The number of times the shutter has fired is known as the shutter count. It’s important when it comes to buying or selling a camera.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Why it matters
When you’re buying a used camera or selling yours, the shutter count is an important piece of information to have. It’s also known as the shutter actuation. By tracking every photo that’s taken, it tells you how much the camera has been used.
The shutter count is important because cameras have limits. It’s known as a camera’s shutter life expectancy, which gives you an estimate of how many times the shutter can function before issues arise.
It’s similar to looking at the mileage when you’re buying a used car. While other factors are also important, you wouldn’t purchase a used car without being aware of the mileage. The same goes for cameras.
To figure out a camera’s exact shutter life expectancy, go to the manufacturer’s website. Then, search for the model of the camera, and there’ll be information regarding the shutter life expectancy. You can also find the information by searching it in a search engine.
For a DSLR camera, the shutter is closed. When you press the shutter button to take a photo, it opens and closes again. This is considered one actuation.
Related: The best DSLR cameras for beginners
An actuation for a mirrorless camera with a mechanical shutter is slightly different. Naturally, the shutter is open and closes when you take a photo.
Cameras that are built with a focus on quality and durability will have a higher shutter life expectancy.
The longer shutter life expectancy comes with a higher cost. The cameras that cost less are generally built with less durability resulting in a lower shutter life expectancy.
Shutter failure can be expensive to repair. So, you must check the shutter count before purchasing a used camera. If you’re selling your camera, make sure buyers know what the shutter count is for transparency.
Finding the shutter count
There are several ways to check a camera’s shutter count. Before you get started, you must have the camera or a recent image that’s been taken.
EXIF data is what provides the shutter count. It captures information about the camera, lens, and settings that were used. It also provides the date of the photo and the shutter count.
One of the easiest ways to find a camera’s shutter count is to upload a recent image to the Camera Shutter Count website.
It works by reading the EXIF data and displaying the shutter count. It’ll also provide where the camera is in its life cycle based on the shutter life expectancy.
If it doesn’t work with your camera, model, or you don’t want to upload an image to a third-party site, there are other options.
For Sony cameras, you can find the shutter count by opening the menu. In one of the menu tabs, there’s an option called Display Media Info. For the Sony a6400, it’s labeled as Setup7. That option will show you the number of still images, which is the shutter count.
For Canon cameras, there are two shutter counts that the camera will display. On the LCD screen, go to the screen that shows the settings, such as the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and shooting mode. At the bottom right, there’s a number. That’s the shutter count.
Related: The best Canon DSLR portrait lenses
You can also go to the menu and scroll to SET UP4. Then, select Battery info. It’ll show you the shutter count for the battery. Nikon cameras also have a tab in the menu that displays the shutter count.
There are several ways to get the shutter actuation for a camera. It’s an important number to know because it tells you how much a camera has been used. If you’re buying a used camera, compare the number to the shutter life expectancy. If you’re selling your camera, provide the information to potential buyers. That’ll help them make an informed decision.
Featured image courtesy of Canva.
About David Em
David Em is the founder of Portraits Refined. He’s a published portrait photographer dedicated to helping photographers develop skills, capture incredible photos, and build successful businesses.