burst mode to take a series of shots in rapid succession. While the shutter button is fully pressed down, the camera shoots continuously.  Images are held in the camera’s buffer then saved to a memory card, or the camera’s built-in memory that is usually very limited in storage.

Burst mode is useful for taking photos of fast moving subjects where it is difficult to judge the correct timing to get a good photo. Because shots are taken sequentially, only the best of a series can be kept. Typically, the first in the series are blurred so take as many continuous shots as your compact digital camera can handle. When shooting a rapidly moving subject, pre-focusing is usually necessary.

Some digital cameras offer more than one continuous mode such as Continuous Low, Continuous High and Ultra High. Check your camera manual for the pros and cons of each mode.

Burst mode performance

The number of images and the speed at which they are recorded varies between cameras. Write speed can also vary according to the image resolution and compression settings selected.

Some digital cameras take only a predetermined number of photos in burst mode. For others, the actual number of images captured continuously is limited only by the the capacity of the memory card or the size of the camera buffer.

For best performance when shooting in high speed continuous mode, make sure batteries are fully charged. High speed performance is usually at it’s best when using a high speed memory card.*

Compact digital camera burst mode has improved through the years, and some newer, advanced models have fast burst modes at full resolution. But some digital cameras claiming fast continuous mode or a high frames per second rate, shoot at a reduced resolution.

For most compacts, burst mode simply can not match the high speed continuous performance of digital single lens reflex cameras.

* not all digital cameras benefit from the use of a high speed memory card. Check your camera manual.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.