Archive for July, 2020

MS Optics reveals its latest lens, the Elnomaxim 55mm F1.2 for Leica M-mount cameras

31 Jul

Miyazaki san of MS Optics fame has released his latest M-mount lens, the Elnomaxim 55mm F1.2.

Bellamy Hunt over at Japan Camera Hunter is still working to translate the details of the lens, but what is known at this point is that the lens uses a gauss type optical design with an extremely simple formula. Specifically, the lens is Miyazaki san’s take on the Zeiss 50mm F2 Sonnar lens originally designed for the Zeiss Contax I rangefinder.

The entirely manual lens features an aperture range of F1.2 through F16, has a minimum focusing distance of one meter (3.25ft) and has a 49mm front filter thread. The lens measures in at 50mm diameter, 43mm long and weighs 180g (6.35oz).

Japan Camera Hunter has shared a few sample photos captured with the lens:

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As is the case with most MS Optics lenses, this thing isn’t going to win any sharpness contests, but it has character.

The Elnomaxim 55mm F1.2 lens for M-mount is available in black chrome and silver chrome, and is currently available to order from Japan Camera Hunter for $ 1,200. Units are being produced in small batches, so expect stock to come and go.

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Film Fridays: Are premium 35mm compact cameras a waste of money?

31 Jul
Photo: Dan Bracaglia

Back in the 1990’s virtually every camera manufacturer produced a line (or multiple lines) of premium autofocusing pocket cameras. Many of these cameras packed excellent optics and great metering into impossibly small, easy-to-use bodies, making them perfect for capturing spontaneous moments.

These days, with the resurgence of interest in film photography, these premium compacts are fetching high asking prices on the secondhand market. So are these (mostly) fantastic plastic pocket cams worth their asking price? Our pals at Kosmo Foto investigate…

Read: Are premium 35mm compacts a waste of money?

About Film Fridays: We recently launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we’ll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at KosmoFoto and 35mmc.

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4 Ways of Creating Effective Catchlights in Portraiture

31 Jul

The post 4 Ways of Creating Effective Catchlights in Portraiture appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by John McIntire.

Catchlights in portraiture example
Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro | 50mm | 1/80 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 100

It is arguable that the most important part of a portrait is your subject’s eyes. While there is a case or two in which this might not be true, for the most part, the eyes are the focal point of portraits. This is because, when we interact with people on a one-to-one basis, it’s the eyes that we use to interact with one another.

As a photographer, it’s vital that you are able to present your subject’s eyes as the focal point in your images. One key way to do this is through the deliberate use and manipulation of catchlights. Catchlights in portraiture are the reflection(s) of your light source(s) that appear in the eyes. 

This article will discuss why catchlights are important, how to make use of them, and how to manipulate them to your benefit. It will also discuss several ways to help you to include catchlights in your portraiture.

What are catchlights?

catchlights in portraiture types of catchlights
Catchlights are the reflection of the light source in your subject’s eyes.

As mentioned above, catchlights are the reflections of your light source as they appear in your subject’s eyes. It doesn’t matter if you are using natural light or flash; if there is light going directly into your subject’s eyes, there will be a catchlight.

In terms of photography, this is important because the presence of a catchlight in portraiture means that the detail in your subject’s eye will be revealed in the final images. If there is no detail in the eyes, it will be that much more difficult for your viewers to engage with the subject. You’ve probably heard of the term dead-eyes before. That’s what this is referring to. 

Ensuring you have a catchlight

catchlights in portraiture
Making sure that your catchlights are a prominent feature in your subject’s eyes can help you to create more evocative portraits. Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro | 50mm | 1/125 sec | f/5 | ISO 100

If your goal is to create a catchlight in your portraits, the easiest way to do it is to ensure that your key light is pointed directly into your subject’s eyes. Because your key light will be the brightest light source in your frame, this will help to ensure that the catchlight is as bright as possible, making sure that it stands out. 

If you are using natural light, or studio lighting with a modeling light, you will be able to see the catchlights in your subject’s eyes before you take the picture. All you have to do to ensure a catchlight is direct your subject’s pose until you can see the catchlight. If you are using a light source without a modeling light, you will have to be more careful. Take a test shot and review it on the back of your camera to see what’s going on, then guide your subject from there. 


catchlights in portraiture
Ensuring that the main catchlight is at the top of your subject’s eye is a great starting point. This is a natural place for the catchlight to sit and leaves most of the eye unobscured. Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro | 50mm | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | ISO 100

To help ensure more natural results, it can help for you to light your subject from above. This has a few effects. The first of these is that it places the catchlight at the top of your subject’s eye, just as it would be if they were outdoors and being lit by the sun. Also, having the catchlight at the top of the eye helps to have more of the eye visible in the frame. 

If you are using more than one catchlight, the position of the other ones doesn’t matter too much, but putting the main catchlight at the top of the eye is still a good idea. 

Big vs small

catchlights in portraiture size of catchlight
The size of your catchlight is going to depend on your chosen light source and how far away that light source is from your subject.

The size of the catchlights in your subject’s eye is entirely dependent on the light sources you are using. If you are shooting in the middle of a clear day, the light source will be the naked sun, and it will appear as a small pinprick of a catchlight in your subject’s eye.

If you are shooting on an overcast day, the entire sky becomes your light source. It is not uncommon for the catchlight to appear massive, as a reflection of everything that appears above the horizon. And if you are in a studio using a large octabox close to your subject, your catchlight will be enormous and take up a large portion of the eye. 

How big you want your catchlights is entirely up to you. Personally, I prefer them to be somewhere in the middle. Too small and they barely show up in anything wider than a close-up portrait. Too big and they take up far too much of the eye, dominating one of the most important parts of your image. 

On occasion, you might hear people saying that catchlights should only ever be small. This is not a rule. Use whatever size catchlight you want.

