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I tend to agree with you about 7fps, or whatever, being plenty fast for virtually all users of these cameras. In fact, most people using the burst mode feature on their DSLR won't need even that rate of speed. (A deeper buffer might be useful, but I digress.)
Part of what is going on here is that simple Tech Lust (or perhaps "Specs Lust" might be the right term) tends to draw a certain kind of photography enthusiast into the fold of camera owners. To some extent, these people are less interested in photography than they are in things with really cool specs that can reasonably be described as being "the best." (Some seem to be essentially completely uninterested in actual photographs, but again I digress.)
For these folks, if there was a camera that worked at 100fps in burst mode and another came out that could burst at 110fps... the 110 fps camera would be regarded as "better" or even "best," and the 100fps camera would be regarded as inferior. (Also for them, the f/1.2 lens is always "better" than the f/1.4 lens, the most expensive lens is always better than a less expensive one, 22MP is better than 21MP, 500mm is better than 400mm, owning six lenses is better than owning five, and so forth...)
For all but the tiniest handful of shooters this would, of course, be nonsense. And, in fact, the difference between, say, 5 and 7 fps is truly academic for the vast majority of shooters. Yesterday I spent the evening photographing migratory birds, many of them in flight. Most of the time I didn't even use burst mode, and when I did, a slower rate than either of these worked quite well.
As the release of the 1DX and possibly a new 5D approach, there has been substantial mention, discussion, debate, muttering, et al of FPS. I was recently nudged for "excluding" sports photographers when suggesting that 7 FPS on a new 5D would be more than adequate for 99% of the people who buy the camera.
It seemed like a strange comment to me but then I realized that my "advanced age" (my kids description - not mine) probably gave me a different perspective than some of the younger members here. I remember clearly - and not fondly - the days when a 5 FPS motor drive could cost more than the cameras. I remember carrying them wired to a heavy external battery pack that bruised the crap out of my hip after a day of shooting. I remember shooting trying to shoot verticals with a 250 exposure back. Not fun.
While it doesn't, and shouldn't, make any difference at all relative to discussions of the capabilities of today's cameras, for those who want to better appreciate where we've been and how far we have come take a look at the links below. They put the achievements of both Canon and Nikon's engineers into some perspective.
Edited on Feb 05, 2012 at 09:53 PM · View previous versions