In this article, we gathered and compiled the available information on buffer capacity of all current Nikon DSLRs. The below table outlines many of the current and discontinued Nikon DSLR models, along with such information as sensor resolution, continuous shooting speed (fps) and RAW / JPEG buffer capacities. While most of the RAW buffer information is included, we decided not to bother with smaller JPEG sizes, since most cameras presented below can accommodate 100 or more of smaller JPEG images in their buffers.
Please keep in mind that the table below is taken from Nikon product manuals, which were published roughly at the same time when the cameras were announced. Since Nikon uses the fastest available cards for measuring buffer capacity at the time when a product is announced, the data might look different when newer and faster cards are used (as long as they are supported by the camera hardware and firmware). For example, the published buffer capacity information for the Nikon D4 indicates that Nikon used the Sony H-series QD-H32 XQD card for the measurements, which has a transfer rate of up to 125 MB/s. If one were to use newer XQD cards that can transfer up to 180 MB/sec, then buffer capacity would obviously change, since the camera buffer is emptied faster with faster cards.
|RAW File Type||JPEG Fine|
|* Maximum FPS without and with optional battery pack in full resolution (FX)|
|D3000 (10.2 MP)||3||6||100|
|D3100 (14.2 MP)||3||13||100|
|D3200 (24.2 MP)||4||12||100|
|D3300 (24.2 MP)||5||11||100|
|D3400 (24.2 MP)||5||12||100|
|D3500 (24.2 MP)||5||13||100|
|D5000 (12.3 MP)||4||11||63|
|D5100 (16.2 MP)||4||16||100|
|D5200 (24.1 MP)||5||8||35|
|D5300 (24.2 MP)||5||13||6||100|
|D5500 (24.2 MP)||5||14||10||100|
|D5600 (24.2 MP)||5||17||11||100|
|D7000 (16.2 MP)||6||11||10||15||12||31|
|D7100 (24.1 MP)||6||7||6||9||8||33|
|D7200 (24.2 MP)||6||27||18||35||26||100|
|D7500 (20.9 MP)||8||74||50||100||73||100|
|D300 (12.3 MP)||6/8||21||18||27||21||17||16||43|
|D300S (12.3 MP)||7/8||18||30||20||45||17||19||44|
|D500 (20.9 MP)||10||200||200||200||200||200||79||200|
|D600 (24.3 MP)||5.5||22||16||27||16||57|
|D610 (24.3 MP)||6||21||14||26||14||51|
|Df (16.2 MP)||5.5||37||29||47||38||30||25||100|
|D700 (12.1 MP)||5/8||23||20||26||23||19||17||100|
|D750 (24.3 MP)||6.5||25||15||33||21||87|
|D780 (24.5 MP)||7||100||68||100||100||100|
|D800 (36.3 MP)||4||21||17||25||20||18||16||56|
|D800E (36.3 MP)||4||21||17||25||20||18||16||56|
|D810 (36.3 MP)||5||47||28||58||35||34||23||100|
|D810A (36.3 MP)||5||47||28||58||35||34||23||100|
|D850 (45.7 MP)||7/9||170||51||200||74||55||29||200|
|D3 (12.1 MP)||9||18||16||20||16||17||16||52|
|D3S (12.1 MP)||9||42||36||43||36||38||35||82|
|D3X (24.5 MP)||5||28||24||34||26||22||21||44|
|D4 (16.2 MP)||10||92||75||98||76||77||69||170|
|D4S (16.2 MP)||11||133||78||176||104||88||60||200|
|D5 (20.8 MP)||12||200||200||200||200||197||102||200|
|D6 (20.8 MP)||14||200||200||200||200||197||102||200|
To compute the length of continuous shooting, simply take the buffer capacity number from the appropriate column and divide it by camera FPS. For example, if you shoot 14-bit Lossless compressed RAW on the Nikon D850, you can shoot continuously for approximately 7.3 seconds (51 / 7 fps), while the Nikon D7500 will last 6.3 seconds (50 / 8 fps) before the buffer fills up. Please note that some cameras like the Nikon D500, D850 and D5 require an XQD card to be able to reach the above-mentioned buffer speeds. Using a CompactFlash card in such cameras will reduce the buffer significantly.
We hope you will find the above information useful. If you would like to find buffer capacity information for older Nikon DSLRs, you can refer to this page at NikonUSA that lists manuals for many other discontinued camera bodies. Information on supported memory cards and buffer capacities can usually be found on last pages of product manuals. Please note that some newer memory cards might be supported on your camera with the latest firmware update, so it is always a good idea to check if you are running the latest version.
