D7100 Buffer Issues

Started May 2, 2013 | Discussions
Big45acp
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D7100 Buffer Issues
May 2, 2013

Can someone explain to me what the "buffer problem" is with the D7100?

And by explain I mean, tell me what you think the camera should do.

i.e. how many frames should you be able to shoot before the buffer is full, how many FPS, what resolution should these frames be, should it be RAW or JPEG, and on average how many frames should you be able to take in say a 15 second period of time?

Most importantly, please include the camera which meets the standard you have provided.

I would like to get some perspective and context to the "problem".

Nikon D7100
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fotolopithecus
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Big45acp, May 2, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

Can someone explain to me what the "buffer problem" is with the D7100?

And by explain I mean, tell me what you think the camera should do.

i.e. how many frames should you be able to shoot before the buffer is full, how many FPS, what resolution should these frames be, should it be RAW or JPEG, and on average how many frames should you be able to take in say a 15 second period of time?

Most importantly, please include the camera which meets the standard you have provided.

I would like to get some perspective and context to the "problem".

There is no buffer issue, its just a matter of Nikon using a small one for the number mps involved. Somewhere in your book it will tell you how many frames to expect, most likely in the back.

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Big45acp
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to fotolopithecus, May 2, 2013

I sincerely appreciate the reply, but I'm really looking to quantify this "issue". You say small for the number of MP involved. I would like to know exactly what the expectation is based upon the specific questions in my OP. I know what the capabilities are, I'm curious as to what others expect from this camera.

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Mako2011
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Still no issue
In reply to Big45acp, May 2, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

I sincerely appreciate the reply, but I'm really looking to quantify this "issue". You say small for the number of MP involved. I would like to know exactly what the expectation is based upon the specific questions in my OP. I know what the capabilities are, I'm curious as to what others expect from this camera.

Again, not an issue. The only issue is people want a bigger faster buffer. Same issue folks have with a smart phone...they often want more memory and faster bandwidth.  As files go from 5mp to 36mp...there become new barriers to over come. The real issue is price/performance. Some want D4 performance at D3200 prices regards the buffer.

What do you think the issue is? You were not very specific.

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mosswings
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Big45acp, May 2, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

Can someone explain to me what the "buffer problem" is with the D7100?

And by explain I mean, tell me what you think the camera should do.

i.e. how many frames should you be able to shoot before the buffer is full, how many FPS, what resolution should these frames be, should it be RAW or JPEG, and on average how many frames should you be able to take in say a 15 second period of time?

Most importantly, please include the camera which meets the standard you have provided.

I would like to get some perspective and context to the "problem".

For me, a 6 shot RAW buffer @ 14 bits is usually OK since I almost never take more than 5-6 shots in one burst.

How big one wants the buffer to be depends on the purpose.  Ideally, it should be big enough that at maximum burst rate of the camera it never fills.  However, this would require storage media that could write 7 X 30Mbyte = 210+MByte/Sec.  The fastest SD card can write only 90 MB/sec - so we'd have to buy a D4 and use XQD cards to make the buffer depth irrelevant.

The D300s has about a 19 shot RAW buffer @12 bits, which has satisfied most amateur birders and sports photogs who are now buying this camera in despair for an update to the D300s. The D600 and D800 have 16 shot RAW buffers @ 14 bits; the D4 92 shots; the D3200, 18 (!) but at 12 bits only.

So the D7100 is really very anemic compared to its competition: the Canon 60D is 16 frames, the 7D 15 frames, the OMD EM5 16 frames.  Only the Canon 7D is a "higher level" camera than the D7100.

There have been times when I've been photographing dance or performers outdoors and have taken about 1 second's worth of shots.  Having a buffer with at least 1.5 - 2 seconds worth of shots is very useful, particularly given the high capability of the D7100's AF.  With a shot buffer only about half of what's typical for its competition, you're forced to shoot JPEG - which is not the way to get the best IQ out of the camera.  So for RAW shooting, this camera is more of a landscaper's camera with some great AF chops.

Again, though, as long as you don't need more than 1 second's worth of burst images every 10 seconds, the D7100's buffer depth is OK.  But marginal.

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BlueBomberTurbo
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Re: Still no issue
In reply to Mako2011, May 3, 2013

Mako2011 wrote:

Big45acp wrote:

I sincerely appreciate the reply, but I'm really looking to quantify this "issue". You say small for the number of MP involved. I would like to know exactly what the expectation is based upon the specific questions in my OP. I know what the capabilities are, I'm curious as to what others expect from this camera.

Again, not an issue. The only issue is people want a bigger faster buffer. Same issue folks have with a smart phone...they often want more memory and faster bandwidth.  As files go from 5mp to 36mp...there become new barriers to over come. The real issue is price/performance. Some want D4 performance at D3200 prices regards the buffer.

