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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. Because he was a genius, he was often able to fire his camera that perfect decisive moment. For the rest of us there is Drive mode. In Drive mode, as you hold down the shutter button, the camera will continue to snap frames one after another. Drive mode is a great tool for shooting in fast moving environment, sports, street shooting, nature shots, 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 not 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. 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 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. To change from Single Shot to Drive mode, I press this button right here and it's marked with these three rectangles that are stacked on top of each other, indicating that I get multiple frames very quickly. It's also got a self-timer, and a remote control underneath it, that's because this one button pops up this menu that gives me all of these different options. We'll look at these later. Right now, we're just concerned with continuous shooting. So I'm going to select that, and hit Set, and now as long as I hold the shutter button down, my camera will shoot as long as there's space in the buffer, and it's going to go quite a ways because, there we go.
You just heard it slow down. It was able to go quite a ways because I'm shooting JPEG images which don't take up a lot of space. Now, my remaining count here is flashing to indicate that the camera is writing data to the card which you can also see because of the red light. There, it just finished. So I'm going to let it go till the buffer fills up. Now, you hear it slowing down because I'm still holding the button down, but it's only shooting when enough space has emptied out of the buffer for it to be able to get a shot. If I wait a little bit, the buffer is going to clear some, and now I'm going to be able to shoot a few more at regular speed, and then it slows down again.
That buffer number inside is letting me know when the buffer is filling up and going down. So, if you're really wanting to shoot a lot, you need to keep an eye on that. It's very rare that you need to be shooting 20 frames in a row though. If you're a sport shooter, you may be doing that, if you're a wildlife shooter, you may be doing that. But instead of relying on Drive mode to blanket a scene with gobs of shots, it's better to practice zeroing in on the Decisive Moment and only firing off when you think things are really about to happen. Not only will that be easier on your camera because you won't be having to worry about these buffer issues.
It'll be easier on the post- production end because you won't be drowning in images when you get home. So don't just hold that button down and stop thinking. Really try to pay attention to your scene, predict when the decisive moment is coming up, and then you can start firing off your shots.
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