Bright vs dim

catchlights in portraiture
Large light sources close to your subject will result in dimmer catchlights. Smaller light sources will result in brighter catchlights. It doesn’t matter which you choose, but it can help to be aware of it.

Another aspect of catchlights in portraiture that is dictated by the size of the light source is how bright the catchlights appear. Catchlights made by smaller light sources (such as the sun or small studio modifiers) will appear brighter than those made by large light sources (such as an overcast sky or large studio modifiers). 

Again, how you use this is entirely up to you. In a close-up portrait where the eyes take up a large portion of the frame, the brightness of the catchlights won’t matter as much. However, in a three-quarter length or full-length shot where the eyes are a much smaller part of the image, you may need catchlights to be brighter so that they stand out more. 

Of course, you always have the option of brightening up your catchlights with a bit of dodging and burning afterward, but making the choice at the time of capture can help to save you a lot of time behind the computer. 

Doing more with catchlights in portraiture

Beyond the basics of simply placing a catchlight in your subject’s eye, looking out for new and intriguing ways to use catchlights in portraiture can be a fun and rewarding pursuit. There are a lot of different things you can do to try and make your catchlights more exciting and visually interesting. This section will outline a few of these. 

1) Add more lights

catchlights in portraiture
Adding more lights (that show in your subject’s eyes) is one simple way of changing up the catchlights in your portraits. Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM | 35mm | 1/125 sec | f/5.6 | ISO 100

Simply adding an extra light or two is possibly the easiest way to make your catchlights a little more interesting. Any secondary lighting that you use that is in your subject’s line of sight will usually appear as a second catchlight in their eye. 

catchlights in portraiture
Here the two fill lights show up as two additional catchlights.

The thing to look out for here is that you don’t go overboard. Having your subject’s entire eye consumed by multiple large catchlights will probably look more disconcerting to your viewer than clever. By all means, experiment, but don’t be afraid to dial it back a notch if you go too far.

2) Use a reflector

catchlights in portraiture
The humble white reflector is a great way to add a subtle second catchlight that lifts the brightness of your subject’s eyes. Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM | 35mm | 1/125 sec | f/14 | ISO 100

Adding a simple white reflector as fill can help to lift your subject’s eyes with a catchlight of its own. This will usually result in a subtler effect, but it can lead to much brighter and more vivid eyes in your images. 

catchlights in portraiture
Here you can see just how much the reflector is doing.

3) Try different lighting patterns

catchlights in portraiture
Some lighting patterns like clamshell lighting make for really interesting catchlights. Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro | 50mm | 1/100 sec | f/9 | ISO 100

Using lighting patterns that require multiple light sources can provide interesting catchlights as well. Cross lighting and clamshell lighting are two patterns in particular that can create interesting effects. Both of these patterns only require two lights as well.

catchlights in portraiture clamshell lighting catchlight example
Here you can see the effect that clamshell lighting has on the subject’s eyes.

4) Use novelty light sources

catchlights in portraiture
Ring lights and other novelty light sources produce unique catchlights that can be used for visual interest. Canon 5D Mark III | Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro | 50mm | 1/60 sec | f/8 | ISO 1000

There are fair few interesting lighting options on the market that provide unique catchlights. The most prominent of these is the ring light. Ring lights provide on-axis lighting for your subject as you put your camera through the aperture of the ring. The catchlight appears as a ring in your subject’s eyes.

These lights, and other lights like them, are fun to use and can help you achieve interesting lighting in your portraits. 

catchlights in portraiture
Here, you can see the distinct ring shape of the catchlight made by a continuous ring light.

One caveat for these novelty light sources: While a lot of people really love the effect they produce, a lot of people really hate it, and are very vocal about how much they hate it. Depending on the purpose and the audience of your images, novelty light sources may not be the right choice. 

The end

Taking control of your catchlights can be a great way to help you get the most out of your portrait photography. Hopefully, you see how easy and impactful this can be. It’s also a lot of fun.

Chasing catchlights in portraiture can lead you to a lot of interesting scenarios and lighting setups that you may not find, or come up with, by other means. 

The post 4 Ways of Creating Effective Catchlights in Portraiture appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by John McIntire.

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6 Things to Learn After Manual Mode

31 Jul

Now that you know how your camera manual mode works, and you are in control of what it is doing when you take a picture, what’s next? Our brain likes the process of constantly learning something new. That’s why we network with other people, visit conferences, read books and articles, travel, scroll social media feeds, and so on. There are Continue Reading

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Canon Q2 financial results: Camera division still profiting, but down 93.9% year-over-year

31 Jul

Canon has published its second-quarter (Q2) financial results, which covers from the beginning April 2020 through the end of June 2020, and, as you would expect in these difficult times, the camera division isn’t looking all that great.

Canon made it clear in its first quarter (Q1) results that things would get worse before they got better; and Q2 numbers are the first concrete evidence of just how much the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt the camera division in an already-declining market.

Across all of its divisions, Canon reported a loss of ¥8.8 billion ($ 83.3M), marking the first time in its 82 year history the company has been in the red on a quarterly basis. Canon says in its investor presentation that the ‘impact of global economic stagnation [due to the COVID-19 pandemic] was inevitable as we faced rapid drops in actual demand in various businesses and were confronted with limited business activity.’

As for the imaging division, Canon reported net sales of ¥141.7B ($ 1.35B) and an operating profit of just ¥800M ($ 7.65M). While seeing any operating profit is good news in this environment, the numbers are still a stark contrast to Q2 2019. Net sales were down 30.8% and operating profit was down 93.9% year-over-year (YoY).