Exactly.  The camera performs exactly as Nikon has specified, so there is no actual issue.  It's just people nitpicking.

If you need a big buffer, set the camera to crop mode in 12-bit compressed, and get a fast card like the Sandisk 95MB/s.  You'll get a 14-15 shot buffer at 7fps that empties almost immediately.  That's 2 seconds or more of burst.  Lowering the FPS by going into CL mode will increase the amount of images the buffer can hold even more.  Good enough for shooting just about anything you can think of.

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Big45acp
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

This is exactly my point... All these numbers are worthless without exact context. That is why I asked for very specific "requirements". The higher buffer counts of other cameras are meaningless if all other factors are not the same. Sure the D3200 has 18 frames, but a max FPS of 4FPS! If I drop the D7100 down to the D3200 equivelent settings I can hit 20 frames before the buffer slows. The D800, D300s and D600 are all much more expensive, and the D7100 AF blows the D600 away (I've owned both). My point is that ALL the "competitors" have serious sacrifices or compromises. If max buffer is the only consideration, then the D7100 can pump out 100 frames at 7FPS. I can always sacrifice FPS or IQ in favor of matching a "competitors" buffer, but there is nothing a camera can do to "boost" IQ or AF performance or max shutter speed, or ISO, or etc.

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Mako2011
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Baiting?
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

This is exactly my point... All these numbers are worthless without exact context. That is why I asked for very specific "requirements". The higher buffer counts of other cameras are meaningless if all other factors are not the same. Sure the D3200 has 18 frames, but a max FPS of 4FPS! If I drop the D7100 down to the D3200 equivelent settings I can hit 20 frames before the buffer slows. The D800, D300s and D600 are all much more expensive, and the D7100 AF blows the D600 away (I've owned both). My point is that ALL the "competitors" have serious sacrifices or compromises. If max buffer is the only consideration, then the D7100 can pump out 100 frames at 7FPS. I can always sacrifice FPS or IQ in favor of matching a "competitors" buffer, but there is nothing a camera can do to "boost" IQ or AF performance or max shutter speed, or ISO, or etc.

Oh, you didn't really have a question...you were just trying to make a point. That would be deceptive advertizing.

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Big45acp
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Re: Baiting?
In reply to Mako2011, May 3, 2013

Not at all. I have found thread after thread on this forum and others making this claim. But I never see anyone actually "quantify" the claim. I genuinely do not understand the claim for the reasons I have given.

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fotolopithecus
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

This is exactly my point... All these numbers are worthless without exact context. That is why I asked for very specific "requirements". The higher buffer counts of other cameras are meaningless if all other factors are not the same. Sure the D3200 has 18 frames, but a max FPS of 4FPS! If I drop the D7100 down to the D3200 equivelent settings I can hit 20 frames before the buffer slows. The D800, D300s and D600 are all much more expensive, and the D7100 AF blows the D600 away (I've owned both). My point is that ALL the "competitors" have serious sacrifices or compromises. If max buffer is the only consideration, then the D7100 can pump out 100 frames at 7FPS. I can always sacrifice FPS or IQ in favor of matching a "competitors" buffer, but there is nothing a camera can do to "boost" IQ or AF performance or max shutter speed, or ISO, or etc.

As regards D600, and D7100, I couldn't help but notice you said I've "owned" both.  What became of the D600, was there a problem with it?

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Big45acp
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to fotolopithecus, May 3, 2013

Problem? None, just not right for me. My primary interest is bird photography and youth sports. I simply can not afford the lenses necessary to get the reach I desired on an FX body. The reach and much better AF make the D7100 a clear choice in my case. Given a larger wallet I would own both.  I am a huge fan of the D600 as well.

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Mako2011
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Stiill
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

Not at all. I have found thread after thread on this forum and others making this claim. But I never see anyone actually "quantify" the claim. I genuinely do not understand the claim for the reasons I have given.

Still seems you were not really "trying to get some perspective and context to the "problem"as you suggested, but merely seeking to voice a contrary point. That's OK...one persons issue is another persons soap box. Often the case and often interesting as well. Taking issue with issues

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Big45acp
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Re: Stiill
In reply to Mako2011, May 3, 2013

Sincere apologies. That was not my intention.

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Mako2011
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But still
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

Sincere apologies. That was not my intention.

But still an excellent discussion. FPS is often critical to certain types of capture. Very necessary/helpful to some and not so much for others. Probably the only thing keeping the D7100 from pulling many Pros from Canon to Nikon in the area of certain sports/Action photography. On the bright side...it leaves room for the D400 folks to have a bit of hope
Your points are well taken and understood as well. It does indeed take all kinds and that's a good thing. Keeps the manufactures on their toes...we hope.

