Nikon D5000 Burst Mode Tutorial

By Matt Julington

Nikon aimed the D5000, released in 2009, at the advanced amateur photographer. Equipped with a 12.3-megapixel sensor, the digital single-lens reflex camera features a 2.7-inch swiveling LCD on which you can compose photos and high-definition video. The camera's burst mode for photos, which Nikon calls Continuous Mode, lets you keep up with the action. With Continuous Mode enabled, you can capture a stream of sharp pictures, frame-by-frame, as you track a moving subject.


If you're taking a photo of a landscape or a shot of a group of people, you'll likely find that the D5000's Single-Frame Mode is a good choice. In this mode, the camera takes one photo each time you press the shutter release, giving you time to carefully compose the shot. However, in many cases, if the subject is moving, such as a running child or a bird in flight, you may find yourself falling behind. Switch to Continuous Mode, and the camera will shoot rapidly as long you keep the shutter release pressed, within certain limitations. This lets you concentrate on tracking the subject's movement in the viewfinder or on the LCD. The D5000 captures up to four images, or frames, every second in Continuous Mode.


To switch to Continuous Mode, press the "Info" button on the top, right-side of the camera. Next, press the "i" button on the rear of the camera, at the bottom, left side. Use the four-way controller on the rear of the camera to highlight the current shooting, or shutter-release, mode on the LCD. If the camera is in Single-Frame Mode, this will be indicated in the column on the right of the LCD with a box containing the letter "S." Highlight this box and press "OK" in the center of the four-way controller. The release mode options appear. Use the four-way controller to choose "Continuous," which is the second item from the top of the list. The icon looks like a stack of squares. Continuous shooting works even in the camera's Auto mode.


You may wonder whether the D5000 can keep the subject in focus as the camera fires away at four frames a second. The D5000's default autofocus setting, AF-A, or Autofocus Automatic, is well-equipped to accomplish this. In this focus mode, the camera detects whether the subject is moving or not, and adjusts the focus automatically.


As you might imagine, it's not possible for the camera's built-in flash to keep up with 4 fps shooting, so the flash is not available in Continuous Mode. The camera is also limited in how many frames it can shoot as the images are stored to the memory card. However, it's an ample amount: Nikon says up to 100 JPEG images can be taken in succession. The memory buffer diminishes should you choose to shoot in RAW mode, generally used by advanced photographers who do extensive post-processing of their images. The website found the D5000 could shoot 11 images in succession at 4 fps in RAW mode. The speed of your camera's memory card may also affect performance.