Slow Canon 7D

category: Cameras • 2 min read

When I bought my Canon 7D, I was promised 8 frames per second. The sales guy even taunted me against the slow Nikon D300s that could “only” do 6 frames per second. I would have to buy the Nikon battery grip to get almost the same speed! Guess what? I don’t even get close to 8 frames per second. I may get close to 5 frames per second.

Why? Is Canon falsely advertising? Am I an incompetent operator? Actually, it some of both.

  1. By default, and I like it that it is the default, the Canon 7D comes configured with the “silent shooting” mode. On page 137 of the manual, the last menu function settings, the 4th tab, it says:

    Mode 1

    The shooting operation noise is quieter than the normal shooting. Continuous shooting is also possible. High-speed continuous shooting will be approx. 7.0 fps.

    Kind of 7 frames per second. I tried it and still no joy! Not even close. Why? 2. I was shooting in auto-focus. The camera had to wait for the auto-focus to work. The Canon 7D, with its 2 CPUs, is a very fast camera, but not that fast, it has to wait for the step-motor of lens to move the optical elements. 3. I have set the C.Fn III-2 to 0: focus tracking has priority

So I decided to try it in Manual mode, Manual focus, on a tripod, on a static object. Guess what, it looks like I’m pretty close to it. I don’t have the equipment to measure from the time I press the shutter to the time I release my finger of the shutter. But it looks fairly close from the date/time in the EXIF.

But, what’s the point of taking 8 frames per second of a static object?

  • What’s the number 1 factor that doesn’t influence the speed of the camera? The speed of the memory card.
  • Why isn’t the memory card important? Because everything is buffered, and the camera will flush the photos to the card when it will have time. The speed of the memory card is important in the “sustained” speed of the camera.
  • This is not just about the Canon 7D, it also apply to all the other cameras from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony…