What Is the Buffer Feature on Digital Cameras?

Your memory buffer on your digital camera is one of the most least understood and most import features. It is the equivalent to a computer's RAM in that it determines how fast an image takes to go from being shot to being on the memory card. Your camera's buffer is really important because if it's slow, it could cause you to miss a shot. What happens is that you take a lot of pictures and all of a sudden your camera freezes, and you can't use it for a few minutes as the images pass through the buffer to the memory card because bottle necking has occurred.

Understanding the Buffer

The location of the buffer in the camera's work flow is extremely crucial in determining how fast images will be processed. If the buffer is after the image processor, then you can reduce image size and quality to take pictures faster. If it's before the image processor, then there is nothing you can do to increase the buffering speed.

Some cameras offer "smart buffering," which combines the before and after process of buffering. This allows data to flow freely within the camera and avoids bottle necking from the buffer to the memory card. This process is the most efficient for shooting in bursts.

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