In the Imaging System breakdown, Canon attributes the decline in net sales to there being ‘fewer image capturing opportunities, such as travel and other events.’ due to COVID-19. Canon says it ‘will take time for sales to recover as cameras are considered a luxury item,’ but it’s projecting the entire market to be down 40% to just 5.4M units and its own unit sales down by the same proportion, to 2.5M.

In addition to Canon elaborating on its cameras being used as webcams for video conferencing and communication, Canon also says it plans to ‘enhance’ its concept camera initiative, with new models expected to be out before the end of the year.

Despite the big fall in Q2, Canon is expecting operating profit to only fall 66% for the full year, and sales by value only 20%. This suggests it expects models such as the R5 and R6 to make up for some of the poor Q2 performance. The company says these models and the RF lenses will ‘solidify our position in the full-frame camera market.’

Compared to Canon’s end-of-2019 projections, which anticipated total sales of ¥787B and an operating profit of ¥53.7 for the 2020 fiscal year, its new Q2 2020 projection for total sales of ¥643.9B and operating profit of ¥16.1B is a drop of 19% and 70%, respectively.

As for how it intends to handle the direction of its camera division post-COVID-19, Canon says it will ‘accelerate measures to streamline operations’ and ‘expand business areas that utilize optical technology.’ Specifically, Canon says it will ‘work to facilitate our aim of switching business domains, leveraging the optical technology we have cultivated so far, and reallocating resources to new fields such as automobiles and industrial-use sensors.’

Although acknowledging that the camera market has declined faster than anticipated (pre-COVID-19), Canon emphasizes that its position – that ‘sooner or later the market will settle down and consist solely of users that are particular about imaging’– has not changed.

Summed up, the numbers are down across the board, but they aren’t all that surprising considering the current state of the camera (and global) market. Canon expects to further expand the use of its sensor and optics technology to industrial and automotive use, but still plans to streamline its operations to make the most of its ILC and compact camera products.

You can read all of the financial results by visiting Canon’s investor relations webpage.

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Hasselblad updates firmware for X1D II 50C and 907X Special Edition, announces two new accessories

31 Jul

Hasselblad has announced a firmware update for its X1D II 50C and 907X Special Edition, as well as introduced two new accessories for its 907X Special Edition camera.

Firmware update 1.3.0 for the X1D II 50C and 907X Special Edition offers two main updates. First, it’s now possible to quickly set ISO and white balance by touch on the live view screen. Second, Hasselblad says it’s improved the charge time of its 3,400mAh batteries by 20% when using the supplied charger.

The update also adds support for the 907X Special Edition camera’s new accessories: a control grip and optical viewfinder. The 907X Special Edition Control Grip mounts to the underside of the camera. It offers a scrolling wheel, joystick, shutter button and four other customizable buttons for changing settings, capturing images and reviewing media without having to use the touchscreen.

Inspired by the Hasselblad SWC viewfinder, the new 907X Special Edition Optical Viewfinder (OVF) mounts to the camera via a cold shoe adapter and offers internal markings for composing images with Hasselblad’s XCD 21mm, 30mm and 45mm lenses. There’s also a center cross that can be used to simulate the location of an autofocus point.

You can download firmware update 1.3.0 for the X1D II 50C and 907X Special Edition on Hasselblad’s website. The 907X Special Edition Control Grip and Optical Viewfinder are available to pre-order on Hasselblad’s website for $ 969 and $ 629, respectively. The first units are expected to ship by the end of August.

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Slideshow: The winning images from the 2020 Potato Photographer of the Year contest

31 Jul

2020 Potato Photographer of the Year

Editor’s note: Image #10 (11th in the gallery) doesn’t strictly feature nudity, but may be considered NSFW, so proceed with caution accordingly.

Yes, you read the headline right. The Potato Photographer of the Year is a real photo contest and this year’s winners have been announced.

If you’re wondering where the idea for a potato photo contest came to be, look no further than Kevin Abosch’s Potato #345 (2010), a now-famous photo of a sole starchy tuber that sold for a wallet-mashing one million dollars in 2016, making it the 15th most expensive photo sold at the time.

The Potato Photographer of the Year contest was founded by the contest platform Photocrowd, who partners with The Trussell Trust to ensure all proceeds to ending hunger and poverty in the United Kingdom. Proceeds are made with each photo entry, which costs £5 (GBP) each (up to 8 images).

While the competition ‘didn’t quite raise a million bucks I had secretly hoped for,’ says competition organizer Benedict Brain, ‘the few grand we did raise will go a long way to help provide much-needed food for the Trussell Trust.’

The overall winner is Raw Spence, who captured an image of his sprouting spud about to get a much-needed quarantine haircut. For taking the overall prize, Spence is receiving a Fujifilm X-A7, a year’s membership of the Royal Photographic Society, a one-on-one workshop with photographer Benedict Brain and 3 years of Photocrowd master-level subscription.

The ten winning images, presented in the following gallery, were selected from an panel of judges that includes Martin Parr, Paul Hill, Angela Nicholson (Founder of She Clicks), Nigel Atherton (Editor, Amateur Photographer), and Benedict Brain (Brain’s Foto Guides).

Overall Winner

Photographer: Ray Spence

Title: End of Lockdown

Caption: ‘This picture manages to introduce a topical lockdown obsession to the brief of photographing a potato. It takes a great imagination to see a sprouting potato as a head covered with hair, and there is a lot of humor in the way the picture has been executed.’ — Nigel Atherton

Judge’s comment: ‘This is delightful, imaginative, and a good laugh. And again, a bit bonkers. What we all need at this grim time. Love it!’ – Paul Hill

2nd Place

Photographer: David ‘Spud’ White

Title: A Potato

Judge’s comment: ‘This looks like an alien lifeform, photographed on the surface on a barren planet by a NASA robot.’ — Nigel Atherton

3rd Place

Photographer: Amy D’Agorne

Title: Tight Market Specifications

Caption: ‘Potato agronomy is changing, raising the need for new solutions to old problems. In an environment where pests, weeds and diseases have no regard for the pressure to meet tight market specifications Bayer is committed to helping you produce quality crops that are also profitable to grow.’ – Bayer, 2019

In Peru, the birthplace of the potato, indigenous women sometimes use fine slices of potato peel as a facemask to soothe and soften the skin.

