The new K20D (I've requested a sample to test) has a shot-to-shot rate of 3 FPS. This has brought it under clangorous criticism on some forum boards, from people who were "waiting" for "improvement" in this area.
I sometimes wonder what these people are shooting. I've had a rich 35-year history as a committed amateur photographer with intermittent stints as a professional, and I don't think I've ever wanted or needed a "motor drive." I used my first "serious" camera, a Contax 139Q, with a motor winder that enabled a blistering almost-2 FPS (I think the real speed was 1.8 FPS), but even then all I really cared about was that the camera was automatically ready for the next shot. That was just a luxury, however (or laziness)—old-fashioned thumb-wind was fine. I do think I'd occasionally be frustrated by a digital camera that shot 1 FPS, but I can't imagine ever being dissatisfied with 3 FPS.
Where do you stand?
Postscript: Two more stories come to mind in this context. The first is a memory from a lecture class in optics I audited at the University of Maryland in the early '80s. Two friends had brought their cameras to class—metal 35mm SLRs with large motor-drive attachments—and as we were waiting around for the class to start, they were dry-firing their cameras by turns to see whose camera sounded faster. Another guy in the class, a few rows away from the first two, fished around in his knapsack and extracted an SLR with an even bigger motor-drive, which he dry-fired in turn. His was audibly fastest. No one said anything, but the understanding was clear: he had won.
The other was a story I heard once about an ill-informed interviewer asking Richard Avedon, who was shooting 8x10 at the time, if he had a motorized camera. Avedon, referring to the lackey who inserted and removed his film holders and pulled his dark slides for him, replied, "I have a motorized assistant."
Featured Comment by Jeffrey Glass: "Well, my most recent camera purchase was a circa 1951 Rolleicord V. I think it has a burst rate of about 3 to 7 fpm."
Featured Comment by Ann: "Until 2005, I used a manual focus, manual advance Olympus OM-10. It was fine, and I never worried about burst rate or autofocus speed. I just never shot the kind of subjects that required a camera to have those attributes. When I got my D70 in 2005, I found that autofocus and the 3 fps frame rate made it easier to shoot in a more photojournalistic mode, so the subjects I shot expanded because the camera allowed me to do more. When I got the D300 a couple of months ago, the even faster response time and 6 fps allowed me to do even more with sports, kids, and birds in flight, so the types of photography I do now expanded into those areas.
"The bottom line is that each of the features on the camera is a tool in my photographic toolkit. I didn't buy any of my cameras because of their speed, but the speed is a tool that I didn't have before, and it allows me to do the kind of work that I couldn't do before."