Tue 19-Feb-13 09:19 PM | edited Wed 20-Feb-13 12:03 AM by nathantw
We went to the beach and stumbled upon a bull California elephant seal. Pretty exciting. I shot some photos with my 28-300 but went back to the car and got the Nikkor 400mm f/5.6 just to get shots with it. Since it was lying down I decided to wait until it lifted its head. When it did I fired off a few shots on high speed. I was shooting raw and jpg with a Lexar 600x card.
Well, the good part came up when it opened its mouth and looked my way when suddenly...beep, sorry, buffer full. ARGH! Made me wish I had a D3 or D4 instead of a D700 so I could have basically an unlimited buffer. By the time the camera caught up the head was already back on the sand. Sigh. I guess I need to time my shots better or put the camera drive on CL instead of CH.
Overall, though I thought the picture came out pretty good.
The one thing I noticed immediately about my D4, and I came from a D700, was that for all practical purposes the buffer cannot be filled in any normal shooting conditions. I'm talking 8 or 9 seconds at full 10fps. Compared to my D300 and D700, I just never encounter a situation where the buffer has filled on me. Plus of course with XQD, the buffer offloads very very quick.
Now you wanna talk about timing, my D7000 requires me to wait until I really think the action is at peak, because I only get a two second burst at full fps. Unfortunately, I have watched some great scenes through that viewfinder while I waited
>Made me wish I had a D3 or D4 instead of a D700 so I could >have basically an unlimited buffer. By the time the camera >caught up the head was already back on the sand.
If you had a D3 the buffer would have filled before the buffer in your D700 did because believe it or not the D3 has a slightly smaller buffer than the D700. Nikon did offer a buffer upgrade for the D3 for $500.00 if my memory is correct that more than doubled the buffer capacity. The Buffer in the D3s has over twice the capacity of the D700 and a faster write speed as well. The buffer in the D4 is well over twice the capacity of the D3s and with XQD cards writes significantly faster as well.
The D800 is between the D3 and the D700: While the D800's buffer has over twice the overall capacitiy (in MB) of the D700, the image files are 2 1/2 - 3 times larger resulting in slightly less capacity (# of images) than the D700 and the same to slightly more capacity (# of images) depending on bit depth and compression than the D3 without the upgraded buffer.
I shoot only RAW with both my D700 and my D4, never RAW + jpg. I have yet to run out of buffer capacity with the D4, and find the D700 to be reasonably good for capacity, but have filled it on occasion shooting eagles fishing.
>If you had a D3 the buffer would have filled before the buffer >in your D700 did because believe it or not the D3 has a >slightly smaller buffer than the D700.
Wow, I didn't know that. How disappointing for the people that had a D3!
>Nikon did offer a buffer upgrade for the D3 for $500.00 if my >memory is correct that more than doubled the buffer capacity. >The Buffer in the D3s has over twice the capacity of the D700 >and a faster write speed as well. The buffer in the D4 is >well over twice the capacity of the D3s and with XQD cards >writes significantly faster as well.
Sounds like a D3s or D4 will fit my bill perfectly. Now to only come up with a few $$$$. It's interesting because I'm not normally one that shoots a lot of frames at one time. In my film days I used to use the motor drive just to advance the film. I'd take one shot and be ready for the next, but not machine gunning. Now in the days of digital I need to remind myself that it's okay to shoot a few frames at a time, but periodically I hit the buffer limit because of my enthusiasm.
I don't want to sound harsh, but in my opinion the D700 has plenty of buffer for a shot like that. You just need to be more aware of your buffer, and the expected sharpness consistency for the particular shooting situation, and shoot accordingly.
There are some specific situations for which I find the D700 buffer limiting but in most cases, including things like Birds In Flight, I manage. But I do manage my buffer.
Now, if price were no object I would shoot a D4. But if that were the case we would all be shooting Pigs In Flight too, with that huge buffer
When I set my D700 to 'raw only' I get an indication of 17 frames available in the buffer (r17 on a half press). If I add JPG large Fine (for Raw+JPG) it only drops to 15. So I'm not sure that is a game changer either way. I do shoot raw only, but I use Photomechanic for my browsing and front end work. That can make 'raw only' a little easier to integrate into a work flow.
While on the subject of D700 buffers, I mentioned that with my normal setup the best I get is an r17 buffer capacity. Thom Hogan, in his eBook, suggests a higher number that I have never achieved, even with a shooting and custom bank set to factory defaults. I'd be curious to know if my r17 is typical here.
I learned that the first time I tried to shoot sports. The event was standing broad jump. I conservatively started shooting early, so as not to miss the launch, and ran out of buffer when the jumper was still in midair.
(According to Wikipedia it's now called standing long jump.)