How to Determine Shutter Count of Camera


Digital SLRs have what is called shutter life expectancy, or the maximum amount of shutter actuations before the shutter stops working. It is thought that most manufacturers provide a fairly conservative maximum figure (often around 100,000). But since not many people take 100,000 shots with their DSLRs before upgrading to the next model, this is not something that’s tested all that often. There are, however, reports of shutters failing well before the maximum figure provided by manufacturers.

There are may be other things that will go before the shutter, as digital cameras are basically computers with lots of electronics and such devices simply don’t last as well as purely mechanical stuff. However, for those curious how many shutter actuations your camera may have experienced, there is a tool that allows one to easily find the number, called exiftool. It can be downloaded here. This is a command-line tool which must be operated in a terminal. No GUI, just typing and printouts. It’s actually pretty easy to use. Once installed, you can access it through the Terminal (assuming you’re using a Mac):

Screen shot 2012-07-18 at 6.40.15 PM

Type exiftool into the terminal, then type in a space. Drag a file taken straight from your camera into the terminal. You should get something like the following:

Then type in a space and the following: grep ‘Shutter Count’

You should wind up with something like this:

Screen shot 2012-07-18 at 6.44.37 PM

Now press return. If all went well, the output should give you your shutter count:

Screen shot 2012-07-18 at 6.48.00 PM

In my case, the shutter count turned out to be 25,835. That’s a large number for a camera I’ve only owned for 15 months. At the current rate of usage, I will reach the shutter’s life expectancy in five years, which isn’t so bad.