How To Determine A Digital Camera’s Shutter Count

Just like moving parts on automobiles wear out with use and time, the moving parts on cameras do too. And much as automobile usage is measured via total miles traveled, camera usage is measured by total frames exposed.

More expensive, professional camera models are typically built to withstand a greater number of shutter actuations (well upwards of a quarter of a million, in fact) while inexpensive consumer cameras aren’t built to withstand such use. Either way, knowing how many times the shutter has been released can be important to a photographer interested in his equipment.

Unfortunately, camera makers don’t exactly offer an odometer on their products to easily display how many actuations a shutter has delivered. All digital cameras do keep track of this information, however. It’s just that it can take a bit of work to access it, and the type and amount of work can vary by camera model. So whether you’re simply trying to gauge how much life may remain in your camera or you’re preparing to sell or buy a used body, here are four ways to determine the shutter actuation count of your digital camera.

Check The Camera Itself

If you’ve got an Olympus MFT camera you’re in luck as these bodies make it easier to access shutter count without downloading image files or using other applications to interpret the data. The procedure varies depending on the body, so check the owner’s manual or do a quick Google search for a particular model. In general, the shutter release total can be accessed by entering the camera’s menu and pressing a key combination such that the total number of times the shutter has been released—as well as other useful information such as the number of times the flash has fired, for instance—will be revealed right on the camera’s LCD.

Read The EXIF Data Online To Determine Shutter Count

The EXIF information is metadata stored with every digital image file a camera produces. This includes everything from date and time of capture to camera settings, lens data and—in some cases—the shutter actuation number. On many Nikon and Pentax cameras, for instance, an image file’s EXIF metadata is delivered right alongside that other useful exposure information and can be accessed by sending the file to a service that knows where to look for the pertinent information. One popular online service that makes this easy is Camera Shutter Count, found at camerashuttercount.com. This simple website presents users with just two buttons to click—one to choose a file and the other to upload it. The site will then display the shutter count and delete the image from its system. The website shows successful models from many camera manufacturers including Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Samsung and more. Every camera isn’t included, but quite a few are.

Read The EXIF Data With Open Source Software

For those interested in keeping their image files local and utilizing open source software, Phil Harvey has created ExifTool, downloadable from exiftool.sourceforge.net. Made for Mac and Windows, the application may not be super intuitive for casual computer users, but the functionality is powerful. Both versions require a bit of digital savvy to install and execute, but both do their job efficiently on a wide variety of image files. And along with the shutter actuation information, lots of additional informative EXIF data can be viewed here as well.

Get The Shutter Count With No Fuss

Mac users who perhaps aren’t as interested in such a versatile open source application as ExifTool and who might prefer to have their hands held as they retrieve only the shutter count might prefer to pay a $7 fee to license Dire Studio’s ShutterCount app. Available for macOS and iOS, Shutter count calls itself the “odometer for your camera” and using it is practically as simple. Just download and open the app, then drag and drop an image file to reveal the camera’s model, serial number, owner and shutter count as seen in the image at the top of this article. Helpfully, the app also provides a graphical representation of the number of shutter actuations relative to the expected life of the shutter. This way you can know if you’ve used up 40 percent of the shutter actuations, for instance, or as in the example shown here that you’ve exceeded it by more than 200 percent. Dire Studio says ShutterCount is certified to work with 96 Canon EOS cameras, 64 Nikon cameras and 29 Pentax models.

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