The Buyers guide to...Which cameras have the highest fps in burst mode?

We round up the best cameras for continuous shooting so you can capture stunning action sequences

DSLR or mirrorless for Wildlife Photography?
Buyers Guide

It’s possible to shoot sport, wildlife and other fast-moving subjects with most cameras, but some make it a lot easier than others. You might be able to get the odd great shot, but you probably won’t be able to shoot a compelling action sequence that is consistently sharp unless your camera can shoot at a high frame rate in burst mode.

Frame rates are commonly referred to as fps, which means frames per second – in other words, how many images your camera can capture each second when holding down the shutter button.

What is the best camera for continuous shooting?

Traditionally, a DSLR has been the best camera for continuous shooting. Pro models like the Nikon D4, and then enthusiast cameras like the Canon EOS 7D set the bar for capturing action sequences quickly without killing your buffer.

These days, companies like Sony, Olympus and Panasonic have developed mirrorless cameras that push the envelope of what’s possible in continuous shooting mode. In fact, most of the options on this list of which cameras have the highest fps in burst mode are mirrorless cameras.

But as time goes on, technology advances and we’re now seeing impressive continuous shooting options in smartphone cameras. Huawei, for instance, offers 20fps shooting in burst mode, and many other smartphone manufacturers aren’t far behind.

So, really, the question of what is the best camera for continuous shooting these days comes down to size and how serious you are about your photography (in other words, are you a working professional or an advanced enthusiast).

If you’re looking to capture sequences of your kid’s football match or your dog running on the beach to complement your everyday photography, and advanced smartphone might suit your needs.

If you’re looking to shoot wildlife or sport and take it very seriously, but don’t want to be burdened by heavy kit, consider a mirrorless camera.

If you shoot action for a living and you’ve already invested in a system and own several lenses, a pro-model DSLR is probably your best bet.

These cameras have the highest fps

Which cameras have the highest fps in burst mode? At the moment we’re just focusing on interchangeable lens cameras. That implies no disprespect to smartphone cameras, of course. But the reality is that most people buying a camera specifically for its continuous shooting capabilities are likely looking for something on the professional end of the market.

These are our picks for the best cameras for continuous shooting. In the near future we’ll update this post with options for smartphone shooters.

Which cameras have the highest fps in burst mode?
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Which cameras have the highest fps in burst mode?
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Which cameras have the highest fps in burst mode? These are our picks for the best cameras for continuous shooting and capturing action.
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Camera Jabber
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Panasonic G9 Review

For

  • As fast as the Sony A9
  • Excellent buffer
  • Superb EVF and screen
  • Stabilisation system rated at 6.5EV
  • Weather-sealed

Against

  • Four Thirds sensor
  • 400-frame battery life
  • Oddly positioned joystick

Price when reviewed

£1499

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Panasonic G9

  • Burst Mode (electronic shutter): 20fps with C-AF
  • Burst Mode (electronic shutter): 60fps with S-AF
  • Burst Mode (mechanical shutter): 9fps with C-AF
  • Burst Mode (mechanical shutter): 12fps with S-AF

We’ve seen an escalation in continuous shooting rates recently with electronic shutters also allowing silent shooting. When the electronic shutter is in use, the G9 can shoot at up to 20fps (frames per second) with continuous autofocusing (AFC), that puts it level with the full-frame Sony A9. That’s good news for wildlife photographers who don’t want a clicking shutter to disturb their prey.

If you want to shoot faster still, the G9 can shoot full-resolution images at an incredible 60fps in single-AF mode, that is, with the focus set at the start of the sequence. That’s good news for shooting static action like water splashes or fleeting facial expressions.

At full-pelt, the G9’s buffer enables up to 50 raw files to be captured. If you switch to use the mechanical shutter, the maximum shooting rates drop to 9fps with AFC and 12fps with AFS, but the burst depth expands to 60 raw files.

In addition, Panasonic’s 4K Photo and 6K Photo modes are on hand with their convenient modes to help with capturing brief bursts of action. These modes use video technology to capture sequences of images which can then be extracted to create 8Mp (4K) or 18Mp (6K) still images.

The G9 can shoot 6K Photo images at 30fps for up to 10minutes. Alternatively, 4K Photo mode can be used at 60fps for 10 minutes or 30fps for a maximum of 30 minutes. Shooting for 10 minutes at 60fps produces a lot of 8Mp images!

Read our full Panasonic G9 review

Olympus OM-D E-M1X review

For

  • One of the fastest cameras you can buy
  • Pro Capture Mode offers lots of flexibility
  • High Res Shot mode is very impressive

Against

  • It's very heavy
  • Four Thirds sensor
  • Need more smaller, lighter, more affordable long telephoto lenses

Price when reviewed

£2199

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Olympus OM-D E-M1X

  • Pro Capture High Mode: 60fps
  • Pro Capture Low Mode: 18fps
  • Burst Mode in S-AF: 15fps for 143 raw files
  • Burst Mode in C-AF: 10fps for 283 raw files

The OM-D E-M1X uses Olympus’s Pro Capture mode for shooting stills of very fast action. Thanks to the dual processors, there’s no blackout in the viewfinder when this is in action.

In Pro Capture High mode, the shooting rate is 60fps, but the focusing is fixed at the start of the sequence. Switch to Pro Capture Low, and you can shoot at 18fps with continuous focusing.