I was meant to be working with an indigenous NGO in the Andes when Covid broke out so since I couldn’t try this in the Andes themselves, I decided to try this technique out at home and made a self-portrait documenting the process. I was simultaneously reading about the history of agriculture and the development of large agribusiness, specifically about the corporation Bayer, now one of four major agrichemical businesses in the world, a company that owns 80% of all commercial seeds on the planet. The report that I was reading was released by the CIA in 2001 and discloses information about Bayer (then known as IG Farben) and their despicable involvement in Nazi Germany.

I rang up the Crop Science branch of Bayer that is based in the U.K. and was shocked to hear that the company still uses and promotes the use of glyphosate on British potatoes. Glyphosate, a chemical that the company Monsanto, which was bought up by Bayer in 2011), sold in their ‘Round-Up’ product, a product they, and now Bayer is being sued by consumers for giving the users of the product various cancers and autoimmune diseases. I was fascinated by the obvious dichotomies and differences that there are when looking at the relationship that indigenous peoples have with their food and the relationship that western ‘developed’ countries and companies share with their food.

Indigenous peoples make up less than 5% of the planet’s human population, and yet they are protecting 80% of its diversity. And only 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. This image investigates the relationship between natural remedies /the close relationship some people have with their food and the big companies/corporations that take advantage of that natural knowledge to expand on market specifications.

Judge’s comment: ‘This image looks at the politics of the potato from two angles — its indigenous origins and the current domination of agriculture by a single company — and cleverly combines them is a thoughtfully conceived and well-executed composite image.’ — Nigel Atherton

4th Place

Photographer: Laure Gibault

Title: Potato Slug

Caption: A straight shot of a sweet potato

Judge’s comment: ‘I like the fact that this spud looks like a cross between a seal and a unicorn.’ Martin Parr

5th Place

Photographer: Peter Hubert

Title: Planting Jersey Royals

Caption: Every winter the fields in Jersey are ploughed in preparation for the planting of the Island’s main cash crop, Jersey Royals. As a Jerseyman I have been endeavouring to determine and photograph some of the things that we take for granted but are intrinsically and distinctly part of the fabric of Jersey life, cultural reference points that fellow Islanders would instantly recognise and instinctively understand. The planting of potatoes by migrant workers has been a feature of the farming community since the 19th century. Over the years some have stayed and many families include forebears who originally arrived as seasonal farm labourers.

6th Place

Photographer: Tova Krentzman

Title: Untitled

Caption: A portrait of individuals, together yet very much alone….and the unifying task of the mundane that is also beautiful….much like the character of the potato (mundane and glorious in its basic state and potential).
Together, alone, under a mundane task of peeling potatoes. During these past months of lockdown, the story of individuals; each from a different country, with their own interests and commentary…sharing space. In this depiction, they are united by the potato.

Judge’s comment: ‘This carefully arranged tableau is a work that stayed most in my mind when I went back and forth through the excellent contributions to the competition. The photographer has creatively used what looks like available light in an empty kitchen, and the image also reflects effectively the claustrophobic side of the lockdown. It is engagingly surreal and a bit bonkers too.’ Paul Hill

7th Place

Photographer: William Richardson

Title: Frites in Bruges

Caption: Frites in Bruges with dollop of mayonnaise.

Judge’s comment: ‘How reassuring to see a helping of chips and mayonnaise.’ – Martin Parr

8th Place

Photographer: Justin Quinnell

Caption: Eating a ‘potato face’ – from inside of my mouth ‘Smileycam’, 110 cartridge pinhole camera image taken from inside of my mouth using two flashguns to illuminate subject and teeth (not in mouth).

9th Place

Photographer: Amy D’Agorne

Title: 2030

Caption: The year; 2030. Climate change and a rise in food shortages have prompted the U.K. Government to encourage all citizens to start growing food within their back yards. Gripped by the mass hysteria, the protagonist, with a colander on her head to protect herself from her own erratic fears of 5G, tries to plant potatoes in her concrete-lined back yard. As one of the hardiest food crops, they may be her only chance of survival.

Judge’s comment: ‘I like the humour in this image and have nothing but admiration for the effort the photographer went to in order to create it.’ – Nigel Atherton

10th Place

Photographer: Jodie Krause

Title: Apple of the Earth

Caption: This photograph depicts an interpretation of Adam and Eve. Subsequent to COVID-19, humans have been denied many temptations such as contact and intimacy. However, it has also provided an opportunity for the world to ‘reset’ and renew. The potato is a staple food enjoyed around the world and therefore epitomises the fundamentals of life. Moreover, potato in French, ‘Pomme de Terre’, directly translates to ‘Apple of the Earth,’ highlighting the importance of the potato since it is likened to a fruit associated with re-birth. Therefore, my photograph is focused on the creation of Adam and Eve, who herald the start of a new world by holding a potato.

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Sony a7S III pre-production sample gallery (DPReview TV)

30 Jul

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With all the focus on its video features, it might be easy to forget that the Sony a7S III is also a stills camera. This sample gallery features photos captured while shooting our latest episode of DPReview TV.

View the Sony a7S III sample gallery

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Sony’s new a7S III brings 4K/120p video capture, extended shooting and improved AF

30 Jul

As expected, Sony has released the a7S III, its third-generation video-focused full-frame mirrorless camera. It includes a new 12MP BSI-CMOS sensor, the latest ‘Bionz XR’ processor, improved autofocus, an ultra-high resolution EVF and the ability to capture 4K/120p video.

