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I got my Canon 50D over the summer, and it's been absolutely amazing! When I started taking pictures with it, I seem to recall the max burst number being relatively high in the display. However, for quite a while now, it has been saying 8. It seems to take many more pictures than just 8 before the buffer fills up, though. Is there a problem with the firmware? Am I the only one that's come across this problem here? I shoot only JPEG on high quality, no RAW. I also tend to shoot either using Program, aperture priority, shutter priority, or full manual. Other than this "problem," the camera hasn't given me any trouble. Thanks!


EDIT: Just for clarification, I can take many more than 8 pictures on max burst. Also, the 8 only shows up on the Program, Av, Tv, and manual modes.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

I just looked at my 5DmkII. If I set it to 'RAW' it says I have 13 shots, if I set it to 'RAW+JPEG L' it says I have 8 shots. I imagine that number must depend on what setting you have it on.

This was with a SanDisk Extreme 32GB 60MB/s UDMA card.

"JPEG Large/Fine: Approx. 78 shots (Approx. 310 shots),
RAW: Approx. 13 shots (Approx. 14 shots),
RAW+JPEG Large/Fine: Approx. 8 shots (Approx. 8 shots)"

After some digging I found similar info for the 50D:

It shows 60/16/10 for bursts of JPEG/RAW/RAW+JPEG so its odd that yours says 8...

More info from BobAtkins ( alt text

So your card must not be UDMA.

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I'm shooting with a similar card (4GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card), but I only have 8 shots for the burst. And that's just taking large/fine JPEG. – antiquekid3 Nov 5 '10 at 20:36
Is your card UDMA or non-UDMA? Or, is your card close to full, ie only 8 photos left on the card? :) – Shizam Nov 5 '10 at 20:46
The card was just formatted. I'm not sure if it's UDMA or not. Here's the card: – antiquekid3 Nov 5 '10 at 21:03
Kyle, something you mentioned before got me wondering what is your ISO? Try setting it to 100, what does the number say now? Also, try 'resetting all camera settings'. I ask about the ISO because you said your # changes if you change to 'green square' which is a mode where the camera overrides what ISO you set. – Shizam Nov 5 '10 at 21:55
So as it turns out, some settings in the Image menu were not defaulted, and thus in the non-automatic modes, the max burst was lower. The four settings were long exposure noise reduction, high ISO speed noise reduction, highlight tone priority, and auto lighting optimizer. The Canon rep was very helpful! – antiquekid3 Nov 11 '10 at 17:14

Let's take a look at in-camera image processing workflow

+--------+              +-----------------+           +-------------+
| sensor |   -------->  | image processor |  ------>  | card buffer |
+--------+              +-----------------+           +-------------+

                                                         |      \
                                                         |       |
                                                         | card  |
                                                         |       |

So what happend is that your sensor (and mechanics) get data (with some max speed). Then these images are processed by the image processor and head towards the card. Since card writing speeds are limited, there is a buffer before the card to mitigate that problem.

Before you shoot camera has no idea how fast is the card writing going to go, so the burst size it shows is based on two things:

  1. Size of in-camera buffer (fixed)
  2. Expected size of one image (depends on your output resolution and quality)

Therefore, you're going to have much higher buffer count for JPEGs that RAWs, because JPEGs are smaller and more of them fit into the memory. If you record RAW+JPEG it's going to be even less files.

If you have a fast card, the actual burst size will be higher than the shown number, because by the time you shoot the last image, the first few might be already written to card, so there's still space for more fast shooting.

You can see this reflected in the counter -- the number goes down as you shoot pictures, and increases again when they are written.

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That makes sense, but why would it be different in program mode than automatic? – antiquekid3 Nov 5 '10 at 22:37
Is it really? On my 5D2 it's the same in both P and auto, and changes only when I change JPEG/RAW quality settings. – che Nov 5 '10 at 22:47

The 50D has a burst rate of 6.3fps up to 90 jpeg's.

In general the reason why you are limited is due to your CF card. If your camera can't empty out it's buffer fast enough, it will have to throttle.

But, the buffer should be able to hold more than 8 jpegs easily.

A couple of things to look at:

  • Are you using a reputable branded CF card with a high write-rate?
  • What happens when you set the file size to small jpeg and shoot in burst?
  • Are you sure you are shooting jpeg, and not raw+jpeg?
  • Is the AF kicking in between each shot? What happens if you set your lens to MF?

I would contact Canon and see about warranty service. 8 shots seems really low, even if you had NO CF card installed.

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I have a 4GB SanDisk Extreme III CF card, which claims to have a rate of 30MB/s. I'm not sure if that's read or write. Changing from large JPEG to small JPEG has no effect. I am shooting just JPEG, not RAW+JPEG. The camera doesn't try to autofocus between each shot, and setting the lens to manual doesn't change it either. However, when I set it to automatic (the green box), the max burst goes all of the way up to 47. But for all of the modes I normally shoot on, it says 8. I'll probably end up calling Canon and see what they say. – antiquekid3 Nov 5 '10 at 19:30
What is the actual burst when you hold down, not what is displayed? – Alan Nov 5 '10 at 19:33
The actual burst is well over 8. I haven't counted, but it seems to be more than 20. – antiquekid3 Nov 5 '10 at 21:04
Note: The number there (8) isn't directly related to the number of shots you can take in a burst before it slows down. Its the number of images the camera can buffer in memory before writing to the card. Depending on the speed of writing to the card the number of images you can burst before slowing down can increase or decrease. – Shizam Nov 5 '10 at 21:54

I have noticed that problem yesterday. Then I asked the same question, but today I solved the problem, now I am sharing the answer;

In Custom Functions Settings,

In C.Fn II: Image,

If HIGH ISO NOISE REDUCTION LEVEL SELECTED AS STRONG , we are having this famous 8 !!!

Just try to select another reduction level ...

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I think I figured it out on my 60D. I had the same problem. I had changed some settings, one of which is the custom functions, and when I set the high ISO speed noise reduction to "strong" my buffer goes down to 5. But when set it to "standard", my buffer is 56. One thing that I haven't figured out is that on the automatic modes the buffer is over 100. This I cannot explain. Basically I'm backing up what that guy said....

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''EDIT: Just for clarification, I can take many more than 8 pictures on max burst. Also, the 8 only shows up on the Program, Av, Tv, and manual modes.

Kyle ''

I have noticed the same today ! It is a completely different question than the targets of the answers above...

I tried with the early type 1 GB CF cards and UDMA 8GB , no difference, ** 8 only shown in certain modes (P,Av,Tv,M) 8 for all size pictures...**

It only changes in modes other than P,Av,Tv,M... with 8GB UDMA 8 changes into 47 for L size...

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