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Bill Randall
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

On the D5200, which came out before the D7100, when the shutter is depressed half way, where the ISO normally shows up in the viewfinder you get a message like: "r 15". This means there is room in the buffer for 15 exposures at the current settings. I should think the D7100 would also have this feature somewhere.

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mosswings
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

This is exactly my point... All these numbers are worthless without exact context. That is why I asked for very specific "requirements". The higher buffer counts of other cameras are meaningless if all other factors are not the same. Sure the D3200 has 18 frames, but a max FPS of 4FPS! If I drop the D7100 down to the D3200 equivelent settings I can hit 20 frames before the buffer slows. The D800, D300s and D600 are all much more expensive, and the D7100 AF blows the D600 away (I've owned both). My point is that ALL the "competitors" have serious sacrifices or compromises. If max buffer is the only consideration, then the D7100 can pump out 100 frames at 7FPS. I can always sacrifice FPS or IQ in favor of matching a "competitors" buffer, but there is nothing a camera can do to "boost" IQ or AF performance or max shutter speed, or ISO, or etc.

All valid points, but it begs the question whether one would dial down a D7100 to match the D3200's file quality in RAW.  It's equally valid to compare continuous shooting performance at the appropriate file quality for the camera.

In the case of the D3200, it's 12 bits, 18 frames, 4FPS, 4.5 seconds.

In the case of the Canon 7D - a more directly comparable camera to the D7100, it's 14 bits, 15 frames (actually 24 frames according to DPR), 8FPS, anywhere from 2-3 seconds.

The Canon 60D does 16 frames at 5FPS, 3+ seconds.

The D300s, 17 frames, 7FPS, 2.5 seconds.

The D600, 16 frames, 6FPS, 2.5 seconds.

The D7100 is 14 bits, 6-8 frames, 6FPS, 1 second.

In effect what you're doing by dropping the file quality is similar to switching to JPEG, at which point any of these cameras will work just fine.  That's comparing apples and pomegranates.  Like I said, I don't have any problem with the D7100's buffer, as you ostensibly asked for - but it's still smaller than its competitors' buffers, either in #frames or total burst capacity in RAW.

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Big45acp
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Bill Randall, May 3, 2013

Bill Randall wrote:

On the D5200, which came out before the D7100, when the shutter is depressed half way, where the ISO normally shows up in the viewfinder you get a message like: "r 15". This means there is room in the buffer for 15 exposures at the current settings. I should think the D7100 would also have this feature somewhere.

It does.

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Big45acp
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to mosswings, May 3, 2013

I think we will have to agree to disagree.

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mosswings
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

I think we will have to agree to disagree.

I think we agree more than we disagree...what I disagree with is the construction of the question in relation to the point you were trying to make.  I agree that it's the context in which you use the camera that determines the adequacy of its buffer. But you asked for some specific examples of its inadequacy, and I proposed a criteria in which one might find the buffer wanting.  It involved additional qualifications beyond simple buffer static capacity.  Which was the point you were trying to make, no?

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JCB123
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Re: D7100 Buffer Issues
In reply to Big45acp, May 3, 2013

Big45acp wrote:

Can someone explain to me what the "buffer problem" is with the D7100?

And by explain I mean, tell me what you think the camera should do.

i.e. how many frames should you be able to shoot before the buffer is full, how many FPS, what resolution should these frames be, should it be RAW or JPEG, and on average how many frames should you be able to take in say a 15 second period of time?

Most importantly, please include the camera which meets the standard you have provided.

I would like to get some perspective and context to the "problem".

The D300s was a pretty good safari camera and also good for birding. The characteristics which combined to make that so (apart from ergonomics and rugged build) were (are)

  • Very good AF module, very capable in tracking moving subjects
  • High Frame rate for capturing action sequences.
  • Deep enough buffer to be able to capture action sequences that last longer than a second or two.

The D7100 has as good or perhaps even better AF module, and it has a fairly fast maximum frame rate, so it would be good for capturing action sequences except for the fact that the buffer is not large enough to capture more than about 7 raw images (about a seconds worth) at the maximum burst rate. The issue is that it is so near yet so far.

The are work arounds.

  • A partial work around is to hone your timing to ensure that you capture the peak of the action with a short burst. Its only a partial workaround because it doesn't answer the desire to capture a sequence lasting several seconds.
  • Shoot jpeg for action sequences.
  • Shoot 12 bit compressed raw in the 1.3 crop mode. I don't own a D7100 but some claim that this allows you to capture long action sequences at maximum rate.

If you don't need or want to capture bursts at maxim rate for several seconds then its not an issue at all.

I'm certain that there will be a D300 replacement this year that will fully answer the buffer depth issue. If the D7100 had this capability it would tread on its toes.

Regards

John

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