In addition, Sony claims that the a7s III can also record up to ‘at least’ one hour of continuous 4K/60p footage. The company says that this was made possible be redesigning the heat dissipation system in the camera: no fan necessary.

The combination of the new sensor and processor allow for a native ISO range of 80-102400, which can expand to 40-409600, and the (claimed) ability to capture 15 stops of dynamic range. Sony says that the sensor reads out twice as fast as on the a7S II, which considerably reduces rolling shutter. The more-responsive autofocus system has 759 on-sensor PDAF points and offers person, eye and animal AF. Sony says that color reproduction has been noticeably improved, as well. The a7S III also have the distinction of being the first consumer camera to support the new CFexpress Type ‘A’ media.

The a7S III’s physical design is much like that of the a7R IV (including build quality and IBIS), with a few notable exceptions. The electronic viewfinder has the higher resolution we’ve seen yet, with 9.44 million dots. It’s also giant, with a magnification of 0.91x. This is Sony’s first Alpha-series camera with a fully articulating LCD, and nearly everything can be operated by touch (finally). The menu system has been refined and is easier to navigate. The camera has a full-size HDMI port along with headphone and mic sockets, dual-band Wi-Fi and support for USB Power Delivery. It has twin dual-format memory card slots, both of which can handle an SD or CFexpress Type A card.

There are too many video features to list here (our initial review has all the details), but the highlights include 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, your choice of H.264 or H.265 codecs, 16-bit Raw output at up to 60p, and support for S-Log2/3 and HLG. The a7S III does not support DCI or Super 35 capture.

The a7S III will be available in late September for $ 3499.

Read our initial review

Press Release

Highly Anticipated Sony Alpha 7S III Combines Supreme Imaging Performance with Classic “S” Series Sensitivity

New Alpha 7S III Empowers Creators with 4K 120P[i] Video, 10-bit 4:2:2 Recording, 15+ Stop Dynamic Range[ii], Improved AF Performance and More

  • Newly developed BIONZ XRimage processing engine with eight times more processing power[iii] and a brand new 12.1-megapixel (, effective) back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R™ CMOS image sensor, significantly reduced rolling shutter effect[iv]
  • Ultra-high sensitivity with ISO range expandable from 40 – 409,600[v], and improved image quality by approximately 1 stop noise reduction[iv] in the middle and high sensitivity ranges
  • Video recording capabilities include 4K 120p[i], 10 bit 4:2:2 color depth, All-Intra recording, XAVC HS format with H.265 codec and more
  • 15+ stop dynamic range for movies[ii]
  • 4K 60p 16-bit RAW video HDMI output for the first time in the Alpha™ series
  • Fast Hybrid AF system with 759 point phase-detection[vi] AF sensors covering 92% of image sensor
  • Enhanced Real-time Eye AF for movie recording[vii] and still image recording
  • New heat dissipating mechanism and dual slot relay recording enables over one-hour long 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 movie shooting[viii]??
  • 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization supports handheld movie shooting, with added Active Mode [ix] to support especially difficult handheld movie shooting
  • World’s brightest[x] and largest[x] new 0.64-type 9.44 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Side Opening variable angle LCD screen enhances shooting flexibility
  • Completely redesigned menu system with touch screen interface and touch operation
  • High-speed continuous still image shooting at up to 10fps[xi] for more than 1,000 consecutive uncompressed RAW images[xii] with full AF / AE tracking
  • Dual CFexpress Type A card slots that enable high speed data processing while keeping the compact size

SAN DIEGO – July 28, 2020 –Today, Sony Electronics Inc. announced the long-awaited addition to its acclaimed Alpha 7S full-frame mirrorless camera series? — the Alpha 7S III (model ILCE-7SM3).

Featuring a brand new 12.1MP (approx., effective) back-illuminated full-frame image sensor with ultra-high sensitivity and 15+ stop wide dynamic range[ii], a host of impressive video recording capabilities including 4K 120p[i] and 10-bit 4:2:2 color depth, a new heat dissipating mechanism, dual slot relay recording enabling over one-hour of 4K 60p movie shooting[viii], a new autofocus system, and touch screen interface and side flip LCD screen, the new Alpha 7S III will become the ultimate creative tool for video professionals and all types of hybrid still/video shooters.

“The Alpha 7S III is the ultimate representation of Sony’s passion to solve our customers’ pain points,”, said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “We are always listening to our customers’ feedback, pushing hard to deliver innovation that goes far beyond their expectations. There is no better example than this new camera. Combining classic S series sensitivity with a feature set, performance level and user experience that is simply unmatched in the market today — at any price level — the Alpha 7S III opens up a new world of possibilities for today’s creators.”

The system architecture for the new Alpha 7S III has been completely redesigned to deliver exceptional video and still shooting performance. The new 35mm full-frame 12.1MP (approx., effective) back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS image sensor reduces rolling shutter by up to three times[iv] and utilizes a variety of advanced light-gathering techniques to ensure high-sensitivity with low noise, allowing users to shoot in low-light situations without needing large-scale lighting setups. In addition to improved image quality, this new image sensor includes a focal plane phase-detection AF system for the first time in an S-series camera.

To compliment the new sensor, the Alpha 7S III also includes a new BIONZ XR™ image processing engine that provides up to eight times more processing power[iii], minimizes processing latency, and enables many of the hallmark still and imaging features of the camera. The new system also includes the world’s brightest[x] and largest[x] 9.44 million-dot (approx.) OLED electronic eye-level viewfinder and is the world’s first camera[x] with dual CFexpress Type A card slots, enabling high-speed data transfer in a compact size.

