Camera or Card??


TPF Noob!
Oct 11, 2011
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The Mitten
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we were taking stop motion shots of falling washers in class last night (real exciting i know). i had my rebel xs on continuous mode. the first series of shots went good, i think i got about 8 or 9 exposures off. the second time around the camera fired 4 times, then paused for 3 or 4 seconds, then took 2 more shots, then paused, then finally took 2 more and i stopped. ive read that sometimes the sd card might limit the amout of continuous exposures.
what do you guys think? has anyone had this problem? should i look into a a better sd card or is it time for a camera upgrade? i had planned on getting an 7d eventually, i was thinking more towards the end of my degree, not the beginning....
With all cameras there's a limit as to how big their buffer is and to their writing speed - until they hit that limit they'll keep firing at full speed - thereafter the speed slows down as it has to write to the card. Each camera should state in the specifications/manual what its fastest writing speed is. Ensuring that you have a memory card with a write speed (careful with this as many cards promote their faster reading speed on the front of the box) that is equal too or slightly faster than the cameras own writing speed helps a lot. Note once you've hit the write speed limit for the camera having faster cards won't help (since the camera can't write any faster).

As for camera body upgrades I'd hold off on that for now - there are better ways to shoot ultra fast motion than simply gunning the shutter and if you get serious on that kind of photography you'll be surprised that often as not the mode used is single shots with Bulb mode (ie slow exposures). So you don't necessarily need a better camera body at all.

In general I would say the rough order of importance for gear firstly depends upon what and how you want to shoot - subjects and conditions are the most important thing to clarify. From there you've got;

1) Lenses
2) Lighting
3) Camera body

Noting that in some situations lighting trumps lenses and that camera bodies only trump the other two when one is considering a format change (ie fullframe or medium format) .
Very likely a combination of both camera and card. Using a faster memory may help to some degree, but most cameras can fill their own buffer much more quickly than they can write the image data to even the fastest memory card. You may have better results using a lower-quality format to record the images (say .jpg instead of raw, or small, low-quality .jpg instead of large, fine).

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