What is Continuous Drive in a Digital Camera?

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Updated July 26, 2022

If you have been experimenting with one of the best digital cameras, you may have noticed a continuous drive setting or dedicated button. What is continuous drive on a digital camera? Keep reading to find out.


  • Continuous drive, otherwise known as burst mode, is a functionality that allows a camera to take multiple photos in immediate succession.
  • This mode can typically be engaged by holding down the shutter button or by activating it in the settings menu.
  • The number of photos you can take in a second will be dictated by your camera’s memory buffer and by how many frames per second it can shoot.

What is Continuous Drive?

Continuous drive, otherwise known as the burst mode, is a function by which a digital camera takes multiple photos at once, one after the other. Continuous shooting modes can typically be accessed via a dedicated shutter button or by enabling it in the settings menu.

Insider Tip

Use continuous drive to capture photos of pets as they make fun facial expressions, as they are not known for standing still for photographs.

Why Use Continuous Drive?

Do you know what is bad about digital cameras, and all cameras really? You can easily miss an important moment if you are not keen. Enabling continuous drive, or one of the similar continuous shooting modes available, makes the camera pulse through photos with dizzying speed. The end result? Continuous shooting means you won’t miss something important, as you’ll have plenty of photos of the subject to sift through. The same cannot be said of a single shot.

How to Use Continuous Drive

Much like understanding what is digital camera autofocus, the continuous drive is a simple and easily accessible feature understood by even novice shutterbugs. Still, there are some guidelines to consider when attempting to access a continuous drive mode.

Find the Feature

Depending on your camera, a continuous drive could be accessed via a dedicated button or by enabling the AV mode in the settings menu. Check the instructions to find the right process for your camera. Some cameras offer dual functionality for the shoot button. When a one-shot mode is enabled, pressing the shoot button will take just one photo. When continuous drive mode is enabled, however, holding down the shoot button will make the camera take multiple photos in succession. Additionally, if you snap on the HDR mode for your digital camera, you’ll expand your range and capture better details.

Adjust the Frame Rate

Your may camera may allow you to adjust the frame rate to set the number of photos the camera will take in a second when continuous drive is being used. Check the instructions and the settings menu to adjust the frame rate. If you cannot adjust the frame rate, you will be stuck with whatever your camera’s native frame rate happens to be. For instance, if your camera has a frame rate of three frames per second, you will take three photos in a second with continuous drive engaged. You may also be hampered by a camera’s memory buffer.


Be sure to dispose of all of the photos you don’t like that were taken during continuous drive mode, as these can easily fill up a memory card.

Find the Right Photo

After you’ve used continuous drive, you’ll have to dive into your memory card to select which photos are useable and which should be scrapped.


What is the best camera for continuous shooting?

There is no absolute best camera for continuous shooting. Just make sure it has a dedicated shutter button that can handle taking photos in quick succession. Be sure to check out the camera’s continuous shooting rate, the continuous shooting speeds available, and the shutter speeds.

What’s the difference between the shutter modes?

Mechanical shutter physically opens the shutter blades to create an exposure. An electronic shutter locks the blades in place but allows light through via electronic conduction and an image sensor.

When to use burst mode?

There are many reasons to use a burst mode over a single shot mode, including to capture facial expressions, for sports photography, and even for some landscape photography.

STAT: Most high-end camera phones and some mid-range phones, and a few low-end ones, provide burst shooting. (source)

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