Professional Video Workflow Solutions

The Alpha 7S III offers in-camera 4K recording up to 120 frames per secondi, 10-bit depth and 4:2:2 color sampling, producing stunning video recording. The new camera offers a more flexible and efficient post-production workflow with a variety of advanced movie recording modes such as All-Intra[xiii] and MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 coding (XAVC HS™)[xiv]. The Alpha 7S III makes it easy to integrate video recordings with other professional camcorders by providing three color gamut settings S-Gamut, S-Gamut3, and S-Gamut3.Cine, allowing users to easily match footage shot on the Alpha 7S III with footage shot on the professional camcorders simplifying multi-camera post-production workflow. In addition to S-Log3 gamma curves, the Alpha 7S III supports an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) picture profile with minimum post-production. The Alpha 7S III also allows up to 4K 60p 16-bit RAW output[xv] to an external recorder via HDMI Type-A[xvi] connector, offering additional post-production flexibility.

Improved Image Quality

The new CMOS image sensor and BIONZ XR™ image processing engine in the Alpha 7S III delivers legendary S-series sensitivity with significantly enhanced color reproduction and texture renderings for improved overall image quality. The base ISO has been lowered to 80, resulting in a normal range of 80-102,400 (expandable to 80-409,600 for video and 40-409,600 for stills) to provide more flexible ISO plus wide dynamic range with low noise at all settings. It offers improved image quality by approximately 1 stop of noise reduction[iv] in the middle and high sensitivity ranges.

The colors and textures of foliage, human skin, and more are ideally and consistently reproduced without dependence on light sources. Gradation rendering has also been refined for better looking skin tones and highlight roll-off in portraits. It also improves AWB (Auto White Balance) performance with a new “Visible light + IR Sensor” that helps to achieve more precise white balance under artificial lighting, including fluorescent and LED lights.

Versatile Operability

Advanced Autofocus Performance for Hybrid use

For the first time in an Alpha 7S series camera, the Alpha 7S III offers Fast Hybrid AF by combining phase-detection and contrast-detection AF, giving it the ability to track subjects over a wide area with outstanding speed, precision and smoothness, even when using a narrow depth of field. Fine focus expression is possible with Sony’s E-mount lenses.

For environments with a lot of movement, Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF are available to maintain constant focus on the intended subject. Sony’s advanced Real-time Eye AF improves detection performance by 30% over the previous system[iii], thanks to the new image processing engine. It ensures accurate, reliable detection, even when the subject’s face looks away. Real-time Tracking is initiated simply by touching the subject on the screen. Real-time Eye AF is automatically initiated when an eye is detected.

Flexible Autofocus Settings for Movie Shooting

Based on customer feedback, the camera includes several AF features for professional users including AF Transition Speed in seven settings, to easily create rack-focus transitions, and five AF Subject Shift Sensitivity settings, which allows the user to customize how easily AF will switch or stay with the locked-on subject. Touch Tracking allows user to not only initiate Real-time Tracking, but also compose and shoot while using a gimbal or while shooting solo. It’s now possible to Touch Focus during manual focus mode on the LCD screen or remotely from the Imaging Edge Mobile application[xvii].

New Heat-dissipating Structure

The Alpha 7S III’s design has been updated to ensure effective heat dissipation and minimizes overheating — even during extended continuous recording sessions at 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video lasting an hour or more[viii]. A newly developed unique heat dissipating structure keeps the image sensor and image processing engine temperatures within their normal operating ranges, preventing overheating while maintaining compact body dimensions. The new heat-dissipating structure requires no fan or cabinet vents allowing Alpha 7S III to maintain dust and moisture resistance[xviii].

Movie Assist Functions

For video on-the-go, the Alpha 7S III is the first Alpha series camera to include Active Modeix with 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization to support especially difficult handheld movie shooting. It is also the first Alpha series E-mount body to feature a side-opening vari-angle rear screen, perfect for gimbal-mounted shots, complicated angles, handheld operation and more. The screen rotates sideways, up and down, and features a 3.0 type 1.44 million-dot (approx.) touch panel LCD monitor, for optimal visibility even in bright outdoor environments.

In addition, the Alpha 7S III provides a selection of new Creative Look with 10 presets that can be used for both photo and video shoots, making it easy to create interesting moods right in the camera to be used as is or customized by the user.

A digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe for clearer audio recordings from a compatible Sony external microphone. Used with Sony’s XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit, the Alpha 7S III provides 4-channel 24-bit digital audio recording capability in an Alpha series camera for the first time. Like other MI shoe accessories, no cables or batteries are required, providing unrestrained freedom for Alpha system moviemaking.

Additional movie assist functions include a redesigned monitor display with a bold, clearly visible red frame that makes it clear when recording is in progress even when mounted on a rig or gimbal, custom zoom settings, adjustable white balance while recording, display rotation, interval recording, still extraction from movies and more.

Outstanding Still Image Photography

The Alpha 7S III includes a fast Hybrid AF system with 759 phase-detection AF points covering 92% of the image sensor. The camera can also achieve high AF precision to accurately and reliably focus in light down to EV-6[xix], where subjects are difficult to see clearly even with the naked eye. Users can continuously shoot more than 1,000 uncompressed RAW[xii] images at up to 10fps, or up to 8fps in live view mode, with either the mechanical or electronic shutter.

The Alpha 7S III also includes the world’s first[x] 9.44 million-dot (approx.), 0.64 type Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder with a high-definition OLED display and refined. The Alpha 7S III viewfinder offers a 0.90x viewfinder magnification[xx], 41° diagonal field of view, 25mm high eyepoint for clear, low-distortion corner to corner viewing. It is also dust, fog and moisture resistant[xviii], extremely responsive, and has switchable modes for different subject types. Every aspect of the Alpha 7S III viewfinder has been designed and refined for a professional workflow.

