My Nikon D3200's buffer is much smaller than advertised

clskeltonclskelton Posts: 31Member
edited October 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I bought a D3200 in January 2013 and only recently became aware that the buffer capacity is advertised at 18 RAW images. My D3200's buffer holds 8 RAW images. That is less than half, so I would like to get your advice on how to correct this.
Am I missing a setting in the menu what would improve the buffer size? Or should I send it in to Nikon Service and Repair? I bought it new 10 months ago, so I think it is under warranty. Should I just give up and buy a 95MB/s card?
This topic has been mentioned previously in a couple posts, but not with such a disparity as I have. I did the suggestions in the posts, but it did not improve the buffer size.

Here is some test data I gathered with my D3200...

My D3200 camera settings are:
SD Card formatted via camera setup menu
Auto ISO sensitivity control: OFF
Active D-Lighting: OFF
Auto distortion control: OFF
Noise reduction: OFF (turning this on decreases my RAW buffer capacity to 7)
Firmware: C:1.00 (1.01 is available but release notes doesn't appear to address this issue; let me know if I need to try updating anyway, but I'll probably have to buy a camera USB cable to do it)

When I shoot RAW only on a SanDisk Ultra card (30MB/s), my buffer goes from r08 to r00 in 12 frames. With SanDisk Extreme (45MB/s) it goes from r08 to r00 in 17 frames. After it reaches r00 then FPS drops depending on the speed of the card. I know a 95MB/s card would probably never fill the buffer on a D3200, but I'd rather avoid the expense.

Here is a chart of my D3200 values (rXX value when depressing shutter) when I change my camera settings:
Image quality/size | Buffer Capacity
RAW+JPEG Large | 8
RAW - | 8
FINE Large | 14
FINE Medium | 18
FINE Small | 28
NORM Large | 19
NORM Medium | 28
NORM Small | 49
BASIC Large | 28
BASIC Medium | 49
BASIC Small | 91

Yes, RAW+JPEG and RAW have the same buffer capacities on my camera.

Compare my chart to Nikon's specs for the D3200 (they are 10 for RAW+JPEG, 18 for RAW, 80 for Fine Large, and 100 for everything else)

Any suggestions to get closer to the advertised capacity of 18 RAW images?

Other posts which refer to a buffer size issue, for which I could not find a resolution:




  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Hi Chris,

    Your setting are fine. The faster memory card will help. If you notice Nikon did use the 8GB version of SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-1. Also take into account your ISO setting. Hence: " buffer capacity drops at ISO sensitivity of 1600 or higher."
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator
    edited October 2013
    My suggestion would be to purchase a faster card..... Shutter speed has an effect on this as well....when I shoot my D4 with long exposures, one image stops things for up to several seconds as all the data gets to the card.....(XQD)
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • clskeltonclskelton Posts: 31Member
    Now it's starting to make sense. The values in Nikon's table take the card's speed into account. I wondered why it appeared that the the buffer capacity of the D3200 was higher than the D7100 (on 12bit compressed), but it's probably because the D3200 has slower FPS so it has more time to write images to the card before the buffer maxes. If I owned both cameras I'd probably do a side-by-side 4fps 12bit compressed test for giggles.

    Guess it's time to use my Amazon credit on an Extreme Pro card :). Both of you always provide valuable input and advice, so thank you.
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