If you’re looking to buy or sell a used camera, you’ll probably have come across the term ‘shutter count’ or ‘shutter actuations’ already. If not, then it’s a good job you landed here, because it’s a step that shouldn’t be overlooked when trading in used gear. Here we’re going to discuss what it is, why it’s important and how to check your camera’s shutter count.
What is shutter count and why is it important?
A camera’s shutter count is just how many times the mechanical shutter has been fired since it was made. Basically, how many pictures has it taken?
And why is it important? Well, like everything, a camera’s shutter has a lifespan. Eventually the shutter mechanism will break, and the cost and effort of installing a new shutter is often more expensive than the camera itself.
Think of it like the mileage of your camera. Once the engine in a car finally clocks up too many miles, it’s often cheaper to just buy a new car. The same is true of your camera!
But how many actuations is too many?
This all depends on the make and model of your camera. Most DSLRs these days have an expected shutter lifespan of over 150,000 actuations, and some professional grade bodies push it much further than that. For example, the Nikon D5 has a shutter life expectancy of around 400,000 cycles.
cameradecision.com has the expected shutter lifespan of hundreds of cameras, but if yours isn’t on there you can always do a quick Google to find out.
Unfortunately, actually finding your shutter count isn’t always straightforward. Some of the newest bodies on the market actually offer this information in-camera, but for most you need to do a bit of legwork. This legwork can vary between different camera manufacturers, so below you can find out how to check your camera’s shutter count for all the leading brands.
How to Check Shutter Count on Nikon
Head over to MyShutterCount.com and upload the most recent image taken with your Nikon. This site supports both RAW .NEF files and JPG format, as well as supporting Pentax’s DNG and PEF format images.
Just choose your file in the “Select photo” field, click “Upload File” and wait for your results.
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How to Check Shutter Count on Canon
It’s pretty much an identical process to the one above, but on a different website. Visit camerashuttercount.com and you’ll find a whole host of Canon models that are supported, as well as a number of other brands.
Even if your model isn’t listed on the site, it’s worth uploading a JPG file anyway and checking. The models listed are those that have been confirmed as working, so it’s far from an exhaustive list.
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How to Check Shutter Count on Sony
If you have a Sony Alpha camera, head to tools.science.si and drag an unedited JPG or ARW file from your hard drive into the browser window.
Be sure not to use an image you’ve edited though because image processing software will damage the necessary EXIF data.
How to Check Shutter Count on Fujifilm
Things are a little more complicated if you have a Fujifilm, especially if it’s an older model. Even the newer models have some caveats as well.
The Fujifilm X-T1 and X-T2 both technically have shutter actuation recording, but some disruption from firmware updates has rendered the EXIF shutter count figure unreliable. You can get a (possibly incorrect) ballpark figure from the default file/folder numbering system though. For example, the last photo taken with my Fuji X-T2 was named _DSF6531 and in a folder numbered 106, so unless it’s been tampered with I can guess my X-T2 has taken 6531 images. This is very easily manipulated though.
For cameras released after the Fuji X-T2, you can head to apotelyt.com and drop an unedited, straight-out-of-camera JPEG into the tool to find your camera’s shutter count. However, this also includes images taken with the electronic shutter, which obviously doesn’t cause any wear to the mechanical shutter. So it’s not entirely accurate, but the figure you get is the maximum number of shots taken with the mechanical shutter.
Alex is the owner and lead writer for Click and Learn Photography. An avid landscape, equine, and pet photographer living and working in the beautiful Lake District, UK, Alex has had his work featured in a number of high profile publications, including the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year, Outdoor Photographer of the Year, and Amateur Photographer Magazine.