For the first time in one of Sony’s digital cameras, the Alpha 7S III includes HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format) allowing for smooth 10-bit gradations and advanced compression technology to maintain image quality while significantly reducing file size and saving storage space. HEIF stills shot in this mode can be played back on a compatible Sony HDR (HLG) TV via a direct HDMI Type-A connection from the Alpha 7S III, delivering true-to-life dynamic range[xxi].

Versatile Design Made for the Pros

CFexpress Type A for High-speed Data Transfer

In another world’s firstx, the Alpha 7S III features two CFexpress Type A compatible media slots which also support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards, enabling high write-and-read speeds while keeping the camera body compact in size. CFexpress Type A cards are ideally suited to high-speed continuous RAW still image shooting as well as 4K 120pi movie recording at high bit rates[xxii], providing next-generation write speeds that can quickly clear the buffers of cameras that generate high volumes of still image and movie data. High-speed data transfer to a PC is possible at about 1.7 times faster[xxiii] than that of SD card. The dual slots can be set to relay mode for extended continuous recording of even the highest bit rate data as well as simultaneous recording and sort by format type recording.

Revised Menu System with Enhanced Touch Screen

The Alpha 7S III also features a revised menu structure for easier navigation and touch-responsive menu operation for faster, more intuitive control. For creators who shoot both stills and movies, separate settings can now be stored for stills and movie shooting for quick transition between the two.

High Reliability Gives Creators New Freedom

Professional users need more than just refined features and performance. They also need the reliability and durability demanded of any professional tool. The Alpha 7S III features a redesigned grip for greater comfort and a secure hold, an improved dust removal feature, plus dust and moisture resistance[xviii] that maximizes reliability in challenging environments. It includes a durable, reliable HDMI Type-A connector, and is the first Alpha series camera to support USB PD (Power Delivery), allowing higher power to be supplied from an external source so that users can continue to record for extended periods with minimal internal battery usage.

Advanced Connectivity for Professional Working Environments

The Alpha 7S III has been designed and configured to support photo and video journalists and sports shooters who need to deliver stills or movies as quickly as possible with several advanced connectivity options. The camera supports 5GHz[xxiv]/2.4GHz wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11ac) and offers MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) to improve communication quality by using multiple antennas, doubling in speed when compared to the Alpha7R IV. It also carries new USB tethering support[xxv]. When connected to a 5G (5th generation technology standard for cellular networks) compatible device via USB cable, it is possible to use 5G network for fast and stable FTP file transfer[xxvi]. USB to high-speed wired LAN connectivity[xxvii] also offers stable and fast FTP transfer for both movies and stills. A USB Type-C™ connector that supports fast SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps (USB 3.2) data transfer is provided, enabling high-speed PC Remote (tethered) data transfer available for smooth handling of large image files.

Pricing and Availability

The new Alpha 7S III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will be available in September 2020 for approximately $ 3,499.99 USD and $ 4,799.99 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new camera and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony ? – Alpha.

For detailed coverage on the new product on Alpha Universe, please visit this LINK.

The new content will also be posted directly at the Sony Photo Gallery.

For detailed product information, please visit:

  • (US) – ILCE-7SM3
  • (CA) – ILCE-7SM3

[i] 10% of view cropped

[ii] S-Log3 movies, Sony internal tests

[iii] When compared to the BIONZ X™ image processor

[iv] When compared to Alpha7S II

[v] 40 to 409,600 for stills and 80 to 409,600 for movies. Sony test conditions

[vi] When shooting full-frame still images. The number of AF points used depends on the shooting mode.

[vii] This function does not track animal eyes

[viii] Sony test conditions. XAVC S-I 10-bit 4:2:2, 25 deg C (ambient, camera when recording started), Auto Power Off Temperature: High. The value will vary depending on the shooting conditions. Movie shooting past an hour will continue until battery ends.

[ix] In active mode, the shooting angle of view is slightly narrowed. If the focal length is 200 mm or more, it is recommended to set to standard

[x] As of July 2020, Sony survey. Among full-frame mirrorless cameras

[xi] Up to 10fps in continuous “Hi+” mode, and up to 8fps in continuous “Hi” mode Maximum fps will depend on camera settings

[xii] Requires CFexpress Type A memory card

[xiii] When XAVC S-I 4K or HD is selected via the file format menu

[xiv] Requires compatible memory card

[xv] Atomos Ninja V HDR monitor-recorder support planned. As of July 2020

[xvi] Sony’s Premium High Speed HDMI Cable DLC-HX10 recommended

[xvii] Imaging Edge Mobile Ver. 7.4 or later required

[xviii] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof

[xix] ISO 100 equivalent, F2.0 lens, AF-S mode

[xx] 50mm lens, infinity, -1m-1 diopter

[xxi] Desktop application “HEIF Converter” for displaying and editing HEIF format is planned to launch in September 2020

[xxii] 4:2:2 10-bit All-I, when recording slow motion

[xxiii] Sony test conditions.

[xxiv] 5 GHz communication may be restricted in some countries and regions

[xxv] Power Delivery supported smartphone is required

[xxvi] Does not guarantee connection with all smartphone. FTP file transfer by USB tethering that utilizes 4G network is also possible