Pro Capture mode is designed to help you record fleeting moments that are easily missed. To that end, when it’s activated the camera starts writing images to the buffer as soon as the shutter release is half-pressed. Once the shutter button is pressed fully, the 35 images that were buffered immediately before it was pressed are recorded along with 100 from immediately after.

There’s also a standard sequential shooting mode that uses the mechanical shutter. When this is in action, the maximum shooting rate in single AF mode is 15fps for 143 raw files. In continuous autofocus mode, the maximum is 10fps for 283 raw files.

A High Res Shot mode also delivers larger and more detailed images. The 50Mp Handheld mode captures the images quickly but then takes a little longer to render the final shot than the Tripod mode. Comparing the results with standard images reveals a nice jump in the level of detail.

Similarly, the 80Mp tripod mode delivers impressive results. It gives a significant boost to the size of print that you can make. That compositing also has a beneficial effect on the dynamic range as there’s more detail visible (and extractable) from the shadows.

Sony Alpha A9 Review

For

  • Fast, clever AF system
  • Superb EVF

Against

  • Needs more fast, long lenses

Price when reviewed

£3399

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Sony A9

  • Burst Mode in C-AF: 20fps
  • Raw Files at 20fps: 241
  • JPEG Files at 20fps: 362

The Sony A9’s 24.2-megapixel full-frame sensor’s integral memory works in tandem with the Bionz X processor to enable faster data readout. As a consequence the Sony A9 has a full resolution maximum continuous shooting rate of 20fps (frames per second), that’s with continuous autofocus and metering.

That blistering pace can be maintained for up to 241 raw files or 362 jpegs – equating to roughly 12 seconds shooting continuously in raw format or 18 seconds in jpeg format.

So you should able to capture every fleeting expression on a top-class 100m sprinter’s face from the gun firing to the finish line and still have some capacity for the winner’s celebration.

In continuous AF mode the A9 is quick to latch onto moving subjects and it follows them with apparent ease. Angela, our reviews editor, normally shies away from settings that give a camera free rein to determine the AF point to use, but the A9 performed superbly in Wide AF mode even when there was a cluttered background such as cliffs or rocks behind the moving birds.

When she was using continuous AF mode to photograph my dog on the beach, She noticed that if he was still the camera sometimes focused on a point a little closer to her than he was, but as soon as he started moving it snapped onto him. If he ran towards her his head got the AF system’s attention; if he ran away it was his backside.

Read our full Sony A9 review

For

  • 153 AF-points, 99 cross-type
  • ISO 50-3,280,000

Against

  • Can only shoot 4K video for 3 minutes at a time
  • Minor handling issues

Price when reviewed

£5299

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Nikon D5

  • Burst Mode with C-AF: 12fps
  • Burst Mode with S-AF: 14fps

During our testing, the D5’s autofocus system put in an excellent performance, getting subjects sharp quickly and keeping moving subjects in focus as they shifted position, even in gloomy lighting.

Interestingly, when the continuous autofocus priority in custom menu a1 was set to Focus rather than release the camera became very hesitant in low light dropping the shooting rate dramatically.

However, when it was switched back to the default of Release the vast majority of the shots taken at 12fps were sharp. Clearly it doubts itself a bit more than it should.

As usual, the highest hit rates are achieved by narrowing down the AF point coverage with single AF point often proving to be the best option provided the subject is a suitable size and you can keep the selected point in the right place.

We found 25-point dynamic area AF mode to be one of the most useful options giving a good balance between AF point coverage and ease of keeping a point over a fast moving subject.

Canon 5D Mark IV front

For

  • 30Mp full-frame sensor
  • ISO 100-32000 (expands to 50-102400)

Against

  • Touchscreen is fixed
  • 4K video for internal recording only

Price when reviewed

£1799

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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

  • High-Speed Continuous Shooting Mode: 7fps
  • Low-Speed Continuous Shooting Mode: 3fps
  • Silent Continuous Shooting: Mirror raised slowly for less noise

While the 5D Mark III offered 22.3 million effective pixels, the Mark IV has 30.4 million, marking a significant jump up in resolution.

However, the inclusion of Digic 6+ processing technology enabled Canon to push the Mark IV’s native sensitivity range up from ISO 100-25,600 to ISO 100-32,000, with expansion settings taking this to ISO 50-102,400 – the same as the 5D Mark III. In video mode sensitivity can be set in the range ISO 100-102,400.

Interestingly, the Canon EOS 5D IV has a dual processor, as the Digic 6+ unit is accompanied by a Digic 6 processor. The Digic 6 processor takes care of the exposure metering while the Digic 6+ engine takes care of image capture and processing.

It enables a maximum continuous shooting rate of 7fps (frames per second) with continuous autofocus and metering for up to 21 raw files or an unlimited number of jpegs. In live view mode the camera can shoot at up to 4.3fps.

Canon hasn’t given the 5D Mark IV more autofocus points than the 5D Mark III but the 61 points are spread further up and down the frame. Also as before, there are 41 cross-type points; however, 21 of them are cross type down to f/8 (rather than f/4).

There are also 5 dual cross-type points that are sensitive down to f/8 (with the 5D Mark III these are dual cross-type at f/2.8). The system also operates down to -3EV, 1EV darker conditions than the 5D Mark III’s system. This all adds up to make the Canon 5D Mark IV’s autofocus system more sensitive and better able to detect a subject.

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