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Photography Question 
Karen Seargeant
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member since: 1/18/2003
 

Why Does My Camera Write Slow?


I love my Canon Digital Rebel XTi ... however, when shooting fireworks, it writes extremely slow, causing me to lose some good shots. I have turned off the viewing, tried different file types (Raw vs. JPEG, smaller or larger) but nothing helps. Any suggestions?

7/6/2008 10:08:56 PM

 
Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Karen,
The modern digital camera features chip logic - i.e., the camera’s main chip or CPU has all manor of built-in computer enhancing programming. These are computer routines that improve the images we take. Especially rigorous are the routines for situations that present a photographic challenge. You would be unhappy if you turned off these enhancements. We pay the price which is a longer processing time. We gain by better images.

7/6/2008 10:34:22 PM

 
Carlton Ward
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member since: 12/13/2005
 
 
  Seattle 4th 2
Seattle 4th 2
f/8, 1/20s, iso400, 70mm, tripod & remote shutter release
© Carlton Ward
carltonwardphoto.com
Canon EOS 40D Digi...
 
 
Hi Karen,
if you are shooting at slow shutter speeds (1 sec or slower), it does take longer for the information to be processed & written to the card.
Long exposures on Canon dSLRs with noise reduction use a dark frame to reduce noise. The shot still consists of one single exposure but then there is delay while the dark frame is taken and then the results are combined and the result written to the card.
For fireworks, you should be shooting 1/15 thru 1/40 of a second range, and it should be a faster write time. I just shot a fireworks show, and at f/8 thru f/11 and ISO 400, I was shooting between 1/20 and 1/30 speed, and they were writing fast enough to keep up with the show.

7/6/2008 11:16:28 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Don't feel bad, Karen, even the Nikon D300 ($1700) and the D3 ($5000) process slow when long shutter speeds are used with Noise Reduction turned on.
Technology will soon cure this too. :)
Pete

7/7/2008 5:14:06 AM

 
Paul D.
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member since: 1/25/2006
  Hi Karen, there may be an easier answer. What brand and model of CompactFlash card are you using? That makes a big difference in write speeds. For instance, the SanDisk Ultra II Cf writes about 9mb (megabytes) per second, which is OK at best. But, you want faster write speeds, so check out the next model up, the SanDisk Extreme III cards... they write at 20mb per second. Lexar makes excellent cards also, but instead of calling it 20mb/sec, they call it 133X, just so you know. Now, to add more confusion, the NEWER SanDisk Extreme III's have just been released, and they write at 30mb/sec. Lastly, the SanDisk Extreme IV write at 40mb per second, but your camera may not fully utilize that. My suggestion, if you do have a slower CF card currently, is to try the SanDisk Extreme III, NEWER version (30mb/sec). The write speeds are super quick, and they're only about 50 bucks for a 4GB card! Search "SanDisk SDCFX3-004G-A31 4GB Extreme III" on Amazon.com, and make sure you select the newer model. It'll have "30mb/sec" written on the card's label. By the way, the Extreme III's gave me one other neat surprise. Because of the faster write speeds, my battery lasts noticably longer than with the slower Ultra II's. Hope that helps!

7/8/2008 6:31:00 AM

 
Daniel Novak

member since: 7/2/2006
  When noise reduction is on the camera takes two exposures. One actual and one with the shutter closed to assist with noise reduction. The second exposure is exactly as long as the first one. If you want to shoot faster, turn noise reduction off and postpone that task till postprocessing.

7/8/2008 6:56:34 AM

 
W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Good answers.

7/8/2008 7:01:54 AM

 
Paul D.
BetterPhoto Member
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member since: 1/25/2006
  Karen, I missed your statement "when shooting fireworks". If your shutter speeds are longer than 1 second, then the noise reduction that the others mentioned is a factor, so listen to them! ;-) Faster CF cards do help also, but they don't help the "2nd exposure" that takes place to reduce noise. If you shoot a 2 second exposure, the card has to write that image and another 2 seconds of the "noise reduction image".

7/8/2008 8:04:39 AM

 
Karen Seargeant
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member since: 1/18/2003
  Thank you all so much for your help.

I was able to keep up with the show, but did miss some great things. I got about 80 shots with 60 good ones, so I am not complaining, really, just trying to understand the issue.

Just to clarify, the first night I shot fireworks, I used a SanDisk Extreme III 2 GB card (20 mb/s) and it was slow, so the next night I used my 4 GB "generic" Turbo CF card since the Extreme III didn't help the speed, so, it must be the noise reduction scenario.

As far as that is concerned, if I turn off noise reduction, how do I adjust it "postprocessing" as indicated by Daniel?

7/8/2008 8:47:58 PM

 
Carlton Ward
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member since: 12/13/2005
  Hi Karen,
I shot all mine in raw with noise reduction "ON" and used Photoshop ACR to adjust my images mostly using brightness, black, contrast/saturation controls. You dont want to lighten much especially shooting at higher ISO because you will get noise but just a little will brighten the colors. The black slider will remove the cloudy smoke residue from the explosions but I left a little bit showing in my above example. I really didn't tweak much, just small adjustments and I was using a 4GB Extreme III card. I was timing my shots with the launch of each firework and shooting at 1/20s or 1/30s, I was able to shoot (even a few multiple shots at a time) and was ready for the next one. The only ones I missed were because I was too slow to hit the shutter and there were only a couple of these that I can remember.

7/8/2008 9:16:28 PM

 

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