Photo Corners

A   S C R A P B O O K   O F   S O L U T I O N S   F O R   T H E   P H O T O G R A P H E R

Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.

Getting Your Camera's Shutter Count Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

30 December 2014

First a warning. This article discusses a technique that should be employed only to stave off terminal boredom. It really doesn't matter how many times your camera's shutter has been tripped. Really.

Lightroom. Keepers not actuations but a close approximation.

It only matter that it does trip the next time you press the Shutter button. And, in fact, it's likely to do exactly that.


But when we discovered Camera Shutter Count and MyShutterCount (among others), which report that number when you upload an image, we felt duty bound to perform a public service and reveal the secret.

Like most secrets, it's not much of a secret. And it doesn't always work.

But when it does, you look like you know what you're talking about. Which may, as in our case, amaze your friends.


The number of times your shutter has been actuated (or tripped, as we say on the street) is recorded in the Exif header of your images. Usually.

A common tag name for it is "ShutterCount," which is what Canon and Nikon use. Here's what it looks like down near the bottom of the Exif header of our most recent Nikon D300 image:

MaxApertureAtMinFocal: 3.6
MaxApertureAtMaxFocal: 5.7
MCUVersion: 253
EffectiveMaxAperture: 5.7
RawImageCenter: 2176 1434
RetouchHistory: None
ShutterCount: 9395
FlashInfoVersion: 0103
FlashSource: None

So our D300 has recorded 9,395 shutter actuations at the moment. Our Lightroom catalog reports 8,235 keepers, which suggest the D300 is keeping track of its actuations pretty well.

Anything that displays an image's Exif data can be used to find the ShutterCount but we always use Phil Harvey's ExifTool.


So what's the life expectancy of the shutter in a digital camera?

According to CRIS Camera Services repair blog, "They can last up to 300,000 actuations; however, the answer to that question is dependent on what camera you own. You will need to refer to the manufacturers estimated shutter life expectancy for your particular model."

By that count, our D300 (already a relic of the past) should last another 30 years (longer than us, in fact). Which is why it really doesn't matter.

And, in fact, when we visited the Camera Shutter Life Expectancy Database, we found evidence that the D300 probably does have more life left in it than we do.

Comforting thought as the new year approaches.

BackBack to Photo Corners