Cameras are far from the most popular commodity today. Nevertheless, this type of technology is gradually being replaced by more universal, albeit not so high-quality in terms of capabilities, smartphones. And while the primary camera market is stagnating, there are many interesting offers on the secondary market. But the purchase of such a complex product from hands is a kind of lottery. True, there is one important parameter that you should definitely pay attention to when buying a camera on the secondary market. In our article, we will just tell you how you can check the real mileage of the camera so as not to get your hands on a completely dead copy.
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If a person is professionally involved in photography, then over time he will come to understand the limitations of his capabilities due to technology. So there is a need to move to a more modern or advanced model. Of course, purchasing a new camera is the perfect solution to take away the hassle and potential worries you might have regarding device life and potential defects. But many people prefer to save money by going to the secondary market. There you can easily find a completely working solution, albeit with external problems, but quite suitable for long-term operation. The advantages of this approach are obvious – with luck, you can find an almost new camera at a good discount. But here it is already important to know what to look for when choosing in order not to get a device with a state close to emergency. And one of the most important parameters when choosing a camera from hand is its “mileage”. This is the name for the number of shutter releases.
It is also important to understand that it will not be possible to approach this issue “head-on”. The mileage of the camera itself can affect its condition in different ways. Here we must also look at the operating conditions. So, if you take two cameras with the same number of shutter actuations, then from a technical point of view, the one whose shutter is most often used indoors will be better. It’s no secret that shooting outdoors and constantly changing lenses in dusty and humid environments will wear out the shutter faster. Both moisture and dust get into the chamber shaft, gradually they accumulate on the shutter lamellas and lead to its accelerated wear.
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What is the shutter life of the camera?
Interchangeable-lens cameras, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are always equipped with a shutter – mechanical shutters that regulate the flow of incident light onto the camera’s sensor, thereby measuring the exact exposure time. The shutter, like any other mechanism, wears out over time. Each camera model has a certain guaranteed shutter life.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III shutter
For example, for budget cameras’ shutters it is only 15,000 – 30,000 frames, and for semi-professional and professional cameras it is already 150 – 300 thousand. Fortunately, this indicator does not mean at all that, having reached these values, the shutter will immediately stop – it can work for much longer. There are cases when amateur DSLRs worked out both 150 and 200 thousand frames. If the device will be used under normal conditions, the shutter can work further beyond its specified minimum resource.
To a greater extent, the value of the guaranteed shutter resource shows how much safety margin is included in the camera by the manufacturer.
Average camera mileage
|Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi / 400D||50,000 – 70,000|
|Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT / 350D||50,000 – 70,000|
|Canon EOS 20D||60,000 – 80,000|
|Canon EOS 30D||80,000 – 100,000|
|Canon EOS 40D||80,000 – 100,000|
|Canon EOS 50D||80,000 – 100,000|
|Canon EOS 60D||100,000 – 120,000|
|Canon EOS 70D||100,000 – 120,000|
|Canon EOS 80D||100,000 – 120,000|
|Canon EOS 7D||120,000 – 150,000|
|Canon EOS 7D Mark II||180,000 – 200,000|
|Canon EOS 5D||100,000 – 130,000|
|Canon EOS 5D Mark II||170,000 – 180,000|
|Canon EOS 5DMarkIII||170,000 – 190,000|
|Canon EOS 5DMarkVI||180,000 – 200,000|
|Canon EOS 6D||130,000 – 150,000|
|Canon EOS 1D Mark II||190,000 – 220,000|
|Canon EOS 1DMarkIII||280,000 – 300,000|
|Canon EOS 1DX||390,000 – 400,000|
|Nikon D40 D60||55,000 – 70,000|
|Nikon D5100||80,000 – 90,000|
|Nikon D5200||80,000 – 90,000|
|Nikon D5300||80,000 – 90,000|
|Nikon D5600||90,000 – 100,000|
|Nikon D7000||100,000 – 120,000|
|Nikon D7100||135,000 – 150,000|
|Nikon D7200||140,000 – 150,000|
|Nikon D600||150,000 – 160,000|
|Nikon D610||150,000 – 160,000|
|Nikon D800||185,000 – 200,000|
|Nikon D810||240,000 – 250,000|
|Nikon D4||390,000 – 400,000|
|Nikon D5||390,000 – 400,000|
|Pentax K-5||90,000 – 100,000|
|Pentax K-7||100,000 – 120,000|
|Pentax K-3||190,000 – 200,000|
|Pentax K-1||280,000 – 300,000|
|Sony DSLR-A100||90,000 – 100,000|
|Sony DSLR-A200||90,000 – 100,000|
|Sony DSLR-A300||130,000 – 150,000|
|Sony DSLR-A500||200,000 – 250,000|
|Sony DSLR-A900||330,000 – 350,000|
|Sony SLT A-33||90,000 – 100,000|
|Sony SLT A-55||90,000 – 100,000|
|Sony SLT A-77||140,000 – 150,000|
|Sony SLT A-99||185,000 – 200,000|
|Sony NEX-3||90,000 – 100,000|
|Sony NEX-5||90,000 – 100,000|
|Sony NEX-6||100,000 – 120,000|
|Sony NEX-7||100,000 – 120,000|
|Sony A3000||100,000 – 115,000|
|Sony A5000||100,000 – 115,000|
|Sony A6000||130,000 – 140,000|
|Sony alpha 7||140,000 – 150,000|
|Sony Alpha 7 II||180,000 – 200,000|
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Factors affecting a significant reduction in the resource of the shutter mechanism
- A sharp change in the temperature regimes of the camera.
