Canon PowerShot G12, Keeping Up with Continuous Drive Mode

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Getting great focus is one thing, but capturing the best moment on the sensor can be difficult if you are shooting just one frame at a time. In the world of sports, and in life in general, things move pretty fast. If you blink, you might miss it. The same can be said for shooting in the Single Shot drive mode.

The drive mode determines how fast your camera will take pictures. The Single Shot drive mode is for taking one photograph at a time. With every full press of the shutter, the camera will take a single image. The Continuous mode allows for a more rapid capture rate. Think of it like a machine gun. In Continuous mode, the camera continues to take pictures as long as the shutter release button is held down (or until the buffer fills up).

The Continuous—or “burst”—mode lets you capture a series of images at up to 2 frames per second. Admittedly, that’s not terribly impressive when you’re shooting fast action, especially compared to the output that DSLRs can produce (anywhere from 3 to 12 or more frames per second). However, that’s still faster than shooting in Single Shot mode when you take into consideration the time it takes to write the image to the memory card and prepare for the next shot. See Figure 5.5.

Use the Continuous drive mode to capture sequences or make sure you’re getting the action.
Figure 5.5 Use the Continuous drive mode to capture sequences or make sure you’re getting the action. [Photos: Jeff Carlson]
The G12 also features two other Continuous shooting modes: Continuous Shooting AF engages the autofocus while firing off shots to try to keep each shot sharp; the regular Continuous mode locks focus when you press the shutter button halfway. Continuous Shooting LV replaces its AF counterpart when you’ve set a manual focus point. The shots-per-second rate is reduced to 0.7 and 0.8 images per second, respectively, for these two modes, since they’re performing other processing tasks.

Setting up the continuous drive mode

Setting up the continuous drive mode

To shoot, just press the shutter button and hold until the desired number of frames has been captured.

Your camera has an internal memory, called a “buffer,” where images are stored while they are being processed prior to being moved to your memory card. Depending on the image format you are using, the buffer might fill up, and the camera will stop shooting until space is made in the buffer for new images. If this happens, you will see the word “Busy” appear on the LCD panel. The camera readout in the viewfinder tells you how many frames you have available.