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A question about recycle times / camera buffering time

ErinCErinC Member
edited March 2014 in general photography
Hi All, rookie question I know but I'm not sure where to throw my money.

I shoot in Raw + JPEG and high speed continuous a lot, and I am finding that my camera just can't handle it - too many times I go to take another shot and the camera hasn't finished processing the last image. It has cost me a few really good shots - not enough for a client to notice but enough for me to know that I need to do something about it. I shoot JPEG as I mainly do newborn and maternity portraiture and like to get it right in camera (I don't really need that consistency in colour between images like you need for events etc and should add that I need to get sibling shots as well - high speed is essential when you have a wiggly toddler next to a newborn and might need to head swap in post), but need my RAW as a back up / to make my editing options more flexible.

Anyway - would buying a battery grip resolve this / speed up the recycle time between shots? Or should I be looking at adding a CF card into the mix? I mainly shoot with the 5DMIII with a 64 gb SD. Or is there something else I should be doing?

Thanks in advance!


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited March 2014

    It's nothing to do with your battery power, and getting a battery grip would only increase the number of shots you could take between charging.

    2 things:

    1] It's the buffering (meaning the camera needs time to render the images) and by firing quickly you would be using the allocated amount of 'buffering' built in, whereby the camera, although the images have not be drawn onto the card at the precise moment, has them in memory waiting for the buffer to clear between drawing each image onto the card.

    2] Shooing both RAW and Jpeg together will increase the buffering time, therefore it will 'fill up' quicker than normal so the camera just won't fire unless the buffering space has been reduced below the amount allocated which relates to the actual speed of the CF/SD card you are using. (Not actual storage space on the card, the speed of transfer).

    Things to do to help without spending money:

    1] On the Canon you have a choice of RAW size, I would not get the full Megapixel amount, choose Medium for the RAW or even small, that will dramatically reduce the size of the RAW file, so instead of around 24Mb it would reduce to around 16Mb or smaller, depends on which RAW option you set.

    This does NOT equate to the size in jpeg of course, that will remain precisely how you set the jpegs size to, Fine, etc. etc. I would still get the best quality jpeg, don't reduce that.

    2] Don't choose the highest continuous shutter firing, reduce it, instead of firing at say 6 frames per second in Continuous High Speed firing, choose the Low Continuous High Speed firing of 3 seconds for the 5D MkIII body.

    You will then get more continuous firing at these settings before the buffer limit is reached.

    Ergo: No need to 'throw your money' anywhere, except to me PayPal account is: 7387%*^*%$(..... lol

    Things to do to help by spending MONEY:

    Now, if you *still* want to throw money, get a fast CF card as in a fast 'Transfer' Rate. You can get them now I think up to 160M/second, and higher, instead of the normal 60-90 m/s, that will certainly help, but then that will cost money.



  • ErinCErinC Member
    Thanks Trev! Awesome advice as always! And you've helped me figure out why this only recently became a problem - I recently switched to some new SD cards which I now see are half the transfer rate of my older, smaller cards. Seems there will be money to spend after all.
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