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Exploring Continuous mode

From: Shooting with the Nikon D800

Video: Exploring Continuous mode

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 shoot. 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 Continuous mode. In Continuous mode as you hold the Shutter button on your camera down, the camera will continue to snap frames one after another. Continuous mode is a great tool for shooting in fast-moving environments, sports, street shooting, nature shots; but it can also be ideal for portraiture, where a person's face is making lots of tiny, subtle changes and you're not sure which is the ideal expression.

Exploring Continuous mode

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 shoot. 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 Continuous mode. In Continuous mode as you hold the Shutter button on your camera down, the camera will continue to snap frames one after another. Continuous mode is a great tool for shooting in fast-moving environments, sports, street shooting, nature shots; but it can also be ideal for portraiture, where 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 its media card, so your camera has a memory buffer that can hold a certain number of pictures. As you shoot, your images can be quickly thrown into that buffer, and then the camera can start the process of copying images from the buffer to the 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.

Normally, when you shoot with your D800, a press of the shutter button takes a picture. If you'd like, you can put it in Continuous mode, which is like having an automatic winder on an old film camera. I do that over here with this knob. Normally, this knob is locked here. To get it to turn I have to press this button right here. So I'm going to press this button, and I see my current setting here. It's on S for single. I'm going to switch it over to CL. That's Continuous Low-speed, and now as long as I hold the button down, the camera continues to shoot.

And it's clicking away there at about three frames per second. If I want faster, I can switch it over to Continuous High-speed and now I get closer to five frames per second. Note that in Continuous High speed if I'm plugged into an AC adapter rather than running off of the battery, I can actually get closer to six frames per second. Now you may be wondering, well, if I want to shoot continuously, why would I ever choose the low speed? Wouldn't I want to just always shoot as fast as I can? Not necessarily, because some subject matter moves faster than others, and if you really want a good amount of variation between frames, it might be more appropriate to shoot at low speed.

For example, Continuous mode can be very useful for shooting portraits because you can quickly capture some subtle change of expression, but you may find that low speed is giving you a nicer degree of variety than high speed, where you get five images that are mostly the same. Conversely, if I'm shooting let's say a bicycle race and there's a very particular moment that I want to capture, and it's going to just be one moment during a very short period of time, I may want to switch to high speed so that I get a very rapid burst through just one second.

Now when you shoot your camera grabs an image and then sticks it in a memory buffer so that it can be dumped out to the card. That buffer only has so much space in it, and once the buffer fills up, the camera will stop shooting until it has cleared out the buffer to the card to free up some more space to shoot. The D800 tells you how much buffer space you have left, or rather, how many shots you have left in the buffer. Right over here on your status display--and this same readout is mirrored inside your viewfinder-- you can see that right now I've got room for 16 shots in my buffer.

As I continuously shoot, that goes down, and shooting continues at full speed until the buffer is full. And you can see that it's-- it's skipping there because it's getting data written out to the card. There we go. So now I just got it to stop, and now as the buffer is emptying out, it's continuing to shoot, but I'm not getting the same speed that I had when the buffer was completely empty. How quickly the camera will be able to write out to the buffer depends on your card speed. So if you do a lot of burst shooting and you want to be sure that you don't get hung up by the buffer filling up, then you're going to need to go to a faster card.

You can customize the Continuous mode a little bit. If I go here into my menu and over here to my Custom Setting menu, down to the d category, Shooting/display, you'll see I have d2, Continuous Low mode shooting speed. This lets you choose the maximum speed for the CL mode. So you can see here, actually I'm at two frames per second, not three. I can bump that up to three if I want. This is very nice for fine-tuning the low speed for slower subject matter. Maybe you only need one frame per second. Maybe you're shooting a tree sloth or something.

Obviously, you can get it up to full speed and then it's five frames per second and then it's really no different than high speed. I can also go down here to the Maximum continuous release. This gives me a maximum number of shots that can be shot in a single burst. Right now, it's 100, which is probably far more than you would ever do. You could lower that if you find that maybe you have a tendency to get a little carried away in burst mode. You get home and realize you shot far more images than you needed in a single burst. You could lower that. This might also be useful if you're using a remote trigger of some kind, like a computer to control your camera.

A lot of remote triggers allow you to specify a time to hold the Shutter button down. So that doesn't really give you control of number of frames; it's just gives you a time that the button is down. This as a way of maybe fine-tuning that process a little more to ensure that in the time that the button is held down, you don't get more than a certain number of shots. Continuous mode is very handy for many different types of shooting, so you'll want to do a little experimenting with that to really get a feel for the difference between low speed and high speed.

