A DSLR’s shutter will eventually fail
Just as with any piece of mechanical equipment, a camera has a lifetime that is based on the number of shutter actuations otherwise known as shutter clicks or the shutter count. Sooner or later, your DSLR’s shutter will wear, slow down and eventually stop functioning. At this point, you may either need to have the shutter replaced or purchase a new camera.
Usually, you’ll have to take a couple hundred thousand photos before this happens though, and Canon has allegedly released a particular shutter actuation threshold to indicate the number of shots expected for each EOS model before the shutter fails. Typically this count is between 100,000 and 300,000 shutter actuations, with the latter limit associated with the EOS-1D models. In fact, the Camera Shutter Life Expectancy Database is a really neat user-based site for DSLR models of several brands, including Canon. There you can find out the average life expectancy for your EOS model(s).
Interestingly, there’s no official Canon based application to find the shutter count for an EOS DSLR, however, there are a few free online tools that may help you to do this. There’s no tool that works seamlessly for all EOS models, let alone on both Windows and Mac platforms. But for the most part, there’s a utility available for your EOS model.
All Most of these utilities are free, and if you can spare, donate to the developers. They’ve helped us photographers out a lot.
Freeware Utilities for finding shutter actuations:
40DShutterCount & EOSInfo
40DShutterCount Utility (Version 2) – developed by Astrojargon, was originally for the EOS 40D, but it can work with other EOS models. Mac users can utilize this version, and the newer version, EOSInfo, is currently only for Windows users. The utility is free and will work on most EOS models. It is stated on the Astrojargon website that:
“The shutter count information is available *only* on Canon DIGIC III/IV DSLRs *except* the 1D* series.”
Though this disclaimer is given, users have reported that the utility has worked with the EOS-1D Mark IV model. Nonetheless, based on the statement, the compatible EOS models are:
1100D (Rebel T3) | 1000D (Rebel XS) | 650D (Rebel T4i) | 600D (Rebel T3i) |
500D (Rebel T1i)| 550D (Rebel T2i) | 450D (Rebel XSi) | 60Da | 60D | 50D | 40D | 7D | 5D Mark III | 5D Mark II
is was a freeware utility developed by Sergey Vasilevskiy that:
“…allows you to read a shutter counter from a Canon EOS DSLR (DIGIC III and later) camera. It can also sync a camera clock to your PC’s clock.”
If you’re not sure what kind of sensor your EOS has, then you can check it out on Astro Photography Tool’s “Canon EOS models matrix“. To make is easy for you, the EOS models that will most likely work with EOSCount are:
1100D (Rebel T3) | 1000D (Rebel XS) | 650D (Rebel T4i) | 600D (Rebel T3i) | 500D (Rebel T1i) | 550D (Rebel T2i) | 450D (Rebel XSi) | 60Da | 60D | 50D | 40D | 7D | 5D Mark III | 5D Mark II | 1D X | ID Mark IV | ID Mark III | IDs Mark III
Internet Explorer (32 bit) is the recommended browser for EOSCount, from which you will need to install the ActiveX control which will read the data directly from your camera which needs to be connected to your PC via USB. Google Chrome can also be used to utilize EOSCount, but you’ll have to browse using the IE tab plug-in.
Magic Lantern – may work for some EOS models, including the 550D (Rebel T2i). All you need to do is install Magic Lantern on your EOS, press MENU and then DISP. The shutter count will appear at the bottom of the screen.
Camera Shutter Count
Camera Shutter Count – Even though Canon doesn’t have shutter count included on the EXIF information of an image file, as opposed to Nikon, camershuttercount.com utilizes the latest unedited image to give an approximate number of shutter clicks. It is almost guaranteed to work with images from EOS-ID models among a few other EOS models. The most likely compatible EOS models are:
50D | 500D (Rebel T1i) | 1000D (Rebel XS) | 1D | 1D Mark II | 1D Mark II N | 1D Mark III | 1Ds | 1Ds Mark II | 1Ds Mark III
1D-Count Online – from Foxbat Photography, is exclusively for EOS-1D models except the Mark III or later versions. The utility is available for download or can be utilized via the online version. The shutter count is read from the latest JPEG or RAW file.
It makes sense to know your shutter count, even if it’s an approximation, so as to have an idea what may be left of the shutter. This information is especially useful to a person who wishes to buy a used or refurbished DSLR. The camera may look brand new on the outside, but the state of the shutter can be a different scenario. Some persons may ask, “Why not just use the image count on the camera instead of using a utility?” This can work, but what happens when the image count is reset? Therefore, it’s a good idea to find a more foolproof way of knowing the shutter count. If for some reason you’re not comfortable with using freeware tools, you can always send your DSLR to Canon and request a shutter count.
It’s easy to think that because your shutter may die you now need to be restrictive with taking shots. But then again, what artist is restrictive in his/her creations? What’s recommended is to somehow make your camera ‘pay for itself’, even if you are an amateur and/or not necessarily into the business of photography.