Great article with some very interesting numbers. I have the D7200 ND really like it after haveing hs the D90 and the D7100. However, my buffer seems to max at 12. What settings d I need to change to get the buffer space you show in your chart? Or at least higher than I am getting.
Thank again, Jack
How do you mean ‘seems to max’? This is the number you get when you halfpress the shutter.
What settings are you using now? NEF+Jpeg by any chance?
Just got my D500 because of my latest interest in bird photography. The table shows the capacity is 79 for 14bit uncompressed. Is it true number? I read somewhere, the buffer for all types of files are the same, which is 200 frames. Could you shed some lights to me?
Nobody concerned about buffer uses uncompressed raw, so… 200
I am shooting with a Nikon D500 using a 64gb 210mb/s XQD card and the buffer capability shows 25. Why can’t I achieve numbers close to the ones mentioned above?
Shown capability assumes 0 MB/s write to card and worst-case for picture size. You will see that if you press and hold the shutter, the shown capability will decrease a lot slower than the number of pictures taken increases.
Interesting, but I found this article as a friend of mine with a D500 told me he’d run out of buffer a bit sooner than expected so I tried mine and found the same thing. On my SD card it managed 30 frames RAW while my XQD managed 70. As this is on 2 different D500s I don’t think it’s a fault. Compressed lossless didn’t change things, and JPG normal nearly reached 170. While it works well enough for me as I’m seldom on a run of 2 seconds, it’s best to be aware that the claim of 200 RAW shots on continuous shooting seems misleading so if you find yourself in an extended action sequence your best to hold off for the best bits and hope you get the timing right.
Interesting article, it shows that specs are being manipulated for marketing reasons, not technical issues. I have a serious gripe with the D850 pricing, here in the UK. If you do a UK Pound £ to USD $ straight conversion, the price of the D850 in the UK is a staggering $1350 more here for the body only. Some dismiss it as import duties and other taxes, but even the USA has to import them from (is it Japan or Thailand?) and then they put a state tax on them which can vary depending on where you live. It is total exploitation of the British market. I can remember 20 years ago when I was buying a lot of software, the price of microsoft office would be matched dollar for pound, so if it was $400 stateside, it was £400 in the UK – yet the conversion rate at the time suggested it ‘should’ be around £250.
This global price variation is quite worrying, it is no wonder that people in the UK are being forced to buy ‘grey imports’ and even then, they pay more for those in most cases than the USA price for the official nikon import.
Don’t get me wrong, this also applies to canon, sony, and pretty much any brand we know of – but the British are seen as a soft touch internationally, which is why Nikon and many others think they can get away with it. I hate the thought of buying a grey import, but if you want the latest body, that extra $1350 you don’t have to spend on it (by going grey) is money that can be used on glass, or on travel. Time this USD / UK £ thing was sorted out, we are being over exploited.
As to product, Nikon must be applauded for improving on an impossibly good camera already, the D810 – and it seems the D850 is going to be a legend, and rightly so – if only I could afford it :-) so come on Nikon, sort this out, and give the UK market a fair deal. (same for Canon, Sony, and everyone else too).
I believe this is due to Britain (and other European countries) having stronger consumer protection and warranty laws than the US. In the UK market Nikon have to do more repair work at the manufacturer’s own cost while in the US they just bill the customer for the repair after the warranty expires. Better service costs more money hence this is put into the price of the product. Of course VAT and customs payments also increase the price. In the US people have to pay a lot for their own and their kids’ day care, health care, schooling, university etc. whereas in many European countries these are provided by the state (fully or partly). A part of this difference in state-provided services is paid for in the VAT and customs fees and some of it in income taxes. The economies are different and so are prices of consumer products. This doesn’t mean it is an intentional rip-off by the manufacturers, only that the manufacturers expect each regional subsidiary to pay for their own costs. There are a lot of things that are correspondingly more expensive in the US.
I don’t think the extra column (an dlots of extra work) is really necessary. First, I buy a camera not to use it in crop or otherwise limited modi. Second, we’d loose a comparison indicator – I prefer to compare FX and DX at their full native resolution. Gaining speed and loosing resolution… honestly I fail to find a real good reason to do so. Third, a couple of times I bought a new Nikon and experienced limited or no support from manufacturers of RAW converters for these exotic formats (okay, one reason for them is saving diskspace). It might be cool ti use it for crop free JPGS, but for RAW I truly feel sorry for any part of infomration which happens outside my framing,
Just a minor correction — you say
“Using a CompactFlash card in such cameras”
But some of the newer cameras use an SD card rather than CF. Your point is still valid of course.