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This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Nikon D800
Shooting with the Nikon D800

107 video lessons · 12366 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 9m 28s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 18s
    3. Using this course
      1m 54s
  2. 30m 59s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      6m 34s
    2. Attaching a lens
      3m 28s
    3. Inserting media cards and a battery
      6m 14s
    4. Powering up
      2m 8s
    5. Working with menu navigation and factory defaults
      3m 1s
    6. Setting the date and time
      1m 50s
    7. Setting the language
      1m 20s
    8. Formatting the media card
      2m 15s
    9. Holding the camera
      4m 9s
  3. 26m 35s
    1. What are shooting modes?
      2m 11s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      4m 41s
    3. Using the LCD screen protector
      46s
    4. Autofocus basics
      2m 42s
    5. Metering basics
      1m 31s
    6. Reviewing images
      2m 21s
    7. Working with image playback
      7m 16s
    8. Adjusting beeps and timers
      1m 52s
    9. Changing button behavior
      2m 2s
    10. Using screen tips
      1m 13s
  4. 26m 58s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      50s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      4m 16s
    3. Changing ISO
      2m 30s
    4. Using auto ISO
      4m 25s
    5. Exploring Flexible Program
      2m 49s
    6. Exploring image format and size
      6m 18s
    7. Setting a virtual horizon
      2m 17s
    8. Setting the color space
      1m 22s
    9. Configuring multiple media cards
      2m 11s
  5. 12m 49s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 6s
    2. Exploring autofocus area modes
      4m 50s
    3. Using focus points
      1m 57s
    4. Using manual focus
      3m 56s
  6. 9m 57s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 1s
    2. Working with white balance presets
      3m 8s
    3. Adjusting white balance manually
      5m 48s
  7. 11m 54s
    1. Exploring Continuous mode
      5m 56s
    2. Exploring Quiet mode
      53s
    3. Using the self-timer
      3m 26s
    4. Locking the mirror up
      1m 39s
  8. 34m 40s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 4s
    2. Using the auto exposure lock
      4m 35s
    3. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 3s
    4. Using depth of field preview
      2m 50s
    5. Exploring Shutter Priority mode
      2m 32s
    6. Working in Manual mode
      2m 40s
    7. Exposure bracketing
      6m 40s
    8. Using Active D-Lighting
      1m 19s
    9. Using the Vignette Control feature
      1m 6s
    10. Using the Auto Distortion Control feature
      58s
    11. Using long exposure noise reduction
      1m 41s
    12. Using high ISO noise reduction
      1m 22s
    13. Using the Bulb setting in Manual mode
      1m 2s
    14. Using the Info button
      1m 48s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Adjusting LCD brightness
      2m 31s
    2. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 43s
    3. Hiding images
      1m 35s
    4. Toggling the Rotate Tall feature on and off
      50s
    5. File naming
      1m 21s
    6. Creating a file number sequence
      2m 35s
    7. Creating storage folders
      2m 3s
    8. Adding copyright info
      1m 50s
    9. Using in-camera retouching
      2m 26s
  10. 7m 14s
    1. Using the fill flash
      1m 48s
    2. Using Flash mode
      3m 18s
    3. Working with flash exposure compensation
      2m 8s
  11. 22m 25s
    1. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      5m 38s
    2. Creating multiple exposures
      3m 38s
    3. Using the interval timer
      5m 42s
    4. Shooting time-lapse photography
      1m 19s
    5. Working with the image area
      4m 25s
    6. Using the remote control
      1m 43s
  12. 8m 33s
    1. Defining picture controls
      2m 7s
    2. Selecting a picture control
      1m 38s
    3. Modifying a picture control
      2m 38s
    4. Using the monochrome picture control
      2m 10s
  13. 15m 42s
    1. Activating Live View
      8m 9s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 27s
    3. Reviewing some Live View drawbacks
      2m 6s
  14. 17m 27s
    1. Configuring and activating video
      4m 34s
    2. Focusing and working with exposure
      7m 11s
    3. Using Playback mode
      3m 17s
    4. Customizing movie controls
      2m 25s
  15. 12m 44s
    1. Using menu banks
      3m 31s
    2. Using the My Menu feature
      2m 12s
    3. Customizing controls
      4m 0s
    4. Autofocus fine-tuning
      1m 25s
    5. Saving and loading settings
      1m 36s
  16. 14m 5s
    1. Working with custom settings
      51s
    2. Using the Focus Priority feature
      2m 15s
    3. Using the AF Activation feature
      1m 34s
    4. Controlling the number of focus points
      36s
    5. Using ISO sensitivity step value
      1m 8s
    6. Working with EV steps for exposure control
      1m 7s
    7. Using exposure flash compensation step value
      1m 1s
    8. Turning on easy exposure compensation
      1m 31s
    9. Using Exposure Delay mode
      1m 20s
    10. Using the Assign FN button
      2m 42s
  17. 6m 45s
    1. Camera sensor cleaning
      3m 29s
    2. Exploring operating conditions and temperatures
      1m 57s
    3. Getting firmware updates
      1m 19s
  18. 15m 43s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      4m 55s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      6m 50s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      3m 58s
  19. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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