[xxvii] A compatible USB-Ethernet adapter is required

Sony a7S III specifications

MSRP $ 3499 (body only)
Body type
Body type SLR-style mirrorless
Body material Magnesium alloy
Max resolution 4240 x 2832
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 13 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm)
Sensor type BSI-CMOS
Processor Bionz XR
Color space sRGB, Adobe RGB, BT.2020
Color filter array Primary color filter
ISO Auto, 80-102400 (expands to 40-409600)
Boosted ISO (minimum) 40
Boosted ISO (maximum) 409600
White balance presets 7
Custom white balance Yes
Image stabilization Sensor-shift
Image stabilization notes 5-axis
CIPA image stabilization rating 5.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed format RAW
JPEG quality levels Extra fine, fine, normal
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.32)
  • HEIF
  • Raw (ARW 4.0)
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 759
Lens mount Sony E
Focal length multiplier 1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fully articulated
Screen size 3
Screen dots 1,440,000
Touch screen Yes
Screen type TFT LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Electronic
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.91×
Viewfinder resolution 9,440,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
Built-in flash No
External flash Yes (Multi-interface shoe)
Flash X sync speed 1/250 sec
Drive modes
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Self-timer
  • Bracketing (AE/WB/DRO)
Continuous drive 10.0 fps
Self-timer Yes
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Highlight-weighted
  • Average
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes
Videography features
Format MPEG-4, XAVC S, XAVC HS, XAVC S-1, H.264, H.265
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 120p / 280 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 100p / 280 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 200 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 200 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 140 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 140 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage types Dual SD/CFexpress Type A slots
USB USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB charging Yes (USB PD supported)
HDMI Yes (Standard)
Microphone port Yes
Headphone port Yes
Wireless Built-In
Wireless notes 802.11ac (dual band) + Bluetooth
Remote control Yes (wireless or smartphone)
Environmentally sealed Yes
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description NP-FZ100 lithium-ion battery charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 600
Weight (inc. batteries) 699 g (1.54 lb / 24.66 oz)
Dimensions 129 x 97 x 81 mm (5.08 x 3.82 x 3.19)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
GPS None

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What is Burst Mode and How Can it Benefit Your Photography?

30 Jul

The post What is Burst Mode and How Can it Benefit Your Photography? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

When it comes to photography, timing can be everything. Whether you are photographing a high-speed car or a static landscape, knowing when to press the shutter button is all-important. But the average human reaction time to a visual stimulus is 0.25 seconds, making photographs of brief opportunities somewhat difficult. Fortunately, when frantically depressing the shutter button just doesn’t cut it, there’s burst mode.

Let’s take a speedy look at burst mode, and how it can benefit your photography.

burst mode photography 737
Burst mode is great for capturing fast-moving subjects. 1/250s | f/9 | ISO 160

What is burst mode?

Burst mode is also known as continuous shooting mode or continuous high-speed mode. It’s a camera function that allows you to make a series of photographs in quick succession. With burst mode activated, a photographer can hold the shutter button down and the camera will take multiple photographs, minimizing the interval between shots.

burst mode photography cockatoo
I used burst mode to capture this moment of a cockatoo eating grass seed. 1/8000s | f/5.6 | ISO 500

When is burst mode used?

Burst mode can be used at any time, but it’s especially useful for fast-moving subjects and fleeting opportunities. Burst mode records moments much faster than capturing an event manually frame-by-frame. This increases the chance of making successful photographs of short-lived moments.

What is Burst Mode and How Can it Benefit Your Photography?
Handholding with extension tubes can be tricky. Using burst mode is one way to increase the ratio of sharp macro images. 1/100s | f/6.3 | ISO 100

Burst mode is often viewed as a setting best suited to photographing high-action sports events. But street photographers, for example, may use the mode to anticipate interesting photographic opportunities. Burst mode is also great for macro and wildlife photography and for capturing the nuanced expressions of subjects in portraiture.

How to use burst mode

Activating burst mode can vary depending on the camera. For my Canon 5D Mark II, I activate continuous shooting by pressing the dedicated AF•DRIVE button on my camera and selecting continuous shooting on the main screen with the quick control dial. If you aren’t sure how to activate burst mode, consult your manual or have a look online.

burst mode icon on a canon 5D mk II camera
The burst mode icon displayed on a Canon 5D MK II. 1/60s | f/9 | ISO 500

With burst mode engaged, you’ll also need to ensure you set the right focus mode. For burst mode photography, it’s best to shoot in continuous focusing mode. Known as AI Servo on Canon and AF-C on Nikon, continuous focus will constantly track moving objects, helping to maintain sharp focus while burst mode is activated.

Finally, set your camera settings (shutter speed, aperture, and ISO) accordingly, and you are ready to go! Focus on a subject, depress the shutter button, and the camera will take a burst of images as long as the shutter button is held down (to an extent; see below).

The technical bits of burst mode

There are a few aspects that govern the performance of continuous shooting. The speed of a camera’s burst mode can depend largely on the camera itself. While some cameras operate at two or three frames per second (fps), higher-end cameras can perform at 8+ fps per burst.

In addition, burst mode photographs are saved to a shot buffer before they are transferred to your memory card. The size of the camera’s shot buffer and memory card determines how long you can shoot in burst mode, and the writing speed of any images taken. For example, with a UDMA card, my Canon 5D Mark II can shoot a burst of 310 large JPEG files.

Burst mode bee
Burst mode is good for capturing fleeting moments. 1/160s | f/6.3 | ISO 400

However, if I want to shoot in RAW, the buffer has the capacity for 13 images per burst with a UDMA card. This is important to know when planning a shoot as the requirement for a longer burst will depend on your willingness to shoot in JPEG.

Another option to improve the length of a burst is to change the camera’s frames per second setting. Not all cameras have this option. However, selecting a slower burst mode will maintain your burst for longer, but with a greater interval between each shot.

An additional aspect to keep in mind when using burst mode is battery life. Shooting in burst mode can drain the life of a battery faster than with single-frame shooting. If you plan to use burst mode frequently over the course of a shoot, it could be prudent to take an extra battery or two along with you.


Whether you’re photographing a family portrait with active kids, capturing a flock of birds in flight, or covering a sporting event, burst mode can snap up the moments that could otherwise be missed in single-shooting. By setting your camera to burst mode, you can anticipate events and make a series of exposures without worrying so much about reaction time.

The post What is Burst Mode and How Can it Benefit Your Photography? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

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