- Untimely cleaning of the matrix.
- Frequent use of burst mode.
- Frequent use of Timelapse mode.
- When the camera enters live view, the shutter is not counted by the frame counter.
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How do you know if the shutter is “dying”?
Often, you can find out about the end of the life of the shutter long before the complete failure of this element. The first symptoms are very indicative – the shutter stops working at short exposures from 1/1000. The thing is that the curtains do not have time to complete the task in time, jamming. And the pictures as a result are overexposed, there may appear in the upper or lower part of the picture and a dark stripe, as well as a dark spot on the side. If the shutter is completely defective, then this will be indicated by a single pops of the mirror and an error message (Error) on the camera display.
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How to visually inspect the shutter?
It is also possible to visually assess the state of the shutter mileage. To do this, detach the lens mount and then gently lift the edge of the mirror with your finger. If the shutter has an impressive mileage, then the lamellas will be worn, and indeed, look shabby.
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How to check the shutter in operation?
After you have visually checked the shutter, you can begin to check its actual operation.
In the settings, set the shutter speed to 1/4000 or 1/8000 and take some photos. There should be no vertical stripes in the picture. In operation, the shutter button should work softly, while not emitting any extraneous noise. And if the seller hands over the device clearly without desire, then this should make you wary.
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Is it being renovated? What if there are signs of wear on the shutter?
When the first signs of valve wear appear, it is necessary to make immediate repairs, because otherwise, the sensor filter may be damaged or a complete shutter jam may occur.
Upon reaching the guaranteed number of shutter operations, it is necessary to replace the lamellas (if the shutter has not been previously repaired) or replace the entire shutter assembly.
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Universal programs for obtaining data on camera mileage
On the Internet there are special web services Camera Shutter Count and Jeffrey’s Image Metadata Viewer, which will help you to find out the shutter mileage. Even before meeting with the seller, you can ask him to send the last picture from the camera in JPEG or RAW format. The photo must be uploaded to the site using a simple form. The services will automatically process the picture, after which it will give information about the camera model and the number of photos taken on it in EXIF (data on shooting parameters written directly to the file with the photo) of the frame. This information will allow you to form a first opinion about the state of the shutter.
The only drawback of this method of checking shutter wear is the small number of cameras supported.
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How do I know the mileage of a Canon camera?
Canon has released a special utility Canon EOS Digital just to check the status of the shutter. This is how it works:
1. Connect the camera to your computer using a miniUSB cable.
2. If this is your first time connecting this camera to your computer, drivers will be found and installed for it.
3. Wait for the end of this process.
4. Extract from the downloaded archive and then run the Canon EOS Digital program.
5. In the upper left part of the application window, click on the “Connect” icon.
6. The line labeled Shutter Counter will display the number of shutter releases for this unit.
There is another similar and also popular service for estimating the number of shutter releases for Canon cameras – EOSCount. This application can also output shutter speed data with a cable connected to a Canon camera computer.
How can I find out the mileage of Sony, Nikon and Pentax cameras?
The universal option is the EOSMSG, EOSMSG and Shutter Count Viewer programs. They let you know the mileage of cameras from major leading brands. And if for Canon models you need to connect the camera using a miniUSB cable, then for the rest you can use a recent picture copied from a memory card.
Nikon records its camera mileage in the Exif of each shot. You just need to use an application that reads such information, for example, ShowExif.
For Sony cameras, you can use this service.
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Checking the status of the shutter is the most famous criterion when choosing a camera in the aftermarket, but far from the only one worthy of attention. It should be understood that the owner of the camera could simply change the shutter at one time, and the counter at this moment can be easily reset by software. That is why other points also require attention:
- Inspect the appearance of the camera, paying particular attention to the condition of all rubber seals.
- Check the condition of the fastening screws for signs of loosening. If it turns out that the camera was previously disassembled for some purpose, then it is better to refuse to purchase it.
- Take a close look at the contacts of the mount and battery compartment. If you notice signs of oxidation, it could indicate that the camera is exposed to moisture or has entered the water. The symptoms are very disturbing!
- Inspect the hot shoe runners and the tripod pad mounts. If you find significant abrasions there, then this is a clear sign of intensive use of the device for professional purposes.
- Check that all buttons and control wheels are working. These elements should not have any backlash, they cannot be depressed.
With the help of our advice, you will be able to better assess the condition of the camera offered to you on the secondary market. Perhaps you will notice some new nuance that will save you from purchasing a dubious device.