What is the shutter count?

The shutter count on your DSLR is like the odometer on your car. It refers to the number of pictures your camera has taken in total. The number (often referred to as shutter actuations or cycles) is a good indicator of how much life your DSLR has left. If you’re buying a used DSLR you’ll want to know this and vice versa if you’re selling one. Professional DSLRs have a much higher life expectancy than consumer level cameras…

I have an old Canon Rebel XT given to me by my brother. This one:

What makes it special is that it has been taking a photo every thirty seconds for almost a year running my Vancouver Webcam. That’s about 2880 photos per day or 1 051 200 photos per year! Before that the camera had traveled to 30+ countries and taken at least 50 000 photos. According to the internet this model of camera doesn’t keep a running shutter count. I don’t know exactly how many photos it has taken but it’s at least one million images. That’s like having a car with a million miles on it or something?! This is a testament to good design and engineering by Canon given then camera is only rated for ~50k-100k images. It’s like the Mars rover, it refuses to die.

What shutter count can I expect from my camera?

This website has a nice little crowsourced dataset on real life shutter counts and failures: http://olegkikin.com/shutterlife/

The Nikon D300: http://olegkikin.com/shutterlife/nikon_d300.htm
(camera I’m selling)

The ol Rebel XT that refuses to die: http://olegkikin.com/shutterlife/canon_eos350d.htm

How can I check the shutter count for my Nikon DSLR?

The simplest way I’ve found to check on a Mac is to use the Preview application. Open the most recent image you’ve taken with your camera in Preview. Click on the Tools menu then click show inspector.

Then click the i button, then click Nikon button, then you should see a ‘shuttercount’ number:

Your mileage may vary, I’m not sure this works on all Nikon DLSRs…

[photo by opaco]