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Burst Rate

Burst rate is a critical feature in modern photography, especially for capturing fast-moving subjects and ensuring that no moment is missed. It refers to the number of frames a camera can capture per second (fps) in continuous shooting mode. Understanding burst rate and how it can be applied in various types of photography can significantly enhance your ability to capture dynamic and impactful images.

What Is Burst Rate?

Burst rate, also known as frames per second (fps), measures how many images a camera can take in a single second while the shutter button is held down. This feature is particularly useful in action photography, where the ability to capture multiple frames in quick succession can mean the difference between getting the perfect shot and missing the moment entirely.

Key Factors Affecting Burst Rate

  • Camera Sensor and Processor: The speed of the camera’s sensor and processor determines how quickly images can be captured and processed.

  • Buffer Capacity: The camera's buffer temporarily stores images before they are written to the memory card. A larger buffer allows for longer bursts.

  • Memory Card Speed: High-speed memory cards with fast write speeds can help clear the buffer more quickly, allowing for longer continuous shooting.

Some Examples Of How Burst Rate Can Be Used In Different Types Of Photography

Sports Photography

In sports photography, capturing fast-moving athletes in action requires a high burst rate. Whether it's a sprinter crossing the finish line, a basketball player dunking, or a football player scoring a goal, a high burst rate allows photographers to capture a series of images that showcase the peak action.

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photographers often rely on burst rate to capture the unpredictable movements of animals. For example, photographing a bird in flight, a cheetah chasing its prey, or a dolphin leaping out of the water benefits from a high burst rate to ensure that the critical moment is captured in detail.

Event Photography

During events such as weddings or concerts, important moments happen quickly and are often unpredictable. A high burst rate allows photographers to capture multiple frames of key moments, such as the exchange of vows, a candid reaction, or a performer’s peak moment on stage.

Action and Adventure Photography

For action and adventure photographers capturing extreme sports like surfing, skateboarding, or mountain biking, a high burst rate is essential. It enables them to document the athlete’s movements in a sequence, ensuring they don’t miss the most dramatic moments.

Macro Photography

Even in macro photography, burst rate can be useful. When capturing insects or other small creatures, their rapid movements can be challenging to photograph. A high burst rate helps in capturing a sequence of images, increasing the likelihood of getting a sharp and well-composed shot.

Portrait Photography

In portrait photography, especially with children or pets, burst mode can capture a range of expressions in a short period. This helps in selecting the best image where the subject’s expression is natural and appealing.


Understanding and utilizing burst rate effectively can greatly enhance your photography, especially in dynamic and fast-paced situations. Whether you are photographing sports, wildlife, events, or even macro subjects, the ability to capture multiple frames per second ensures that you never miss a critical moment. By leveraging burst rate, you can increase your chances of capturing the perfect shot that tells a compelling story and showcases the peak of action.

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