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The great photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson spoke extensively about the decisive moment; that one particular moment that happens that is the perfect decisive expression of the scene or event that you're trying to photograph. Now, because he was a genius, he was often able to fire his camera at the perfect decisive moment. For the rest of us, there's Drive mode. In Drive mode, as you hold the shutter button down on your camera, the camera will continue to snap frames one after another.
Drive mode is a great tool for shooting in fast moving environments; sports, street shooting, and nature shots, for example. But it can also be ideal for portraiture, when a person's face is making lots of tiny subtle changes, and you're not sure which is the ideal expression. However, you can't use Drive mode indefinitely. That is, you can't just hold the button down, and expect the camera to always keep shooting. When you take a picture, the camera has to move a lot of data around, and do a lot of computation. You can take pictures faster than your camera can get them written to the media card, so your camera has a memory buffer that can hold a certain number of pictures.
Now, as you shoot, your images can be quickly thrown into that buffer. Then the camera can start the process of copying images from the buffer to your memory card, while you continue to snap away. If the buffer fills, then your camera will cease to be able to take pictures, and you'll have to wait for it to empty out before you can start shooting again. Your current Drive mode is displayed right here. A single frame, that is, a single little rectangle right there indicates that I'm in single shot mode. If I press the shutter button, it takes one picture. I can change Drive mode by pressing my Autofocus- Drive button up here, and then turning the command dial on the back.
One click to the right takes me to high-speed burst. This is going to get me approximately 6 frames per second. Well, that was only five, but I let my finger off the button. As you can see, it's a really fast burst mode. If I continue from there, I get a slower burst mode. This is the one that doesn't have the H next to it. That gets me about three frames per second. So you can see that that is noticeably slower. Now, you may think, well, if I've got that really fast burst mode, why would I ever bother with the slower burst mode? Well, sometimes you actually don't want to capture things at six frames per second; portraits, for example.
It's nice using a burst mode for portrait, because people's expressions do change, and sometimes a subtle expression change from one moment to the next will make for a better picture. But people's faces don't tend to change expression fast enough to need a six frame per second burst. On the other hand, if you're shooting HDR, or trying to stop a really fast moving car or something at a particular moment, then going to that faster drive mode is going to be a better choice. So it's really nice having these two different burst speeds, and this is one of the nice improvements of the Mark III over the Mark II is the six frames per second burst.
Going on, I get a new silent shooting mode. So this is going to shoot a single frame, but it's going to try and do it a little more quietly than it did the last time. I think you can hear the difference. That's definitely quieter than my normal single shot sound. So if you're shooting a performance, or shooting in a museum, or shooting espionage, then having a quieter shutter can be a real bonus. I also have a quieter burst mode. If I go here, I'm back to my slower speed at about three frames per second, but it's definitely quieter.
Moving on from there, I get my self-timer mode. So this is the old thing where I press the shutter button, and it starts beeping, and then I run around in front of the camera. I've got two different timers, though. I've got this timer, and this one. So this first one is a ten second timer; that means the shutter is going to go off in ten seconds, giving me a plenty of time to get around in front of the camera. The second one is a two second timer, which is not going to be nearly enough time to get around in front of the camera, and stop breathing heavy, and get a decent expression on my face. What this is good for is times when I want the self-timer just because I want camera vibration to reduce.
So maybe I'm locked down on a tripod. I'm getting ready to do a product shot, or I'm getting ready to do a long exposure shot of some kind. A two second timer will give the camera two seconds to stop moving after I've touched it before it actually takes the picture. So that's really handy for studio shooting, and lowlight shooting. Finally, either of these will also allow me to work with a remote control. It's not necessary to dial these into use a remote control; this is just a self-timer that will work with a wired or wireless remote.
All of these eventually loop back around to my normal, single shot, loud shooting, as opposed to do the single shot, quiet shooting. So that's Drive mode. Very easy to get to, even while you're looking through the viewfinder. It's just the button right to the left of the ISO button, which you can feel very easily.
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