The above comment directs to the D5 – Nikon D5 comes in two versions twin XQD or twin CF
Because CF card is slower the than XQD, CF equipped D5 is slower than XQD equipped D5.
Other Nikons such as D500 and D850 get a single XQD and a single SD. Earlier Nikon D800 and D810 come with a single CF and a single SD.
Nice work Nasim.
I really wish Nikon would refer to this kind of data based on what it is – maximum burst length – rather than as the buffer. The buffer size is relatively small on many of these cameras and it is only with a really fast card that is supported by the camera with a fast write speed can these results be achieved.
The actual buffer size of the D500 and D850 is around 1.3 GB. That’s approximately 54 frames of 14 bit RAW files with lossless compression for the D500 and about 24 frames for the D850. Anything in the burst length beyond that requires the images be written to the card during the burst. The XQD cards are very fast, but in the D500 and apparently in the D850 we are talking about 210 MB/s – not the card’s benchmark speed of 400 MB/s. Fast UHS-II SD cards are able to write at something closer to 150 MB/s.
One thing we have not seen yet is the impact on the maximum burst rate of the D850 with the grip and battery. At 9 fps, the buffer will fill much faster with an additional two fps going to the buffer. That should mean something around 39-40 frames before the buffer fills – or a 4.4 second burst rather than a 7.2 second burst. Of course, if the additional power is able to step up thee processor and increase write speed, we might see something close to the 51 frame burst at 7 fps.
I’ve never understood why people make such a big deal about buffer size. Even shooting high action subjects (pro road racing, BIF, wildlife interactions), the point of action capture we aim for is only within a fraction of a second. Perhaps people subscribe to the spray and pray approach to image capture, rather than the study and selectively shoot approach. I don’t think I’ve ever been limited by a camera’s buffer, be it DX or top tier FX Nikon camera, when shooting in burst mode. I do always use top speed media. At the end of the day, I think Nikon has been providing a reasonable buffer for at least the last decade. IMHO.
Mark – one of the genres I photograph is foxhunting. I need a short burst that captures the horse above the jump and the rider looking forward. While it’s possible to get a single frame, AF is better if you fire a short burst. The thing is, I have to focus on a new rider every 1.0-1.5 seconds and there are more than 60-70 riders. If there is a fall, I need to keep shooting for a little longer. With the D800E, I fire a three frame burst and always fill the buffer so I have to slow to a single frame before the series is complete. With the D500, I fired 3-4 frame bursts (under a half second) and never filled the buffer. I was able to photograph and sell bursts of up to six frames of a rider falling (and injuring their pride). This one event with the additional images I sold paid for the camera.
I can appreciate that, but in my opinion, the D800E is the wrong tool for the job. The D4 or D4s would have been the better tool and no buffer issue – and if you’re pretty good at nailing the point of action, then it could be set at half speed, which is still five or six frames/second as I recall. I got the D810 after the D800, but in truth, for me, the extra pixels and grain that was more like a generation earlier DX body meant that I used neither all that much. D810 was an improvement, but the D4s, now D5, is my main camera for most things. That said, the D500 mates well with the current 200-500 for a relatively compact package and yields great captures.
may I know where you got your information from, because I found different values ( all values from www.cameramemoryspeed.com):
For eg. the XP-Pro II I find 112MB/s (UHS-II) and for the D500 I find 297MB/s(XQD) vs 163MB/s (UHS-II).
So this is almost doubling the throughput on a camera for the fastest camera for UHS-II i know currently (the D5 is even a little slower for XQD).
One disappointing spec that I heard on YouTube about the D850. You can put a very fast XQD card in the first slot and a SD card in the second slot and the camera will only use the speed and the buffer size of the SD card! So you are forced to just use the XQD slot if you want maximum speed and buffer size! Should have come with two XQD slots!
Yes, if the camera is writing to both cards, it is only as fast as the slowest card, which is probably the SD card in the D850’s case. It might not make a difference if, for example, the slower card is set to overflow and isn’t being written to, but it could still slow down the camera for image review.
I wish though that Nikon had produced versions with different card slot choices for the D850 and D500 like they did with the D5. I guess that’s one difference between semi-pro and pro. It’s not just Nikon, Sony put dissimilar card slots in the A9, using a UHS-II slot and a UHS-I slot rather than identical slots.
Nasim, I think the values for the D3 are as it was released, not including the free buffer upgrade that they got?