If you’re a newbie photographer, or even if you’ve been at it for a while, you may not be familiar with camera drive modes.

This tech guide we will walk you through everything you need to know about drive modes in a camera, how to use them, when to use them, and why.

What is drive mode in Camera?

Camera drive mode is a setting that determines how many pictures the camera will take in quick succession. Drive mode is a feature on many cameras that allows the user to set the camera to take a series of photographs, usually at a high frame rate, in rapid succession.

This mode is often used for action photography, such as sports or wildlife, where the user wants to be sure to capture the decisive moment.

In simple terms, drive modes change how a camera takes pictures. For example, they make the camera take pictures faster or make the camera take pictures in a lower resolution.

How to use drive mode in Camera?

Most digital cameras or digital SLRs come with various camera modes, one of which is drive mode. In order to use drive mode in a camera, you need to circle through the camera modes button and set it to drive mode.

Types of drive modes in a Camera

Single shot, continuous, burst mode, and self-timer are the most common examples of drive modes.

  • Single frame: Take one photo each time the shutter button is pressed.
  • Continuous: Continuously, take photos until the shutter button is pressed.
  • Self-timer: Take a photo after a few seconds or minutes of delay.
  • Burst mode: Burst mode is a function on a camera that allows the user to take multiple photos in quick succession by holding down the shutter button.
    This mode is useful for capturing fast-moving subjects or taking a series of photos to choose from later.

How to change camera drive modes?

There are a few different ways to change the drive modes on your camera. The most common way is to use the dial on the camera’s top to select the desired mode.

Some cameras have the drive mode button on the back to cycle through the different modes.

Drive Mode on a camera
Example: Highlighting Drive Modes button on a Canon 80D Camera

The button usually depends on the camera manufacturer, Sony, Canon, or Nikon. Still, they share similar features and functionalities with different of the screen interface or by placing the button somewhere else.

What is the best drive mode for different situations in a camera?

There is no one “best” drive modes for all situations. Each drive modes has its advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the right one for the specific situation is important.

Best drive mode settings for fast-moving objects

For example, continuous drive mode is great for capturing fast-moving subjects. But it can quickly fill up the camera’s memory card.

Best drive mode settings for composing shots

The single-shot drive mode is ideal for taking care of composing shots. But it may not be suitable for action photography.

However, some general tips that may help include using a lower drive modes for stationary subjects and a higher drive modes for moving subjects.


As per my test, research, and development, the best drive modes for different situations in a camera is as follows:

  • When taking a photo of a fast-moving subject, use the continuous drive mode.
  • For taking a photo of a static subject, use the single drive mode.
  • When taking a photo of a subject in low light, use the self-timer drive mode.

Try for yourself and find the best solution for your particular situation!