Buffer vs write speed a 30 second test

Started Feb 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
chlamchowder Senior Member • Posts: 2,083
Re: Shorter bursts, slower fps... but how significant?

Can you provide the 12 bit NEF buffer capacity for the D600 ? ..also for the a580?

With the shutter half pressed, the viewfinder shows [r15], but I feel like I can get over that in practice because the camera is writing frames to the card while the burst is taking place. In DX crop mode, it's practically infinite. You do hit a hard stop at 100 frames with the display showing r00, but if you repress the shutter, it kicks off at full speed again.

For the a580, it feels like around 20 frames (in line with the figures given by imaging resource), probably a couple more with a fast card. With the buffer full, it runs off at about 1 fps.

Okay, here is a comparison with the D7100. Presume we have the pricey MB D15 and are shooting at 7 fps in 1.3x crop 12-bit NEF mode. And assume** a combination of D7100 write characteristics and a SD card that gives the same 2.4 or 1.07 fps clearing speed we had for the D300. The 14 image buffer isn't that much smaller than the D300's but it is a bit smaller. It only allows you a 2.0 second 14 frame burst @ 7 fps .... and then imposes a 2.9 second wait (or 7 second wait) before you can shoot short 1 second burst.

** maybe the D7100 has faster write speeds than the D300 and that can change the wait times.

My reactions are that I'm giving up 1) a little fps speed, and 2) a little length from my initial max burst.

Maybe not a huge deal !!!!! .... if I had not already felt constrained by the D300. Figure that one out for your own shooting style.

So while I ponder the significance of the buffer drop from 17 to 14 images and the speed loss from 8 to 7 fps, I'm going out to buy some faster cards to see if shortening the refresh time makes me any more comfortable with my D300.

The Sony a77 got criticized for the same issue when it came out: small buffer size. It would only buffer 14-15 raw frames. Looks like Nikon didn't learn from that...

I also skipped over the D7000 when looking for an option to move away from my Sony a580, and buffer capacity was a big factor in that. I've filled the buffer on my a580 several times. I didn't really have a problem after I started using the Extreme Pro 95 MB/s cards instead of class 4 cards, but I definitely didn't want a camera with half the buffer capacity.

The other factor was that the sensors were identical so I wouldn't be seeing an IQ improvement for the trouble, but I could have overlooked that if the D7000 offered a big enough advantage in terms of speed/buffer capacity.

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Sony Alpha DSLR-A580 Nikon D600 Sony DT 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 SAM +8 more
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