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In a split second, a potentially great wildlife photo is here and gone, forever. That’s why I suggest shooting in burst or continuous high release mode when there is a possibility of fast action. With continuous high release, when you press and hold down on the shutter-release button, the camera will take the maximum number of photos possible until the memory buffer is full or you lift your finger. The benefit is you have a sequence of the action shots from which to pick the best single frames. In addition, publications prefer to get a sequence of photos to include with a story, not just one or two pictures.

For wildlife photographers, the MAXIMUM NUMBER of photos a camera can take in continuous mode is an important purchasing consideration. This is referred to as a camera’s frames-per-second rate or frame rate.  While we want the fastest frame rate camera we can afford, there is unfortunately a trade-off. With a high frame rate comes a limitation in mega-pixels. I own the highest frame rate camera bodies that Nikon offers, but the mega-pixels are about half of what is available in other Nikon cameras. For me, speed is more important than mega-pixels, but ideally, I would have like to have both a high frame rate and high mega-pixels.

To see the value of a high frame rate camera, the sequence of photos shown in the video below were taken in LESS THAN A TWO-SECOND WINDOW. That’s 15 frames captured in less than 2 seconds. The photo above was 1 of the 15 frames. The sequence got published shortly thereafter in the UK.

Camera Gear and Settings


  • Nikon D4s
  • Frame rate: 10-11 frames/second
  • Effective pixels: 16.2 M
  • 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6
  • Sandisk Extreme Pro Compact Flash Card 32 GB – 90 MB/s
  • Handheld


  • 80mm focal length
  • Shutter Speed Priority (TV)
  • 1/1000s
  • Aperture f/10-f/11 (set by the camera)
  • ISO 1600
  • Auto Focus Mode: Continuous (AI-Servo)
  • Auto Focus Area Mode: 3-D Tracking
  • Metering Mode: Matrix metering (Evaluative)
  • White Balance: Sunny
  • Color Space: Adobe RGB
  • Vibration Reduction: ON

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