I was just curious to know what are settings used in testing the camera's shots per second?

Especially the shutter speed. Whether its set to the camera's maximum capability or any standard shutter speed is used?
Also what image is being captured(as the colors in the shot many vary processing time)?


This depends on who does the testing and the camera's capabilities. Most times tests are done with various parameters to rule out anomalies.

A shutter-speed notably faster than the claimed shutter-speed should be used. To be safe I use 1/500s most times with good enough lighting to use a low-to-medium ISO setting. Its OK if images come out under-exposed in places, but if they were significantly over-exposed, files can get much smaller which would allow may allow the camera to shoot faster than in typical circumstances.

To get the fastest speed out of the camera, it is important to turn off additional processing features like optical correction, lighting optimization, etc. Even excessive noise-reduction on some models causes the camera to slow down.

Speed is measured from the beginning of one frame to the beginning of the last frame in a burst. The average is what gets published as FPS.

  • 2
    Anything Itai says on this subject is correct ;) He should know!
    – dpollitt
    Sep 8 '12 at 3:53

Please note that its shots per second, and not shots per (longer period) such as shots per minute. All digital cameras transfer the sensor data to a buffer and then transfer it to the CF or SD or whatever memory it has. The sensor and shutter are much faster than the CF/SD card, so after a second or two, the shooting rate is often much slower than the official spec.


Max FPS measures series of shots taken until internal buffers is completely full. After it's full FPS slows down a lot and is basically limited by card write speed.

There is another factor that affects FPS - shutter lag, that may be 50-100ms alone. So only 10 shutter lags would take up a second. Shutter speed should be faster (10x or 100x faster) than shutter lag to be not that much noticeable. 50ms is 1/20s. So shutter speed should be at least 1/200 s or faster. 1/200s will result in ~10% lower FPS value than max possible. 1/2000s - will be at about 1% range to max possible.

  • Note that at 1/2000s, it still takes about 1/250s (or whatever the max sync speed of given camera is) for the shutter curtains to travel from one end to other; exposure time is shorter only as only part of the sensor/film is exposed at any given time.
    – Imre
    Sep 8 '12 at 10:51

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