How Long Will My Shutter Last?

shutter on my dslr is broken
Another camera's shutter goes to Heaven

Aaron Mizzi recently sent in a question asking how long the shutter on his DSLR will last before it bites the dust. It's actually a very good question and the answer will also teach you an easy way to find out how many total times you've pressed the shutter button on your DSLR, which is a handy thing to know for used camera buyers.

Here's Aaron's question… “I have a Nikon D3 camera and would really like to know what is the lifetime of its shutter, and i had never updated its firmware.”

First of all, let's cut out the fluff. It really makes no difference whether or not you have updated the firmware of the camera. The shutter is hardware in the camera and the firmware won't impact its durability (but seriously… it's time to update).

How many shutter actuations do the manufacturers claim?

There are a few things you'll want to know about the life of your shutter. First of all, the camera manufacturers publicize the shutter rating of the camera. Most entry-level DSLR cameras are only rated at 100,000 shutter actuations. Mid and high-end cameras have more durable shutters that are rated up to between 150,000 and 300,000 actuations.

How many shutter actuations to most photographers actually achieve?

In my experience and from what I have seen from other photographers online, most shutters make or surpass the 100,000 or 150,000 mark without any problem whatsoever, but it seems that few cameras actually make it to the 300,000 shutter actuations even on the cameras that are rated to that number. Fortunately for the manufacturers, most photographers don't press the shutter button that many times during the warranty period anyway, so they don't have to back up their claims of how many shutter actuations it can handle. (Perhaps I should add this point to my camera manufacturer whine list?)

How many pictures has my camera taken?

If you shoot Nikon, it is simple to find out how many pictures your camera has taken.  Simply download this little program, tell it to analyze one of your recent photos, and it will look at the EXIF data to determine how many pictures you've taken.  If you shoot Canon, there is no easy way to find out how many times your camera has taken a picture on many of their DSLR cameras.  If you're a tech junkie and you shoot Canon, you might want to check out this post to see how to hack it with a hex editor.

If you shoot Nikon, your job will be much easier.  Simply download an EXIF reader and check the number.  If you don't already have a program that reads all the exif data, I recommend this free one for Windows and Mac.

How much does it cost to get a shutter replaced?

If your shutter goes out before the camera has exhausted its technological brains, then you can get the shutter replaced for around $400 by sending it in to the manufacturer. On higher-end DSLRs, it's probably worth the $400, but for most mid and low end DSLRs, it'll mean a trip over to Amazon to buy a new camera.

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40 thoughts on “How Long Will My Shutter Last?”

  1. I do agree that high-end models will make it to 100,000 – 150,000 shot and will cost about $350.00 – $400.00 and yes some newer Pro models will make it 150,000 – 300,000 and cost about the same..

    Mid-range models will make it to about 100,000 shots and cost $240.00 – $270.00.

    Low-end model make it to 50,000 – (maybe) 100,000 and cost $180.00.

    This has been our experience in repairing digital SLR models.

    Midwest Camera Repair, Inc.

  2. If you’ve own the camera (Canon) from new set up the file numbering to continuous and you’ll always know how many images have been taken, providing you don’t change it at some point. I’m sure other manufacturers will have this facility too.

  3. Personally I think people spend too much time worrying about this. The fact about shutter life is this: if you’re taking enough photos where you’re going to burn out a shutter, you’re also the type of user who will pay to get it replaced when it breaks. Otherwise, enjoy your camera, and don’t let worries about worn out shutters affect your shooting habits. You bought the camera for photography: use it!

    1. I don’t think this article is targeted to the user who wishes to know how many times they’be used their shutter but to the used camera buyer.

    1. You can replace it but…. The camera when it first came out was 1,200 now it can be found for 650. So is it worth 250 more to replace it vs the 400 to fix it. More then just the shutter in there to go wrong over time.

    2. Financially, it wouldn’t be worth it. You could get a used D7000 with a low shutter count for about the price of repairing your older, more used camera. And you can get a low count factory refurbished D7000 for likely not a lot more than the cost of repair.

      So yes, technically you can, but you’d be better off replacing the camera.

      On a side note, I have a D7000 with just over 50k shutter actuations (I shoot a lot of time lapse sequences), and it’s still going strong. They’re really great cameras.

  4. Sir I want to know that what is the life what my camera SX 110 IS. How many shots it can take before it dies? If it get dies, can we bring it back to life? How long will the shutter last?
    All questions are one and the same. Please do let me know asap

  5. If you use Photoshop (Elements has this too) and shoot in RAW you don’t need to download any software to find out your shutter actuations. Under ‘File Info’ if you scroll over to ‘Advanced’ then use the drop down menu under ‘schema’ it will say ‘aux: ImageNumber: 19240’. That is the number of shutter actuations.

    1. Thank you for that little gem of info ….. I am amazed that people are downloading software ( as I would have ) when it is there already …… well done .
      kind regards’

    2. In photoshop CC it’s slightly different but still there. There is no longer an “Advanced” or “Schema” menu. Go to FILE>File info, then click Raw Data and you’ll see something like this:
      (I’ve put spaces around the Image Number so you’ll know how far down the list to look)

      180/10 1050/10 35/10 56/10
      18.0-105.0 mm f/3.5-5.6



  6. My Canon 60D (bought Dec 2011) is sitting at just over 95,000 shots (number taken from Magic Lantern) so I am hoping it is good for another 100,000 shots.

  7. All the Talk about “Shutter life” often give new photographers tunnel vision about what to expect to fail on their new digital camera. But in actuality, the things that may also fail first are the built in flash, shoe mount sink connections, or the Aperture Actuation Solenoid and other capacitors in the camera. 😉

  8. Vijay Amaravadi

    I am planning to buy a used Sony A77. Because of that i wanted to know the shutter shots. By any chance any of you know life expectency of Sony a77 shutter.


  9. i just replaced my shutter in my D3 for about $45o. I noticed it did not reset the shutter count.. I’m standing at 237,000. I’m guessing it’s like an odometer on a car once it’s replaced … it doesn’t go back to 0.

  10. if 1 shutter is waste by taking 1 photo.
    My Question is if Recod Video of 1 minute with shutter Speed 1/50s then how many shutter is waste.
    What is the coast of Panasonic GH4 Shutter For Replacement.

    1. @Sibananda – The shutter only opens one time when the video begins. You won’t be wasting 30 frames per second by shooting video.

  11. One way i do on my canon is set the file numbering to continuous. i know I’ve taken 9,800 pics on my new camera. Curious to see when it starts over.

  12. Abdullah Al Mamun

    I want to buy a Cannon 70D and I need to know the shutter rates of it? Plz. advise.
    Thank you.

  13. i have found some tips to keep shutter alive as much as possible :

    1-don’t use highest shutter speeds of the camera ( as 1/4000 or 1/8000 )

    2-don’t use continous (brust) shots for most times

    3-it’s better to use lower frames (fps) on recording videos (as 60fps or 120fps or 240fps )

    4-take photos for best events not for everythings to keep more shutter for better pics

    5-it’s better to use long exposures at most 10 secs not 15 or 30 secs.

    6-use external flashes

    7-don’t take too many photos on same time and get overheating

    hope that helps

  14. I like my dslr sony a500 its too old but I love it so much
    Its shooter count is 28000 so any one can tell me that how much life is remaining I can’t understand

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