Why Your Camera’s Image Buffer is Important

When choosing a camera, you might look at the price, its lenses, whether it is a digital camera or an analogue one, the shutter and aperture among other things. A huge number of photographers do not look at the buffer of the cameras they are buying. But wait, what is the buffer of a camera?

In order to understand the buffer of a camera, we have to understand how modern cameras work. As the megapixels cameras are able to shoot increase, so do the size of the images taken with the cameras. For example, if you shoot in RAW formats with the hope of editing your photos using Adobe Lightroom you will get 8 MB images for a 8 megapixel camera and about 2-4 MB when shooting in JPEG.

These images have to be written (stored) to the memory that you are using to store the images be it a SD card or some form of flash storage. It is true that all the data contained in your images and photographs cannot be written in one go, it has to be held somewhere then written to the storage space you have chosen. While this is widely dependent on the camera and the storage space you have, the buffer of the camera you have is critical at this point.

The buffer of your camera is that space where photographs are stored before being transferred from the memory of a camera to that of your storage device. The size of this buffer will determine how fast you can shoot. If the buffer is small, you have to wait for it to clear, i.e for the images to be stored to the storage device, before you can shoot new images. As you can already see, the buffer will determine how fast you can shoot.

Secondly, if you shoot RAW images, you may need a camera with a larger buffer especially if you shoot fast moving the best action camera images. This is due to the larger size of RAW images. Those who use cameras that shoot faster image sequences may have to get new cameras or ensure their storage devices have the fastest write speeds possible.


When getting a camera therefore, it is important to ensure that you ask about the buffer of the camera. The buffer on your camera ought to let you shoot at least 20 images per second especially if you work in a fast paced industry such as the wedding industry or if you wish to shoor in RAW then edit the images later using Adobe Lightroom Presets.