In a split second, a potentially great wildlife photo is here and gone, forever. That’s why I suggest shooting in burst or continuous high release mode when there is a possibility of fast action. With continuous high release, when you press and hold down on the shutter-release button, the camera will take the maximum number of photos possible until the memory buffer is full or you lift your finger. The benefit is you have a sequence of the action shots from which to pick the best single frames. In addition, publications prefer to get a sequence of photos to include with a story, not just one or two pictures.
For wildlife photographers, the MAXIMUM NUMBER of photos a camera can take in continuous mode is an important purchasing consideration. This is referred to as a camera’s frames-per-second rate or frame rate. While we want the fastest frame rate camera we can afford, there is unfortunately a trade-off. With a high frame rate comes a limitation in mega-pixels. I own the highest frame rate camera bodies that Nikon offers, but the mega-pixels are about half of what is available in other Nikon cameras. For me, speed is more important than mega-pixels, but ideally, I would have like to have both a high frame rate and high mega-pixels.
To see the value of a high frame rate camera, the sequence of photos shown in the video below were taken in LESS THAN A TWO-SECOND WINDOW. That’s 15 frames captured in less than 2 seconds. The photo above was 1 of the 15 frames. The sequence got published shortly thereafter in the UK.
Camera Gear and Settings
- Nikon D4s
- Frame rate: 10-11 frames/second
- Effective pixels: 16.2 M
- 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6
- Sandisk Extreme Pro Compact Flash Card 32 GB – 90 MB/s
- 80mm focal length
- Shutter Speed Priority (TV)
- Aperture f/10-f/11 (set by the camera)
- ISO 1600
- Auto Focus Mode: Continuous (AI-Servo)
- Auto Focus Area Mode: 3-D Tracking
- Metering Mode: Matrix metering (Evaluative)
- White Balance: Sunny
- Color Space: Adobe RGB
- Vibration Reduction: ON